mamma ilardo races to open new standmamma ilardo's...

CONSUMER MARKETPLACE

December 19, 1992|By Mike Dresser

mamma ilardo races to open new stand

mamma ilardo's expansion program is right on track.

The Owings Mills-based pizza company announced that it will be opening a stand at Laurel Race Course next Saturday. If a 60-day test is successful, the rapidly growing 45-unit chain will win a place at Pimlico Race Course in plenty of time to be peddling pizza at the Preakness, said Michelle DeLucia, mamma ilardo's vice president for marketing.

The family-owned company, which brought in a new management team headed by Joseph Simone early this year, has been focusing its expansion drive on nontraditional sites such as bowling centers, theme parks and other recreational facilities.

Maryland Turf Caterers, which already handles food service at the two tracks, would be the franchise-holder for the two racetrack outlets, Ms. DeLucia said.

Magnetic name tag would spare clothes

Ever had to pin a name tag on a silk blouse or a fine suit jacket? The results aren't pretty.

A Canadian company might just have a solution to this scourge for millions of retail workers. Imprint Plus of Vancouver, British Columbia, is marketing a magnetic name tag that uses no pins, adhesives or clips.

Amita Kumar, the firm's accounting manager, explained that the tag consists of a small magnetic part that slips inside the clothing, with a plastic surface on the skin side to keep it from getting cold, and a metallic plate worn on the outside.

The device, invented by company President Ellen Flanders, comes in different strengths for different weights of fabric. According to Ms. Kumar, it has already been adopted by a number of retailers, including Kinney's Canadian shoe stores and Color Your World paint stores.

Plastic Christmas excites retailers

Retailers might just record a monumental holiday season this year, but it could be a monument with a plastic foundation.

While surveys by TeleCheck Services were showing slight declines in retail sales paid for by check so far this holiday season, credit-card issuers were reporting double-digit gains. That suggests a lot of kids will be getting presents thanks to Visa Claus.

Industry analysts and economists say this rebirth of the charge-it spirit reflects growing consumer confidence, but there is such a thing as overconfidence.

The National Center for Financial Education offers the following tips for playing with this highly explosive form of plastic.

* Reduce the number of cards you carry and use just one or two.

* Use them only for essential purchases.

* Cut up and return all unwanted credit cards.

* Keep unused cards in a safe place.

* Carry credit cards separately from your wallet or purse. (Paul Richard, the organization's director of education, suggests that men use a front pants pocket.)

* Keep your card in view whenever you hand it to a merchant.

* Never lend your cards to anyone.

* Promptly report questionable charges.

* Don't give card numbers out over the phone on calls you don't originate.

Some of this advice might seem a bit extreme, but that's only to be expected from an organization that claims the honor of originating the "credit-card condom," a paper sheath that fits over credit cards and delivers dire warnings whenever you reach for the plastic.

The group is offering a "Safe Charge Kit" that includes three "condoms" and 10 credit-card warning stickers that bear such cheery messages as "Warning: Overuse can be dangerous to your wealth" or "Can we afford it?"

To order a kit, send $3 for one kit or $20 for 10 kits to NCFE Safe Charge Kits, P.O. Box 34070, San Diego, Calif., 92163-4070.

No, you can't charge it.

Owings Mills mall will shop for you

Several Baltimore-area department stores now offer shopping services, but Owings Mills Town Center has gone them one better with what it calls the area's first mall-wide shopping service.

The service, new this year, is available to anyone and there is no minimum purchase, according to Joyce Baker, manager of the mall's Customer Service Center. The way it works is that you tell a service representative what you want to give and how much you want to spend, and that helpful soul shops the mall's 150 or so stores, brings back the gift and wraps it for you.

To make an appointment for the shopping service, would-be nonshoppers can call Ms. Baker at 363-1234 or fax a request to 363-9333.

Montgomery retailers feasting on honors

A pair of very different Montgomery County-based food retailers have recently won honors from national magazines.

* Fresh Fields, a Rockville-based supermarket that specializes in "healthy" foods, was named 1993 Store of the Year by Money magazine. Money said the company "is riding the crest of a mighty wave -- eating for health." It estimated Fresh Fields had sales of $50 million at its five stores last year. The chain plans to add stores next year in Richmond and Fairfax, Va., Annapolis, Chicago and Philadelphia.

* Joel Rosenberg, president of Candy Express of Silver Spring, was named one of Chain Store Age Executive's Retail Entrepreneurs of the Year. His growing candy store chain, now up to 35 stores, hopes to go national.

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