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Jones Soda fighting tough times with new business plan

BY Melissa Valliant

SEATTLE Even the Jones’ are struggling to keep up these days.

Jones Soda will be eliminating 40 percent of its 110 employees this week in a plan to save $2.6 million annually. The 21-year-old company, known for its bottled, carbonated soft drinks and their unique flavors, recently announced a drastic drop in sales.

Last year proved a tough year as well, with an $11.6 million loss when founder Peter van Stolk led the company in an expansion plan that backfired. Jones Soda began producing canned sodas that were hoped to rival PepsiCo and Coca-Cola products.

Former Coca-Cola marketing executive Stephen Jones then replaced van Stolk with the initial strategy of increasing the number of distributors and increasing canned soda sales. This plan crashed and burned this year, and Jones now plans to revert back to the company’s original roots by focusing on selling the sodas at more independent delis and pizza places, cutting back on the canned soda initiative and reducing the amount of distributors. The company has even made a deal with independent graphic novel publisher Dark Horse Comics to add cartoon images to the soda bottle labels.

“Consumers are looking for variety, something unique in this huge market,” Gary Hemphill, managing director at the Beverage Marketing Corporation, said. “Growth in this industry is coming from the smaller niches of the market, where I would include Jones Soda.”

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Cub Food hopes to spread environmental awareness with opening of ‘green’ grocery store

BY Jenna Duncan

MINNEAPOLIS Cub Food is now operating the nation’s first “green” grocery store in St. Paul, the company said. The store is certified by the Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design and will save about $6,500 in energy costs per year.

To construct the store, builders used recycled materials and energy-efficient lights and fixtures. The store also has 44 solar-powered skylights and the parking lot is equipped with LED lights which have a lifetime of about 40 years.

Additionally, the outdoor landscaping will be irrigated using a system designed to conserve water and landscapers will plant drought-resistant plants around the store, Cub Food said.

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Former White House chef and Sara Lee release White House-worthy sandwich ideas

BY Melissa Valliant

DOWNERS GROVE, Ill. Craving a meal fit for a king? Chef Louis Eguaras may not have cooked for royalty, but, as a former White House chef, he prepared meals for President George Bush Sr. and is now joining forces with Sara Lee Deli to bring the White House cuisine to your home.

The two encourage Americans to celebrate Nov. 3’s National Sandwich Day, which coincidentally shares the date with the eve of the 2008 presidential election. Sara Lee Deli has posted two recipes inspired by both Obama and McCain’s favorite foods at www.thejoyofeating.com, Check out the a-vote-cado and turkey; red, white and blue inaugural; and the bi-partisan panini.

Eguaras recommends sandwich-makers use Sara Lee Deli to aid them in their sandwich creations for the night of Nov. 3, and suggests Sara Lee Fresh Ideas sandwich dressings. The condiments are sold in small, single-serve packets that allows you to wait until the last minute to apply, sparing you a soggy sandwich.

Sara Lee Deli is also releasing four new deli meats comprising pre-sliced Sara Lee Fresh Ideas Garlic herb Chicken and Hickory Smoked Ham, as well as deli-available Sara Lee Fresh Ideas Virginia Brand Ham with Natural Juices and Deluxe Cooked Ham with Natural Juices.

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