December 10, 2014

When Michael Garrity founded CommunityLend in 2010, he thought his company was in a perfect position to capture an untapped market. After all, the 2008 financial crisis made many banks wary of lending too much cash, presenting a golden opportunity to non-traditional operations like CommunityLend. Plus, the company’s peer-to-peer model was the first of its kind in Garrity’s home country of Canada, marking a major advantage for the startup.

Despite these benefits, though, CommunityLend had trouble finding qualified borrowers for Continue reading

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November 25, 2014

 

In a world of Amazon and e-readers, there’s just not much room for independent bookstores. Over the past five years, mom and pop bookshops have seen revenues decrease by an average of 3.2 percent annually. But not every company in this discouraging industry is feeling the squeeze. In fact, the Dallas-based retailer Half Price Books is growing at a rate of five stores per year. Revenues rose from $50 million in 1995 to $240 million in 2013, remarkably avoiding Continue reading

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November 23, 2014

From making repairs to keeping the gas tank filled, owning a car is a pricey enterprise for many people. But of all the expenses required for auto ownership, perhaps none is more frustrating than paying for insurance. Not only is the service expensive, it’s also rarely needed until something goes seriously wrong with your car. Matters are even worse for people like Greg Muender, a San Diego tech entrepreneur who works from home. Even though he clocks in as few Continue reading

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November 18, 2014

Thanks to increased domestic production and a period of relative market stability, gas prices have been dropping across the country. Still, no matter how low the price at the pump goes, fueling up with compressed natural gas will almost always be a better value. Those who own a vehicle that can run on the alternative fuel pay an average of $1.70 less per gallon than those who use standard petroleum. Of course, not many people out there own a natural Continue reading

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November 15, 2014

Thanks to tough legislation and widespread public education, the number of U.S. smokers has declined 50 percent since the habit’s heyday in the 1950s. Although this significant customer drop-off has hurt many tobacco companies, business has been booming over the last few years for the iconic lighter brand Zippo. The Bradford, PA-based company earned $200 million in sales last year, a record for the lighter maker. What’s more, Zippo’s expanded global presence and diversified product line has increased sales by Continue reading

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November 13, 2014

 

When it comes to innovation in business, creating a viable and valuable product is just the first step. After all, the arrival of the portable MP3 player made many companies stand up and take notice of this revolutionary device. One of those firms was Apple, who soon came to dominate the market with the iPod. Although the signature MP3 player was released later than its competitors, the product’s dependability and stylish design quickly allowed it to capture the bulk Continue reading

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November 2, 2014

Although it’s been more than six years since the start of the Great Recession, many in the restaurant industry have failed to adjust to the “new normal” created by the downturn. In fact, visits to U.S. restaurants have fallen by a staggering 1.3 billion since 2008. As American eateries become desperate for business, many have turned to gimmicky menu items to drum up interest. From Taco Bell’s Waffle Taco to the $100 “Never Ending Pasta Pass” at Olive Garden, restaurants Continue reading

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October 31, 2014

The multi-billion dollar home goods company Procter & Gamble produces hundreds of items, but the iconic business owes much of its success to just one brand. More than 135 years ago, James Norris Gamble led a team that created a vegetable oil-based soap with a distinctly white hue. The color presented the company with the perfect brand name, Ivory, while the item’s ability to float provided a unique selling point. What’s more, Gamble advertised the bar of soap as being Continue reading

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October 28, 2014

For more than 50 years, the Red Delicious has dominated the American apple market. But while no one can dispute the fruit’s famous color, many consumers have begun to take exception to the “Delicious” portion of its name. Even though the U.S. still produces 54 million bushels of Red Delicious annually, production of the fruit has dropped 40 percent since 2000 as demand for other varieties has increased.

The Red Delicious began its ascent way back in the 1870s when Continue reading

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October 26, 2014

 

With so many teenagers equipped with smartphones, it can be easy for older Americans to feel a little jealous of their younger counterparts. After all, cramming at the last minute before a big history exam is a lot easier if you can quickly double check facts on your iPhone. If the subject’s algebra or calculus, however, today’s high school kids have about the same technological edge as students did 10 years ago. That’s because the TI-84 Plus graphing calculator Continue reading

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