The Salina Journal from Salina, Kansas on May 6, 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, May 6, 2001
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Page 33
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SUNDAY MAY 6. 2001 THE SALlfvIA JOURNAL PERMITS / E2 CONSUMER / E4 • STAYING AHEAD JANE BRYANT QUINN T)wWashingtoii Post Curious about your credit score? You may not know it, but you have a personal "credit score." Your score indicates how likely you are to pay your bills on time. Lenders use it to help decide whether to give you a loan and, if so, at what interest rate. . The facts about you come from credit reports compiled by the three leading credit bureaus — Equifax, Experian and Trans Union. If your credit habits resemble those of people who pay their bills on time, you'll score high. Otherwise, you'll score low. Lower scorers have to pay higher interest rates and may not get any credit at all. Borrowers with high credit scores pay lower rates. You can get a free score from E-Loan at www.eloan.com. Right now, you get a free look just once, so save it for something important. Fair, Isaac, which constructs scoring systems, has partnered with Equifax to sell scores for $12.95. That price gives you access fob 30 days, at www.myfico. com or www.equifax.com. Experian expects to sell scores for $6,. starting in late May. Credit reports, sold separately, cost up to $8.50, depending on which state you're in. Go to www. experian.com or call 1-888-397-3742. Trans Union says it will give out scores, starting this summer, to people who order credit reports; Reports cost up to $8.50. Once you've checked your credit score, what next? You don't have to do a thing if your credit falls into the range that lenders deem "excellent." The report may tell you how to raise your score by a few more points, but that wouldn't make any difference to your life. You're already being offered credit on the very best terms. Scores have wide range Credit scores generally range from 300 to 850. Every lender has different cutoff points for what's acceptable. Here's a general guide, from E-Loan: • Excellent — scores above 730. • Good — 700-729. • Needs a closer look — 670-699. • Higher risk — 585-699. • No credit or limited credit — below 585. See QUINN, Page E3 MORTON BUILDINGS iiiiiliililiiiillKiil^^ 4. : i , ' ' ' 1 1 / ^t TOM DORSEY / The Salina Journal Phil Mount, manager of lUlorton Buildings, stands near the award-winning barn the company built on North Link Road in rural Saline County. No horsing around Salina business wins award for having nation's best-built barn By AMY SULLIVAN The Salina Journal A Salina business has one-upped its counterparts in the Bluegrass State. Salina's Morton Buildings recently won an award for the best horse barn over 3,000 square feet from the National Frame Builders Association. The barn was built at 4001 N. Link Road for Sandy Walker The win thrilled Phil Mount, manager at Morton Buildings, 711 W. Diamond Road. Usually, barns from the horse country area of Kentucky or South Carolina take the top prize. They can cost millions of dollars and often have brick front facades and a lot of "gingerbread," or unneeded decoration, Mount said. "This barn shows what can be done with our products for a lot less money," he said. Walker's barn cost about $200,000, Mount said. The barn has three main sections: an 81- by-108-foot indoor riding arena; a 25-by-108- foot area containing a walkway, eight stalls and a horse-sized shower stall; and a front office area with tack room and hay storage. The horse stalls have swing-out feeders, so there's no need to go inside the stall to feed the horses. The stall closest to the front has twQ-gates — a short one and a tall one. Walker keeps a pair of donkeys that use the short gate. Walker was not available for comment. Morton Buildings makes horse barns often, but this one stood out. In addition to containing all the functions of a modern horse barn, it has some decoration. The largest purely decorative feature is a 12-by-108-foot second story with no floor. Criss-crossed wooden beams support its weight. Dormers jutting out are part of that building. The company sent photos of the exterior and interior to the contest judges. About 130 buildings a year are entered, and 14 awards are given, said Sharon Stovall,spokeswoman for the National Frame Builders Association. Engineers and builders choose the winners. This is the first win for the Salina Morton Buildings office for a horse barn, Mount said. The company's last award was in 1995 for a large detached garage. • Reporter Amy Sullivan can be reached at 823-6464, Ext. 125, or by e-mail at sjasullivan@saljournal.com. T RESTAURANT BUSINESS IHOP remains IHOP CEO says tighter times won't hurt breakfast chain From Staff and Wire Reports As the restaurant industry finds itself slowing down, IHOP still is selling like hot- cakes. In reporting strong sales and profit growth, the Glendale, Calif.-based company said last week it will continue opening new restaurants, including one that soon will open in Salina. Further, the company said it sees no cause for concern in the slowing economy Chief executive officer Kim Herzer, asked about how much effect economic woes would have upon IHOP, answered: "Quite frankly, the answer is none. "Over the last 42 years, we have not experienced significant sales declines during economic downturns. We continue to weather them because of excellent value and service." His comments were borne out by securities analyst Dennis Joe, who follows the pancake makers for the Sidoti Co. While upscale eateries might find themselves losing customers to less pricey spots, bargain-priced options tend to fare well. "With IHOP, the average meal is around $6.75, so it can't get much more affordable," Joe said. "They tend to be a little safer than most TOM DORSEY / The Salina Journal Salina's IHOP at 2273 S. Ninth is scheduled to open Tuesday. restaurants." As tighter economic times send more people looking for work, restaurants get a second boost, Joe said. "Restaurants are becoming more and more of a necessity these days," he said. "With two-income families, they're not a luxury, since neither person has time to prepare dinner or breakfast. And in the breakfast industry, when most people want pancakes, they're going to go to IHOP." With this in mind, the firm built an additional 12 restaurants last quarter. Sauna's IHOP LOCATION: 2273 S. Ninth, near Central Mall. OPENING: Scheduled for Tuesday. HOURS: 6 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sunday through Thursday; 6 a.m. to midnight Friday and Saturday. The company's Salina restaurant, under construction at 2273 S. Ninth in front of Central Mall, is set to open Tuesday Franchise co-owner Cari Salameh said the restaurant will be ready to serve a capacity crowd — 130 people — and she hopes for more. Salameh said their phone has been ringing'off the hook with Salinans wondering when the restaurant will open. Construction delayed the original projected opening date in mid-April; the store's grand opening will be in about a month. "We are just about trained and ready to go," Salameh said. Salameh and her husband, Sam, already have an IHOP restaurant in Wichita, where they live. But after visiting the community and working on their Salina IHOP the Salamehs are thinking about moving here. "It seems like a good place that we want to be," Cari Salameh said. • xxxxx CheckDebit is ca on CheckDebit gives retailers instant funds from checkwriters Check debit is updating and speeding handling of paper checks By EILEEN ALT POWELL The Associated Press NEW YORK — With almost no fanfare, a minor revolution took place in the staid world of checking accounts earlier this year A customer wrote a check for $20 at the Prevatte Auto Parts shop in Lumberton, N.C. The check was run through a digital "reader" that took the account information off the bottom of the check and routed it over an ATM network. Within seconds, money was transferred from the customer's account to the auto shop's account, and the customer was handed back a canceled check. It's called a check debit, essentially a marriage of convenience between paper checks and electronic banking. And it's coming soon to banks and retail stores near you. The new system, called CheckDebit, is being developed by a company called SafeCheck along with 11 big banks and the electronic payment and ATM networks STAR, NYCE and PULSE. With CheckDebit, banks will physically handle fewer of the estimated 15 billion checks customers write at i-etail outlets every year, according to Anne Direct Deposit The Electronic Payments Association estimates that 32 million paper checks were converted into electronic checks at retail locations in 2000. Electronic checks are processed through the Automated Clearing House (ACH) Network, an electronic payment system commonly , used for direct deposit and direct payment. Below is a cost comparison between processing a paper check and an electronic transaction. Check Direct Deposit Pnepareand Checkstock .10 deSverdataset .02 Processing .24 Handfing charge .01 Dislrtoution .01 Transmission charge .05 Cash on hand .15 Retumitem Lostiime 1.25 charge .01 Bankchaiges .15 Ijostfloatjntenest .05 Total $1.90 Total .14 Source: National Aulotnatecl SHNS graphic Clearinghouse Association O'Toole, SafeCheck's executive director Merchants will be more comfortable accepting checks from out-of-towners or See CHECKS, Page E3 SUGGESTIONS? CALL BRAD CATT, MONEY EDITOR, AT 823-6363 OR 1-800-827-6363 OR E-MAIL AT sjbcatt@saljournal.com •»4

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