Asking for change in response to panhandling

Local businesses, in particular retailers, say panhandlers scare off customers, even if there is no threat to safety. And a growing homeless population can also be a blemish for economic developers trying to show off the region. To combat the problem, the nonprofit group Homeward launched a three-month campaign Monday to remind residents that handing over spare change might not be the best way to help.

Former Plan 9 manager spins own record shop

After working at Plan 9 for 16 years, Jay Leavitt decided it was time to start his own record shop, which opened on Wed in a 325-square-foot spot on Robinson St. in the Fan. Leavitt said he has noticed the resurgence of vinyl over the past three to five years.

Comic book dealer’s secret hideout

Surrounded by hundreds of thousands of comic books, Brett Carreras shows the crown jewel of his inventory. The restored copy of Batman No. 1, the first appearance of the Joker, is protected by a hard plastic case (Batman first appeared in Detective Comics #27).

Layoff protection plans: Marketing gold?

At first, Danny Fisher wasn’t a fan of Hyundai’s new marketing campaign for “Total Assurance,” which would let a customer who had lost a job return a new car. Fisher, the general sales manager at West Broad Hyundai, said he didn’t think it would drive shoppers into the dealership. That was in January. He has… Read more »

Working like a dog: Richmond startup shows off its tricks

Man’s best friend is a loyal and lucrative customer for a Richmond startup. Best Bully’s has quickly grown as a web-only retailer of organic dog treats. The company sells more than $1 million a year in products (and less than $5 million) and will expand soon from 2,500 square feet to 8,500 square feet on… Read more »

Bankruptcy filings skyrocket

A record number of people are filing for personal bankruptcy in the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Eastern District of Virginia, which is housed in Richmond.

Monday Q&A: What’s in store for retail?

Retailers battled through last year’s tough shopping season. Now it’s all about survival. The pullback in consumer spending has made the past six months difficult for retailers across the county, and Richmond is no exception. Negative sales. Decreased foot traffic. Slimmer margins. What can a retailer do? Some have turned to the Retail Merchants Association… Read more »

Local duo zips up distribution deal

A local husband-and-wife design team will soon have their product sold through direct-response TV and at major retailers nationwide through a licensing agreement with Massachusetts-based distributor Harvest Direct. Chris and Kat Costello, owners of Green Alley LLC, started developing the “zpr bag” in 2007. The product is a customizable handbag designed for teenage girls. Z-P-R… Read more »