Diaper Deck changes ordeals in restroomsAny parent who has...

CONSUMER MARKETPLACE

September 05, 1992|By Michael Dresser

Diaper Deck changes ordeals in restrooms

Any parent who has ever had to change a diaper on the floor or sink of a public restroom is going to love a device called the Diaper Deck.

It's a wall-mounted, fold-out changing table that takes up so little space it can fit even in small public bathrooms. The polyethylene device has a built-in dispenser for sanitary liners and is built to hold 250 pounds, according to the manufacturer, American Infant Care Products. A concave surface prevents squirming infants from taking a tumble.

The devices are beginning to crop up in several Baltimore-area locations, including some McDonald's restaurants and Sears stores, the new Safeway market in Ellicott City and the about-to-open Silver Diner restaurant at Towson Town Center.

Business people who cater to the public have good reason to take notice. Several states are already requiring baby-changing stations in restrooms, and as more consumers know about them, the more they will expect service-oriented business to provide them.

American Infant Care Products, located in Excelsior, Minn., can be reached at (612) 474-0204.

Shoppers at Safeway like charging groceries

Safeway Inc. has nearly completed its charge into the brave new world of grocery shopping with plastic.

James Deckard, a spokesman for the company's Eastern division, said 95 percent of the chain's 144 Maryland, Washington and Virginia stores now accept Visa, MasterCard and Discover cards. The program, which the chain has been phasing in since early this year, has received a favorable response from consumers, Mr. Deckard said.

Mr. Deckard said the program is especially popular with people whose cards give them frequent-flier miles when they make purchases.

Meanwhile, market-leading Giant continues to approach the notion gingerly.

Mark Roeder, a company spokesman, said Giant is looking into the possibility of testing the concept at a limited number of Maryland stores and expects to have an announcement in about a month.

Calif. winery labels Chesapeake a treasure

For a California outfit, Guenoc Winery is showing a shrewd understanding of what strikes a chord with consumers in the Baltimore-Washington area.

The winery has commissioned a "Treasure the Chesapeake" label for its 1991 Guenoc Valley chardonnay and will contribute $1 to the Chesapeake Bay Trust for every bottle sold.

The label, designed by Tom Burden of Trahan, Burden & Charles, depicts a great blue heron against an evening sky. A limited edition of signed lithographs will also be available through the Baltimore ad agency. Mr. Burden donated his time for the project, which reflects the environmental concerns of Guenoc owner Orville Magoon, a coastal engineer.

The dry white wine costs $10 to $13 a bottle locally.

Fast-food poll finds Asian growing fast

Be it spring or egg, Asian fast-food chains are on a roll, according to a survey by the National Restaurant Association.

The survey of 21 Asian eat-and-run chains found that they are expanding at a rate of more than 20 percent a year, with a 31.5 percent increase in traffic from 1987 to 1990, while the rest of the fast-food segment was crawling along at 5.5 percent.

Among the cuisines of Asia, Chinese wins in a wok, representing 81 percent of the restaurants surveyed. Most of the rest were Japanese. Korean, Thai and Vietnamese cuisines have not broken out into the chain market yet, the survey found.

1 million electric cars predicted in 8 years

Maybe it's California dreaming and maybe it's not, but a leading technology consultant is predicting that 1 million electric vehicles, two-thirds of them in the United States, will be purring along the world's roads by 2000.

BIS Strategic Decisions of Norwell, Mass., says the driving force behind this proliferation will be pollution-choked California, which has mandated that 10 percent of vehicles sold in the state in 2003 be zero-emission vehicles and that 15 percent more be ultra low emission vehicles.

Most of these vehicles will be used as "city cars" running on electric traction batteries, the BIS report said. The report, citing at least 40 electric vehicle development projects in progress in the automotive industry, warns that no major supplier to the industry can afford to ignore this potentially lucrative submarket.

Kwikset launches do-it-yourself locks

The Kwikset lock company, a subsidiary of Towson-based Black & Decker Corp., has introduced a mid-priced line of locksets aimed at breaking into the do-it-yourself market.

The new Titan series represents a big shift for Anaheim, Calif.-based Kwikset, which formerly concentrated on selling to the construction industry -- hardly a growing field in recent years.

The Titan locksets are being backed by some sophisticated consumer marketing that has the fingerprints of Black & Decker all over it. Kwikset is giving dealers how-to videotapes to give consumers installation tips and is packaging locksets in "project packs" that include all the tools needed for the job -- such as a Black & Decker cordless screwdriver.

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