The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on April 29, 2001 · Page 33
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The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas · Page 33

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Salina, Kansas
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Sunday, April 29, 2001
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Page 33
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SUNDAY APRIL 29, 2001 THE SALlKlA JOURNAL TEACHER RETIREMENTS / E2 BABY BOOMERS / E3 CONSUMER / E4 T KANSAS-BASED BUSINESS Duckwall-Alco a tive-and-dime' treasure Abilene-based company rebounds to celebrate its 100th anniversary By The Associated Press ABILENE — In the era of the 35-cent phone call and the 34-cent stamp, when a cup of coffee can set you back a dollar, the term "five-and-dime store" has all but passed from common usage. But for some, the phrase brings back thoughts of creaky wood floors, flickering fluorescent lights, maybe an old- time soda fountain and a lot of merchandise actually priced in the 5-to-lO cent range. That's where the "five-and- dime" name originated. One of the original entrants in the five-and-dime store competition is a homegrown Kansas company, Duck­ wall-Alco Stores, which is celebrating its 100th anniversary in business this year. "This company was built on the old- fashioned values of quality, service, price and convenience. Those values are just as important today," said Glen Shank, president and chief executive of Duckwall-Alco. Shank said he sees the stores' rediscovered goal of serving smaller rural communities as a workable niche-market strategy for the 21st century The Abilene-based firm plans a yearlong promotion of its centennial, offering some old-time bargains to its customers, such as a recent special on brooms priced at 59 cents. An appreciation day is planned during the August run of the Dickinson County Fair. Duckwall-Alco, which has 264 stores in 20 states, began its life in 1901 when Alva Lease Duckwall Sr. sold his bicy­ cle repair shop for $413. He combined that money with his savings of $90 and a $413 loan to buy an Abilene sporting goods shop known as The Racket Store. With the help of his brother Wilbur, A.L. Duckwall transformed Duckwall's Racket Store into a notions store, offering a variety of household items. From that beginning, the business grew into a series of five-and-dime stores, made the transition to variety stores and then became discount stores. "From 1900 to 1967, we were pretty much in the variety store business, and there wasn't all that much change," Shank said. "Now, it's change all the time." By the mid-1960s, the Duckwall variety store chain had grown to about 100 stores, mostly in Kansas and Colorado. Anticipating the coming change in retail marketing, the company opened its first Alco discount store in Newton in 1967. "1 think that was one of the most exciting days we ever had. A lot of us went down there for the grand opening," said Dorene Rufener, who has logged 40 years with Duckwall-Alco and now handles the company's real estate acquisitions and overall plant maintenance programs. She says she couldn't have worked for a better company all those years. "It's been great," agreed Sandy Rector, who has been with the company for 41 years, after starting as an assistant secretary to the main candybuyer. Since then, she has worked as secretary for four different presidents, including the late A.L. Duckwall Jr There have been ups and downs as Duckwall-Alco negotiated the retailing landscape of the Midwest. See CENTURY, Page E3 This connpany was built on the old- fashioned values of quality, service, price and convenience. Those values are just as innportant today. - Glen Shank president and CEO of Duckwall-Alco T GASOUNE PRICES It's no fun at pump Gas costs $1.56 a gallon; Bush blames an energy shortage By MARY DEIBEL Scripps Howard News Service Gasoline prices are taking a surprise toll at the Mixing Bowl, a highway bottleneck where Interstate Highway 95 meets commuter traffic in Washington, D.C., frequently causing travelers from Miami to Maine to come to a halt. A $567 million project to re- .vamp the interchange will cost $25 million more because of higher costs for fuel and petroleum-based asphalt, highway officials say Highway cost overruns are just one of the repercussions of rising gas prices. Drivers are suffering, too. The price of regular gas averaged $1.56 a gallon this past week, according to the Energy Department. That's up 12 cents in just two weeks, 8 cents more than a year ago and more than the $1.52 peak the department had predicted by June. The Bush administration blames the higher gas prices on an energy shortage. President Bush says, "We're short on energy" while Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham warns of a "major energy supply crisis." Vice President Dick Cheney's energy task force is readying plans to ask Congress to open the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge in Alaska to companies that want to drill for oil and natural gas. The Destin Dome off Florida's Gulf Coast also is under discussion. Remember the '70s? Yet for all the crisis talk, energy experts note the United States isn't facing a supply shortage of the sort that put Americans in gas lines in the 1970s, when the Organization of Petroleum Exporting Countries shut the oil spigot. Economist Philip Verleger, who writes an energy newsletter, thinks gas prices may have peaked. Barring unscheduled shutdowns and surprise disruptions, "the only way for prices to go is down," he said in a new report. "We don't have a traditional supply shortage; the fact we're headed into summer driving season when demand peaks is the most important factor of all," said senior editor Mary Welge of the Oil Price Information Service, which tracks gas prices for the American Automobile Association and other clients. Welge said some of the same production problems that sent prices spiking above $2 in some California and Midwest markets last summer could prove troublesome again: • A fire at a Tosco refinery in Long Beach, Calif., could crimp California's "boutique" gasoline blend supplies that are specially formulated to cut back smog in the Golden State. See GAS, Page E2 SALINA REAL ESTATE TOM DORSEY / The Salina Journal Broker-owner Glenda Krug (from left), Todd Welsh and Linda Hagen are part of the team at Re/Max Advantage Realtors, which edged out Coldwell Banker Antrim-Piper Wenger Realtors as the No. 1 seller of homes in Salina in 2000. Motivated to Succeed Re/Max Realtors credit franchises' structure for city's No. 1 ranking By DAVID CLOUSTON The Scitina Journal Salina's competitive real estate market is seeing a challenge by one sales agency against the traditional leader in the market. For the year 2000, Re/Max Advantage Realtors, 415 E. Iron, edged out its traditionally larger competitor, Coldwell Banker Antrim-Piper Wenger Realtors, 631 E. Crawford, forthe number of homes sold in Salina, statistics kept by the Salina Board of Realtors Multiple Listing Service show. It was the second year Re/Max held that position. Re/Max led with a 33 percent share of homes sold for 2000, followed by Coldwell Banker with a 30.5 percent share, Millwood Realty with a 16.6 percent share. Prudential Brokers Realty with a 8.4 percent share and Realty Associates with 4.3 percent. Re/Max Advantage Realtors also had four of the top five Realtors in the city in terms of homes sold. Re/Max advertises nationally that it has more sales and more experience per agent than other agencies across the nation, and the way its franchises are structured is a good part of the reason why said agent Todd Welsh, who ranked third in the city last year. Re/Max allows agents to keep 95 percent'of commissions, rather than a traditional 50-50 split with the company Agents also are responsible for their own advertising and promotion. The agents pool their money to cover office expenses. "There is more motivation for an agent that pays his own bills," Welsh said. "It's like 26 agents each being able to own their own office and pool their money together to have state-of-the-art copiers and secretaries and so forth." Glenda Krug, broker-owner of Salina's Re/Max franchise, bought the franchise six years ago and started business with six agents; now there are 26. "We treat it more as yes, we're real estate agents, but they own their own business," said Krug, who ranked fourth behind Welsh. "(The system) gives them some freedom and makes them feel good about themselves." Linda Hagen, No. 1, and Richard Koshgarian, No. 5, were the other Re/Max agents in the top five. Steve Ashton of Coldwell Banker was No. 2. "It's just a lot less rigid to work under," said Hagen, who has been with Re/Max four years. See RE/MAX, Page E2 • COLLEGE SAVINGS PLAN Upromise's vow: Spending boosts savings The Associated Press Former Sen. Bill Bradley is among dozens of high-profile Individuals who are supporters of Upromise. Percentage of money spent will be put in college account By EILEEN ALT POWELL The Associated Press NEW YORK — With the nation's savings rate at the lowest level since the Depression, a new company says it will make it easier for American families to fund their children's college educations. But consumer advocates are wary of the idea, which requires a family to do a lot of shopping before it can save a lot of money Upromise works much like the airlines' frequent flyer pro­ grams. Once a family signs up at www.upromise.com, a percentage of what it spends at participating companies will be deposited automatically in a tax-deferred college savings account. Dozens of companies have promised rebates, including General Motors, ExxonMobil, Borders bookstores, AT&T, CVS pharmacy and Toys R Us. Consumer advocates applaud the goal but say they're concerned "spending to save" isn't the right message to be sending Americans, whose saving rate fell to minus 0.1 percent last year — the first negative for any year since 1933. Stephen Brobeck, executive director of the Washington- Based Consumer Federation of America, sees Upromise as a marketing program, not a savings program. What people need to do, he said, is cut back on discretionary spending and save more. ^ Michael Bronner, founder! and chief executive of Up-, romise, argues that Americans; aren't saving enough and arei increasingly concerned theyl won't be able to cover their! children's college costs. "We believe that if we con-: vert everyday spending to sav-> ings for college, it will get fam-! ilies to focus on savings," he said. "Then maybe they'll start to do more." See SAVINGS, Page E3' SUGGESTIONS? Cy^-L BRAD CATT, MONEY EDITOR, AT 823-6363 OR 1)^800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT sjbcatt@saljournal.com

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