After an upturn in February, consumer confidence dropped in March, reflecting the uncertainty American consumers have about future economic conditions, according to results of the RBC Consumer Attitudes and Spending by Household Index. The index for March stands at 86.2, a considerable decrease from 96.1 in February.
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The International Franchise Association has announced plans for “MinorityFran,” an initiative to help member companies recruit additional minority franchisees into their systems. MinorityFran will build on relationships through the IFA’s Diversity Institute with organizations such as the National Urban League, the Association of Small Business Development Centers, the U.S. Pan Asian American Chamber of Commerce and the Minority Business Development Agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.
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Mike and Tammy Pinto plan to open a restaurant in downtown Colorado Springs this month. Bistro de Pinto, at 26 E. Kiowa, will be about 1,000 square feet, seat about 30 people and have about six employees.
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A Colorado Springs running store has been named a top choice in four readers’ polls by Runners World magazine. Colorado Running Co., 833 N. Tejon St., won for the mountain region in the categories of general excellence, best customer service, best community outreach and best product selection.
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One of Colorado Springs’ upscale shoe stores now carries more styles and selections. “We took an area that used to be dressing rooms – we were using it for storage,” said Saboz owner Linda Bridger. “We remodeled and more than doubled our shoe display area.”
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Workers and residents in downtown and south Colorado Springs now have another option for dry cleaning their clothes – Pressed4Time, a franchise owned and operated by former Sky Sox pitcher Scott Randall. Randall bought the franchise in October, and said business has been successful, but there is room for growth. “I have plenty of routes still available,” he said. “I hope to really grow the business. Everyone who uses it loves it – it really saves time.”
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A family friendly fitness chain with locations across the country is set to open its second location in Colorado Springs this summer. Fitness 19 is building a 7,200-square-foot gym at Union Town Center. The other Fitness 19 location is on Stetson Hills Boulevard.
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Maggie Mae’s restaurant, a mainstay of Colorado Springs, has a new owner – but the same management team. Chuck Graybill, who has managed the diner for nine years, bought the building that houses the restaurant. “Our lease was up,” he said. “We were going to buy another property, but had some trouble. So, for a lot of reasons, we just made an offer on this building.”
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Consumers will spend less in 2006, thanks to a slower housing market and rising energy costs, according to a study from the National Retail Federation. The nation’s largest retail trade association predicts that industry sales, excluding automobiles, gas stations and restaurants, will increase 4.7 percent from last year.
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The Guinea Pigg, a store specializing in women’s clothing and accessories, will open at 110 N. Tejon St. in April, moving from its 30-year location in Old Colorado City. The store is owned by Sy and Sue Bachman.
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Local retailers rang up a very merry holiday season, outperforming national trends, thanks in large part to gift cards and last-minute shoppers. At The Citadel Mall, sales were up 2.5 percent compared to last year during the final week of Christmas shopping, said Diane Loschen, marketing manager for the mall.
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The Pikes Peak Independent Business Alliance needs volunteers to contact members and plan events to promote local businesses. “We had a few setbacks in the last part of 2005,” said Andy Gipe, president of the PPIBA. “But we do have the Web site up, and the online director is working. We just need manpower at this point. We’re trying to get back in touch with members and get things started again.”
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