Hotels bet guests will favor furnishings made in USA

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Montague Furniture

By:Barbara Delollis USA Today

When you walk into a hotel in the U.S. today, you’ll see many items – chairs, draperies, lamps – that were made in China, Vietnam, Malaysia or elsewhere overseas.

But that’s gradually changing, hotel designers and furniture makers tell Hotel Check-In.

There’s a small but growing trend among hotels to buy more items from local, regional or U.S. vendors.

Hotel owners, developers and designers are increasingly deciding it’s worth it, even if they pay a little extra for a U.S. product.

Why? There’s time and risk involved with ordering items from overseas, plus showcasing locally made goods can give the hotel a patriotic or community-minded spin.

Examples:

  • The Hyatt Regency Minneapolis recently finished a $25 million revamp that used “Made in America” as its central theme. More than three-quarters of the items purchased for the renovation came from the USA, says designer Michael Suomi of New York-based Stonehill & Taylor. The guest bathroom counter tops, for instance, feature granite quarried locally and purchased from a century-old Minnesota company.
  • The Ritz-Carlton Lodge, Reynolds Plantation, in Greensboro, Ga., is in the midst of redecorating to give guests a lighter, more modern look with many U.S.-made products, says Megan Ybarra of the Dallas-based interior design firm Duncan Miller Ullman. The hotel found wall coverings from Kentucky, guestroom carpet from Georgia, and a Texas metalwork firm was hired to custom-make the metal branches that form the base of guestroom ottomans, she says.
  • The InterContinental Chicago’s 477-room renovation emphasizes locally-sourced materials and furniture, says Dan Egan, the hotel’s sales and marketing director. Guest rooms contain drapery from Union, Ill., headboards from Jasper, Ind., wall covering from York, Penn., and room signage in hallways from McCook, Ill.
  • Montague, a 20-year-old guestroom furniture maker, last April invested in its first-ever factory – and it’s located in North Carolina, says Misty Delbridge, who runs the company’s U.S. division. It made sense, because hotel owners are increasingly seeking products made here and the factory was in danger of closing down, she says. A Hilton hotel in Texas, for instance, is having the company prepare two model rooms for a renovation – one outfitted with furnishings made in Vietnam and the other with furnishings made in the U.S., she says. Montague still has about 70% of its products produced in China and Malaysia.

No. 1 priority: Put heads in beds

Another factor driving the growth in U.S.-sourced products is hotels’ rush to renovate in as small a window as possible so that rooms can stay filled with paying customers, says Delbridge. It’s especially true in New York City, where some hotels can be sold out or almost sold out most nights of the year.

“If the cost (to purchase U.S.-made furniture) is 10% higher and the hotel can gain revenue back in six to eight weeks, they’re all about it because then they could have a ‘Made in America’ story and gain revenue,” Delbridge says. “These companies wouldn’t do it just for the story. There’s got to be an advantage in it for them.”

Hotel renovations are faster paced than building new hotels from scratch, notes Ybarra, who worked on the Ritz-Carlton Lodge project. It typically takes about 18 months to renovate a hotel, which since the recession has been the most common activity among hoteliers, vs. about three years to build a new one, she says.

“Our clients are willing to pay an extra dollar or two to not have the hassle of waiting,” Ybarra says. There’s also the risk of complications, she says, citing long waits at U.S. Customs and a time when pirates took over containers filled with items for a Turks and Caicos hotel.

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Cantaloupes linked to deadly multistate Salmonella Typhimurium outbreak

— Two deaths and multiple cases of illness across 20 states have been linked to cantaloupes contaminated with salmonella, according to the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.
State and federal health officials are advising consumers to discard all cantaloupes from southwestern Indiana, as tests have found evidence of the same strain of salmonella bacteria associated with a multi-state outbreak that health officials say is still ongoing.

The outbreak, which began in July, has been linked to two deaths and sickened at least 50 people in Kentucky. According to the Food and Drug Administration’s website, a total of 141 persons infected with the outbreak strain of Salmonella Typhimurium have been reported from 20 states: Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Mississippi, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, and Wisconsin.

The agency cautions consumers not try to wash the harmful bacteria off the cantaloupe, or cut through the outer surface, as contamination may be both on the inside and outside of the fruit.

Consumers with questions about food safety are encouraged to call 1-888-SAFEFOOD or consult the fda.gov website.

The United States Department of Agriculture’s Food Safety and Inspection Service (FSIS) provides these recommendations for preventing Salmonellosis

– Wash hands with warm soapy water for 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers, and handling pets.

– Wash utensils, cutting boards, dishes, and countertops with hot soapy water after preparing each food item and before you go on to the next item.

– Consider using paper towels to clean kitchen surfaces. If you use cloth towels, wash them often in the hot cycle of your washing machine.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that people in a normal state of health who ingest Salmonella-tainted food may experience diarrhea, fever and abdominal cramps, which typically begin within 12 to 72 hours. This may be accompanied by vomiting, chills, headache and muscle pains. These symptoms may last about four to seven days, and then go away without specific treatment, but left unchecked, Salmonella infection may spread to the bloodstream and beyond and may cause death if the person is not treated promptly with antibiotics.

Children, the elderly, and people with compromised immune symptoms should practice extreme caution, as salmonellosis may lead to severe illness or even death.

Earlier this week, the Food and Drug Administration found Listeria monocytogenes on a honeydew melon and at a packing facility in Faison, North Carolina, but no illnesses have been reported.

In 2011, the number of deaths linked to a listeria outbreak in cantaloupe rose to 29, topping a 1985 mark for the most deaths among adults and children. Experts say the third-deadliest U.S. food outbreak was preventable.

Read more: http://www.wptv.com/dpp/money/consumer/cantaloupes-linked-to-deadly-multistate-salmonella-typhimurium-outbreak#ixzz247HWdmdS

RAILEAN® American Handcrafted Rum and Agave Sprits Undergoes a New Brand

 

Railean Rum - The only Made in USA Certified Rum Distiller in the United States

Railean Rum - The only Made in USA Certified Rum Distiller in the United States

RAILEAN®, The Only USA Certified Handcrafted Rum and Agave Distiller, Unveils a Bold New Image, a Redesigned Website, and Innovative Spirits in 2012. 

San Leon, Texas (PRWEB) February 07, 2012

Motivated by its widespread success in Texas, where the margarita is practically the state drink, the American rum and agave distiller RAILEAN has rejuvenated its website and enhanced its product line for 2012. The enhancements are part of an overall branding effort led by Houston-based Woodlands Ad Agency, which designs custom websites, builds brands, and leads many online marketing campaigns.

The new website design features detailed information about the RAILEAN product line, which currently includes four rum labels and two agave labels. Visitors can access informative articles about the American rum industry and delectable food and drink recipes, from the fresh and fruity to those best suited for celebrating an incoming hurricane. While RAILEAN cannot sell its alcohol products online due to liquor laws, a variety of RAILEAN pirate merchandise, including t-shirts, shot glasses, and branded materials are available for purchase.

In contrast to the mass-produced, imported products from the Caribbean, Puerto Rico, U.S.Virgin Islands, and Mexico that currently dominate the market, each RAILEAN bottle is made in America using domestically produced sugarcane molasses from the Gulf Coast. Leading the first woman-owned, USA-certified rum and agave distillery, Kelly Railean is revolutionizing the American market. Since 2005, she has introduced the refreshingly tropical Texas White, the rich Reserve XO and the perfectly balanced Spiced Rum, all of which are bottled by hand. Railean also offers the earthy Small Cask Reserve, a handcrafted rum that rates in the upper 90s.

In 2010, the rapidly growing business expanded to include the high quality El Perico Silver. This smooth liquor, which is made from 100% blue agave nectar cultivated in Jalisco, rivals the best top-shelf tequila brands produced in Mexico. A smooth Reposado American agave spirit is scheduled for release in Spring 2012.

“We are thrilled with the new direction RAILEAN is heading in,” says Kelly Railean, proprietor and master distiller. “In 2011, RAILEAN became the only distiller of rum and agave to achieve the stringent Made in the USA® Certified designation by the Federal Trade Commission. Our new website and product offerings are the jumpstart we need to establish Railean American rum and American agave spirits as this nation’s preeminent all American brand.”

About Railean Distillers® http://www.railean.com 

Exclusively fermented, distilled and bottled by RAILEAN Distillers, LLC, at the Eagle Point Distillery in San Leon, Texas, RAILEAN handcrafts the only Made in the USA Certified® rum and agave spirits. This artisan distiller produces everything from scratch using domestic raw materials. Educational and tasting tours are available to the public.


Unemployment rises in 20 states, falls in 15

By CHRISTOPHER S. RUGABER, AP Economics Writer

WASHINGTON – The unemployment rate rose in 20 states last month as employers in most states shed jobs.

The Labor Department says the unemployment rate rose in 20 states and fell in 15. It was unchanged in another 15 states. That’s nearly the same as in November, when the rate rose in 21 states, fell in 15 and was the same in 14.

The report is evidence that the job market is barely improving even as the economy grows. Most economists expect hiring to pick up this year, although the unemployment rate will likely remain high.

Employers in most states didn’t add any net new jobs last month. The number of jobs on employer payrolls fell in 35 states in December, the department said. Only 15 states reported gains. Layoffs have slowed dramatically in the past year, but hiring has yet to pick up.

Texas and South Carolina reported the biggest net job gains in December. Texas added 20,000 positions; South Carolina gained 9,000.

Nevada, still suffering from a massive housing bust, posted the nation’s highest unemployment rate at 14.5 percent. That’s up from 14.3 percent the previous month and the state’s highest on records dating from 1976. California reported the second-highest rate, at 12.5 percent, followed by Florida at 12 percent.

North Dakota’s unemployment rate of 3.8 percent was the nation’s lowest. It’s followed by Nebraska and South Dakota, with 4.4 percent and 4.6 percent, respectively.

 

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