Sunday, December 05, 1999

Car dealer puts hit on Bengals


        Hey, Coach Coslet: if you need something to fire up your Bengals for their Dec. 12 battle for Ohio with the Cleveland Browns, post this on the bulletin board:

        If the Browns hold the Bengals scoreless, the Royal Auto Family, which operates Chevrolet and Dodge dealerships in the northeastern cities of Aurora and Mentor, promises to refund up to $2,000 of the down payment on any new or used car purchase or lease made by Dec. 11.

        Royal, car sponsor for the Browns, has featured a number of Browns players — including Corey Fuller, James Williams and Irv Smith — in a series of TV commercials in Cleveland promoting the offer, said Eddie Occhionero, Royal's marketing director.

        He declined to say how many cars the company has sold because of the promotion, but added: “The response has been fantastic. We've had people come from the other side of town to buy cars.”

        Have any disenchanted Bengal fans turned coat and taken advantage of the offer?

        “Not yet, but we're waiting,” Mr. Occhionero said. — Mike Boyer

Slice of the economy pie
        For most economists, there's the Consumer Price Index or the stock index. At Frisch's Restaurants, old Big Boy might start using the pie index.

        Sales of Frisch's favored pumpkin pies were up about 5 percent this Thanksgiving week over last year, said Craig Maier, chief executive of the chain. That's 35,552 pies sold at Frisch's 91 restaurants. We'll do the math for you — almost 391 pies per restaurant.

        That increase beats consumer price advancements by about two. Up to October, consumer prices this year have been rising at an annual rate of 2.8 percent.

        “The economy's doing very well,” Mr. Maier said. “It's very interesting to watch.”

        Of course, the pie index may have as much to do with America's increasing weight as it does the economy. According to the American Medical Association, more than half the population is overweight and almost 18 percent are obese.

        Pumpkin pies are the most popular item on Frisch's menu, Mr. Maier said. For the more than 35,500 Frisch's sold around Thanksgiving, less than 15,000 other pies were sold. — Lisa Biank Fasig

Santa's tax workshop
        Better bring a wheelbarrow.

        Small-business owners and the self-employed are invited to attend a day-long tax workshop sponsored by the IRS and the Ohio Department of Taxation on Wednesday At the day-long free seminar at the Fifth Third Training Center, 200 West Benson St., IRS experts will review business structures, federal tax filing requirements, information about recordkeeping and Ohio business taxes.

        And there will be forms — plenty of forms.

        A wheelbarrow may be excessive but a satchel is certainly in order, said Lisa Madden, public affairs specialist with the IRS. “It will be easy to carry out (the forms) in your arms,” she said.

        Information, call 513-263-3082. — John Eckberg

Dryel sports celebrities
        Procter & Gamble is recruiting celebrity athletes for its “Dryel Team,” which is on a nationwide road trip to promote the Dryel home dry-cleaning kit in malls.

        U.S. soccer stars Shannon MacMillan and Sara Whalen; Olympic gold medal skater Cathy Turner; U.S. softball first baseman Sheila Cornell Douty; and WNBA star Lakeshia Frett will be among the athletes speaking to mall-goers about their achievements in sports, their active lifestyles and benefits of Dryel for people on the go.

        P&G's Dryel is designed to allow consumers to clean and freshen “dry clean only” clothes at home.

        The Cincinnati packaged-goods maker kicked off the Dryel mall tour Labor Day weekend at the Mall of America in suburban Minneapolis.

        The tour, billed “Men & Women on the Move,” will reach more than 250 malls across North America with sports celebrities hosting 89 select events on Fridays and Saturdays. — Randy Tucker

        Items for Tipsheet are gathered by Enquirer business reporters and compiled by Lisa Biank Fasig of the business staff.


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- Car dealer puts hit on Bengals
Ex-CEO downsizes job, picks up rock 'n' roll drumsticks
Infomercials surf Web terrain
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Rural basket-maker adding Columbus office