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Ongoing Ferguson strife highlights economic, business concerns elsewhere
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Ongoing Ferguson strife highlights economic, business concerns elsewhere

The ongoing civil unrest in Ferguson, Mo., sparked by the police shooting of teenager Michael Brown, seems a bit of a stretch as a premise for business coverage. But with no end in sight to the confrontations and headlines – especially in light of another shooting on Tuesday in the St. Louis area – and […]

Guys drawing players for fantasy football teams
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Tackle a fantasy football story on any business beat

With both professional football and college football about to kick off their 2014 seasons, the myriad  businesses that depend on gridiron action to generate revenue, from hot-dog sellers to TV advertising executives, are counting down the moments to the first big plays. But a lot of buzz this pre-season is focusing on the growing industry […]

Businesses beyond retail chalk up back-to-school sales
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Businesses beyond retail chalk up back-to-school sales

It’s axiomatic that back-to-school season is good business for apparel and footwear sellers, purveyors of pencils and gadget suppliers. But for an interesting twist on the standard end-of-summer stories, how about a look at other businesses that benefit from back-to-school, including unexpected sectors like lice salons and bars.  Services that reflect the realities of hectic […]

divorce cake with bride on top
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Retailers delight as people throw showers for all occasions

Oh, the weather outside may be delightful, but to some the forecast is frightful:  Never-ending showers. The gift-giving type, that is.  Rites of passages of all sorts are nowadays being coopted by retailers and marketers as the ideal occasions for showers involving lots of presents and even registries. From college students to first-time grannies to […]

Minnesota State Fair ferris wheel in sunset
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Quirky business features: Carnies, damsels, scams and beer

It’s been a month or so since the last edition of Quicktips and those scraps of paper are piling up again in my notebook. From the sober to the silly, here are a few story nuggets you may want to add to your near-term lineup: State Fairs.  How did that sneak up?  Summer 2014 is […]

BEA Personal Consumption Chart
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August is the month for getting thrifty, counting resales

Over the weekend a neighbor hefted a brightly-colored plastic outdoor play set and proudly noted that it had been a bargain purchase at a local thrift shop, just in time for another visit by the grandkids. Wow, I thought, what an illustration of the timid consumer spending that – despite an uptick in June, as […]

Will Santa's sleigh be full of drones this year?
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Will Santa’s sleigh be full of drones this year?

OK, it’s the first week in August and I’m going to go on record as predicting one of the hot gifts of the coming holiday season:  Personal drones. In fact, for the selfie-obsessed who want to take it to the next level, there’s the just-out Air Dog, a drone that follows its owner everwhere, shooting […]

Will Family Dollar-Dollar Tree merger affect the local discount store scene?
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Will Family Dollar-Dollar Tree merger affect the local discount store scene?

Buzzing around on a little road trip recently, I was intrigued by the number of dollar stores occupying prime real estate in the small Midwestern towns and villages along my route.  Then I got home, flipped open a mass-market women’s magazine and noted that the fashion spread not only featured ensembles from major department stores […]

Pay to Stay prison program NBC News
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Prisoners as consumers: Behind bars is some big business

We write a lot about consumer demographics, from college students to young parents to Baby Boomers – but there’s one cohort of spenders that tends to get overlooked even though it comprises a pretty significant market:  Prisoners. NBCNews recently ran a very interesting piece, “Prison inmates offer captive market for gadget makers,” that was rich […]