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Consuming Interests A blog for the smart consumer
Flip Flop Shops coming to Arundel Mills mall

A shop just for flip flops is coming to Arundel Mills mall.

The Flip Flop Shops, opening Thursday at the Hanover mall, promises the latest styles of both flip flops and other casual footwear. It's the second franchised location for owners Chris Kirley, Fran Kirley and Dave Brindza.

The owners believe flip flops have become part of the global youth uniform and an option that's grown more accepted beyond the pool or beach.

"My goal is to make finding the perfect pair a breeze, any time of the year," said Chris Kirley, who identifies himself as a size 10. "Flip flops are an extension of who I am and my laid-back lifestyle."

Shoppers can choose from brands such as luKai, Cobian, Quiksilver, Roxy, Reef, Sanuk, Havaianas and others.

The 100-store chain, founded in 2004, has another 150 shops in the development pipeline globally. It began franchising in 2008 and has locations in the U.S., Canada, the Caribbean, South Africa and the Middle East.






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Chick-fil-A will open April 9 at Inner Harbor; free meals for year for first 100

The Chick-fil-A planned for the Inner Harbor will open April 9, when the chain will give away free meals for a year to 100 people.

The restaurant, which will employ 75 people, is joining Shake Shack and M

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Weis launches online shopping at Woodlawn store

Weis Markets is now offering online shopping with in-store pick-up at its Woodlawn store.

The supermarket on Security Boulevard is the latest Weis in the area to offer the option,  also available at locations in Perry Hall, Laurel, Woodstock and Frederick.

Weis has been rolling out online shopping over the past few years and now offers it at 26 locations, including the five in Maryland.

Shoppers can place orders any time and schedule a pickup to be ready in as few as four hours. Customers can pay either with PayPal or at the store with curbside checkout.

"Weis online shopping offers our customers the best of both worlds: the in-store shopping experience with online, time-saving convenience," said Kurt Schertle, Weis' chief operating officer.






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Fractured Prune will open Tuesday in Owings Mills

Fractured Prune Doughnuts is opening its planned Owings Mills store on Tuesday.

The doughnut shop is joining the lineup at Owings Mills at Metro Crossing, a transit-oriented project at the Owings Mills Metro Station.

The franchise chain, founded in Ocean City, is known for hand dipping doughnuts in a choice of glazes and toppings, such as bacon, sea salt and graham cracker.

For the Tuesday opening, at 6 a.m., the first 100 customers who buy a dozen doughnuts will get a free T-shirt.

A Fractured Prune opened in November in Towson.

In Owings Mills, the shop will join tenants such as Times Square Kitchen and Subway. Eggspectation will open there in early summer.




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Wolf's buys Gardiners, longtime Baltimore furniture retailer

Gardiners Furniture & Mattress, a 73-year-old family-owned retailer based in Baltimore, is being sold to a Pennsylvania-based furniture chain that plans to continue running Gardiners' five stores and distribution center, keeping all 200 of the employees.

Wolf Furniture Co., a 113-year-old family business based in Bellwood, Pa., with 12 Wolf's showrooms and a clearance center, plans to finalize a purchase agreement in about 30 days for an undisclosed amount, Doug Wolf, Wolf's CEO, said Tuesday. Terms were not disclosed.

Gardiners is selling because company co-owner Gary Mullaney is retiring, Wolf said. Wolf said he expects no changes to the locations, in Bel Air, Catonsville, Pasadena, Towson and Westminster, or to employment levels.

"Family members looking into the future … wanted to keep the same feel to the business as they look to retire, and were seeking out companies that had comparable values and would not only maintain but build on what they've developed," said Wolf, a...

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Spending to top $16 billion for Easter, retail group says

Consumer spending for the Easter holiday, on apparel, decorations, gifts, candy, food and flowers, is expected to reach $16.4 billion this year, a trade group said Monday.

Nearly 90 percent of shoppers in a National Retail Federation survey said they will buy candy, spending more than $2.2 billion, while more than 85 percent will buy food, a $5.3 billion category. Nearly half will buy new outfits, spending nearly $3 billion, according to the survey, conducted for NRF by Prosper Insights & Analytics.

Retailers are also expected to do brisk business in gifts, flowers, decorations and greeting cards.

Individually, consumers will likely spend just over $140, slightly up from $137 last year, the trade group said.

"As one of the busiest times of year for several retail sectors, and as shelves begin filling with both traditional spring and holiday merchandise, retailers are looking forward to welcoming shoppers with attractive promotions on home goods, garden equipment and traditional Easter...

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