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The world of fandom – Comi-Cons – is ripe for financial stories
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The world of fandom – Comi-Cons – is ripe for financial stories

What’s a multi-billion industry that draws celebrities, corporate exhibitors and hundreds of thousands of free-spending enthusiasts to events in multiple venues nationwide? No, not talking about NASCAR, the NFL or the beauty pageant circuit.  The movement I’m thinking of is the world of fandom – comic cons (comic conventions)  cosplay (costumed role playing) and related [...]

What new finger-food trends are replacing cupcakes .. or are they?
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What new finger-food trends are replacing cupcakes .. or are they?

The headline-making saga of the Crumbs Bake Shop company – the cupcake chain that closed all of its stores only to receive a last-minute reprieve from an investor group – suggests a few ideas for localizing food-related business stories. The potential survival of the Crumbs chain is good news for its investors and workers, bad [...]

Christmas in July? Retailers wooing holiday spenders even earlier
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Christmas in July? Retailers wooing holiday spenders even earlier

How are we spending our summer vacation?   Prepping for back-to-school, Thanksgiving and Christmas, if the displays in retail stores are any indication. Consumers who didn’t buy their swimwear back in March probably found themselves picking through a clearance rack featuring a few “size 2 junior” mismatched bathing suit bottoms and tops the week before the [...]

Quicktips:  Manure expos, funky funerals and travel deals for single parents
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Quicktips: Manure expos, funky funerals and travel deals for single parents

Maybe this column should be called “quirky tips” instead of “quick tips,” because I can’t resist sharing some of the interesting and offbeat jottings from my notebook.  Hopefully you can embrace the oddities and spin an idea or two into a colorful summertime business feature. First off, my ears perked up the other day when [...]

Fourth of July stories sparkle on any business beat
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Fourth of July stories sparkle on any business beat

Already 2014 is about half over and the Fourth of July holiday is speeding toward us like a runaway locomotive.  It’s the make-it or break-it bellwether for many summer tourism businesses and particularly interesting this year because the Fourth falls on a Friday, making for an automatic three-day-weekend for many workers. According to Orbitz, many [...]

Consumers itch and businesess profit as mosquitos swarm
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Consumers itch and businesess profit as mosquitos swarm

As one of those lucky people generally ignored by stinging and biting insects, it was dismaying a week or two ago to be covered in itchy red welts after just a little while outdoors planting flower pots.  A few days later the graveside rites at a funeral I attended were actually cut short as mourners [...]

As eyes turn to World Cup, how does local soccer spending rank?
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As eyes turn to World Cup, how does local soccer spending rank?

With soccer’s 2014 World Cup matches kicking off this week in Brazil,  “futebol” as it’s known in Rio is going to dominate a lot of sports talk over the next month.  This every-four-year event is  a good opportunity to delve into the business of sports, and soccer in particular, in your region. Obviously if you have a professional [...]

Ties, tools, paternity leave: What fathers mean in the marketplace
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Ties, tools, paternity leave: What fathers mean in the marketplace

The annual salute to dads comes up June 15, and like all traditional and manufactured holidays and observances, marketers are not shy about using it to spark consumer spending.  My e-mail inbox is clogged with frantic exhortations from national chains pushing grills, apparel, retro beer posters, tools, cheese-and-sausage packs and other delights for Pop — all [...]

Find the $15/hour jobs in your market to localize Seattle’s new wage law
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Find the $15/hour jobs in your market to localize Seattle’s new wage law

The recent $15-per-hour minimum wage rule established in Seattle is creating a lot of buzz, and I’ve been brainstorming ways that business writers nationwide could localize the issue. As NBC reports, the Seattle law will phase in over time starting next April, and will include exceptions for teen workers.  It trumps San Francisco’s minimum wage [...]

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