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99 Cents looks to lure the frugal bride

BY Gail Hoffer

CITY OF COMMERCE, Calif. — Retailers have been taking advantage of the much-anticipated royal wedding to promote their own wedding services, but one of the more surprising of the bunch is 99 Cents Only Stores, which used the hoopla around the upcoming union of Prince William and Kate Middleton to announce the launch of its bridal registry for couples.

The company announced that it has more than 999 wedding related items to choose from, and even invited the royal couple to join its registry. The likelihood that William and Kate will register at 99 Cents Only is low, not only because their guests likely have the means to shop at higher price points, but because the company doesn’t operate any stores in the United Kingdom, making it tricky for locals to shop its stores.

The royal couple aside, consumers have been embracing a more frugal lifestyle, and that has included wedding registries. Target and Walmart both offer wedding registries for customers who prefer to offer their guests more affordable gift options, so it is not surprising that 99 Cents Only wants a piece of the action.

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Max-Wellness teams up with Lake Health to launch Mini-Max

BY Michael Johnsen

CLEVELAND — Wellness retailer Max-Wellness on Tuesday partnered with Lake Health, a private not-for-profit community healthcare provider in northeast Ohio, for a summer 2011 launch of its unique Mini-Max store concept.

Mini-Max is a smaller-format Max-Wellness store specifically designed to be located within hospitals and rehabilitation centers to provide health-and-wellness products needed to further a patient’s recovery after leaving the hospital. The approximately 600-sq.-ft. Mini-Max is a smaller footprint compared with Max-Wellness’ traditional retail stores in Sarasota, Naples and Cleveland. The stores also feature other wellness products of interest to the hospital’s visitors and employees.

“This new concept will assist Lake Health patients to further their recovery and rehabilitation after discharge, as well as provide products that promote wellness,” stated Cynthia Moore-Hardy, Lake Health president and CEO.

Max-Wellness will collaborate with the healthcare professionals at Lake Health to provide a relevant offering of products for head-to-toe care tailored to the needs of patients at the provider’s West Medical Center. Max-Wellness advocates, who will staff the Mini-Max, will provide assistance to the patient, caregiver or family members in selecting products the patient needs for continuing care and improving the patient’s general wellness.

Lake Health operates two acute care hospitals, along with 13 healthcare sites, including urgent care and physical therapy locations in Lake County, Ohio, near Cleveland.

As another convenience for patients and visitors in the hospital, Max-Wellness anticipates adding another concept known as “Wellness-in-a-Box,” a computerized dispensing device that features key health-and-wellness products — much like a vending machine — at which customers can make purchases at any time.

“This allows wellness products to be available at other locations within a hospital, near adjacent or nearby medical office areas of the hospital and outside the Mini-Max during non-store business hours,” Max-Wellness CEO Michael Feuer said. “‘Wellness-in-a-Box’ dispensers are also slated to be introduced in urgent care centers, senior living facilities and airports with merchandise customized to meet the specific needs of customers in the venue where the self-service wellness center is located.”

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Fair Trade certified products increase

BY Allison Cerra

OAKLAND, Calif. — A third-party certifier of Fair Trade consumer products said that 2010 saw an increase of such products on the market.

Fair Trade USA said that the Fair Trade market in 2010 saw a boost in both new and existing product categories. New products included apparel, green peppers, vodka and a wide array of herbs, spices and extracts. What’s more, Fair Trade coffee and cocoa continued to expand. Fair Trade USA certified nearly 109 million lbs. of Fair Trade coffee, while nearly 3.9 million lbs. of cocoa received Fair Trade certification.

Fair Trade products are classified as goods that are certified as being produced by workers and farmers that are paid fair prices and wages, work in safe conditions, protect the environment and receive community development funds to empower and uplift their communities.

"As consumer demand for ethically produced goods increases, we’re able to chip away at the cycle of poverty that grips farming communities around the world," said Paul Rice, Fair Trade USA president and CEO. "Through their participation in Fair Trade, farming families have earned more than $220 million in additional income since 1998, $56 million of which will be invested specifically in community development programs that provide access to education and life-saving health care."

For the complete 2010 almanac report, visit FairTradeUSA.com.

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