New pizza endeavor started by local entrepreneur

Filed under: Retail |

About six months ago, local entrepreneur Rick Young came up with a concept for a pizzeria called Delish Pizza. He then sold two of his Copy It copy centers, keeping one location downtown, in order to open two shops in the Springs.

And while he may not have a background in the restaurant business, he said he does eat pizza.

Delish Pizza is scheduled to open this month, Young said. One location is in the Market Center at Austin Bluffs and Barnes Road. The other will take root in the Woodmen Valley Shopping Center.

Each restaurant will be operated by four or five employees with a concept similar to Papa Murphy’s.

“Our pizza is more like a delivery pizza,” Young said. “The crust has a ring around the edge, theirs is more flat.”

The take-and-bake pizzas will come with a choice of eight dipping sauces.

Consumer behavior moving to the dark side

The sale of dark chocolate has soared, perhaps because of the publicity about certain health-related benefits. New packaging proclaims Special Dark as a “natural source of flavanol antioxidants.”

Dark chocolate sales hit $1.62 billion last year in the United States, leaping 29 percent between 2003 and 2005, according to Mintel International.

Some 25 percent of households have dark chocolate on hand, up from only 8 percent during the last two years, according to Hershey Co. And, one in three chocolate launches so far this year has been of the dark variety.

For those turning to the dark side, candy marketers are coming up with multiple entries.

Mars lays claim to nearly 80 percent of the research behind the hype about the cardiovascular benefits of antioxidant-rich cocoa flavanols. It is marketing Dove Dark, a nutrition-aisle product dubbed CocoaVia, M&M’s Dark and a limited-time Snickers Dark.

Hershey offers Special Dark and Extra Dark, a mass-premium Cacao Reserve by Hershey’s line to be introduced this month and newly acquired superpremium brands from Scharffen Berger and Joseph Schmidt.

The Cacao Reserve by Hershey will be priced between 99 cents and $1.19 a bar (vs. 79 cents for Special Dark). Hershey, playing off the success of premium coffee brands, plans to trumpet the use of cacao beans in its products.

Hershey’s launches of Cacao Reserve bars and premium drinking cocoa will be followed in December by Cacao Truffle Tins and Country of Origin bars, all of which will feature labels with the history of the cacao bean, where the product is from and its flavor profile.

Ads that catch the eye in checkout lines

Advertisers have a new venue for grabbing the shopper’s attention — conveyor belts at the checkout line.

For now, it is local advertisers such as the real estate agents and insurance brokers reserving the ad space, but as soon as the kinks are worked out and national advertisers are on board, Frank Coz plans to bring his patented system to Wal-Mart.

Cox bought the patent for the conveyor belt ads, named Ads-n-Motion from the inventor, Joe Molinaro, and launched EnVision in May 2005.

The ads don’t come cheap. One reason is that a printer capable of printing on conveyor belts costs about $400,000.

Cox said he’s offering national advertisers the chance to one-up competitors at the cost of $182,800 a year for a 55-store footprint, which he claims can deliver 3.3 million impressions a month.

“If a national advertiser joins us, they get to own the region and as we grow, they get the first right of refusal,” Cox said. “That’s just about $15,000 a month to shut your competitors out. So if Duracell buys in, Energizer can’t.”

Alltel, the nation’s fifth-largest wireless company, is the first major advertiser to buy conveyor ads. The company said it is easier to change a newspaper or online ad, but the conveyor ads raise brand awareness.

Retailers plan to increase IT budgets

Retailers are expected to show healthy information technology budget and capital expenditure growth in 2006, according to the third annual Retail IT Budgeting Study conducted by National Retail Federation and AMR Research.

The data in the survey was supplied by chief information officers at 34 of the nation’s leading retailers, with combined annual revenue of $224 billion.

The survey found that retailers plan to increase their overall IT expenditures by 7 percent. The study also showed retailers are increasing capital expenditures by 6 percent, purchasing items such as point-of-sale devices, kiosks and other customer-facing technologies.

Budgets for IT security are expected to increase 34 percent and IT compliance budgets are anticipated to grow 7 percent in 2006. All IT operational costs such as hardware maintenance, networking, telecommunications, software infrastructure and maintenance saw positive growth. Hardware maintenance and software infrastructure are expected to grow 11 percent for 2006.

Joan Johnson covers retail for the Colorado Springs Business Journal.