Marylanders play more as times get tougherAs times got...


September 12, 1992|By Michael Dresser

Marylanders play more as times get tougher

As times got tough, Maryland played harder, according to the Maryland Comptroller's Office.

Even as income tax and sales tax receipts were taking a beating from the recession, Marylanders spent $439.4 million on entertainment in fiscal 1992, 5.8 percent more than in fiscal 1991, Comptroller Louis L. Goldstein announced. The fiscal year ended June 30.

All that amusement yielded about $29.9 million in taxes, which were distributed to local governments, the comptroller said. That represented an 8.8 percent rise over the previous fiscal year.

The biggest gains came from athletic events, which rose 33 percent, to $57.3 million, as three months of gate receipts from Oriole Park at Camden Yards swelled the state's coffers. It was also a better-than-par year on the golf courses, where a mild winter brought a 14.4 percent gain. to $39.5 million, in greens fees and cart rentals.

Boat rides and rentals rose 9.7 percent, to $13.8 million, while live theater and concerts brought in $16.3 million, up 7.8 percent.

The only category to show a drop was the movies, which are typically regarded as a recession-resistant industry. Spending on movie tickets was down 1.5 percent, to $77.4 million.

Card outlet to send a cheaper message

Cheap sentiment will become even cheaper in the Baltimore area this fall when Factory Card Outlet brings the "category killer" concept to Hillendale Shopping Center Oct. 1.

Factory Card Outlet, whose signature line is "Every Card 49 Cents," will be taking a direct aim at Greetings & Readings, the highly successful card and book shop just across Loch Raven Boulevard from the new store.

The new store is owned by a group of Baltimore investors who also operate seven Card Mart stores in Maryland, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Florida. Along with a companion store opening Sept. 24 at Wheaton Park Shopping Center in Wheaton, the Hillendale store represents the first wave of outlets that could number eight to 12 next year if all goes well, said general manager Diana Sipes.

Greetings & Readings President Steven Baum said he's not worried about the newcomer's stated intent of taking away its business. "That's like the Dollar General store people telling Nordstrom to watch out," he said. "We've donated better cards than are going in there."

His toothpaste faded, but the tube caught on

Business anniversaries are boring.

Who cares that Tastykake Juniors are 75 years old (true) or that Joe's Grease 'n' Go just marked its milestone 11th birthday (false)? Not the consumer. Even the public relations people quietly confide that they dread such projects.

Still, occasionally you come across an anniversary that is a true cultural milestone -- a reminder of a crucial development that makes life in the late 20th century worth living.

Like the centennial celebration of toothpaste in tubes.

That's right, says the Tube Council of North America. Up until late in the last century, according to the trade organization, toothpaste was sold only in expensive porcelain jars, a cost that discouraged dental hygiene among all but the rich.

Then, in 1892, Washington Wentworth Sheffield, a dentist in New London, Conn., decided to put his toothpaste formula in a metal tube. Sheffield's toothpaste never became a household world, but four years later Colgate Co. came along and created a national brand.

By 1991, the production of metal, plastic and laminate tubes would stand at 2.5 billion in the United States and Canada, the Tube Council claims.

Of course, there is a downside. If this actually is the 100th anniversary of the toothpaste tube, it's probably also the centennial of the first jerk who squeezed the toothpaste tube from the top.

London Fog raincoats still fit Stefanie Powers

Londontown Corp. has decided its raincoats still fit Stefanie Powers just fine.

The Eldersburg-based outerwear manufacturer is bringing back the actress who introduced the London Fog women's collection in 1983 to be the spokeswoman in its fall television advertising campaign.

The company said it conducted a survey of women consumers that rated 12 female celebrities and found Ms. Powers to be the most persuasive.

Massage your feet with new water shoes

Remember Earth Shoes? Now you can buy water shoes.

NaturalSport, a St. Louis-based women's footwear company, is introducing a new line of walking shoes, called AquaMassage, with water-filled insoles "designed to give a foot massage with every step."

The AquaMassage line comes in two style, a lace-up Oxford and an ankle boot. They cost $60-$70, and we don't know whether they squish.

Amanda Fielding opens Towson store

Amanda Fielding, the upscale women's clothing chain that already does business at the Gallery at Harborplace and Columbia Mall, will open its third Baltimore-area store at Towson Town Center Tuesday. It bills its fall collection as being "inspired by menswear, but softened, styled and accessorized to be supremely feminine."

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