Daily Hampshire Gazette - Established 1786
L/snow
35°
L/snow
Hi 36° | Lo 22°

Consumer News

Luxury indie fragrances tap into something deep inside us

Sunday, March 22, 2015

SEATTLE — Nicole Miller and Aaron Way, the masterminds behind Seattle’s Blackbird brand of edgy perfumes and incense, work in an atmosphere redolent of beautiful gloom. Approaching the black bungalow that serves as the headquarters for the online business and as company founder Miller’s actual home, exotic smells wrap around you like a stranger’s embrace. The scent wafting from inside, a mix of ceremonial resins, smoked spices, burnt citrus, dry …

Competing smoke shops in Amherst offer ‘functional art’ driven by popularity of delivering nicotine in vapor form

Sunday, March 22, 2015

AMHERST — Numerous miniature bottles holding the liquid used in e-cigarettes and personal vaporizers fill racks along an entire wall of the Exscape Smoke Shop. Heating this so-called e-juice — which contains nicotine, flavor, propylene glycol and vegetable glycerine — inside his device over a period of weeks last summer, Dan Kirby successfully …

Starbucks CEO defends new ‘Race Together’ campaign after criticism

Sunday, March 22, 2015

NEW YORK — Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz last week defended the company’s new “Race Together” campaign that has been criticized for being naive and even using racial tensions to boost its bottom line. The chain, best known for its Frappaccinos, will have U.S. workers write “Race Together” on cups. Starbucks also plans to …

Lawsuit against Purina claims food sickens, kills dogs

Thursday, February 26, 2015

SAN FRANCISCO — A dog owner has filed a lawsuit against a pet food company alleging that thousands of dogs have been sickened or died from eating a brand of dry dog food. Pet owner Frank Lucido filed the suit on Feb. 5 in U.S. District Court in …

Local activists say Wal-Mart wage increases a step in the right direction toward a living wage for all

Saturday, February 21, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Shoppers at the North King Street Wal-Mart lauded the national chain’s decision to raise entry-level wages to $9 an hour, while local labor activists contended it’s only a step toward paying a living wage for the …

‘Adaptive use’ of old buildings can be alternative to new construction

Saturday, February 21, 2015

With a high price tag attached to new construction, some businesses are choosing to remodel and repurpose older buildings to suit their needs. “Adaptive use” — the reusing of old buildings for a new purpose — makes sense …

Wal-Mart to pay a little more

Thursday, February 19, 2015

BENTONVILLE, Ark. — Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is hoping its decision to boost workers’ paychecks will help it boost its bottom line. The nation’s largest private employer announced on Thursday that it’s giving a raise to about half-million U.S. …

US reports 64 million vehicles recalled last year

Thursday, February 12, 2015

DETROIT — For the U.S. auto industry, 2014 was the year of the recall. Automakers issued 803 recalls totaling almost 64 million vehicles, more than double the old record from a decade ago, according to government figures. The …

Spike in electricity bills a shock to some Valley customers

Tuesday, February 10, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — Robert Carey was not pleased when he opened a monthly electricity statement for his Hatfield home this month and found the bill had jumped nearly 30 percent. The retiree said he and his wife made virtually no changes to their daily routines that would cause such …

RadioShack in Hadley on ‘Potential Store Closure List’; South Hadley couple to continue operating Greenfield and Brattleboro franchises

Saturday, February 7, 2015

The RadioShack store at the Hampshire Mall in Hadley could be a victim of the electronics retailer’s filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy this week. Meanwhile, Ira and Shelly Brezinsky of South Hadley plan to continue operating their RadioShack franchise stores in Greenfield and Brattleboro, Vermont. The husband and …

Sylvester’s Restaurant in Northampton closes temporarily for renovations

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

NORTHAMPTON — For the next week the sounds and smells of  eggs and bacon sizzling on flatiron stove tops, coffee brewing and silverware clinking that usually fill Sylvester’s Restaurant at 111 Pleasant St. will be replaced by the clamor of sand blasters and whining drills. The popular breakfast …

Jury orders Toyota to pay $11M to victims of fatal 2006 crash

Tuesday, February 3, 2015

MINNEAPOLIS — A federal jury decided on Tuesday that the design of the 1996 Toyota Camry had a dangerous defect that was partly to blame for a fatal 2006 crash, and the automaker must pay nearly $11 million to victims. Jurors said the company was 60 percent to …

Death toll from GM ignition switches rises to at least 51

Monday, February 2, 2015

DETROIT — The families of 51 people who died in crashes caused by faulty ignition switches in small General Motors cars will get payments from a company fund, but others will have to wait months for decisions on …