Kate's Collage
"Vinny Da Vendor"
"Benny Da Buyer"
Kizer & Bender
Memory, Paper & Stamps
Category Reports
Designing Perspectives
Scene & Heard

Creative Leisure News
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Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone: 785-760-5071
Email: mike@clnonline.com



Date: January 16, 2012
Vol. XV, No. 2, #342

Printer Version


bulletCommentary: What Trade Shows Offer
bulletNew Columns This Issue
bulletTake the CLN Poll: Predicting Categories
bulletCLN Poll: Predicting 2012 & The Economy
bulletCHA Names New CEO
bulletDecember Sales Up, But Profits?
bulletCHA New Exhibitors, Pt. II
bulletCHA Show Info
bulletCHA Exhibitors Working Together
bulletEmail: A Rep Vents About Manufacturers
bulletEmail: The Cost of Importing
bulletCompany Bio: Design Works Crafts, Inc.
bulletRandom Notes, Random Thoughts
bulletMiscellaneous News: Retail
bulletMiscellaneous News
bulletThe Creative Network: Job Openings
bulletThat All Important Lecture


Below you'll read an email from a manufacturer's rep complaining about exhibitors who release their new products before trade shows, offer trade show specials to retailers who don't attend the show, and then complain about the lower attendance at shows.

The rep is 100% correct. What these vendors overlook, however, are the new sales and marketing opportunities at trade shows -- if the exhibitors start thinking outside the box about some of the attendees walking down the aisles. Some examples:

1. One day I will walk the floor with the owner of 11 craft/needlework stores in Thailand.

2. As CLN reported in the previous issue, there's a new project looking to sell craft products to/in China. Those folks will be attending the show.

3. Chris Crombie, former CEO of Hobbycraft, the U.K.'s largest craft chain, will be offering a new opportunity to sell abroad, thanks to an expanding trade show in the U.K.

4. As explained below, industry veteran David Pyle will walk the show explaining a new program to help vendors educate the consumer.

5. A record number of the media – from around the world – will be in attendance.

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"Vinny Da Vendor". A history of one of the industry's genuine pioneer companies, Walnut Hollow, including recovering from a terrible fire. Dave Ladd was also thinking "green" long before it was a conservation term, and in 2008 CLN reported on the company's conservation efforts and awards. That report is HERE.

Kate's Collage. Lois Winston, at one time one of the most published cross-stitch designers in the industry, successfully turned her sights on writing comedy mystery novels. Here's an excerpt from her latest, Death by Killer Mop Doll.

(Note: If you click on the column and it's not the column you expected, click the Reload or Refresh button of your browser.)

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You predicted how your business will fare in 2012 (see below); now let's predict the individual categories – scrapbooking and papercrafting, general crafts, art materials, needlework, knitting/crochet, florals, seasonal, and kids crafts. To vote, click on Industry Polls in the right-hand column or click HERE.

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CLN voters are fairly optimistic about their business in the new year. While only 7.3% expect a very good year, 51.2% predict the year will be "good." But 31.7% weren't sure what kind of a year it would be, and 9.8% thought it will not be a good year. No one predicted a "very bad, year, which is an example why CLN refers to its Industry Polls as "unscientific." Any subscriber who truly thinks 2012 will be a very bad year is probably too depressed to vote. Hence polls like this are often skewed to the positive.

Voters are more optimistic that the U.S. economy will continue to grow: 87.5% said yes, while only 12.5% thought the economy would decline.

(Oh, and voters predict President Obama will win reelection by a 61-39 spread. We'll see in November how accurate that prediction is. CLN will ask that question periodically during the first 10 months of the year.)

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The CHA Board of Directors named Andrej Suskavcevic (André Shoosh–kav–chev–itch) as President/CEO. Since 2007, he has served as CEO of the Commercial Finance Assn., a trade association for the asset-based lending and factoring industries. Previously, he was VP Operations at Financial Executives Int., a professional association for CFOs, controllers, and treasurers. Prior to that he served as COO at Zepter Int., a cookware/tabletop company. He starts Jan. 23 and will attend the CHA Anaheim show.

For the past eight months Tony Lee, VP of Meetings & Expositions, served as interim leader. CHA Board Chair Larry Olliges said, "We are extremely grateful for Tony's leadership over the past several months as he inspired and encouraged CHA staff; rejuvenated member participation; created industry partnerships with other trade organizations; and underscored the importance of CHA trade shows as a top priority for the industry."

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Holiday retail sales rose 4.1%, according to the National Retail Federation, higher than NRF's prediction that sales would increase 3.8%.

"The right mix of strong promotions, lean inventories and an emphasis on value put retailers in the perfect position to end the year on a high note," said NRF President/CEO Matthew Shay. "A better-than-expected holiday season is welcome news for an economic recovery that continues to be sluggish, and demonstrates retail’s powerful role as an engine of growth."
NRF Chief Economist Jack Kleinhenz added, "Though we are seeing evidence that the economy still has a critical hold on consumers’ purchase decisions, this strength in spending could continue into 2012."
Same-store sales at 22 retail chains tracked by Thomson Reuters rose 3.4%; analysts had predicted a 3.3% increase.

A sampling of same-store sales results: Nordstrom, +8.7% … Macy's, +6.0% … Sak's, +5.8% … Target, +1.6% … J.C. Penney, +0.3% … Kohl's, -0.1% … Gap, -4.0%.

"The holiday season was OK," Michael Niemira, chief economist at the Int. Council of Shopping Centers told Stockhouse.com. "But because of the extremely competitive environment, stores had to do whatever it took to get those sales, and that affected profits."

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(Note: Pt. I of this report -- new exhibitors A-J -- was published in the 1/2/12 issue, which is still available in the CLN Archives.)

Kuretake (#2600). Wide variety of ZIG brand markers and other products. www.zig-kuretake.com

Legare Furniture (#2829). Scrapbook desk and bookcase. Kids' desks and bookcases, sustainable desks and bookcases. www.legarefurniture.com

Lee Products (#30). Crafter's Essentials Easy Grip Fingertip Moistener, Easy See Highlighter, Tape Easy Clean Wipes, and Tippi Micro Gel Grips. www.leeproducts.com

Minime (#28). Personalized, 3D, face-plush toys. www.minimeusa.com

Nice-Pak Products/Grime Boss (#2627). Grime Boss Heavy Duty Hand Cleaning Wipes penetrate tough messes, yet are gentle on skin. Removes markers, adhesives, latex paint, odors, and more. www.grimeboss.com

Our Daily Bread Designs (#2620). Deeply etched rubber stamps in a variety of Christian Scripture verses, holiday sentiments, and inspirational quotes. www.ourdailybreaddesigns.com

Paper Smooches (#2609). Rubber stamps that are whimsical, trendy, and fresh. www.papersmooches.com

Pollika Knitting Accessories & Precious Yarns  (#2708). Pollika is the North American distributor for DeWitte Engel from Holland, Yarnundyed and Knitglobal Yarn from the UK, and European Deknoefa buttons. www.pollika.com

Practical Publishing Int. (#2727). Craft magazine publisher for Australia and the U.K. Also looking for distribution channels for card-kit products in the U.S. Also manufactures scrapbook and papercraft products. www.practicalpublishing.com.au

Rose & Meyer (#2725). German imports, including: die-cut embossed foil items (Dresden); Glass Glitter; Flower Stamens; Spun Cotton Mushrooms; Scrapbook Pictures; wire/tinsel products, and stickers. www.martinmeyerimports.com

ScrapBands (#2629). ScrapBands wrap around the outside of scrapbooks, journals, etc., to keep pages and other contents secure. They also feature a removable fabric sleeve for embellishing to match any theme or occasion. www.scrapbands.com

SGS Consumer Testing Services (#2722). SGS is a world-wide inspection, verification, testing, and certification company to enable vendors to demonstrate through certification that products, processes, systems, or services are compliant with national or international standards and regulations or customer defined standards. www.sgs.com/cts 

Signify Pink/Glimpses (#2610). The scrapbook collections focus on life's special moments, from big adventures to the little everyday events. Each collection features double-sided, acid-free papers, stickers sheets, frames, journaling tag sheets, brads, and embellishments.

Simi Creative Products (#2625). Wee Scapes are architectural model supplies for models, dioramas, and crafts. Duroedge Rulers are aluminum rulers with non-skid backing, finger guard and stainless steel cutting edge. www.simicreativeproducts.com

Sparkle Creations Rubber Stamps (#26). Deep-etched and bare red-rubber stamps of cute and whimsical children's images. www.shop-parklecreationsrubberstamps.com

stkr.it (#2718). Stickers with QR codes that allow consumers to add video, photo, audio recording, or text message to any project. stkr.it also works with companies and retailers to bring this new technology to life in their products and services. www.labs.stkr.it and  http://www.stkr.it.com  

Sullivans USA (#2833). Needlecraft threads and accessories, yarns, and quilting/sewing notions and supplies. http://www.sullivans.net/usa

T Shirt Supplies (#2726). EPC™ Film can be hand ironed onto fabrics, paper, etc., to create unique decorated garments, bags, and totes. It can be cut with a Cricut®, Silhouette, or other craft cutters. www.tshirtsupplies.com

U-Mark (#2728). U.S.- based manufacturer of a wide range of marking pens and custom design and private label services. www.umarkers.com

Well Effort Manufacturing (#2723). Photo/Printing supplies, scrapbook supplies, frames, framing mats and supplies. www.welleffort.net

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Pepperell Braiding. One of the hot new products is Parachute Cord, which can be used to make a wide variety of projects, including bracelets. The cord is made in the U.S. and comes in 12 colors. See it in #2225.

Preview. Check Scrapbook Update's "Sneak Peek" of new products. See it HERE.               

New Company. Industry veteran David Pyle will be walking the floor as VP of Business Development for a new company, CraftArtEdu, which offers a range of online classes in a wide variety of craft and art categories. A unique feature: crafters and artists can build their own classes and submit them for sale through the site. A beta site is available now at www.craftartedu.com; a more robust, fully-integrated platform will go live this spring.

Books. R&M West Coast Ent. will have book signings from a variety of authors, including Margot Potter, Khris Cochran, Jill Berry, Cindy Shepard, Kristen Robinson, May Flaum, Christine Mason Miller, Lisa Pace, Suzanne McNeil, Theresa Padilo, and Vicki Boutin. Visit #1329 for the schedule of author appearances.

Jewelry. Janlynn will be showing its Steampunk collection in booth #1311. The collection mixes metals; antiqued silver, gold, and copper elements.

Yarn. The annual Lion Brand Yarn fashion show with Vanna White and her daughter Giovanna will be Mon. Jan. 30 at noon and again at 1:00 pm in booth #1411. This year's theme: "Yarn Is Art."

Catalogs. Jack Dempsey Needle Art (#3009) has a new catalog illustrating a wide variety of new products and designs. … Cousin (#1019, #1123) will take orders for its  new, 245- page wholesale catalog filled with jewelry-making supplies.

Correction. All members under 40 are encouraged to attend the Young Executives meeting Mon., Jan. 30, 7:45-9:00 am in Rm. 206-AB. The discussion will explore how our industry can use technology to shape the way we conduct trade show business. Any questions? Email kim@tallmouse.com, sara@crafterscompanion.com, or Kcunningham@craftandhobby.org.

Photos. Worldwin Papers in #1950 is showing its new line, FotoMatr™, a "photo organizing system." It is an album system based on a 3-ring binder and 3-hole punched cardstock elements that allow consumers to save snippets of their favorite photos in the binder. Worldwin also has a "Retail Action Plan: Ten Steps on How to Capture the Non-Scrapbooker Sale."

Darice. Tori Spelling will be at the booth (#1219) 2:30 – 4:30 pm on Jan. 30 to debut her new jewelry-making line, Styled by Tori Spelling.

Premier Yarn. Deborah Norville will be promoting her The Deborah Norville Collection, at the Premier Yarn booth (#2901) throughout Jan. 29.   

Tim Holtz. Each day of the show, Tim will be at the Sizzix booth (#949) 10 - 11 am; at the Ranger booth (#1338) 11 am and 3 pm.; and at the Advantus/Idea-ology booth  (#1348) 2 - 3 pm.

Design Originals/Fox Chapel Publishing. Mark Montano will be at the booth (#1209) on Jan 29, 2 - 4 pm and Jan. 30, 3:30 - 4:30 pm, leading make-it/take-its from his new book, Vision Box Idea Book. … Suzanne McNeill will be at the booth Jan. 29, 10 am – 2 pm; Jan. 30 at 10 am.and 3:30 pm; and Jan. 31, 10 am - 5 pm, leading make-it-take-its from her new books, Swags and Pennants and Zentangle 6s.

Spellbinders™. Will debut its M-Bossabilities™ line in booth #1883. The new folder has two distinct designs on each side, matched to provide more versatility.

Elmer's. Will introduce numerous new products in booth #1501, including Designer Masking Tape, Journaling Pens, Foam Shapes, Holographic Foam Board, X-ACTO Z-Series, X-ACTO Knife Holder, Painters Metallics, Colored Glue Sticks, Swirl Glue, Craft Adhesive Sprays, and Dry Erase Foam Board.

Cousin Corp. Will be unveiling in #1019 and #1123 its Make the Connection line which offers short connectors, long connectors and pendants. Simple snaps on each end connect the pieces to instantly create a piece of jewelry. www.cousin.com

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Exhibitors are finding interesting and unique ways to cooperate with each other to increase their return on their trade show investment – and increase the buyers' education and enjoyment. Some examples:

1. Clearsnap (#847), Globecraft Memories (#1689), JustRite Stampers (#2094), Makin's Clay (#1819), Rubber Stamp Concepts (#2678), ScraPerfect (#968), Robin's Nest (#1656), and Westcott (#2773) are collectively offering nine prize packages of the vendors' products for retailers. Retailers visit any booth to register and pick up a blank puzzle board, then visit each booth for a piece of the puzzle. The completed board makes them eligible for the prizes.

2. During the Walnut Hollow's Card Keeper Box workshop, students will receive a list of exhibitors with booth numbers and day/times when the participating exhibitors will have card make-it/take its, so the students can fill their decorated Boxes with cards. There will be a Gallery of Card Keeper Boxes on display designed by participating Card Tour exhibitors during the Workshop.

In addition to Walnut Hollow (#2231), exhibitors participating in the workshop and card tour are Tattered Angels (#3193), Pink Paislee (#2091), Prima Marketing (#1269), Tombow (#1195), Royal & Langnickel (#1101), Westcott (#2773), Tsukineko (#1181), All American Crafts Publishers (#1308), Beacon Adhesives (#1772), Crafter’s Workshop (#2668), Creation Supply (#2823), Dreamweaver Stencils (#863), Elizabeth Craft Designs (#1895), Design Originals/Fox Chapel Publishing (#1209), Spellbinders (#1883), Simplicity Creative Group (#1619), Blumenthal Lansing (#801), Basically Bare (#2704), Canvas Corp (#2993), and Clear Scraps (#1192).)

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In preparation for CHA, as a manufacturer's rep I have talked to my 20-odd vendors about the show.  Ninety percent of them have said (and I paraphrase) things like this: 1. "I don’t know why we are going to the show; store owners aren’t attending." 2. "It's so expensive to go to CHA, and I just never write enough orders there." 3. "Why aren't your stores attending CHA? Why should we have a booth if they aren’t going to show up?"

To which I would like to respond (but cannot): "If you pre-release every single new product weeks before the show, put your new catalog online, and run your 'show special' from Jan 1 until Feb 15th, what possible motivation do you give the stores to attend?!?”

When 90% of the reason to go to any trade show was so you could see the new products first – what’s the point?

We need trade shows as a way for everyone to network, to share space, to learn from one another and the industry veterans and specialists who attend the shows.   If you want the stores to come, wait to release product online and by mail at least until the show starts. – Name Withheld

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Regarding import prices, [Sierra Pacific Crafts members] are also feeling the impact of higher labor and material costs in China. However, one factor that has played in our favor this year at least has been lower ocean freight costs. Peak season of 2010 was miserable with two peak-season surcharges and various shipping issues. This past year has been completely the opposite. Good news for importers but a bad sign of the economy as a whole. In talking with some freight forwarders and shipping companies, they are anticipating another soft year. Take that with a good dose of salt though – you never can tell. – Alex Nielsen, President/CEO of Sierra Pacific Crafts

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The company is celebrating its 25th anniversary and it's been an interesting quarter century. 

 In 1986, Susan Goldsmith was VP of New Product Development for Paragon Needlecraft Corp., a public company.  With 15 years of experience in the industry, Susan was offered the position of President At the last moment, actually the day before the announcement was to be made public, the offer was withdrawn. "Wall Street would never accept a woman president!" the CEO told Susan. It was then that she decided to take her marbles and start her own game.

Daniel Knopp, Susan's longtime friend, had been managing his family's bearing and power transmission business and was looking to make a change. Upon learning that Susan was starting her own craft business, Dan offered to bring his computer and business background to the start up company -- and so Design Works Crafts was born.

Exclusively manufacturing counted cross stitch kits,1987 was a year of non-stop working out of the basement and garage of Susan's home, as well as their first trade shows.

At the January HIA show, there were 250+ companies also in the needlework exhibitors. They seriously wondered how they could ever make it but they actually wrote enough orders on the show floor to encourage them to continue.  

The efforts of salespeople like Ed Bogosian, Tom O'Donnell, and others clearly put Design Works on the road to success. Within two years they moved out of Susan's basement and into an 8,000 sq. ft. loft. More importantly, Lloyd Zucker, formally of Bucilla Corp. joined the team as International Salesperson.  Lloyd continues with the company today as Sales Manager.  

Over the years Design Works acquired several other needlework companies, including Titan Needlework, which put them into the Christmas felt business; Tobin Home Crafts, which put them into the stamped linen business; and Distlefink, which put them in the  plastic canvas kits business.

Design Works continues to grow by introducing hundreds of new products each year in needlework, baby items, felt Christmas crafts, plastic canvas, linens and, of course, counted cross stitch kits.

Since 1987 the industry has seen many changes, including a shift from independent retailers to chain stores, a consolidation of stitchery manufacturers, and a shift from the HIA show where the major exhibitors were model companies such as Lionel trains and Estes rockets to the CHA show where scrapbooking is the largest category of exhibitors. But perhaps the largest change was breaking the glass ceiling so women now have a major role in an industry that caters to women.

Design Works Crafts maintains its warehouse and manufacturing facilities in Bohemia, NY and is proud to continue producing their products in the U.S. For additional info, call  800-468-5487 or visit  www.dwcrafts.com. The company will be exhibiting at the CHA Winter Conference & Trade Show in booth #2311.

(Note: Have an interesting story about how and why your company started, and its history? Email the info to CLN at mike@clnonline.com.)

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1. I love cases of how businesses of all sizes see the writing on the wall and successfully change gears. Lois Winston, whose recently published novel, Death by Killer Mop Doll, was probably the most successful independent cross stitch designer in the industry, when cross stitch was the scrapbooking of the era. Cross stitch declined, and Lois switched gears, to writing. In 2006 Lois published a comedy-romance novel, Talk Gertie To Me; CLN published an excerpt which is still online HERE.

She signed a contract with the publisher, Midnight Ink, to write a series of comedy-mystery novels featuring the character Anastasia Pollock. The first was Assault with a Deadly Glue Gun, and CLN published an excerpt HERE.

I've known Lois for years, but what I didn't know, until I read her books, was her laugh-out-loud sense of humor. Read Kate's Collage to see what I mean.

To learn more about Lois' writing career, visit www.loiswinston.com.

2. This issue includes a history of Walnut Hollow, which is celebrating its 40th anniversary. But the company might not have survived without one fateful decision.

In the late 80s or mid 90s, I was editor of Profitable Craft Merchandising magazine when Dave Ladd called my ad director and cancelled his ad program for the year. He was about to sign a huge deal with Kmart and figured the company would be so busy filling Kmart orders that it wouldn't be able to service any other new accounts.

A few days later he called back, re-instating his ad program. Why? He realized Walnut Hollow would be so dependent on Kmart that the chain would virtually own him, so he cancelled the deal.

A couple of years later, Kmart dropped all crafts.

3. The situation in China is ironic. On the one hand, it looks like the exploding middle class could become a prime market for craft supplies. On the other hand, China looks like it's becoming less and less a source for manufacturing craft supplies.

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SIERRA PACIFIC CRAFTS. The California-based Beverly's Fabrics has joined SPC. Beverly's has 21 stores, boosting the SPC store count to 120. "We continue to grow despite a tough economic climate," said Alex Nielsen, SPC President/CEO, "and remain committed to supporting the industry's vibrant community of family-owned retailers through cooperative efforts."

CHINA. Judging from recent media reports, including those from the Hong Kong Toy Fair, China is no longer a panacea for manufacturing. Wages are rising 10-15% a year, and demand has slowed drastically, thanks to the troubled world economy. Read it HERE. … To read about recent labor strikes, visit HERE. … In the southern city of Dongguan, a thousand workers at a bankrupt toy factory took to the streets in protest of the owners shutting the factory and leaving town without paying the workers. Read it HERE.

FIRE. A fire broke out in the floral section of a Cleveland Hobby Lobby. Employees had extinguished the fire by the time firemen arrived, but the damage was estimated at $75,000 - $100,000 due to smoke, the Cleveland Daily Banner reported.

MERGER. Two general merchandise chains, Shopko and Pamida, are merging. Shopko will spend $80 million to convert Pamida stores into Shopko Hometown outlets, designed for smaller towns, the Green Bay Press Gazette reported. The two chains are owned by Sun Capital, the investment firm that did such a wonderful job with Rag Shop.

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PROMOTIONS. March is National Craft Month and CHA has created a kit for retailers to help promote crafting. For more, including materials to download, visit HERE.

TECHNOLOGY. Attending Paper World in Frankfurt? Have an iPhone or an Android? You can download the Paper World Navigator for free at the Apple Store. … One of the icons of U.S. business, Eastman Kodak is working on a Chapter 11 bankruptcy filing if it cannot sell its digital patents, the Wall Street Journal reported. After the Journal report, the company's stock fell to 44 cents.

TECHNOLOGY. Still confused about QR Codes? A clear explanation is HERE.

TECHNOLOGY. One of the new products unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show is a 3D printer. Read about and see it HERE.

MANAGEMENT. Forbes published a fascinating article, "The Seven Habits of Spectacularly Unsuccessful Executives." Read it HERE to see if you (or your boss) has any of them.

BEADS. Krystal Wick, one of the industry's leading jewelry designers wrote a wonderful column for Fire Mountain Gems about why she makes jewelry, despite being born with only six fingers. Read it HERE.

MARTHA. Her TV series on the Hallmark Channel has been canceled. Production ceases in April, but episodes will be broadcast through September. High production costs and low ratings are the causes, the New York Post reported. Recently her merchandising deals with retailers such as Michaels have been more profitable than her publishing and TV divisions, although Home Depot just announced it was dropping her paint line.

PAINTING. The schedule for the 40th annual Society of Decorative Painters conference (Wichita, May 14-19) is now available. There's a wide array of classes, including an interesting one, "Let's Teach Painting," conducted by Priscilla Hauser, an SCD founder and certainly one of the most successful teachers in the industry's history.  For more info, visit www.decorativepainters.org.

BOOKS. Barnes & Noble has put its Sterling Publishing division up for sale, the Wall Street Journal reported.

PEOPLE. Interweave named Susanne Woods as Editorial Director of its book group (www.Interweave.com/books). She had been Acquisitions Editor for C&T Publishing.

PHOTOS.  The Wall Street Journal reported that Kodak, once an icon of American business, is preparing to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection.

DATA. To read some fascinating statistics about February, the month of Valentines, courtesy of the U.S. Census Bureau, click HERE.

QUOTATION. "A lot of fellows nowadays have a B.A., M.D., or Ph.D.  Unfortunately, they don't have a J.O.B." -- Antoine  Dominique "Fats" Domino.

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To read the latest listings click on Jobs in the left-hand column or click HERE.

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An elderly man was stopped by the police around 2 am and was asked where he was going at that time of night.

The man replied, "I'm on my way to a lecture about alcohol abuse and the effects it has on the human body, as well as smoking and staying out late."

The officer asked, "Really? Who's giving that lecture at this time of night?"

The man replied, "That would be my wife."

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1. If you want a hard-copy of this issue, click on "Printer Friendly version."

2. If your company is a paid subscriber, everyone in the main office is welcome to register, free. Just click on "Work for a paid subscriber? Click Here to register" (center column, near the top).

3. If you ever have trouble with your password, click on "Trouble with your password?" in the right-hand column of the main page. The computer will then email the correct information to you.

4. CLN is published the first and third Mondays of each month. Because January has five Mondays, your next issue will be Monday, February 6.

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