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Moen global design team gets new leader

BY Brae Canlen

Faucet manufacturer Moen Inc. has announced the promotion of Ji Kim to director of global design, effective immediately. In her new role, Kim will be responsible for providing design leadership and vision for the global design team at Moen. She will set and drive strategy for product design in several countries for categories including faucets, showerheads, accessories and bath safety items.

“Since Ji joined our design team in 2004, she has made significant contributions to our global product designs, showrooms and overall design strategy,” said Michael Pickett, VP global strategic development, Moen. “Ji has proven her strength as both a designer and a leader – she is well positioned to take on this new and challenging role.” 

Prior to her new position, Kim served as the industrial design manager at Moen. In this role, she served as a strategic partner to the U.S. retail business group, leading industrial design efforts for customers including The Home Depot, Lowe’s, and Menards, among others.

Before her career at Moen, Kim worked as an industrial designer at Evo Design, a Connecticut-based, creative industrial design firm. Her clients included a wide range of companies such as Nike, Kodak, Samsonite, Safety First, and Schick.  Prior to her role at Evo, Kim was a footwear designer at Titleist and FootJoy, where she managed all aspects of golf shoe design – from concept to market.

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Centex goes after renters with new model

BY Brae Canlen

Centex, one of the nation’s largest residential builders, is rolling out a low-cost model aimed at Gen Y renters. Called “The Independence Series,” the homes sell for as little as $105,000 in the San Antonio market, suggesting an all-in monthly payment of approximately $775. In the Chicago area, prices start in the $129,000 range, suggesting an all-in monthly payment of approximately $999. Both assume a 3.5% down payment. 

With five floor plans, the buyer has the flexibility to select specific architectural options within their monthly mortgage payment. The one- and two-story plans range from 1,100 to 2,300 square feet with two to four bedrooms. Optional features may include: mudrooms, flex rooms, basements, and lofts.

Introduced in the San Antonio, Chicago and St. Louis markets, Centex now plans to roll out the Independence Series in other U.S. markets over the next 12 months.

"After absorbing multiple years of significant increases in rental rates, the scale has tipped for many apartment dwellers in favor of purchasing a home," said Deborah Meyer, senior VP and chief marketing officer for PulteGroup, the parent company of Centex. "Based on today’s lower home prices, coupled with mortgage rates on 30-year, fixed-rate loans that are at or near record low levels, home attainability has never been better. There is strong demand for the Independence Series. Not only are renters extremely motivated to purchase a new home at a tremendous value, but they also see the financial benefit to owning a home as a long-term investment.”

When designing these homes, Centex allowed consumers the flexibility to make trade-offs to choose the architectural options desired within their monthly payment, such as bedroom count vs. bath count vs. garage car count. "We invested considerable time and resources to fully understand consumer desires and sentiment of this demographic," Meyer said. "This new product isn’t a modification of an older floor plan, it represents a completely new design.”

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Retail federation dismayed by healthcare ruling

BY Ken Clark

After the Supreme Court upheld the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, the National Retail Federation (NRF) said it will redouble its efforts to repeal the healthcare law.

“We’re disappointed by today’s ruling,” said NRF president and CEO Matthew Shay in a statement. “The Court missed an opportunity to redress the many shortcomings of the law."

A consistent skeptic of the Affordable Care Act, Shay said the law wrongly puts a focus on penalizing employers and the private sector, and not enough emphasis on reducing the costs of health care.

“Although the Court upheld the law’s constitutionality, many problems remain: it penalizes employers too much; it doesn’t do enough to reduce the cost of health care, and it is unreasonably complicated and difficult to implement and administer,” he said. 

NRF will “redouble our efforts to repeal the law,” according to the statement.

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