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Consumer News

Embargo is under the rug, so Persian carpets can roll in

Monday, February 8, 2016

By Sarah Parvini Los Angeles Times (TNS) LOS ANGELES — The call came in to the rug store at 10:30 last Wednesday morning: After five days in U.S. customs, the first batch of carpets imported from Iran were ready for pickup. Years of waiting finally ended for Alex Helmi, owner of Damoka, a Persian rug store in Westwood. He quickly gathered his employees and told them to drive to Los …

Costco delays credit card switch

Friday, February 5, 2016

SEATTLE — Costco’s switch from American Express to Visa is being pushed back to this summer. Costco Wholesale had previously announced that the switch in the only credit card it will accept in its U.S. stores would happen in April. It’s now saying that transition will happen in June or by mid-summer. For years, Amex had been the Seattle-area retail giant’s credit card …

Mercantile will close Northampton store Saturday, with Amherst shop to follow after liquidation sale

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

NORTHAMPTON — The Mercantile, a longtime gift store often described as a hippie boutique, and a fixture on Main Street since 1982, will have its final day of business Saturday. And when owners Dan and Elizabeth Neville of Amherst shutter The Mercantile in Amherst, sometime before March 1, it will close the book …

Owner of World Eye Bookshop in Greenfield adjusts to slower sales

Sunday, January 31, 2016

GREENFIELD — Eight months after the owner of World Eye Bookshop on Main Street held a week-long campaign to sell $15,000 worth of merchandise to keep her store from going out of business, she says sales are still …

New rail link to Maine waterfront could revive port

Sunday, January 31, 2016

PORTLAND, Maine — Freight trains are rolling through New England carrying the first-ever shipping containers loaded on the Portland waterfront. The new train service is the product of years of planning and millions in public and private investment, with the goal of connecting this once-thriving port by rail …

Downtown Northampton Subway shop closes because ‘there’s so much competition in that area’

Friday, January 29, 2016

NORTHAMPTON — After opening about 15 months ago, the Subway sandwich shop in downtown Northampton closed this week. The owners of the franchise, Seema and Sanjeev Bhatia of Easthampton, cited slow business and closed after Tuesday. “It is …

Barbie gets a makeover

Thursday, January 28, 2016

NEW YORK — Poor Barbie. She had plastic surgery to become more socially acceptable. But a lot of her critics still don’t like her. Barbie’s manufacturer, Mattel, announced Thursday that the doll has three new body types — …

Whole Foods recalls 74,000 pounds of mislabeled pizza

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

HADLEY — Whole Foods Market recalled nearly 74,000 pounds of pepperoni pizza products from its stores in New England, New York and New Jersey after federal food inspectors discovered the products had been mislabeled, officials said. The recall applies to Whole Foods’ store brand 8-inch and 12-inch pepperoni …

Exotic Fish & Pet World to close doors after 40 years

Tuesday, January 26, 2016

SOUTHAMPTON — As Exotic Fish & Pet World co-owner Russell Wall readies to wind down the retail arm of his aquarium business after four decades, he said he had no regrets — even when one of his ecology …

After disappointing holiday season, small and independent retailers strategize about how to boost shopping

Sunday, January 24, 2016

NEW YORK — A disappointing holiday shopping season has small and independent retailers thinking about how to get customers interested in shopping in 2016. After holiday sales fell 25 percent compared to a year earlier at Standout Style …

Trader Joe’s in Hadley removes cashews from shelves over salmonella concern

Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Trader Joe’s has issued a recall on cashews that may be contaminated with salmonella in stores throughout Massachusetts. The store in Hadley has pulled all cashews from its shelves. “If you have been eating the cashews, and you are perfectly fine, then they are OK,” said a spokesman …

Adult store Amazing.Net, ‘busier than usual,’ to remain open in Northampton through Valentine’s Day

Monday, January 18, 2016

NORTHAMPTON — The King Street adult shop that had been scheduled to close earlier this month will remain open through Valentine’s Day, according to an official with the corporation based in Cranston, Rhode Island. Citing continued support and interest from the community in the sex toys, lingerie and …

In search of more living wage: Amherst shop adds $2 an hour to formerly minimum wage jobs

Sunday, January 17, 2016

AMHERST — The long commute from her home in Orange to her workplace at the Glazed Doughnut Shop in downtown Amherst is always a factor Siiri Paton weighs when deciding whether to remain employed in the college town. …