November 21, 2013
J ESICA SIMPSON, 32, and Jeremy Lauder, 31, of Bridesburg, own Derisory Designs, a screen-printing shop in the basement of a repurposed industrial building on 2nd Street near Cecil B. Moore Avenue in North Philadelphia. The married couple's company specializes in custom screen-printed apparel, art prints and promotional items. Jeremy oversees the printing side, and Jesica handles the books and customer service. I spoke with Jesica. Q: How did the biz start? A: In 2004, Jeremy and two friends wanted to make and sell Philly T-shirts, but other people were doing it and his friends split.
November 8, 2013 |
Inside the Burlington Center, '80s hits by groups such as Tears for Fears reverberate from speakers in the forlorn corridors, a reminder of better days. In 1982, when the center opened on what was once Burlington Township farmland along Route 541, department stores and enclosed regional malls reigned over the retail landscape. What a difference a few decades have made. In 2010, Macy's vacated its enormous Burlington store - originally, Strawbridge's - and in 2012 the mall itself was sold at auction.
November 1, 2013
C AROLYN BRANDHORST, 49, of Old City, recently relocated her family business, the Papery, from 3rd and Arch streets to Locust near 12th, after a decade. The new space, next to the restaurant Vedge, has enabled Brandhorst to reinvent the store as a custom-design studio for wedding and party invitations, in addition to the more-familiar retail aspects of stationery and gifts. Q: You moved the business to the trendy area now called Midtown Village. Why? A: Our business model changed and we became a custom-invitation studio, and the old store wasn't designed to keep up with the work.
October 24, 2013 |
After two years of initial robust growth, Pennsylvania utilities this year are experiencing a substantial slowdown in customers switching electricity suppliers. More than two million Pennsylvania electric customers - about 35 percent of the total - switched suppliers by February. Since then, the growth has slowed, and only about 100,000 more customers have signed up with discounters. More Peco Energy Co. customers returned to the utility this summer because Peco's default price was better than that charged by many competitive suppliers.
October 17, 2013 |
Almost three-quarters of pay-TV subscribers would like to purchase slimmer, customized TV bundles - mostly because they believe it would lead to lower bills, according to a new consumer survey. At the same time, subscribers accept the pay-TV model and are consuming soaring amounts of entertainment through smartphones, tablets, and new video services such as Netflix. "We are seeing outlandish consumption, and that is good for the industry and good for the consumer," said Joe Atkinson, the market advisory leader in Philadelphia for PricewaterhouseCoopers L.L.P., which conducted the survey.
October 5, 2013 |
In late March, the U.S. Supreme Court seemed to have plunged a stake into a long-running class-action lawsuit between Comcast Corp. and plaintiffs' attorneys who claimed the company abused its market power to hike cable bills on Philadelphia-area customers. The high court voted, 5-4, on ideological lines not to certify the case - forcing it back to a lower court. They said the financial damages for two million TV customers could not be fairly measured throughout the expansive Philadelphia region.
October 2, 2013 |
For Independence Blue Cross, the largest health insurer in Southeastern Pennsylvania, Tuesday's arrival of a government-mandated health insurance marketplace marks a major pivot toward insurance plans for individuals. IBC estimated that from 500,000 to 600,000 people in Philadelphia and the four surrounding Pennsylvania counties could shop for insurance on the federal exchange, either because they have no insurance now or are likely to shop on the exchange for other reasons. That represents a huge business opportunity, but it won't happen overnight.
September 16, 2013 |
Education. Occupation. Credit score. Like it or not, all are factors that at least some auto insurers have come to use in setting premiums, even if they have a questionable role in predicting a driver's performance behind the wheel. Now, we can add "stickiness" to the list - not the kind that comes from a messy toddler, but the kind businesses covet: a customer's tendency to stick around despite higher prices. And the Consumer Federation of America is crying foul. In a letter last month to state insurance commissioners, the group's insurance advocate, Bob Hunter, quoted a consultant's report saying that nearly half the largest insurers squeeze higher premiums out of predictably sticky customers through methods known as "price optimization" or "scientific pricing.
August 10, 2013 |
A Mexican man described by police as a career criminal has been deported after flouting U.S. border laws for more than a decade, U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement officials in Philadelphia said Thursday. Osvaldo Pineda Bonilla, 41, of the Surenos "Crazy Katz" gang, who spent time in prisons from California to Pennsylvania, was handed over to Mexican authorities Wednesday after being led in handcuffs across the border at Brownsville, Texas. He reportedly was wanted in Mexico on weapons charges.
July 25, 2013 |
Contractors studded Philadelphia with art deco-flavored postal centers, courts, and government offices, in brick, concrete, and limestone, back in the 1930s, as the federal Works Progress Administration tried to spend the nation out of the Great Depression. After the most recent financial crisis, Washington settled for the American Recovery and Reconstruction Act of 2009 - the "stimulus" supplied by President Obama - that gave the city, among other projects, a half-acre green roof; high, tight windows; and LED lights at the 17-story, WPA-built Custom House , the cross-shaped federal office building at Second and Chestnut Streets that houses hundreds of federal workers for the National Park Service, Food and Drug Administration, Homeland Security, passport office, and other federal outlets.