Wednesday, April 05, 2000

Industry Notes: Retail

Web site recruiting merchants

The Cincinnati Enquirer

        An online database of stores focusing on key U.S. cities has come to Cincinnati and is looking for area merchants to join the site.

        Called, the site serves as a clearinghouse of information about stores, sales and merchandise in 51 cities. Consumers can't buy anything on the site, but they can learn about stores or products in a particular city, or link to store Web sites.

        The company is intended to be a “pre-shopping destination for busy consumers in key cities across the U.S., as well as to serve as a bridge for retailers to drive new customers into their stores, onto their Web sites and to their catalogs.”

        Participation for merchants is free; generates revenues from ads it runs on the site., based in New York, is shopping for more local merchants who want to participate on the site. Those who do get their store name, hours, address and special events posted. So far, Lazarus and Saks Fifth Avenue are on the Cincinnati listing. More are expected next week.

        Shopper membership is free as well. Members receive e-mail alerts about promotions and events in designated shopping areas.

        Inshop was founded in 1997 by lawyer Veronique Bardach, an avid shopper.

        Interested businesses should call Jayne Crites, 227-8672.

Roly-Poly to open in Symmes Township
        Roly-Poly, the wrap-sandwich concept brought to town by Big Sky Bread co-founder Barry Elkus, is opening its second area location.

        Mr. Elkus, who opened his first franchise one year ago at the Tristar Tower near the Westin downtown, is opening his second Roly-Poly in Symmes Township. The store is at 12082A Montgomery Road, just south of Fields Ertel Road.

        The franchise is a takeoff on the emerging wrapped-sandwich concept, where savory ingredients are wrapped inside a soft tortilla. Mr. Elkus acquired licensing rights in the Tristate.

        “It's a fun concept, and it's been working out well — and people like them,” Mr. Elkus said. “So I'll keep opening them.”

        The store, opening Monday, will be a little larger than the downtown store, seating 50 inside and having some tables outside. It also will feature a larger breakfast menu.

Gap's CEO to keynote business group meeting
        The International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) landed Gap Inc. chief executive Millard “Mickey” Drexler as keynote speaker for the kickoff luncheon of its convention in May.

        The annual convention, this year from May 21-25, is the largest gathering of real estate and retail professionals in the country, featuring more than 20 educational seminars and workshops. It will be in Las Vegas.

        Information: (212) 421-8181, or look up the ICSC Web site at

Bella Donna giveaways part of anniversary
        Women's apparel boutique Bella Donna is celebrating its first anniversary this month with trunk shows, plastic surgery consultations and merchandise giveaways.

        The boutique, at 1115 Congress Ave. in Glendale, carries bridge and designer lines for style-conscious women in their 30s and older. Upcoming trunk shows on April 8 and 13 feature Kathlin Argiro and Yansi Fugel.

        Bella Donna is owned by Donna Wesselman.

Online store of the week
        Right Start Inc., an educational toy retailer, has expanded its online presence with new stores and merchandise. has launched a redesigned site with two new stores: The Big Kids' store, for children ages 7 to 12; and the Teachers' Store, for all ages. already operates a Baby Store and Kids' Development Store.


Tech stocks swing low then shoot back up
Markets rebound from rout
P&G, Cintas, Kroger register advances
- Industry Notes: Retail
Tristate Business Summary