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Dow partners with Beanstalk to build DIY market

BY HBSDEALER Staff

New York-based Dow Chemical Co. has partnered with Beanstalk, a global brand-licensing consultancy, to develop a comprehensive consumer product line for the home improvement and do-it-yourself markets.

The plan, which is expected to launch in 2011, will extend the Dow line of products and expand the Great Stuff Insulating Foam Sealant and SafeTouch fiberglass-free insulation lines, the company said.

“Beanstalk’s expertise in the home improvement retail industry makes them a perfect partner to help Dow achieve its goal of heightening brand awareness through a much broader product offering and larger in-store presence,” said Jennifer Montgomery, retail brand manager at Dow. “As consumers become more willing to tackle projects in and around the home, the timing to expand the Dow brand could not be better.”

“The heritage and credibility of the Dow brand, combined with its established retail presence, provides us with a tremendous opportunity to enter new, complementary home-improvement product categories,” said Michael Stone, president and CEO of Beanstalk. “We are thrilled Dow recognizes our leadership and experience in the home improvement and DIY licensing categories, and we are excited to begin developing a successful licensing program.”

As a global brand-licensing agency, New York-based Beanstalk expands brands through strategic development of licensed products. The company also works with manufacturers to help identify and acquire compelling brands and properties to help them gain competitive advantage in the marketplace.

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Slowdown predicted by cement industry economist

BY HBSDEALER Staff

The latest economic forecast from the Portland Cement Association (PCA) indicates no growth in cement consumption for the rest of 2010, followed by a small increase next year.

The Skokie, Ill., trade association said that the “economic momentum that was gathering steam early in the year has dissipated to a large extent,” resulting in a predicted 0.3% rise in cement consumption in 2010. Next year the consumption of cement should grow by 1.4%, the organization said, with a 4% increase expected in 2012. A period of sustained growth is forecasted for 2013 and beyond.

“Unfortunately, future gains in construction activity are dictated by labor conditions today,” said Edward Sullivan, PCA’s chief economist. “Slow job growth leads to slower home purchases and start activity. It undermines the speed at which state deficits can heal impacting public construction, and implies low occupancy rates for the non-residential market.”

While small percentage gains could characterize each of these segments during the next two years, substantive cement consumption volume gains are unlikely to materialize until 2013, the PCA said. This implies a phase of cement consumption reflecting only modest growth for the near term.

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Blagojevich witness arrested for shoplifting

BY HBSDEALER Staff

Awitness in the trial of former Illinois governor Rod Blagojevich has been arrested for shoplifting at a Home Depot store, according to articles in the Chicago Tribune and the Chicago Sun-Times.

Rajinder Bedi, 58, was allegedly seen by employees at the North Lincoln Home Depot store in Chicago concealing items valued at $166. Given the total value of the merchandise, Bedi may be charged with felony retail theft, which has a $150 threshold.

Bedi, who once held the position of managing director of the state’s Office of Trade and Investment in Blagojevich’s administration, testified under immunity in July about the ex-governor’s alleged efforts to sell President Obama’s former Senate seat.

Prosecutors said Bedi met with Rep. Jesse Jackson Jr. and a major Jackson fundraiser, Raghuveer Nayak, at a Chicago restaurant. At the meeting, Nayak promised to raise $1 million for Blagojevich if he appointed Jackson to the Senate seat, prosecutors said.

Blagojevich was convicted of lying to the FBI last summer, but the jury deadlocked on other counts. His retrial is scheduled to start next year.

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