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Consuming Interests
A blog for the smart consumer
Proposed White Marsh outlet mall gets OK

A Baltimore County administrative judge has approved a proposed outlet mall in White Marsh that's drawn opposition from neighbors and rival retailers.

Paragon Outlet Partners has proposed a combination of outlet stores, non-outlet stores and residences on an 83-acre property across Interstate 95 from the White Marsh Mall and The Avenue at White Marsh. Two existing office buildings on the site would be rebuilt.

John E. Beverungen, a Baltimore County administrative law judge, ruled on Tuesday in favor of changes to the project's planned unit development with two conditions. The main tower sign can be no more than 75 feet tall and cannot name individual stores, and the developer must follow updated rules for controlling stormwater pollution from the site, Beverungen ruled.

The outlet mall would be the first phase of the project, and developers have said they would bring in high-end brands such as Calvin Klein, Coach and Kate Spade. Paragon is headquartered in Baltimore and has developed...

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South Moon Under plans global online expansion

South Moon Under, the Berlin, Md.,-based fashion retailer that got its start as an Ocean City surf shack in 1968, is going international.

A recently opened distribution center in Salisbury will allow the 22-store chain to double its business by adding more stores and expanding online globally, the retailer said. The chain now runs a national online business.

South Moon Under is still privately owned and led by founder Frank Gunion, who was studying international relations in college in 1968 when he decided to open a shop at the beach.

Gunion started out selling handmade surfboards and swimsuits. The company has grown into an upscale chain known for sophisticated fashion, with stores in Maryland, Virginia,  Delaware, Pennsylvania, Connecticut and New Jersey. 

"Our mission is to inspire self-expression through the art of fashion," the company said.




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Tembo Group arts and crafts boutique opens in Fells Point

Tembo Group, an international arts and crafts boutique, has opened in Fells Point. 

The shop, run by Deborah de la Reguera, who describes herself as a "social entrepreneur," also includes studio space for artists.

Here's a sampling of the handmade merchandise, some made with recycled materials such as silk ties and tea bags: jewelry, men's and women's clothing, home decor, toys and baby items.

Artisans come from Myanmar/Burma and Rwanda, and other countries.

"Many of our artists had to flee their homelands due to war, famine and genocide and leave everything behind to make a new life for themselves and their families," de la Reguera said.

She said the store at 1706 Fleet Street is open daily from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.





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Marylanders welcome gas prices below $3 a gallon

Tatiana Fish lives in Pigtown, works a restaurant job in Fells Point, attends classes at the Community College of Baltimore County and usually visits her father twice a week in Montgomery County.

Meeting all her obligations requires the 23-year-old to regularly fill her gas tank, she said — making the sign advertising $2.99-a-gallon gas at the Royal Farms store on Russell Street a welcome sight Monday.

"It's definitely nice to think I'm not going to be spending $80 on gas this week," Fish said, which she did over the summer, when prices were closer to $3.60 a gallon.

While gas prices are normally lower in the fall than in the summer, they have dropped sharply in recent weeks in Maryland and across the country thanks to a dive in the global price of crude oil.

Crude oil is selling now for just over $80 a barrel, down from more than $100 as recently as July, driven by global supply and demand — a strong supply of crude oil, including in the United States, and weak international demand,...

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Mall in Columbia announces 6 new accessory, apparel retailers

Six new apparel and clothing retailers will join the Mall in Columbia for the holiday season, mall owner General Growth Properties announced Friday.

The new retailers are:

Victoria's Secret Pink: a 4,506 square-foot store will open in the lower level this month. The company sells apparel, undergarments and accessories geared toward young women. House of Hoops by Foot Locker: a 6,208 square-foot store will open on the lower level this month. The store is a specialized basketball shoe store. Watches

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Holiday season spending and hiring will increase, surveys find

Many of the nation's biggest retailers plan to sharply increase hiring for the holiday shopping season as consumers look to spend more, according to reports out today.

Macy's, Kohl's, Walmart, Amazon and Game Stop are among the retailers planning seasonal hiring increases, by 45 percent for Kohl's and 47 percent for Game Stop. Target, Toys R Us and JC Penney plan to hire the same number as last year, according to figures compiled by outplacement company Challenger, Gray

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