September 27, 2013
HERE'S how geeky America's passion for hops has gotten: Brewers are now using experimental varieties that are so new and untested, they haven't even been named. Instead, the hops are known by a series of digits and letters - No. 01210, or HBC344, or whatever. That's not the nerdy part, though. Hops-obsessed beer drinkers have become such wonks, they know the codes and can rattle them off like Professor Frink-wannabes in "The Simpsons. " Blogs, online news groups and beer publications echo with chatter about the fruity character of this newfangled variety or the peppery kick from that one. Homebrewers brag about getting their mitts on them, then offer treatises on their arcane qualities.
September 2, 2013 |
MONTOURSVILLE, Pa. - Ralph S. Alberts Co., a custom-plastics manufacturer that got its start 50 years ago making plane parts for a now-defunct local aircraft factory, has survived the decades by embracing new markets. Early on, it built devices to shepherd products along RCA Victor's assembly lines, a business that disappeared with RCA. In the 1970s, Hersheypark asked the firm to rebuild the padded seats and harnesses for its amusement-park thrill rides, a specialty business that has expanded handsomely.
August 17, 2013 |
Triumph Group Inc., of Wayne, says it has agreed to buy General Donlee Canada Inc., a manufacturer of precision-machined parts, such as shafts for aircraft engines and helicopters for GE Aviation, Bell Helicopter and others, for $110 million, including an unspecified amount of debt. General Donlee, which is based in Toronto and employs 200, is expected to add $60 million in annual revenue and immediately add to earnings. Triumph Group had $3.76 billion in revenue in its most recent fiscal year.
July 24, 2013 |
For more than 60 years, bells ringing at college campuses, churches, cemeteries, and world's fairs have been crafted in a Bucks County borough of 4,200 people. The artisans of Schulmerich Carillons create handbells, steeple-top bells, and electronic systems to ring out the sounds of music and convey the time of day. But Sellersville may soon lose its well-known manufacturer. The company, which employs 40 people, has an agreement to sell its seven-acre property and is looking for a new place to produce the bells that have made Schulmerich a big name in a small industry.
June 30, 2013 |
TORONTO - Shares of BlackBerry maker Research in Motion plunged 28 percent Friday after the company posted a loss and warned of future losses despite releasing its make-or-break new smartphones this year. RIM also announced that it will stop developing new versions of its slow-selling tablet computer called the Playbook. Analysts were looking for insight into how phones running RIM's new BlackBerry 10 operating system are selling. It wasn't good. RIM said it sold 6.8 million phones overall versus 7.8 million last year.
June 27, 2013 |
Diversifying a business can make sense, but Wednesday presented an example of diversification gone awry. Pfizer, Inc., is the world leader in selling prescription medicine and has a big operation in Collegeville. But part of its legion of lawyers was in federal bankruptcy court in Manhattan handling a $961 million settlement fund for some - but not all - people claiming harm from asbestos. The asbestos was contained in insulation used in blast furnaces for steel-making. What does Pfizer have to do with making steel?
June 25, 2013 |
At first glance, having one customer account for a majority of a small business' sales would seem like a good problem to have. Keep that customer happy, and it will be a stable source of revenue. But many entrepreneurs would tell you that nothing keeps them up at night more than worrying about what might happen to their business should that big customer walk away someday. Certainly, that was on Rich Trotter's mind when the Jack & Jill Ice Cream Co. and its fleet of ice cream trucks accounted for 90 percent of the annual sales of S.R. Rosati Inc. , which he bought with some partners 16 years ago. Today, Trotter said he sleeps better because the 101-year-old water-ice manufacturer he owns in Clifton Heights generates the bulk of its sales from a different source: the cafeterias of hundreds of public schools in 35 states.
June 15, 2013 |
Half a century has passed since her tragic death in 1962 at 36, yet Marilyn Monroe continues to enthrall. But why? All due apologies to Monroe fanatics, but she was hardly a George Washington, or, for that matter, a George Sand. Was Monroe all that important or interesting? Was she as significant an artist as Sarah Bernhardt? Did she really have as rich an inner life as Dostoevsky? Perhaps not. Yet we keep coming back to her: Tens of thousands of pages and hundreds of hours of film are devoted to her - including HBO's documentary Love, Marilyn , premiering Monday at 9 p.m. The film suggests that what endures about Monroe isn't the person, but the myth.
May 30, 2013 |
Vaccines are a big part of GlaxoSmithKline's pharmaceutical business, which is why, the company said Wednesday, it paid $325 million in cash for Okairos A.G., a Swiss firm whose work with monkey viruses offers a potential new way to protect people from disease. The Basel-based Okairos is a private company spun off from Merck in 2007. Since then, it has been supported by several venture-capital firms. In Okairos, Glaxo gets vaccines in early-phase trials, but also a proprietary process that might help its research efforts.
May 24, 2013 |
Continuing its efforts to shift into faster-growing areas of the supermarket, Campbell Soup Co. said Thursday that it had reached an agreement to buy Plum Organics, a California producer of baby foods and snacks for toddlers and older children. Campbell did not say what it agreed to pay for Plum, owned by the venture-capital firm Catamount Ventures. Founded in 2007 by Neil Grimmer, the current chief executive, and a partner in Catamount Ventures, Plum Organics had $93 million in gross sales last year.