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Lunch on the Go Stays Fresh with Box Lunches, Ready-Made Sandwiches

As busy as life is for many of us, think of the guys working a shift at the local plant and the sales staff grabbing food before the next meeting.

Drive through DeliView lunch boxes

After waiting in a long fast-food drive-thru, your fresh food choices are limited.

The problem is being able to get fresh food without burning up your gas in a drive-through line or standing in a line that creeps along.

For food truck, deli owners and convenience stores, the solutions come in a box – and a plastic container as well.

DeliView

A clear vliew of ready-made deli selections will help the busy customer make a decision.

Yes, ads for a major sandwich chain have professional and Olympic athletes telling everyone to “eat fresh.” If you’re working at a machine shop with limited options nearby, you’ll have to set a world land speed record to eat and be back in 30 minutes.

Two items that could earn you a spot at the top of the podium are a DeliView Clear Hinged Sandwich Wedge (250 for $71.50) and a 9 x 5 x 4 white paper box perfect for box lunches (250 for $53).

The wedge allows you to pack freshly made sandwiches in a container where customers can see the food quality. The container keeps out moisture and oxygen, making sure your food looks fresher and more visually appealing.

In the mad dash from the dock to your store, the hungry worker will hone in on something attractive. Give your hungry neighbors a chance to see something other than a mashed sandwich in too many layers of plastic wrap.

For deli owners, the 9 x 5 x 4 white cardboard box is perfect for a portable meal. The lock-tab box will hold a sandwich, chips, cookie apple and a drink.

Food truck operators can have these stacked up and ready to go when the lunch whistle blows. The busy sales executive could do a drive-by and eat a fresh, tasty meal on the way to the next sales call without burger grease endangering the classy tie that seals the deal.

Being a hero to busy customers is a good thing. While you won’t need to wear a cape, fueling the workforce might make you feel that you’ve saved Metropolis in a very super way.

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Produce more produce sales with ‘More Matters’ month, unique bag system

Research shows that fruit and vegetables are important to maintain good health. Yet most of us aren’t eating enough fruit and vegetables. This September, Stewart’s Packaging wants its customers – the produce stands, grocers and farmers markets – to participate in “Fruit and Veggies – More Matters Month.”

More Matters bag

The "More Matters" bag reinforces the message of eating more fruits and vegetables while the Grab Tab bag system reduces waste.

Eating the recommended servings of fruit and vegetables can help protect you from heart disease, bone loss, type 2 diabetes and certain types of cancers. A diet rich in fruits and vegetables can also help you lose weight.

As kids head back to school, parents are looking to start the academic year right with notebooks and nutrition.

Why not offer information to the parents and caregivers and help them send kids to school ready for the day.

One way for a farmers market to show its commitment is to offer fruit and vegetables for sale at a discounted price.

Another alternative is for local grocery stores to have a representative present tips on how to save money when buying fruit and vegetables.

Take that commitment one step further by reminding them of the Center for Disease Control’s designation of September as More Matters month by utilizing these special 8 + 4 x 16 high-density polyethylene bags.

Besides an opportunity to educate, the month is an event to serve up more produce to the public.

One way to help do that is with the Grab Tab bag system from Better Bags Inc., and Stewart’s Packaging. Utilizing a patent-pending design, the Grab Tab bag system displays the “More Matters” bags prominently, promoting more impulse buying and vanquishing waste.

With its patent pending design, the bag system steps out from the background and stands like a sentry in the produce aisle. Not like other bags relegated to the darkness and held up by nails or hooks, the Grab Tab system is inviting to customers.

The new “Eliminator” protector sleeve stops waste so that customers can only grab one bag at a time, thus minimizing waste.The bags dispense already pre-opened and keep things sanitary because customers only touch the bag they’re pulling.

Access to the headers is behind the one on top, in case it runs out of bags. Thus, there’s no need to continuously refill with a new header if multiple headers are placed on the same rack or hook.

“The Grab Tab bags reduced our waste to virtually zero,” said a representative of the Virginia-based grocery-chain Ukrop’s.

Indeed. The Grab Tab system is easier to load and dispense, allowing your customers to concentrate on buying and eating more fruits and veggies.

Besides back to school, September can help you make the grade when it comes to selling more fruits and vegetables.

 

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Boxes of Candy Only Trumped by Love on Feb. 14

“How do I love thee? Let me count the ways,” wrote poet Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

Candy boxesFor your sweetie or betrothed, a box of chocolates on Valentine’s Day makes a personal impact.

For those in the candy business, the economic impact is counted in the millions of dollars, whether you listen to pollsters at Nielsen or the National Federation of Retailers.

During Valentine’s week, consumers will rack up more than 58 million pounds of chocolate, ringing up $345 million in sales and making up 5.1 percent of the total annual sales, according to Nielsen.

It doesn’t matter whether the candy comes in a one-pound or half-pound candy box, half of all celebrants will buy candy on Valentine’s, said the National Federation of Retailers.

“Anticipating high foot traffic in the coming weeks, retailers have replenished their inventories and will entice eager shoppers with great deals on everything from special menu items at restaurants to clothing to flowers and, of course, chocolates,” said NFR President and CEO Matthew Shay.

On a total candy basis, consumers will purchase more than $448 million during Valentine’s week with a lot of bargain hunters trolling the candy isle on Feb. 15.

Beyond the sales figures, not all recipients of chocolates are women. The Chocolate Manufacturers Association reported in a survey that 50 percent of women will likely give a gift of chocolate to a guy for Valentine’s Day.

The average person celebrating the holiday will shell out $126.03, up 8.5 percent over last year’s $116.21 and the highest in the survey’s 10-year history. Total spending is expected to reach $17.6 billion.

Still, sweeties for your sweetie are a safe way to go. Just keep the flowers and restaurant reservations a secret until the right time.

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Demand for Fair Trade products picks up

Understanding your customers is a great way to keep them happy.

Just as if your customers have green thoughts, eco-friendly packaging is a good choice. Therefore, if fair wages for the goods you buy are important to your customer, think of Fair Trade Certified Products.

Reaction from consumers recently forced a major company to rethink its use of anything else but Fair Trade Certified Products.

Fair Trade Certified Cotton Show Bags - Stewart's Packaging, Houston

Customers who care about how goods are produced worldwide will appreciate a Fair Trade Certified Cotton Show Bag.

Just last month, lingerie retailer Victoria’s Secret announced a plan to repair the damage to its image after organic cotton used in its products was reported to have been produced with forced child labor.

Parent company Limited Brands told Bloomberg in statement, “We are very concerned.”

“If this allegation is true, it describes behavior that is contrary to our company’s values and the code of labor and sourcing standards that we require all of our suppliers to meet,” the statement said. “These standards expressly prohibit child labor.”

Victoria’s Secret isn’t the only big-name caught up in allegations of child labor.

In 2007, fashion retailer Gap pulled merchandise off its shelves after a report that child labor was used in harvesting the cotton for the garments. Nike came under scrutiny during the Nineties when its contractors in Pakistan and Cambodia were alleged to have used child labor to make soccer balls.

People who own natural food stores or yoga studios make it a point to present products that resonate with their customers. No sports drinks like Gatorade or PowerAde are usually sold there – mostly bottled water, juices or coconut water.

Yoga studios project an image of purity and “centering yourself.” Thus, lots of natural fabrics, if not mostly organic, are sold in its shops. Sometimes having a cotton bag isn’t enough for some people.

Your company can do good things for its image by aligning your company or product with Fair Trade.

The basic principles of Fair Trade, according to its U.S. organization include:

  • Fair prices
  • No genetically modified organisms (GMOs)
  • No hazardous chemicals
  • No child labor.

Offering a Fair Trade Certified Cotton Show Bag at a convention, trade show or event shows that you and your company are thinking like your customers.

Fair Trade Certified - Stewart's Packaging

Most companies offering Fair Trade Certified products display this logo,

 

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Companies, employees targets of phishing on the job

Individuals aren’t the only marks for con artists as businesses are targets as well.

“Phishing” or stealing usernames and passwords to access finances and credit cards is happening to companies also.

Phishing

Be aware of scammers "phishing" for access to the usernames, passwords, credit cards and bank accounts of business owners..

Recently, an e-mail came to Stewart’s with the words “Urgent Order” in the subject line. A timely reply went out asking for more information.

An e-mail came back from a different email address asking for product “needed ASAP” and that shipping and payment “would be arranged.” And, by the way, the destination was “West Africa.”

The next morning, a call into our office to get the order placed was made, again stressing its urgency. When told that shipping to Africa would not be possible, he then said he wanted it shipped to Poland.

After the worker apologized that the product couldn’t be shipped internationally, one more email came to ask for a container load of grocery bags.

And that is where the story ended for us.

A federal agent we talked to said often investigators can’t determine which country this “businessman” is writing this from because they’re doing a virtual shell game — running through a proxy server that runs through other proxies. In other words, these guys aren’t even where their computer says they are located.

Actually, it’s probably best that you delete any subsequent emails from this contact because there is an illicit high-tech way from them to access your portal, contacts and email addresses and turn your contacts into more targets.

This scenario is similar to the old “boiler rooms” where basements and places were full of dodgy marketers.

Security gaps by employees can be costly not only to an organization but to the individual affected, according to the Department of Homeland Security.

Hackers are now targeting employees through emails that appear to be from colleagues within their own organizations. These new types of attacks via email are called “spear phishing” and are much harder to detect.

Criminal hackers are also increasingly turning to social-media tools, such as LinkedIn and Facebook, to entice individuals to download malicious code or to reveal passwords.

As these social networking sites rise in popularity, more and more criminals are obtaining personal identifiable information about unsuspecting individuals to use for credit card and loan applications, to withdraw funds from bank accounts, and to steal a person’s identity.

Good prevention is having processes in place that protects business critical information and people.

The lesson in both cases is to know the people you’re in business with, whether they come from inside your company or out.

Resources:

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Drinks stir the drink, fill the tax till

If a tax bill is the price of a drink, people in Texas will continue to pay in this time of economic challenges.

Alcohol taxes - Stewart's Packaging, Houston

A frosty glass of liquid refreshment pays your taxes and gives people jobs. Photo Courtesy: National Library of Ireland via flickr

According to the Texas Alcoholic Beverage Commission, September tax collections of distilled spirits, wine, beer and ale remained constant with the previous month, netting about $149.7 million.

For the restaurant industry, the lawful sale of alcohol is a huge profit center, estimated at around 50 percent of the profit margin even though it accounts for only 16-18 percent of sales.

With such sales, taxes come. Nationally, beverage alcohol’s total contribution to state and local revenues was over $40 billion, according to 2008 figures from the Distilled Spirits Council of the United States.

Responsible consumption not only allows legal adults a time to relax or enjoy a good glass of wine but generate sales and pay wages. Straws, stirs and beverage napkins have to be bought and someone’s got to deliver it.

Quantity-wise, 1.8 million gallons of distilled spirits were sold in September, 3.4 million gallons of wine, 45.9 million gallons of beer and 4.5 million gallons of ale were purchased.

So while we raise our glass to our friends and family, remember we’re not imbibing; we’re paying our taxes one drink at a time.

And helping a restaurant industry serve a thirsty nation.

 

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Stewart’s exec cites her dad as an influence on talk show

Stewart’s Chief Operating Officer Lisa Bailey said Dave Stewart, her father and owner of Stewart’s Packaging, as someone whose brain she’s like to tap into recently.

As a guest on Women In Business Radio, Stewart said, “I can’t think of anybody else. I have to go with my dad on that.”

Play Interview: Women in Business Radio interview: Lisa Bailey of Stewart’s Packaging by Mark Evangelista

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Stewart’s exec slated for internet radio show on Monday

Lisa Bailey, the chief operating officer for Stewart’s Packaging will be a guest on Women in Business, an internet radio show hosted by Michele Price on Monday.

Stewart's Packaging Chief Operating Officer Lisa Stewart Bailey

Lisa Bailey, chief operating officer for Stewart's Packaging, will be interviewed on Monday.

The show is scheduled for 12:15 p.m. Central time on Monday, Oct. 3. An archive of the show will be posted on the Blog Talk Radio site for Women in Business.

With a commitment to customers and tradition, the second-generation business owner leads Stewart’s Packaging in serving owners in the retail and restaurant segments, both locally and nationwide. Founded in 1957, the wholesale packaging distributor is located in Houston’s Original Farmers Market at 2520 Airline.

Bailey graduated from the University of Houston with a teaching degree and joined the business in 1999.

Stewart’s own line of cleaners is available now for delivery by the case. Single gallon purchase is available at the 2520 Airline Dr. showroom.

 

The degreaser, floor cleaner, hand cleaner and oven and grill cleaner are competitively priced against the national brands. Because of shipping regulations, the oven cleaner is only available locally.

Stewart’s Packaging, Inc., is the only non-produce company located at Houston’s Original Farmers Market. Stewart’s Packaging, Inc., is a member of the Retail Packaging Association, the American Specialty Toy Retailers Association and the Greater Heights Area Chamber of Commerce.

 

Chemicals from Stewart's Packaging, Inc.

Stewart's own line of cleaners is available now for delivery by the case. Single gallon purchase is available at the 2520 Airline Dr. showroom.

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Market buzzing ahead of Labor Day

As the Labor Day weekend beckons, activity is ramping up at Houston’s Original Farmers Market, where Stewart’s Packaging is located.

Truck beds of retailers around here are filling up with melons headed for local produce stands and stores. Small business owners – many retail and restaurant owners – shopping here at 2520 Airline Dr. are ready to capitalize on the demand by meeting it with ample supplies.

Watermelon for Labor Day - Stewart's Packaging, Houston

Fresh Watermelon at Houston's Original Farmers Market, where Stewart's Packaging has been since 1957.

Think of how many barbeques will take place or how many bags of ice will be sold from now until Monday.

Actually, well before the first grill was lit or a watermelon was cut, Labor Day almost didn’t happen.

The first parade was in doubt because of organizational issues in 1882. In Lower Manhattan in New York, the police had circled City Hall, just in case the crowd got too rambunctious. At 9 a.m., officers on horseback and clubs at the ready were all in place.

What was missing? Music. The grand marshal of the parade was advised to cancel the event, if it wasn’t for Mathew Maguire of the Central Labor Union of New York.

Maguire, who some call the “Father of Labor Day,” saved the day when he ran to announce that 200 members of the Jewelers Union of Newark Two has just crossed over on the ferry.

Though the popularity of John Phillip Sousa be impugned, the jewelers union cranked up “When I Put This Uniform On,” a Gilbert and Sullivan song.

Reports of the day estimated the marchers and parade-goers numbered between 10,000 and 20,000.

Not official until 1894 after President Grover Cleveland signed it into law, Labor Day came about in the wake of the federal military and marshals culpability in the fatalities during the infamous Pullman strike.

For many, the holiday marks the last unofficial day of summer.

So as you get ready for a long weekend, take a moment to thank those whose labor makes this country what it is.

And savor that slice of watermelon, hot dog or whatever is on the menu. Things move fast here and fall will be here before you can say “Where’s the music?”

Labor Day, New York, 1882 - Stewart's Packaging, Houston

Lithograph of Labor Day, New York, 1882

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Business owners, church not laughing at funny money

Counterfeit Pen - Stewart's Packaging, Houston

Besides a sharp eye, a counterfeit pen should be one of the tools that retail businesses should have on hand when spying suspect bills.

Sometimes, it’s not about the Benjamins but about the Jacksons, too.

Small business owners should be on the lookout for counterfeit money in denominations lower than a $100 bill, which features a portrait of Benjamin Franklin, according to law enforcement.

Special Agent Michael Moore of the Secret Service told the Evansville (Ill.) Courier & Press that the big bills are drawing more scrutiny, hence the switch to smaller bills like the $20 printed with Andrew Jackson.

“When I started at the Secret Service 12 years ago, it was mostly hundreds,” said Moore. “But people look at their $100 bills more, so (perpetrators) switched to lower bills. Generally speaking a $20-bill doesn’t get looked at very much, compared to other bills.”

A quick method is using a counterfeit pen, which can reveal a bogus bill on the spot. The pen draws a small line on a suspicious bill with the amber-colored ink. If it immediately turns black or brown, the currency is fraudulent. While no substitute to knowing the currency, this affordable tool pinpoints phony currency in an instant.

Businesses aren’t the only ones getting hit, either. According to Tuesday’s article in the Courier & Press, Moore was investigating someone who conned ushers to allow him to make change for $100 to make a donation.

The Secret Service recommends comparing the quality difference in printing and paper in a suspected bill with a genuine note. Consider these characteristics to protect your business.

Bad portrait - Counterfeit pen, Stewart's Packaging, Houston

Bad Portrait

 

Portrait

The genuine portrait appears lifelike and stands out distinctly from the background. The counterfeit portrait is usually lifeless and flat. Details merge into the background which is often too dark or mottled.

 

 

 

Bad seals -- Counterfeit pen, Stewart's Packaging, Houston

Bad seals

Treasury Seals

On a genuine bill, the saw-tooth points of the Federal Reserve and Treasury seals are clear, distinct, and sharp. The counterfeit seals may have uneven, blunt, or broken saw-tooth points.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bad border - Counterfeit pen, Stewart's Packaging, Houston

Bad border

Border

The fine lines in the border of a genuine bill are clear and unbroken. On the counterfeit, the lines in the outer margin and scrollwork may be blurred and indistinct.

 

 

 

 

Bad serial numbers - Counterfeit pen, Stewart's Packaging, Houston

Bad serial numbers

Serial Numbers

Genuine serial numbers have a distinctive style and are evenly spaced. The serial numbers are printed in the same ink color as the Treasury Seal. On a counterfeit, the serial numbers may differ in color or shade of ink from the Treasury seal. The numbers may not be uniformly spaced or aligned.

 

 

 

 

 

Bad paper - Counterfeit pen, Stewart's Packaging, Houston

Bad paper

Paper

Genuine currency paper has tiny red and blue fibers embedded throughout. Often counterfeiters try to simulate these fibers by printing tiny red and blue lines on their paper. Close inspection reveals, however, that on the counterfeit note the lines are printed on the surface, not embedded in the paper. It is illegal to reproduce the distinctive paper used in the manufacturing of United States currency.

 

 

 

Nothing Beats Vigilance

Use the tools of observation and train your cashiers on how a bad bill looks. An inexpensive tool like a counterfeit pen can help too.

After all, you should be focusing on running your business, not how to fill out a currency report. But if you do, download one here.

Hopefully, this form will never need to be used as long as you keep your eyes open and your register closed to counterfeit money.

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