Doner's ad for library pulls in more...


Doner's ad for library pulls in more honors

As ads go, W. B. Doner & Co.'s 1992 television spot for the Enoch Pratt Free Library was one for the books.

The 60-second ad, a mostly pro bono effort on behalf of the library, added three more awards this week to a stream of industry honors for the Baltimore agency's effort.

On Monday, the trade publication Advertising Age chose the Doner ad as the best of the year in the public service-government category. The next day, the agency won an Andy Statue of Excellence from the Advertising Club of New York for the ad -- the only one for a Baltimore agency this time around. Yesterday, the ad picked up a national Addy award from the American Advertising Federation.

Those awards come on the heels of a Bronze Lion at the Cannes Film Festival and several regional honors.

The ad promoted the library as the only place in town you can actually borrow something for free. In it, an interviewer went into stores and up to people around town, asking them if he could borrow books, records, tapes and records. The ad captures the incredulous reactions of the people.

In addition to honors for the library spot, Doner picked up two Addy awards yesterday for its campaign on behalf of O Wear, a line of "organic" clothing -- one for radio and one for print.

Graul's supermarket in Ruxton expanding

The cozy confines of the Graul's supermarket in Ruxton will become a bit more spacious by fall, when the venerable grocer expects to complete an expansion that will add 4,000 square feet to its snug 13,000.

President Harold Graul says the store will expand current departments rather than add additional ones. "We can use more space everywhere."

To make way for the expansion, one of Graul's tenants, Wilmington County Store, will move to the building's second level, he says. The grocery will then occupy the entire first level.

Besides the Ruxton store, the family business operates two groceries in Annapolis and one in Parkton.

Cosmetic Center has surge in profits

Cosmetic Center, the Savage-based cosmetics and fragrances chain, absorbed a 3.5 percent decline in comparable-store sales during its second quarter. Meanwhile, its earnings per share edged up from 7 cents to 8 cents.

Lackluster results, right?

Not so, says Kenneth M. Gassman Jr., retail analyst for Davenport & Co. of Virginia Inc. He points out that Cosmetic Center's net profits for the period ended in March increased by 55 percent. An additional stock offering to cover the costs of expansion diluted earnings per share, accounting for the difference between this number and the 14.3 percent earnings-per-share gain.

He notes that Cosmetic Center boosted profits in spite of the March snowstorm that shut many stores for several days and took a toll on comparable store sales. He also says the company has shifted toward lower-priced merchandise to reinforce its image as a source of value.

The Richmond analyst, impressed with the company's light debt load and strong cash flow, is recommending the stock for investors who don't mind a "speculative" play. He projects that Cosmetic Center, whose nonvoting, freely traded "A" shares closed at $12.50 yesterday, could be trading in the $16 to $17 range by next summer.

Petstuff to unleash expansion in D.C.

Petstuff, a pet superstore chain that made its debut in Baltimore last year, has decided the concept is anything but a dog.

Claiming success beyond its expectations, Petstuff has decided to go into Washington in a big way starting this summer. The Atlanta-based chain, owned by Pet Funding Corp., recently announced plans to open seven stores around the capital this year and at least three more in 1994.

The first five locations for the huge pet stores -- up to 20,000 square feet -- will be in Rockville, Greenbelt and the Virginia suburbs of Fairfax, Manassas and Chantilly. Each store will employ about 50 people.

Petstuff opened its first three stores last September and October in Glen Burnie, Catonsville and Towson.

Nestle's diet plan has chocolate flavor

There are few better signs of the times than the latest in consumer products:

* Nestle is going national with a diet plan for chocolate lovers called Sweet Success. After a trial launch in the West, the Swiss giant has decided America is ready for a diet based around chocolate-flavored shakes and candy bars. The ad barrage starts May 17.

* A Canadian company is marketing a new fabric designed to let sun worshipers tan without fear of developing skin cancer. All they have to do is huddle under an umbrella or shelter made from a fabric called Pro Cutis ("for the skin" in Latin). Pro Cutis North America of Calgary, Alberta, says the fabric blocks out harmful, burning ultraviolet rays while letting the "good," tanning ultraviolet rays penetrate.

* With an eye on the growing number of women in construction jobs, Sears Merchandise Group has launched a new line of steel-toed work shoes for women. Sears also sees another market for its new Spice Tan Lites for Women. According to Sears merchandising executive Jack Guze, some women buy work boots as "fashion footwear."

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