OFF BEAT

OFFBEAT: Martha update and Reader asks about USA products column

Phil Potempa's daily entertainment news column
2014-01-03T00:00:00Z OFFBEAT: Martha update and Reader asks about USA products columnBy Philip Potempa philip.potempa@nwi.com, (219) 852-4327 nwitimes.com

Sharp-eyed readers will often notice that in addition to this daily entertainment column and my weekly From the Farm Wednesday food column, I also compile a couple other standing features in The Times.

Since 1999, I've written the weekly New Products column, (formerly called Spotted in Stores) that appears Fridays in the Home and Garden section, as well as the Kid Picks column since 1998, now monthly in the Your Family section (and formerly, appearing weekly in what was the Tuesday INK section), featuring short reviews of new children's books and media.

Readers Ray and Nancy Kanzler of Hammond wrote me the following question last week regarding this New Products column I pen.

"Thank you for reviewing the U.S.A.-made Greentoys company and the toys that are made from re-cycled plastic. It was a little late to do as Christmas shopping, but at least we're now aware of the company. By the way, they are already sold out of the construction blocks. We are really into buying U.S.A.-made items. And we're wondering, are we to assume the products that you review are not made in the U.S.A. unless it is specifically stated in your review?? Thank you for the information. Ray and Nancy of Hammond"

This is a great question and Ray and Nancy, I applaud you both for reading labels and scouting out products made right here in the U.S.A. This is something important and a wonderful cause to remind readers about for the start of our new year. (At the New Year's Eve party I attended this week, I noticed even the colorful metal noise-makers handed out to guests as party favors were proudly painted with a "Made in the USA" logo.)

You are correct, that I do highlight products made in the U.S.A., as you'll notice in today's New Products column and the jewelry featured. Other products, like the coffeemaker made by Remington, the age-old company so famous for shavers, have been around long enough that many people are already familiar with the company's American roots. (Today, Remington is operated  by Spectrum Brands Holdings, based in Madison, Wis.) For specialty imported items, I also make certain to showcase the products' origin. (For example, if the gift suggestion showcased is for Austrian Crystal champagne flutes, the signature line of a centuries old family craftsmen business in Europe, we wouldn't want them to come from a plant in say, Detroit or Cleveland!)

A good thing

While stuck indoors watching TV during our recent cold and snowy weather, you might have noticed Martha Stewart is doing commercials for a product something other than her own consumer lines. Stewart, 72, is featured in new commercials for the centuries-old Pine Brothers Cough Drops, which she says she's used since she was a child. In the commercial, she notes  she "rarely endorses other products." According to a company press release, Pine Brothers brand is "being revived" by Victoria Knight-McDowell, the creator of Airborne, marketed as an herbal and vitamin cold remedy. This week, after nearly a year of legal wrangling, Macy's and Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia have settled. "Macy's has resolved its breach-of-contract lawsuit against Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia. We are pleased to be able to put this matter behind us," said the department-store retailer in a statement Thursday. Terms of the settlement were not disclosed, Macy's added. Macy's sued J.C. Penney and Martha Stewart after the two announced a partnership in December 2011.

The opinions expressed are solely those of the writer. He can be reached at philip.potempa@nwi.com or (219) 852-4327.

Copyright 2014 nwitimes.com. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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