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California online business supply company expects triple growth this year

Posted by Elena del Valle on January 20, 2016

StockPKG office

The StockPKG office is in Dana Point, California

Photo: StockPKG

While some speculate and worry about another recession, the management of StockPKG, a Dana Point, California discount business supply company founded in 2012, is hoping for triple digit growth. That was the growth the company experienced in the previous three years. To further the likelihood of such growth the company plans a catalog launch in March and hired Driven PR, an integrated marketing communications company.

The distributor plans to add 35,000 products in 2016, totaling 75,000 in all, as well as offering educational and consulting resources for those looking for assistance when starting or growing their business. The company has 25 employees and foresees growth in the sales and customer service teams. By the end of 2016, the company expects to have a national network of up to 75 employees.

“Our mission is to be a one-stop-shop for all business supply and flexible packaging needs for businesses and customers all over America,” said Sean Rudner, owner and president of the company, by email via a Driven PR representative. “We offer consulting services to businesses with complex packaging needs who may not know where to go or how to best service their customers. StockPKG’s customer service representatives are educated and always available to consult with businesses about their packaging options. We genuinely care about our customers and are passionate about seeing their businesses grow.”

The top sellers are Shipping Mailers, Clear Stand Up Pouches and Stretch Wraps. In addition to StockPKG’s online marketplace, the company offers consulting services to businesses with complex packaging needs. Powered by Global Plastic Supply, the company serves businesses nationwide through its website, by phone or in person.



United States Postal Service to issue Forever Stamp to honor Jaime Escalante

Posted by Elena del Valle on January 4, 2016

Jaime Escalante US stamp

Jaime Escalante US stamp

Photo: United States Postal Service

Following the recommendation of its Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee, the United States Postal Service will issue a self-adhesive Forever Stamp to honor Bolivian born educator Jaime Escalante, probably in the summer of 2016. December 31, 2015 would have been his 85 birthday.

Press materials from the Service describe Escalante as a “beloved and charismatic California educator (who) used unconventional methods to inspire his inner-city students not only to learn calculus but also to pass Advanced Placement tests in the subject. With his colleagues at Garfield High School in East Los Angeles, he proved that students judged to be 'unteachable' could master even the most difficult subject.”

The design of the stamp with a 49 cent price features Escalante in a digital illustration meant to resemble an oil painting. The illustration is based on a 2005 photograph taken by Jaime W. Escalante in a classroom where his father had taught. The average print run for Forever stamps is in the 20 to 30 million range. The print quantity for the Jaime Escalante Forever Stamp has not been announced. The Postal Service is promoting the stand alone stamp (not part of a collection) through print, TV and broadcast as well as mainstream media, Hispanic media and social media.

“There is no advertising budget,” said Roy Betts at the U.S. Postal Service Corporate Communications office via email. “The Postal Service typically promotes new stamps through media channels and in-store retail messaging in local Post Offices.”

Born to schoolteachers in La Paz, Bolivia Escalante learned to teach by trial and error and by imitating the methods of teachers he had admired as a student. In 1961, Escalante spent a year in the United States as part of President John F. Kennedy’s Alliance for Progress, a program to improve relations between the United States and countries in South America. As part of the program, Escalante attended classes in Puerto Rico and traveled to schools around the country to study their methods.

In 1963, Escalante received his immigration visa and arrived in the United States. He came alone, planning to find a job and housing and then send for his family. Because of his limited English, he had difficulty finding employment. Eventually, he found a job mopping floors in a restaurant, enrolled at Pasadena City College, and brought his wife and son to California. Since his Bolivian teaching credentials did not transfer to the United States he had to start his education from the beginning.

He received his bachelor’s degree in mathematics from California State University in 1973 and then won a prestigious National Science Foundation scholarship, which allowed him to study full time and earn his teaching credentials a year later. He quickly found a job at Garfield, a school in crisis with high dropout rates and gang violence, and in jeopardy of losing its accreditation.

Fame came to Escalante in an unexpected way when in 1982, 18 of his students took the Advanced Placement (AP) Calculus Exam. After they, Mexican Americans from a low-income area of Los Angeles, all passed and seven students received fives, the highest score, the ETS College Board accused 14 students of cheating and requested that they retake the exam. Twelve of the 14 did, and all passed the second exam, a different version from the first.

Their story made the national news, making him and his class instant heroes and led to the making of the movie Stand and Deliver. That same year, publication of Escalante: The Best Teacher in America, a book by Washington Post reporter Jay Mathews, brought him additional acclaim. Later Escalante showed how math is used in real life as part of the Public Broadcasting Service (PBS) series Futures. In 1988, Escalante won an award from the Hispanic Heritage Foundation. In 1999, a year after he retired from teaching he was inducted into the National Teachers Hall of Fame. He died on March 30, 2010.

The Citizens’ Stamp Advisory Committee is a group of private citizens with “a passion for American history and a love of stamps, who are appointed by the Postmaster General of the United States.” They are: Gail Anderson, partner, Anderson Newton Design; Peter Argentine founder, Argentine Productions; Justin Bua, artist and creator of genre known as “distorted urban realism;” B. J. Bueno, founder, The Cult Branding Company; Cheryl R. Ganz, author; Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Alphonse Fletcher University Professor, W.E.B. Du Bois Institute for African and African-American Research, Harvard University; Janet Klug, chair, Philatelist; Carolyn Lewis former chief executive of Texwood Furniture Inc; Harry Rinker, antiques and collectibles appraiser; Maruchi Santana, founder, The Brand Extension Katherine C. Tobin, Ph.D., commissioner, U.S. – China Economic  and Security Review Commission; and Donna de Varona, TV sports commentator.

Happy New Year!

Posted by Elena del Valle on January 1, 2016

New Year 2016

As the New Year begins we take this opportunity to wish you the best for 2016 and thank you for visiting and following us in 2015.

Older Millennials, Hispanics driving distrust of large manufacturers

Posted by Elena del Valle on December 9, 2015

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Millennials have a higher preference for fresh produce than non-Millennials.

Photo: HispanicMPR.com

As older generations decline Millennials are growing and are expected to continue growing over the next five years. Millennials represent one quarter of the population of United States, making them the largest generation at present. At the same time Millennials are highly diverse as a generation. Among Millennials 21 percent is Hispanic, according to Mintel, a data and market research company.

Divided into younger and older Milennials this generation is marrying later, saving money, going to school and or starting a family. They shop differently, like different products, and have different attitudes about food than previous generations, and their income ranges from below average to about average, according to The Millennial Impact: Food Shopping Decisions US, September 2015, a Mintel report.

A Mintel survey indicates that only 47 percent of Older Millennials and 35 percent of Younger Millennials surveyed said they trust large food makers. Among older millennial's 77 percent wish food manufacturers were more transparent about how they make their products while 70 percent of their younger contemporaries said they wish the same thing. Among non-Millennials 69 percent wished food makers were more transparent about the product that they make.

Millennial's like shopping for groceries and specialty stores and online, and according to Straight to You, a Mintel Trend, they prefer that products be delivered to them. Both younger and older Millennials have a higher preference for fresh produce than non-Millennials.

Florida Cuban restaurants cater to varied dietary needs, tastes

Posted by Elena del Valle on November 11, 2015

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Sergio's Mahi Mahi

Photos: Sergio's Restaurants

Twenty percent of sales at Sergio's Restaurants, a Florida company of Cuban franchise restaurants, are to customers with special dietary needs or preferences. The company caters to people who care about what they eat, be they vegetarian, vegan, lactose intolerant, or paleo-friendly. For example, by the end of November 2015 the restaurants will serve all-natural, hormone and antibiotic free, Wagyu beef fed a vegetarian diet from Jackman Florida Natural Wagyu Beef in Clewiston, Florida.

Citing a Lactose Intolerance: Information for Health Care Providers, a 2006 National Institute of Child Health and Human Development publication that estimates 50 percent to 80 percent of Hispanics suffer from lactose intolerance Sergio's Restaurants recently added products for people who suffer from lactose intolerance.

“Sergio's is always thinking outside of the box in order to better serve our customers - and this means making more options available,” said Carlos Gazitua, chief executive officer, Sergio's Restaurants, via email when asked about why the restaurant chain caters to customers with varied needs. “We respect everyone's diets.”

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Sergio's dishes

Its La Flaca menu offers healthier alternatives to customers including cauliflower rice, baked (instead of fried) dishes and recipes with coconut oil. Some La Flaca dishes are Grilled Chicken with garlic, herbs, and pico de gallo rice; Mahi-Mahi with pico de gallo; and Turkey Picadillo with Lean, Cuban-Style ground turkey.

Target customers range in age between 25 and 50. Staff reach out to customers via Facebook, Yelp, Twitter, and Instagram. The restaurants appear on NBC Miami for Food Presentations and competed in the Tampa Cuban Sandwich Showdown. Founded in 1975 in Westchester, Florida by Blanca Cabrera, Gazitua's mother, and her mother,  Sergio's has six restaurants and two cafes in South Florida. They are independently owned.

Maryland home to some of most ethnically diverse cities in country

Posted by Elena del Valle on October 9, 2015

hmpr_2015mostleastethnoraciallydiversecities

WalletHub's Most & Last Ethno-Racially Diverse Cities

Image: WalleHub

It is no secret that the face of America is changing. Immigration, native births and mixed ethnicity marriages may be among the factors leading to a growing racial and cultural blending across the country.

Since 2011, more than half of children born in the United States have been part of ethnic or racial minorities; and by 2020, the total minority population may grow to 40.7 percent from 30.9 percent in 2000, according to the U.S. Census Bureau.

To get a glimpse of the situation today, Richie Bernardo, personal finance writer, WalletHub, and the folks at his personal finance website researched the topic and consulted 12 academics (six men and six women). With their help he identified what could be the “most ethno-racially and linguistically diverse landscapes.” He compared 313 of the most populated cities nationwide with three criteria in mind: diversity by racial and ethnicity, language and United States region of birth and produced 2015’s Most & Least Ethno-Racially Diverse Cities, a short report.

The report concluded that four of the 10 most diverse cities are in Maryland, and two are in California. They are: Gaithersburg, Maryland; Jersey City, New Jersey; Germantown, Maryland; New York, New York; Oakland, California; Spring Valley, Nevada; San Jose, California; Silver Spring, Maryland; Renton, Washington; and Rockville, Maryland.

At the bottom of the list two of the bottom ten are in Wisconsin. They are: Birmingham, Alabama; Sioux Falls, South Dakota; O'Fallon, Missouri; Eau Claire, Wisconsin; Duluth, Minnesota; Warwick, Rhode Island; Parma, Ohio; Oshkosh, Wisconsin; and Livonia, Michigan.

Interesting findings include that although Laredo, Texas has the highest concentration of Hispanics, 95.2 percent, the racial and ethnic diversity of Oakland, California is four times higher than in Laredo. Mount Pleasant, South Carolina, has the highest concentration of whites, 90.6 percent. Detroit has the highest concentration of blacks, 79.1 percent. Miami has the highest concentration of Spanish speakers, 69.4 percent; and Honolulu has the highest concentration of Asian- and Pacific Islander-language speakers, 32.6 percent.

Honduran university owners launch US online program for Spanish speakers

Posted by Elena del Valle on September 2, 2015

Ronald A. Lacayo, executive director, UTH Florida University

Ronald A. Lacayo, executive director, UTH Florida University

Photo: UTH Florida University

Targeting Spanish dominant immigrants from Central and South America looking to improve their economic prospects by completing their education with a college degree or obtain a second degree online in Spanish the Universidad Tecnologica de Honduras (UTH) is branching out. In August 2015, the owners of the Central American university and the Honduran-USA Chamber of Commerce announced the launch of UTH Florida University online.

Headquartered in Miami, Florida, UTH Florida University, a for profit entity, announced student registration in August 2015 and the beginning of classes September 1, 2015 at uthflorida.us. According to a press release distributed by UTH Florida University, the educational company is licensed by the Florida Commission for Independent Education. The Commission website indicates its functions include the licensure of independent schools, colleges and universities. All classes will be in Spanish and based on the Harvard Business School case method.

"We believe that on-line education is the disruptive innovation of the 21st century that will break the higher education paradigm and finally bring affordable and high quality education to everyone and everywhere thus allowing our communities and countries to grow and prosper," said Ronald A. Lacayo, executive director, UTH Florida University.

Administrators plan to offer 16 classes in the Fall 2015 semester and 32 for Spring 2016 with the support of 10 staff. They expect the offerings to increase each semester.

"We expect 250 students enrolled by the end of 2016 and 500 by 2018," said Lacayo by email. "Currently all of 80 faculty members are adjunct. Our staffing strategy is to seek maximum operating efficiency in order to pass along the savings to our students is the form of low and affordable tuition."

The new company hopes to set itself apart from other distance educational institutions by offering students affordable undergraduate degrees for $9,600 in Business, Marketing and Human Resource Management. Graduate degrees in Management and International Business Administration, Business and Finance, and Business and Marketing will cost $5,880. According to the press release, the Universidad Tecnologica de Honduras which was founded in 1986 and has over 15,000 students.

Mexican culture and history enthusiasts seek funds for traveling exhibit

Posted by Elena del Valle on August 5, 2015

Mexico Culture & Pride

Mexico Culture & Pride

Photo: Mexico Culture & Pride

Adriana Pavon, a Mexican entrepreneur and fashion consultant, plans to catch the attention of people who support fair trade and are socially conscious and intelligent consumers with Mexico Culture & Pride, an initiative to help preserve Mexican culture by showcasing quality accessories designed in collaboration with indigenous groups. She hopes it will be funded by a Kickstarter campaign.

It is scheduled to kick off in 2016 with an Oaxacan region exhibit titled "Through Frida's Eyes" to showcase the importance of Mexican history and the work of traditional and contemporary artists through a variety of forms. Organizers plan to offer attendees the opportunity to experience Mexican culture through photography, video, dance, gastronomy and mixology.

“The idea of the project is to work in collaboration with various indigenous cultures,” Pavon said by email. “We started in Mexico because that's my place of origin and I selected Oaxaca Mexico because it's where Frida Kahlo was from. The next exhibit will visit other regions of Mexico eventually reaching out to other countries.”

The campaign should launch in Los Angeles, Chicago, Detroit, Grand Rapids, New York City and Mexico City on dates to be determined based on the support received from public donations. In exchange for contributions, the campaign will offer a reward of its selection. The money raised is meant to cover the cost of the logistics and a small stipend for the volunteers. The exhibit will be a compilation of one hundred items, including traditional wardrobe, video clips, 10 of a contemporary collaboration, and fifty images of the traditions and customs of the region.

All reward items are made with Mexican labor and materials, Pavon explained. The exhibit pieces will be mostly made in Mexico with the exception of the contemporary collection that may contain some French laces and United States materials.

The team behind the project is composed of individuals "who are passionate about their work and have extensive experience in their field." They have clients such as Project Runway Latin America, Mexico’s Next Top Model, and Chrysler, and vast experience in manufacturing top brands, according to promotional materials. As part of the project, they will produce ten high end garments to be showcased in the traveling exhibit along with a collection of accessories in collaboration with regional artists.

Survey indicates low media trust of public relations workers

Posted by Elena del Valle on June 17, 2015

 

How often PR workers misled media survey

Survey: How often PR workers mislead media - click to enlarge

A recent report from a digital media and blogger placement company indicates that the relationship between public relations workers and media is poor. According to The Media Influencers Report of digital journalists, 90 percent of digital journalist respondents said they have been misled by public relations workers. Almost a quarter of them said such behavior happens often.

On average three out of four respondents said they use third party video. The highest percent among media channels, perhaps not surprisingly, was television where 93 percent of respondents said they use video provided by a third party. At the same time, when it came to video provided by public relations practitioners respondents indicated proper disclosure of content was a concern.

Twitter and Facebook top the list of social networks journalist respondents said they rely on for story ideas. Other sites that follow, they said, are LinkedIn, YouTube and Instagram.

The Media Influencers Report, the result of an online survey via Survey Monkey of 300 reporters and producers at TV, radio, newspaper, magazine, web media and bloggers, was recently released by D S Simon.

US, Austria study finds news media may influence racial bias

Posted by Elena del Valle on June 4, 2015

Temple Northup, University of Houston

Temple Northup, Ph.D., assistant professor, University of Houston

Photo: University of Houston

Two academics who studied the effects of media in the United States and Austria believe longterm exposure to news may influence racial bias. The results of their three studies were recently  published in a 20-page article titled Effects of Long-Term Exposure to News Stereotypes on Implicit and Explicit Attitudes in the International Journal of Communication.

Temple Northup, assistant professor at the University of Houston's Jack J. Valenti School of Communication, conducted the United States portion of the study while Florian Arendt at the University of Munich in Germany conducted the research in Austria. The study in the United States focused on possible bias toward African-Americans while the two studies in Austria addressed possible bias against foreigners. The researchers believe the influence of television news was likely greater than print news among study participants.

“The two countries were selected due to access of available data for a comparable news stereotype that exists in both countries,” said Northup in a press release. “In the U.S., a large body of research indicates crime is overrepresented on local television news relative to the actual amount of crime that actually occurs in a community. Previous content analyses conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of California, Santa Barbara have shown that that African-Americans are overrepresented as criminals on local television news when compared to their actual crime rates. In Austria, research has suggested foreigners are overrepresented as criminals in tabloid-style daily newspapers.”

In the first study in the United States 316 participants completed the Implicit Association Test (IAT), a controversial tool used in psychology to measure hidden bias people may have but are unwilling or unable to report. After completing the IAT, participants answered a question about their explicit (conscious) attitudes towards African-Americans, as well as how many hours of local television news they watch per day.

“The two countries were selected due to access of available data for a comparable news stereotype that exists in both countries,” said Northup. “In the U.S., a large body of research indicates crime is overrepresented on local television news relative to the actual amount of crime that actually occurs in a community. Previous content analyses conducted by researchers at the University of Michigan and the University of California, Santa Barbara have shown that that African-Americans are overrepresented as criminals on local television news when compared to their actual crime rates. In Austria, research has suggested foreigners are overrepresented as criminals in tabloid-style daily newspapers.”

There were 489 participants in the first Austria study for which researchers used the same data procedure. Respondents reported how many days per week they read the specific newspaper under investigation. The researchers concluded that exposure to the tabloid-style daily newspaper did not increase the negativity of implicit attitudes. There were 470 participants in the second Austria study. The academics concluded that reading content specifically about crime had a significant effect on implicit attitudes toward foreigners among respondents who said they often read crime articles.

While stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination are found across the world the impact of media on consumers remains to be clearly defined. The researchers concluded more studies are necessary to better understand the issues “before an earnest attempt to reduce these negative outcomes can be undertaken.”