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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 …

Warm weather leaves stores in the cold

Friday, December 18, 2015

NEW YORK — The unseasonably warm weather has left some people feeling cold about holiday shopping. Rosemarie Nowicki, who lives in Berkeley Heights, N.J., finally spent some of her holiday budget last weekend buying coats online for her …

‘Accidental fur’ source for Petite Mort fashions

Monday, December 14, 2015

BOSTON — Pamela Paquin’s source for fashion is either “tres chic” or will make you shriek. She creates neck muffs, leg warmers, hats, purses and more from roadkill, or “accidental fur,” as she prefers to call it. As …

Head-scratching over gifts? How about part of a human skull?

Monday, December 14, 2015

NEW YORK — What to get the loved one who has everything? Steven Rabinowitz wracked his brain before settling on (spoiler alert, relatives!) a raccoon skull. “We’ll see how it goes,” Rabinowitz, 31, said as he revealed his purchase near a crowded display of animal skulls, antique medical …

Share Coffee Roasters in Hadley uses subscription model for same-day shipment to customers across country

Monday, December 14, 2015

HADLEY — The science and economics behind a good cup of coffee are complicated. But Share Coffee Roasters aims to boil down those complexities so customers can enjoy high-quality coffee delivered fresh to their door and at cafes …

Owners of Riff’s Joint in Easthampton buy former Kali B’s Wings and Things in Turners Falls

Monday, December 14, 2015

TURNERS FALLS — Kali B’s Wings and Things will reopen next month with new owners and a new name. The pub at 166 Avenue A was purchased by the owners of Riff’s Joint in Easthampton, who took over …

VW traces cheat to 2005

Thursday, December 10, 2015

WOLFSBURG, Germany — A small group of Volkswagen engineers began working as early as 2005 on emissions cheating software after they were unable to find a technical solution to U.S. emissions controls as the automaker pushed into the …

Chipotle CEO sorry for sickened customers

Thursday, December 10, 2015

NEW YORK — Chipotle founder and co-CEO Steve Ells says he is “deeply sorry” about the customers who were sickened after eating at the chain in recent weeks. “I’m sorry for the people who got sick. They’re having …

Area brief

Wednesday, December 9, 2015

Hadley NEW BUSINESS: An open house sponsored by the Amherst Area Chamber of Commerce will be held at Advance Auto Parts, 346 Russell St., at noon Friday. Kim Alli, marketing and membership director for the chamber, said in a statement that the event serves to welcome the business …

Auto safety ratings to include crash avoidance systems

Tuesday, December 8, 2015

WASHINGTON — The government on Tuesday announced plans to update its safety rating system for new cars and trucks to include whether the vehicle has technology to avoid crashes, in addition to how well it protects occupants in …

Grocery chains’ pledge to expand in underserved areas falls short

Monday, December 7, 2015

ST. LOUIS — As part of Michelle Obama’s healthy eating initiative, a group of major food retailers promised in 2011 to open or expand 1,500 grocery or convenience stores in and around neighborhoods with no supermarkets by 2016. …