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Plans Unveiled for $750 Million Redevelopment of Iconic Metrocenter Mall Property in Phoenix

Concord Wilshire Companies

One of Phoenix’s most iconic properties is about to become the largest mall redevelopment project in Arizona history, transforming into a vibrant new addition to the city’s core. Concord Wilshire Capital (“CWC”) and TLG Investment Partners (“TLGIP”) (collectively, the “Developer”) announced today that they have contracted to acquire the iconic Metrocenter Mall located in Phoenix, Arizona, and plan to invest approximately $750 million to redevelop the Metrocenter Mall property into a residential and mixed-use community. The Developer has formed a strategic alliance with Hines, the international real estate firm, to redevelop and repurpose the Metrocenter Mall into a community-driven walkable village that will be home to a variety of residential apartments, curated boutiques, popular retail stores, restaurants, bars, a town-center park, and other commercial and entertainment venues (the “Village”). The Village will be situated on approximately 68 acres of prime land in a qualified Opportunity Zone. The plans for the Village include over 2,600 multifamily units, 100,000 square feet of essential and service retail. Total construction costs are expected to be over $750 million. The Village will be designed as a self-contained community encompassing the city’s new Light Rail Station that is currently under construction within the Village. The City of Phoenix is investing approximately $150 million to build this Light Rail Station. The Light Rail Station is scheduled to be delivered in 2024 as part of the Northwest Extension. The Light Rail Station will serve as one of the major focal points of the Village and will provide direct connectivity to Downtown Phoenix, the Phoenix Sky Harbor International Airport, ASU, and communities to the east. “This is an enormous economic boost to the entire west side of Phoenix,” said Mayor Kate Gallego. “The connectivity provided by the light rail extension means easy access to shopping, entertainment, housing, and – perhaps most importantly – to jobs. In addition to the many construction jobs created by this redevelopment, there will be opportunities available to work in the businesses that will take root and grow in the Village. I am excited, optimistic, and thrilled that Concord Wilshire is investing in the future of Phoenix.” Residents and visitors of the Village will be able to enjoy an array of anticipated amenities, including pet-friendly parks and greenspace, an amphitheater, pedestrian and bicycle pathways, a walkable retail promenade, shops, restaurants and immersive water features. The Village will also be designed to integrate with and complement certain existing amenities and venues within the Metrocenter Mall through its partially shaded internal pathways and roads. The existing amenities and shops include a 150,000 square foot Walmart Supercenter, a public library, the Arizona Canal with its own pedestrian and bicycle pathways, the Rose Mofford Park (which provides free afternoon activities for children and teenagers), a theme-park, and a cinema. The Village will also provide approximately 4,100 parking spaces programmed in up to 7 garage decks conveniently located for use by the community, residents of the Village, visitors, and for the Light Rail Station Park-and-Ride users. “We are excited to be a part of the redevelopment of the former Metrocenter Mall into a vibrant mixed-use community with a sense of place that will enhance the public investments,” said Chris Anderson, Senior Managing Director of Hines. “Good things come to those who wait, and now, the spotlight will shine on our beloved Metrocenter once again, thanks to Phoenix's new partner in economic development, Concord Wilshire Capital. I am excited to collaborate and transform Metrocenter into a vital hub of social gatherings, cultural diversity and economic growth," said Councilwoman Ann O'Brien of Phoenix District 1, where Metrocenter is located. "I am grateful for all the hard work that went into making this exciting partnership happen." The Developer has also reached preliminary terms with the City of Phoenix, subject to City Council approval, for a public private partnership for public improvements, by and through a to-be-formed Community Facilities District (CFD), for the Village. The public improvements are planned to be funded through CFD assessment bonds and will be primarily for the construction of public parking garages. “We are proud to be working with the City of Phoenix again. The proposed redevelopment of the Metrocenter Mall property will be another substantial project to further the city’s redevelopment and revitalization plan for the North Mountain Redevelopment Area” said Nate Sirang, President of Concord Wilshire Capital. “This redevelopment of such a memorable mall and destination for area residents reflects our continued commitment to the Phoenix market. We are excited to create a first-class destination for local families, while contributing meaningfully to the community and its economy and safety.” On June 28, 2021, CWC signed a contract with Carlyle Development Group of New York, the Mall owner, to acquire the Metrocenter Mall, and the inspection period has been successfully completed. The transaction is scheduled to close in the second half of 2022. The Company has reached an agreement with Carlyle to demolish the mall ahead of closing. In 2016, Carlyle led the rezoning of the Metrocenter Mall and the surrounding parcels and obtained the City Council Approval for a Planned Unit Development (“PUD”) designation, as well as lobbying for the relocation of the Light Rail Station into the Metrocenter Mall, paving the way for a successful future mixed-use development. “We worked very hard to obtain approval for a flexible PUD that allows a high density residential and mix-use development in the metro Phoenix market. We are excited and proud that the Developer and the City of Phoenix are incorporating our vision into the redevelopment of this iconic location,” said Abdi Mahamedi, President of Carlyle Development Group. About Concord Wilshire Concord Wilshire is a nationally recognized leader in residential, resort, and mixed-use real estate development and construction with over $10 billion in total value of developed and acquired assets. Since 1992, Concord Wilshire has developed, constructed, and invested in distinguished real estate assets in major markets throughout the United States. An award winning company, Concord Wilshire has received an array of accolades for many of its developments throughout the nation in recognition of its commitment to development, marketing, architectural design, and interior design. Concord Wilshire has a successful and extensive track record that spans multiple investment cycles. ( www.concordwilshire.com ) About TLG Investment Partners TLG Investment Partners is a Fort Lauderdale based real estate investment firm headed by Leland Pillsbury and Christopher Nieberding. The company invests in multiple classes of real estate including recreation, residential and commercial properties. About Hines Hines is a privately owned global real estate investment firm founded in 1957 with a presence in 255 cities in 27 countries. Hines oversees investment assets under management totaling approximately $83.6 billion1. In addition, Hines provides third-party property-level services to more than 367 properties totaling 138.3 million square feet. Historically, Hines developed, redeveloped or acquired approximately 1,486 properties, totaling over 492 million square feet. The firm currently has more than 171 developments underway around the world. With extensive experience in investments across the risk spectrum and all property types, and a foundational commitment to ESG, Hines is one of the largest and most-respected real estate organizations in the world. Visit www.hines.com for more information. 1Includes both the global Hines organization as well as RIA AUM as of June 30, 2021. Contact Details Tom Evans +1 602-448-5483 tevans@onadvertising.com

December 09, 2021 04:00 PM Eastern Standard Time

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How A Camp Network Founded By Paul Newman Continues To Serve Sick Children

YourUpdateTV

A video accompanying this announcement is available at: https://youtu.be/n0Seg6W1dME Over three decades ago, Paul Newman, the Hollywood icon and founder of Newman’s Own food company and Newman’s Own Foundation, envisioned a camp where kids living with serious and life-limiting medical conditions could break away from the everyday challenges of their illness to, as he said, “raise a little hell.” Today, Serious Fun Children’s Network, made up of 30 camps and programs around the world, has delivered more than 1.4 million life-changing camp experiences to kids living with more than 50 medical conditions and their families, totally free of charge. On November 30 th, live from New York City SeriousFun CEO Blake Maher and Newman’s Own Foundation President & CEO Miriam Nelson conducted a media tour discussing how Paul Newman’s vision has transformed the lives of tens of thousands of camp alumni who are living fuller lives because of their camp experiences. A key focus of the media tour was a first-of-its-kind study conducted by SeriousFun that examined the influence and lasting impact of residential camp participation With the help of the American Institutes for Research, SeriousFun set out to look at personal, social, and health-related outcomes that are influenced by SeriousFun camps, as well as the elements of the camp and camper's experiences that affect those outcomes Most notably, that SeriousFun camp experience had meaningful impacts that lasted throughout their adolescent and adult lives. Among 2,200 alumni campers aged 17-30, significant findings included: More than 80% reported that the SeriousFun camp experience had positive and lasting impacts on a variety of aspects of their life, including the willingness to try new things, appreciation for diversity, and self-identity and confidence. And, when it comes to health-related outcomes, more than 65% reported that camp influenced their health-related quality of life, medical self-advocacy and medical-related self care. For more information, visit SeriousFun.org About YourUpdateTV: YourUpdateTV is a social media video portal for organizations to share their content. It includes separate channels for Health and Wellness, Lifestyle, Media and Entertainment, and Finance, Social Responsibility, Sports and Technology. Contact Details YourUpdateTV +1 212-736-2727 yourupdatetv@gmail.com

December 08, 2021 05:00 PM Eastern Standard Time

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NO DOGS LEFT BEHIND TAKES IMMEDIATE ACTION TO SECURE SAFE PASSAGE FOR ITS SLAUGHTERHOUSE SURVIVORS IN RESPONSE TO THE CDC’S SUSPENSION ON THE IMPORTATION OF DOGS

No Dogs Left Behind

No Dogs Left Behind (NDLB) continues its fight on the front lines by evacuating its survivors of the dog meat trade to Canada. NDLB’s decision to evacuate these dogs to its Safe House in Toronto was in direct response to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) pronouncement suspending the importation of dogs from 113 countries. The CDC’s pronouncement, which was made without any consultation with those in the international rescue community, has resulted in smaller international rescues from all around the world ceasing their rescue operations, either because the costs to comply were too high or the logistics were too challenging without large scale resources. As a result, dogs who were once saved from horrendous cases of abuse and neglect are now left to suffer and die because the CDC made it impossible for these organizations to continue their rescue work. It didn’t have to be this way. There was an answer to solve for the CDC’s concern while allowing all international rescues to continue fighting for these dogs: the CDC could have required all dogs being imported from a high-risk rabies country to have a valid rabies titer test. Rescues, however, were never granted the opportunity to meet with the CDC to propose solutions to the CDC’s concerns, and the result was an overly broad ban on the importation of all dogs who do not qualify for a CDC import permit. “We must be able to continue our life saving work in East Asia if we are to make change happen,” says NDLB Founder, Jeffrey Beri. NDLB’s mission is much broader than the rescue and adoption of its individual survivors. Its mission is to end the dog meat trade in East Asia and to fight for global animal welfare laws. The closure of the US borders to its survivors did not, and will not, stop its fight on the front lines every single day in East Asia. But it did make it more difficult. “I will not turn my back on our survivors, or the millions of dogs in East Asia who deserve to be saved from the barbaric dog meat trade,” says NDLB Founder, Jeffrey Beri. “The inability to transport our survivors to their adopters in the United States threatened the rescue work we are doing in East Asia,” Beri explains. “We had no choice but to look for a solution to evacuate our survivors so that we can continue to make room for newly rescued survivors.” With its Toronto Safe House fully operational and its survivors being evacuated to freedom regularly now, NDLB hopes to be able to assist other international rescues so that they can also continue their life saving work. “NDLB is blessed to have established a presence in such an amazing country with such amazing people who have opened up their hearts and their homes to our slaughterhouse survivors” says Beri. “All of this is in the name of change.” NDLB is leading the efforts in fighting for global animal welfare reform. If you would like to donate to support its efforts in ending the illegal dog meat trade in East Asia, click here. About No Dogs Left Behind: No Dogs Left Behind operates boots on the ground in East Asia, fighting on the frontlines to rescue dogs from the illegal dogmeat trade. We work hands-on with local activists through emergency response, pulling dogs directly from slaughterhouses, dogmeat trucks, wet markets and traffickers. Our mission extends beyond borders, advocating for the creation and enforcement of animal welfare laws, and raising awareness for a cruelty-free, sustainable world in which no animal is violated, exploited, tortured or slaughtered for commercial goods or profit. With nearly 500 survivors in our care, No Dogs Left Behind operates sanctuaries in Dayi and Gongyi in East Asia. Follow us on Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, and TikTok. Contact Details No Dogs Left Behind Sherry Chen +1 855-665-0888 sherry@nodogsleftbehind.com Company Website http://www.nodogsleftbehind.com

December 08, 2021 03:15 PM Eastern Standard Time

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Holiday Season Survival Guide

YourUpdateTV

With the holiday season well underway, it’s time to talk holiday gifting, decorating, entertaining, personalization, home styling, and more. And with in-person gatherings resuming, time spent with family and friends this holiday season is more precious than ever before. Recently, Lifestyle Expert and Star of Netflix’s Queer Eye, Bobby Berk, teamed with Shutterfly on a nationwide SMT to discuss his tips on gifting, decorating, and more. A video accompanying this announcement is available at: https://youtu.be/hjidEp0O0Zs More than two thirds of consumers are planning in-person gatherings, more holiday parties, and bigger celebrations this year and Shutterfly makes it easy to unleash your creativity after a year of being apart. According to Bobby, it’s all about giving something a bit more personal rather than something generic or store bought. It’s more meaningful and is such a great way to connect with friends and family after being apart. Shutterfly has so many good options that for people to customize. For example, if your friends love a good game night, create personalized playing cards, pencils and notebooks to really elevate game play. Not only is a personalized gift more meaningful to the recipient, it’s also easy to make whether you’re adding a photo, name, monogram, or unique saying. From custom blankets and candles to coffee mugs and wall art, Shutterfly has something for everyone. Some of Bobby’s favorite ways to add the perfect personal touches to holiday entertaining and decorating include color. Choose a color pallet of 2-3 colors and use them throughout your home. Lighting is also so important. Keep the lighting simple by using white lights and candles that are great for any space and candles can add a nice personal touch as well. Additionally, photos are a great way to decorate for the holidays. Whether that’s adding temporary photo tiles with your favorite holiday memories or decorating your tree with customized ornaments. Or finding the best photos of your party guests and using them as name tags or place cards. For more information, visit Shutterfly.com About Bobby Berk: Berk is best known as the design guru on Netflix’s Queer Eye, but his rise to fame didn’t happen overnight. After years in the creative and design field, he took the leap to start his own brand. Epitomizing hip, urban luxury, Berk’s designs reflect a stylish and youthful spirit that perfectly fits any lifestyle. About YourUpdateTV: YourUpdateTV is a social media video portal for organizations to share their content. It includes separate channels for Health and Wellness, Lifestyle, Media and Entertainment, Money and Finance, Social Responsibility, Sports and Technology. Contact Details YourUpdateTV +1 212-736-2727 yourupdatetv@gmail.com

December 08, 2021 12:00 PM Eastern Standard Time

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Nice Healthcare Partners with Capsule to Improve Access to Affordable Prescription Drugs

Nice Healthcare

Nice Healthcare, the clinic that comes to you, today announced that it has partnered with leading digital pharmacy Capsule - bringing effortless, free same-day medication delivery to Nice patients in the Twin Cities, Minnesota; Phoenix, Arizona; and Denver, Colorado. Beginning today, all Nice patients in those three markets can choose Capsule to easily manage and receive over 550 Nice formulary medications for zero cost, including free same-day delivery. Nice has integrated with Capsule’s proprietary APIs, enabling clinicians to provide the option to use Capsule via the Nice app, and will leverage Capsule when they prescribe medications. Nice Healthcare is reimagining the delivery of primary health care by combining innovation with the personal touch that has been lost in modern medicine. With Nice, a full-service clinic comes to you. The partnership with Capsule amplifies this benefit with medications delivered same-day to the home or office. Capsule benefits include effortless management and ordering of all 550+ common medications on Nice’s formulary - same-day, for zero cost. Patients will also receive free, same-day delivery for non-Nice formulary medications, OTC medications, and other common medical supplies. “The partnership with Capsule brings Nice’s patients a better pharmacy experience and same-day delivery for all their medication needs,” said Genevieve Swenson, FNP, Cofounder and COO for Nice Healthcare. “Nice was founded on the belief that healthcare should be simple, convenient and affordable for everyone - including those individuals and families who are socially and economically disadvantaged. This partnership further underscores our commitment to make a convenient healthcare option even better for patients and small business employers alike.” “We are excited to bring Capsule’s beloved consumer experience to Nice’s patients and help make it easier than ever before to get, manage, and stay on their medications,” said Eric Kinariwala, Founder and CEO of Capsule. “Our partnership is made possible by harnessing both Capsule and Nice’s proprietary technology platforms in a way unique to the healthcare system. This is healthcare – as it should be.” Key benefits of the Capsule partnership include: Free-same day hand delivery of acute and chronic medications to the patient’s door Patients can manage all of their medications from their phone, tablet, or computer Text, chat, or call expert pharmacists anytime To learn more about Nice Healthcare, visit www.nice.healthcare. About Nice Healthcare Nice Healthcare is redesigning comprehensive healthcare for small and medium-sized businesses by utilizing a mix of technology and in-home care. As an employee benefit, they offer employees and their households in-home and virtual primary care, virtual mental health therapy, and virtual physical therapy services. Their clinicians can also offer patients x-rays, 35 labs and blood draws and a formulary with over 550 medications with no out-of-pocket costs. Since launching in Minnesota in 2017, Nice has expanded its integrated care services to 12 states. About Capsule Capsule is rebuilding the pharmacy industry from the inside out with an emotionally resonant experience and technology that enables customized outcomes for doctors, hospitals, insurers, and manufacturers. Capsule has designed every aspect of the pharmacy experience to give consumers and partners the peace of mind of having their health looked after. Capsule is available in more than a dozen cities across the United States, with expansion plans to have the ability to reach 100 million Americans by year's end. For more information, please visit capsule.com Contact Details Nice Healthcare Karen Swim +1 586-461-2103 pr@nice.healthcare Company Website https://www.nice.healthcare

December 08, 2021 09:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

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WhatsApp customer engagement tool WATI.io raises $10m

WATI

WATI.io (WhatsApp Team Inbox), a comprehensive WhatsApp customer engagement tool for small businesses, has raised $8.3Mn in Series A led by Sequoia Capital India with participation from Surge, Base Partners and several prominent angels including Gokul Rajaram, a member of the DoorDash executive team and and board member at Coinbase and Pinterest. WATI.io has over 3,000 customers across 54 countries including India, Indonesia and Brazil. Over the last 6 months, WATI’s customer base has seen a 4x growth, revenue has grown 5x and 100 million messages have been processed. They are now a 41 member team across seven countries. With this fundraise, they have raised a total of $10M in the last six months. The funds raised will be used to bolster technology and product development by expanding product integrations. It will also be used to double the team size and improve their presence in Latin America. Messaging is the most pervasive way humans connect today. COVID-19 has shifted our lives online. Customers expect brands to serve them on channels they are most comfortable with. So, when customers are able to reach out to brands on platforms like WhatsApp that they are already familiar with, it builds a higher level of trust for the brand. While many solutions for enterprises to achieve this shift exist, tens of millions of SMBs globally are left underserved. To meet customer expectations, SMBs resort to using WhatsApp on their personal phones. This leads to bottlenecks with relevance of the support and the inability to scale. WATI.io, launched by Ken Yeung and Bianca Ho in late 2020, addresses this gap. Built on WhatsApp’s API, it helps small businesses personalize conversations with customers at scale. WATI.io helps ​​customer support, marketing and sales teams engage with customers using a single WhatsApp number. Since brands are able to get a holistic view of customer conversations across teams, they are also able to provide a better user experience. WATI.io solely focuses on building tailored experiences on WhatsApp enabling them to quickly iterate on new features on the platform as well. “WATI’s mission is to help businesses do more with less. Our one-click integration with the most commonly used tools like Shopify, WooCommerce, etc. enables businesses to provide holistic customer experience at scale. We look to use this funding to attract world class talent to help us build this.” Ken Yeung, CEO Businesses love WATI.io because it helps improve customer satisfaction without additional workforce and in turn helps improve revenue. This is possible with automation through WATI’s low-code workflow builder without being dependent on developers. Through WATI’s API, SMBs can send programmatic personalised notifications from their system. Especially in the case of ecommerce businesses, WATI’s one-click integrations with tools like Shopify, reduces abandoned cart rate and helps increase revenues. Marketers also rely heavily on sending targeted notifications to drive sales. High growth startups are able to derive value with WATI’s suite of tools which empower them to collaborate and move fast. In addition to thousands of SMBs, WATI’s clients include Dukaan, Oppo, VU TV, Gojek, Grab, Aerostreet. “WATI is on a mission to help hundreds of millions of SMBs across the world communicate more effectively with their customers on one of the most ubiquitous messaging platforms - WhatsApp. They’ve achieved terrific growth rates this past year while breaking even, but what is more exciting is the expansive set of product possibilities in front of the company as they capitalise on the market opportunity. Sequoia Capital India is excited to deepen the partnership with Ken and Bianca in the next stage of their journey of building WATI.” Abheek Anand, MD, Sequoia India About WATI Founded in 2020 in Hong Kong, WATI.io helps companies have personalised conversations with customers at scale. Built on WhatsApp’s Business API, it is an easy-to-use customer engagement software that focuses on automation and one-click integrations to help businesses do more with less. WATI.io has been an official partner of WhatsApp since 2019, and was part of Surge 05, Sequoia India’s rapid scale up program for early stage startups. Contact Details WATI Bilal Mahmood +44 7714 007257 b.mahmood@stockwoodstrategy.com Company Website https://www.wati.io/

December 08, 2021 08:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

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Jock MKT User Turns $20 Into Over $110,000 Through the “Stock Market for Sports”

Jock MKT

Jock MKT (Jock Market), the company turning sports into a stock exchange, announced one of its users has accumulated $113,420 in lifetime net winnings on its platform. Drew Heinl of Columbus, Ohio gradually accumulated his winnings since joining Jock MKT in October 2020. As of Dec. 7, 2021, he has executed over 15,000 trades in cash markets for the NFL, NBA, NHL, MLB, and PGA Tour. “Netting six figures on Jock MKT has been a ride I could have never imagined,” said Heinl. “Unlike traditional sports betting where outcomes are binary, Jock MKT allows me to use my skill and knowledge of sports in a way where I’m growing my wealth gradually and limiting my risk with regular guaranteed payouts. This wasn’t an overnight instant success. I worked hard. But I’ve had an absolute blast doing it.” Heinl is not the only Jock MKT super-investor creating his own “bull market” on the platform. Five users have executed over $1 million worth of trades and several are close to joining Heinl in the $100,000+ Jock MKT club. “We love following the journey of Drew and so many of our other users who have seen incredible returns on Jock MKT,” said Tyler Carlin, CEO of Jock MKT. “We offer a platform where you can start with a small deposit and grow it into a significant amount of money over time.” Available in 35 U.S. states, Jock MKT’s main differentiator is its cash market format – this unique offering gives users more flexibility and optionality versus typical daily fantasy contests. Users can join at any time and for any dollar amount. They can buy and sell shares of athletes in real-time, cash out early by selling to another user in-game or hold to the end and receive fixed Jock MKT payouts tied to final player rankings based on overall fantasy scoring. Each cash market starts with an “Initial Player Offering,” or an IPO, where users have their first opportunity to bid on shares before any contest. About Jock MKT Headquartered in Boston and launched in 2020, Jock MKT ( JockMKT.com ) is a skill-based fantasy gaming platform where users can make real money – every minute, every second, of every game. Inspired by a traditional stock exchange, Jock MKT allows users to buy and sell shares of athletes in real-time. Jock MKT was co-founded by Tyler Carlin and investors include Left Lane Capital, Will Ventures, Ryan Moore, Brandon Adams, Benjie Cherniak, Tim McSweeney, and Alumni Ventures Group. Available in the U.S. in 35 states, Jock MKT offers gaming options for events tied to the NFL, NBA, MLB, NHL, and PGA Tour. Contact Details Eric Nemeth nemeth@ericpr.com Company Website https://jockmkt.com/

December 07, 2021 08:09 AM Eastern Standard Time

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U.S. Sees Sharpest Rise in Independent Workforce in More Than 50 Years

MBO Partners

MBO Partners released its 11th Annual State of Independence in America report, the country’s longest-running end-to-end study of the American independent workforce. In the year of the Great Resignation, there was a record-breaking 34% surge in people choosing independent work. This segment jumped from 38.2 million in 2020 to a whopping 51.1 million in 2021. “This year may be remembered as the seminal moment when work forever changed,” said Miles Everson, CEO of MBO Partners. “An undercurrent that has been simmering reached a boiling point when people were forced out of the office and into alternative work arrangements. This is the largest shift we have seen in the workforce in decades.” Below are five trends revealed in this year’s data report. Workers cut the cord on fixed locations. Freed from the confines of working in a single onsite location, many took remote work on the road. The number of digital nomads rose from 10.9 million in 2020 to 15.5 million in 2021, a 42% increase. Most of the nomads were traditional workers, but the number of independent digital nomads rose 15%, from 4.6 million in 2020 to 5.3 million in 2021. Collaborators are the new colleagues. Independents refer work and share the load with other independents. Twenty-five percent find assignments through other independents. And in the past 12 months, 25% of full-time independents said they had teamed up with independent workers or microbusinesses in their work, up from 19% in 2020. Collaboration is even higher for independents in the creator economy with over half (55%) reporting that they are teaming up with other content creators on projects. Even independents are haunted by the 1%. The U.S. has long been seen as a two-tier economy, with those at the very top thriving while many at the bottom struggle. We see this effect replicated in the independent workforce with those having in-demand skills and credentials able to charge a premium for their work. Inflation drives moonlighting 2.0. The rising cost of living and the loss of payroll jobs is driving more people to supplement their income with independent work. Part-time and occasional independents are the fastest-growing portion of the independent workforce. For those who became part-time independents in the past year, 73% cited supplementing their income as the reason. Platforms become independent launching pad. As independent work has become more mainstream, we have seen a rise in businesses that facilitate this way of work. Online platforms and marketplaces are powerful facilitators that let independents find work, learn new skills, and explore new markets. The trajectory of these platforms has been one of the most powerful growth stories in this survey. In 2011, only 3% of independents reported using an online talent platform in the previous 12 months. But in 2021, an impressive 40% said they had done so in the past year. And an even higher number – 43% – said they planned to use an online talent platform in the coming 12 months. For more information or to obtain a copy of the 11th annual State of Independence report, please visit https://www.mbopartners.com/state-of-independence/​. About MBO Partners®​ MBO Partners is a deep job platform that connects and enables independent professionals and microbusiness owners to do business safely and effectively with enterprise organizations. Its unmatched experience and industry leadership enable it to operate on the forefront of the independent economy and consistently advance the next way of working. For more information, visit​ ​mbopartners.com​ Contact Details Karen Swim +1 586-461-2103 karen@wordsforhirellc.com Company Website https://mbopartners.com

December 07, 2021 08:00 AM Eastern Standard Time

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Minuteman Press Highlights Year of Helping Independent Print Center Owners Sell Their Businesses

Minuteman Press International Inc

Minuteman Press International, the world’s leading design, marketing, and printing franchise, is proud to announce additional successful conversions of independent print shops to Minuteman Press franchises in 2021. Through the Minuteman Press International Conversion Program, independent printers are able to sell their printing business at no cost to them. Minuteman Press Franchise Conversion Program – 2021 Highlights Through this program, Minuteman Press International helps sellers of qualified printing businesses find qualified buyers within a reasonable time frame. All of the businesses highlighted below were listed for sale in mid-2020 and sold through 2021. Minuteman Press, Red Bank, New Jersey (formerly All American Print & Copy Center) Jason Carris is the new owner of Minuteman Press in Red Bank, NJ, which is part of the Middletown Township. He purchased All American Print & Copy Center, which was in business for 40 years, and took over the business in September 2021. Jason says, “ The biggest advantage of buying this business was having an established clientele. We did our research and made sure the owners were respected by their clients. There was also 40 years of history and track record as well.” He continues, “Minuteman Press and our Regional Vice President Jim Galasso guided us through the purchase of the business step by step. Jim made the process easier to manage and I couldn’t have done this on my own without the help from the team at Minuteman Press International.” Prior to franchising, Jason worked in medical publishing and digital marketing. He also ran a number of small consulting businesses in his career. He says, “A combination of things – including the pandemic and economic forces – made me decide to go fully into business ownership. My wife Renee has an entrepreneurial spirt as well.” Why Minuteman Press? Jason answers, “We did a lot of research and Minuteman Press jumped out to us on a number of levels. They were on a lot of top franchise lists, they appealed to people who hadn’t owned a business, and the business seemed easy to learn. In addition to being a highly respected franchise, Minuteman Press had a reasonable cost of entry and I appreciate their cap on royalties.” He adds, “The support has been wonderful. Because there is a 40-year history of the independent print shop we purchased, we have been transitioning the business. It’s great to have the training and support especially since I had not run a business of this scope before.” What is it like for Jason to be a business owner? He says, “Once you make that leap, it’s a very exciting experience to own your own business. We have a vibrant community here and I see the long-term growth potential. I am looking forward to making Minuteman Press a real pillar and trusted business partner in Red Bank / Middletown Township.” Jason further explains, “I think we have a tremendous opportunity to expand our wide format printing business with banners, posters, and signage remaining in high demand for our clients. I am also looking forward to bolstering our in-house mailing and direct mail services to help other local businesses reach their target audiences.” “I think the two biggest keys to owning a business are to really make sure you feel 100% comfortable with the business model, and to believe in your products and services. Also, it is important to be proactive but also have patience after buying the business. Think about growth potential, and understand there is a learning curve. That’s normal for everyone.” -Jason Carris, owner, Minuteman Press franchise, Red Bank, NJ (formerly All American Print & Copy Center) For more information on Minuteman Press in Red Bank, visit https://minuteman.com/us/locations/nj/red-bank. Minuteman Press, Longmont, Colorado (formerly Ron’s Printing Center) Avi Kumar has been part of the Minuteman Press franchise family since May 2016 as the owner of Minuteman Press in Greeley, CO. In February 2021, Avi had the opportunity to buy Ron’s Printing Center located in Longmont, CO, which was in business for 40 years. Avi converted Ron’s Printing Center into his second Minuteman Press franchise location in February 2021. Avi says, “Our Regional Vice President Jack Panzer told us about this established business for sale in Longmont, which is 40 minutes from us. The main advantage was to extend profitability and expand our business in Northern Colorado.” He continues, “Another advantage was that we did not have to spend a lot of extra effort in marketing this as a new business because Ron’s Printing Center had been established for a long time. The employees were all very hands-on and diligent and we were able to retain them all. Within the second month, we added mailings, promotional products, and apparel to their product lines. In fact, we just wrapped up a 30K mailer for a local non-profit organization and secured a large apparel order as well.” Prior to franchising in 2016, Avi worked in retail as a convenience store manager of several locations. “I used to manage some stores in Illinois for a big outfit out of Wisconsin. I finally got tired of answering to my boss and decided I wanted to own my own business. I moved on to better pastures and we decided as a family that Colorado was our calling.” Avi is thankful for being able to work with Minuteman Press and Jack Panzer over the past five years in Greeley and on the conversion in Longmont in 2021. He says, “Working with Jack is amazing as he is very thorough and helpful. Since I started my business in Greeley in 2016, he has been a huge resource for us and very supportive. As we start to build in Longmont, we are also expanding in Greeley to a new 5,000 sq. ft. facility – remodeling is under way as we speak. We started small and grew the business, and now we are building on that success at the right, consistent pace.” For more information on Minuteman Press in Longmont and Greeley, visit https://minuteman.com/us/locations/co/longmont or https://minuteman.com/us/locations/co/greeley. Minuteman Press, Missoula, Montana (formerly Advertiser Montana Printing) Rebecca and Kirk Treece are the new owners of Minuteman Press in Missoula, Montana. They purchased Advertiser Montana Printing, which has a 40-year history in Missoula, in January 2021. Rebecca says, “It is a real honor to become part of Missoula’s thriving business community. The Palmers (former owners) had a 40-year long relationship with this community and their loyal customers have welcomed us and trusted us with their service, which has given us a great start here in Missoula.” Prior to Minuteman Press, Rebecca and Kirk had varying careers. Rebecca shares, “Before owning my own business, I was utilizing my teaching degree as a vision therapist at an optometry office in Missoula, working with children and adults to improve their visual skills. My husband Kirk was previously a financial and operational manager for a large company. He and I also own a franchise of Fish Window Cleaning and Sunbelt Business Brokerage. We are familiar with business and the franchise concept, but were really drawn to the Minuteman Press structure, training, support and record of success.” While Rebecca and Kirk have experience owning a business, they had never been involved in the printing industry before. Rebecca says, “Advertiser Montana Printing was an independent print shop that had been in business for 40 years and they had a very loyal base of long-standing customers. An established customer base was the opportunity we were looking for when buying a new business. Our goal is 100% retention and we have worked diligently to meet and develop relationships with each customer. We hit the ground running and it gave us an opportunity to get experience across the board. Our local Minuteman Press field representatives were able to train us on every aspect of the business, which gave us the confidence to meet the demands of our customers.” Rebecca continues, “The support from Minuteman Press has been exceptional. The training was very comprehensive, and we felt like we were well-prepared for starting up and getting straight to work. We also know exactly who to call when we have a question or issue to manage. The network of Minuteman Press is amazing in the way that everyone is there for you at any time and in any capacity that you need. The expertise of the training and the continual mentoring are the powerful tools we need to succeed.” One of the ways Rebecca is looking to stand out as a new business owner is by expanding on the products and services offered by Minuteman Press and educating clients on what is in high demand right now. She explains, “Our high-demand products are business cards, menus, point of sale products like invoices and forms, and medical facility materials. As businesses open up, the demand for envelopes, letterhead, and other consumables has grown. Being part of Minuteman Press family has given us a huge opportunity to share with customers our expanded line of products like mailing, signage, apparel, promotional items. It has really given us the ability to help people promote their business.” As for Minuteman Press in Missoula, Rebecca and Kirk know exactly where they want to go. She says, “Our goal is to become the premier printing and advertising design company in Missoula and the Greater Northwestern Montana area. We want to develop the reputation for supplying the highest quality products and having superior customer service. We strive to make Minuteman Press in Missoula the place to go for all advice and services. The main lesson Minuteman Press impressed upon me is that if you do not like the current state of your business, change it! Get up, get out there, market, make connections, and grow your business. We have been given the tools and the support to create something great and that is extremely exciting for us.” For more information on Minuteman Press in Missoula, visit https://minuteman.com/us/locations/mt/missoula. Minuteman Press, Hove, England (formerly TJ’s Branding Solutions) Romi and Russell Pinsent are the new owners of Minuteman Press in Hove, England. They purchased TJ’s Branding Solutions, which operated for 30 years, in June 2021. Romi says, We are so excited to carry the legacy of TJ’s Branding Solutions and expand our products and services through Minuteman Press to benefit our local business clients and community.” TJ’s Branding Solutions laid a solid foundation for Romi and Russell as they look forward to continuing to build the business that was started by original owner Tony Jenner. Romi says, “The store that we have bought has predominantly been a sign writing store that already supports existing businesses and has a good customer base. The work done within the store already supports local businesses by assisting them to promote their own business by way of designing logos, shop fronts and vehicle livery.” On selling the printing and sign business through Minuteman Press, Tony Jenner says, “Minuteman Press Regional Vice President Mark Jones approached me at a good time and asked me if I was interested in selling my business. I have been running TJ’s Branding Solutions for over 30 years and was looking at a change of direction. I was looking to retire and enjoy what I have achieved and spend more time with family. This was a great opportunity to sell at a good price with no broker fees. What was there not to like? It was a smooth exchange and transfer that was done – I would recommend it.” Prior to franchising with Minuteman Press, Romi and Russell were no strangers to running their own business. Romi shares, “Before franchising, our background was and still is running care homes. It is an enjoyable business to run, supporting the more vulnerable people within society but it is riddled with legislation and we wanted to explore a new venture that was more creative and had an opportunity for growth. We wanted a change for us and a new business venture seemed the way forward.” Why Minuteman Press? Romi answers, “We have over 40 years of business experience between us however we were cautious about moving into a new industry as our experience is only in our other business. We visited a franchise show with the intention of looking at a hospitality franchise but quickly realized that this wasn’t something we wanted to explore due to having to work evenings and weekends.” Romi adds, “The intention at the start was to purchase a new store and grow it from the ground up however once we had decided on the franchise, [Regional Vice President] Mark Jones undertook some market research and found an existing independent print shop in TJ’s Branding Solutions where the owner wanted to retire. As a result, we began the process of purchasing the store.” “Throughout the whole process, Mark Jones supported us in liaising with the seller, solicitors, and accountants to make the process as easy as possible. There was never a question that couldn’t be answered! We secured the store on the 3 rd June 2021. Russell and I are both excited to work with the Minuteman Press franchise support team and to grow the business in the local area. Russ has lived in the city since he was 5-years-old and I have lived here all my life. We are proud to call Brighton and Hove our home, we love where we live and want to offer the best service to all local businesses here!” -Romi Pinsent, co-owner, Minuteman Press, Hove, England (formerly TJ’s Branding Solutions) Romi concludes, “Overall, As a local business ourselves, Minuteman Press in Hove is excited to work with other local businesses. We look forward to seeing where this incredible journey takes us as we build and grow together.” For more information on Minuteman Press in Hove, England, visit https://hove.minutemanpress.co.uk. International Minute Press, Nampa, Idaho (formerly Custom Printing) Sheryl and James Wisler are the new owners if International Minute Press in Nampa, Idaho. They purchased Custom Printing from Mike Cutler, who operated the independent printing business for 25 years. Seller’s Perspective from Mike Cutler, Retired Owner of Custom Printing Mike Cutler built up Custom Printing from a print shop out of his garage in 1996 to a successful printing business that averaged over $1 million in gross sales over the past 5 years. He tried to sell his printing business for six to eight months before realizing it was going to be harder than he thought. That is when he turned to Minuteman Press. Mike says, “I tried to sell the business that I worked so hard to build for six to eight months on my own. I was also preparing to let it go at a very undervalued price as I couldn’t find the right people to buy the business and I found many of them were time-wasters and tire-kickers. On top of that, when I consulted with a business broker, they were asking me for 10% off the top of the sale, and they also wanted a percentage of my lease agreement.” After experiencing these challenges on his own, Mike turned to Minuteman Press International to help sell his printing business. “One of the franchisees I knew locally in Idaho referred me to Chris Jutt, Minuteman Press International Regional Vice President. After our first phone call, I felt confident that Chris had the ability, drive and connections to make this dream a reality for me. Our meetings were always super easygoing and comfortable. Chris took all the pressure off of me and said to focus on my successful business and he would do the rest. That is just what he did.” “We set a price for my independent printing business that was significantly higher than I anticipated, and Chris Jutt recommended some terms. Within one week, I had several very interested parties. Chris found the perfect people to purchase my business – James and Sheryl Wisler – that will continue what I started some 25 years ago. Minuteman Press International knew that the most important things to me were my long-term employees, my clients, and the reputation I had worked so hard to build. Chris found buyers that valued the same things. He and the entire team at Minuteman Press International delivered on all of my expectations and exceeded in most of them. Looking back, if I knew this was going to be this easy, I would have contacted him years ago.” -Mike Cutler, retired owner, Custom Printing (now International Minute Press, Nampa, Idaho) After the sale of his business, Mike quickly realized how beneficial it was to have the team at Minuteman Press International assist with all aspects of the transition to the new owners. He shares, “At first, I was apprehensive about how the transition would go. I was immediately relieved when I saw how Minuteman Press International took the reins to teach and train James and Sheryl. We are only two and a half weeks into the transition phase, and already I feel like I am not needed as much as I thought I would be. My employees are in great hands, my clients are being taken care of, and James and Sheryl are doing a fantastic job.” He adds, “The entire team both here locally and at their corporate headquarters has been phenomenal. No matter who I’ve talked to or worked with during this entire process, everyone has been professional as well as instrumental in making this happen. It’s a win-win situation all around.” “The smooth transition has reassured me that it was the right move to sell my business with Minuteman Press International. They have the right plan, the right experience, and everyone has been incredible to the very last detail. In my acquisition experience, nothing has ever been as easy as this. I had everything to gain and nothing to lose, and there were absolutely no hiccups along the way. I would easily rate my experience as 10/10.” -Mike Cutler Advice to Other Sellers When asked what advice he would give to other print and sign shop owners looking to sell, Mike answers, “Don’t even waste your time trying to do this yourself. When you try to sell on your own, there are so many bottleneck issues and you will likely undervalue your business. I couldn’t find the right buyers on my own and I had to spend too much time to meet with people repeatedly while still running my own business.” Mike concludes, “Minuteman Press International alleviated the bottlenecks and came forward with qualified buyers who were ready to write the check for the right price. I am 100% satisfied beyond my expectations. This was a total team effort by everyone, and they all came through for me.” For more information on International Minute Press in Nampa, Idaho, visit https://minuteman.com/us/locations/id/nampa. For more information on how to sell your printing business or sign business through Minuteman Press International’s Conversion Program, visit https://bit.ly/minutemanpressconversions Contact Details Minuteman Press International Chris Biscuiti +1 631-249-1370 cbiscuiti@mpihq.com Company Website https://minutemanpressfranchise.com

December 06, 2021 09:10 AM Eastern Standard Time

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