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Ohio store helps consumers lead a ‘Safe & Ready Life’

BY Michael Johnsen

MILFORD, Ohio — While there’s little chance a tsunami or the gale-force winds of a Hurricane Katrina will ever come crashing through this Cincinnati suburb, John Vota’s Safe & Ready Life store provides home and family safety solutions, along with emergency supplies and services to help prepare homes for both everyday emergencies and natural catastrophes.

Safe & Ready Life wasn’t opened to cater to end-of-days theorists and survival specialists, necessarily, but for the everyday person. Most of the products can be found across mass retailers and specialty sports shops, but Vota’s concept brings it all into one place. “One of the challenges I’ve had in preparing for emergencies — you put together a list and realize you’ve got to go to 10 different places,” he said, and there is no guarantee that they’ll have what is needed.

“[For example], it’s very difficult to find emergency food with a five-year shelf life,” he said. Another item you wouldn’t necessarily find in the neighborhood drug store is an atmospheric water generator that creates potable water, literally out of thin air.

Safe & Ready Life features products from more than 70 vendors, Vota said. It is a free-standing store with some 2,500 selling sq. ft. featuring a red and blue color scheme — red for warning-type products and blue for safety, Vota said.

“It behooves people to become a little more educated on what is happening around them in terms of the ability of the government to supply our essential basic needs,” Vota said. That’s not as much a criticism of government services as it is an acknowledgement that natural disasters significantly can impede those government services.

Still, there aren’t many natural disasters blowing through the Cincinnati area. “That’s part of my challenge as a retailer,” Vota said. “What can happen here in Cincinnati? Ice storms can be a big deal,” he said.

Vota has discovered that even though his actual storefront is located in Ohio, his virtual storefront extends both west to the earthquake regions of California and south to the hurricane watch areas alongside the Gulf of Mexico.

Click here for exclusive photos of Safe & Ready Life.

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Rite Aid commences fundraising for Children’s Miracle Network

BY Allison Cerra

CAMP HILL, Pa. — Rite Aid is hoping to raise $5 million to benefit the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals as it kicks off its 17th annual fundraising campaign for the nonprofit organization.

The company said it is encouraging customers to support their local Children’s Miracle Network Hospital this season by buying $1 paper Miracle balloons through May 28. The drug store chain said 100% of the proceeds for the campaign will be donated to the nonprofit, which raises funds for more than 170 children’s hospitals throughout North America. Customers who purchase the paper balloon will each receive $8 in coupon offers good for products sold at Rite Aid.

Last year, the company raised $4.9 million. Rite Aid associates also host special events throughout the year to raise funds for the charity.

“Our fundraising campaign for Children’s Miracle Network is just one way Rite Aid associates demonstrate our core value of being a caring neighbor,” said John Standley, Rite Aid president and CEO. “They are committed to raising as much as they can for their local children’s hospital, and I know that this year, through their above-and-beyond efforts, they’ll help make even more miracles happen for those who need it the most.”

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American Greetings gives moms a ‘standing ovation’

BY Allison Cerra

CLEVELAND — American Greetings is applauding moms for their unconditional love and endless support and advice with a new greeting card line this Mother’s Day.

New Standing Ovations are 3-D pop-up cards that include audio and intricate paper engineering, the company said.

"We know consumers want to make a grand gesture on Mother’s Day to let important moms in their lives know just how special they are, so we combined exciting paper technology with beautiful artwork into a card that really makes a statement," said Carol Miller, executive director of new product concepts at American Greetings. "As the next generation of pop-up cards, Standing Ovations really deliver a surprising treat sure to let mom know that you love and appreciate her in a big way."

Consumers can find Standing Ovations for Mother’s Day at participating drug chains, grocery stores and mass retailers nationwide, as well as in American Greetings and Carlton Cards retail stores.

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