Latham Hotel opens 'signature' restaurantThe Latham Hotel...


Latham Hotel opens 'signature' restaurant

The Latham Hotel in Baltimore, formerly the Peabody Court, has opened its much-touted "signature" restaurant, Citronelle, several weeks ahead of schedule. By tomorrow, the restaurant should be in "full fling," said George Kelly, the hotel's general manager.

Mr. Kelly said the opening was moved up because renovations were completed sooner than expected. At first, the restaurant will be open only for dinner, but Citronelle expects to start promoting lunch and Sunday brunch sometime in March. The former home of The Conservatory has an entirely new look, Mr. Kelly said -- one he described as "a more relaxed upscale."

Citronelle's culinary inspiration comes from the renowned California chef and restaurateur Michel Richard, who operates a restaurant of the same name in Santa Barabara, Calif. Baltimore's resident executive chef is Anthony Pels, who served in the same capacity in California. Another Citronelle is being opened in the Latham Hotel in Washington.

Hechinger store now Project Center

The rollout of Hechinger Co.'s Home Project Center format continues today with the official reopening of the home improvement chain's store at 7005 Security Blvd. in Woodlawn.

The new Home Project Center will be the eighth in the Baltimore area and ninth in Maryland that Hechinger has converted to the )) expanded concept. Hechinger is counting on the 18-month-old format to help it defend its home turf against an invasion by Atlanta-based Home Depot, which recently opened a warehouse store on U.S. 40 near Hechinger's Woodlawn store.

The Home Project Center format groups products around the six most common home improvement categories: bath, kitchen, doors and windows, decks, home decorating, and lawn and garden.

To promote the concept, Hechinger will air a new commercial showing a "flying store" that visits construction sites and beams aboard skilled workers. It's designed to highlight Hechinger's effort to hire experts from the building trades to work in Home Project Centers.

The ad was created by Adworks Inc. of Washington.

Roy's rides to rescue for Hardee's profits

Hardee's Food Systems Inc. is repenting all the way to the bank.

The Rocky Mount, N.C., fast-food chain, which had the audacity to buy the Roy Rogers chain and banish Roy to the ranch, did public penance last year as it revived the popular Roy Rogers format in the Baltimore-Washington area.

The company announced this week that it received its forgiveness in the form of $63.1 million in 1992 earnings, up 57 percent over 1991's dismal performance. Fourth-quarter earnings were $21.7 million, almost five times Hardee's tally from the same period of 1991.

One of the reasons cited by the company for the turnaround was "restored equity in the Roy Rogers trademark."

American Craft show attracts more sign-ups

The American Craft Council is bringing its show to the Baltimore Convention Center Feb. 23-28, and with it come some signs of an economic rebound. By Feb. 1, the council had preregistered 500 more businesses than last year, and hotel room bookings were up 28 percent.

More than 32,000 visitors are expected to attend Craft Fair Baltimore, which is here for its 17th year.

Warner Bros. goes Looney with stores

Where Mickey Mouse goes, can Bugs Bunny be far behind?

Warner Bros. Worldwide Retail, the retail arm of Time Warner Inc., said this week that it plans to open 30 Warner Bros. stores this year in the United States, including a flagship 30,000-square-foot store on Fifth Avenue in New York, and five in Britain.

The stores sell Warner Bros. film memorabilia, DC Comics super hero merchandise and a variety of items sporting the faces of Bugs, Daffy Duck and other Looney Tune characters.

Warner is trying to match the success of the Disney Store, Disney Co.'s wildly successful retail concept. What Warner does not have, however, is a stable of recent animated movie moneymakers such as "Aladdin" and "Beauty and the Beast" to conjure up sales. Warner has 21 stores around the country, none in Baltimore.

Ads give the needle to petroleum jelly

There's nothing like the sight of a needle poking through a condom pack to grab a reader's attention.

That's what Johnson & Johnson Consumer Products Inc. is counting on as it launches a magazine ad campaign this month in an effort to discourage consumers from using petroleum jelly with its latex condoms. Petroleum jelly, such as Vaseline, is not recommended for use with such condoms because it can break down latex, negating the device's protection against pregnancy and sexually transmitted diseases.

The ad, created by Lintas New York, uses the condom-and-needle photo with a caption that says, "This is what petroleum jelly can do to a condom."

According to a "fact sheet" distributed by J&J;, 50 percent of the American public is not aware the two products should not be used together.

Public service? Hardly. Johnson & Johnson is the maker of K-Y Jelly, a rival lubricant that is water-soluble and not oil-based.


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