Costa closes gap on Subway in BB75 league

first_imgCoffee chain Costa is closing the gap at the top of the BB75 tracker of store numbers, as the 2011 half-year update of figures shows.The new data, published in the current issue of British Baker, shows that Costa, in third position in the league, had added 82 outlets to its estate as of the end of June, bringing its total to 1,257 outlets. That means it is responsible for nearly half of all the store launches of the Top 10 players so far this year.The Whitbread-owned chain acquired coffee vending firm Coffee Nation in March, announcing plans to launch a new drinks-only brand, Costa Express. It will target the self-serve coffee bar sector opening at a target of 3,000 outlets in the next five years. It is also trialling a drive-thru concept in Nottingham, and plans to have six pilot outlets in the UK by the end of 2012.Costa’s bullish progress means it is closing the gap on US giant Subway, which had 1,427 outlets in the UK at the end of June, having opened only seven new franchises in the year to date.Greggs remains at the top of the tree with 1,518 outlets, up 39 on the start of the half year. Meanwhile, Starbucks in fourth place, shows signs of recovery as a three-year turnaround programme reaches its conclusion. The chain opened 24 new outlets in the UK in the half-year period, and now has 730 outlets.British Baker’s annual BB75 league table ranks the largest 75 bakery, café and food-to-go chains by number of shops.>>BB75 half-year update – Holding the fort>>Bakery retailers see a rise in outlet openings>>BB75 2011last_img read more

Odds & Ends: Sharknado Circles Broadway & More

first_imgHere’s a quick roundup of stories you may have missed today and over the weekend. Sharknado Circles BroadwayCould a stage adaptation of cult TV disaster film Sharknado take a big bite out of Broadway? Its screenwriter Thunder Levin certainly hopes so. “I think it would be hilarious to do Sharknado: The Musical,” he told the New York Daily News. “They could get some Broadway musical guys to write the songs and the music, but you’ve got to let me write the script. We could call it Sharknado: The Great White Way.” While you wait for some “Broadway musical guys” to get their teeth into the project, you can look forward to watching Sharknado 3: Oh Hell No!, which premieres on the Syfy channel on July 22. Or something.Clyde Alves’ Shore LeaveClyde Alves is heading to Birdland! The On the Town star will perform an evening of original music on July 20 at the Big Apple hotspot. Joined by fellow Broadway performers Robyn Hurder and Rebecca Riker, expect a mix of folk, rock, soul and reggae sounds.Michelle Obama’s Theatrical WeekendFirst Lady Michelle Obama has had a very Broadway-centric few days! There was the invite to the White House for the cast of Aladdin, and then she herself visited the Tony-winning productions of The King and I and Kinky Boots. Check out the thank you note the First Lady penned to the latter’s cast below! View Comments Owen Wilson & Jennifer Aniston’s Broadway ComedyAfter all the excitement surrounding the Oscar-winning Birdman, Hollywood has tapped Broadway again! She’s Funny That Way, Peter Bogdanovich’s first feature film in 13 years, is a comedy set behind the scenes of a Great White Way show. Starring Owen Wilson, Jennifer Aniston, Imogen Poots and more, check out the trailer below (and keep your eyes peeled for some classic Main Stem hangouts!).last_img read more

US SBA September loan volume highest since August 2007

first_imgChanges under the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act to U.S. Small Business Administration loan programs led to a rebound in SBA-backed loans for small businesses and greater access to much-needed capital.Since the Recovery Act was signed on Feb. 17, SBA has supported more than $11.3 billion in lending to small businesses through its two largest loan programs and seen its average weekly dollar volume increase by more than 60 percent in comparison to the weeks before the Recovery Act.  Additionally, the average number of loans approved per week has increased by more than 50 percent. The dollar volume for September 2009 ($1.9 billion) was the highest single-month total since August 2007.“These numbers, along with our conversations with lenders and small business owners around the country, show that the Recovery Act hit the mark,” SBA Administrator Karen Mills said. “The Recovery Act was critical to unlocking the market and as a result we’ve helped put billions of dollars of much needed capital in the hands of small business owners during this tough economic time, and brought more than 1,200 lenders back into SBA’s loan programs.  With half the nation’s workforce either working for or owning a small business, these dollars played a critical role in driving economic recovery across the country.”As a result of the credit crunch, SBA lending saw a significant decline in the fall of 2008 and early 2009. For the seven weeks prior to the Recovery Act being signed, SBA’s average weekly dollar volume was $165 million.  The average weekly average since the Recovery Act was signed, through Sept. 25, was $275 million. Mills cited Recovery Act provisions that reduced fees on SBA loans and raised SBA guarantees to 90 percent, as well as actions that reinvigorated the secondary markets for SBA-guaranteed loans as especially helpful in improving access to SBA-backed credit.Overall, SBA loan approvals for the fiscal year amounted to a combined 50,829 loans (preliminary number) worth $13.1 billion under the 7(a) and 504 loan programs.  The comparable figures for fiscal year 2008, which ended just as the nation’s economy entered the financial crisis, were 78,317 and $17.96 billion. The dollar volume totals for SBA loans in fiscal year 2009, which ended Sept. 30, do not include loans made under the agency’s ARC, (America’s Recovery Capital) loan program.  Launched on June 15, the agency has approved 2,715 ARC loans worth more than $88 million as of September 29.  Thus far, nearly 740 lenders have made ARC loans, and the number of participating lenders is increasing by an average of about 50 per week.For more information about these and other SBA programs, visit the SBA Web site at is external), or contact your local SBA field office.  You can find contact information for your local SBA office at is external).  Source: SBA. # # #last_img read more

Unfinished Business

first_imgA couple of weeks ago, I set out to run the length of Shenandoah National Park on the A.T. While the distance (107 miles) was daunting, I had run that far before and figured the goal was achievable. Although it was to be a solo effort, the close proximity of the trail to Skyline Drive meant that there would be plenty of opportunities for crew support. My husband Mark agreed to follow along on the road and meet me every 4-6 miles with encouragement and refreshments. Early Saturday morning we packed the car and drove up to Front Royal; six hours later, I was off on my adventure.For the first twenty or so hours of my run, I felt great – confident and happy to be on the trail. It had been a hectic week, so the opportunity to spend hours alone in the woods was a real luxury. Midway through the second afternoon, however, the euphoria had worn off and I was over it. Exhausted and worn down by the miles, as well as the heat and humidity, my spirit was broken. When I met my crew at mile 88, I informed them that I was calling it a day. Shock and disbelief filled Mark’s face as he encouraged, cajoled, and even begged me to continue, promising that I’d get a second wind and would feel better in a few miles.No such doing – I had made up my mind and felt okay with my decision. I assured him that I would not regret the choice.Fast-forward twenty-four hours (or maybe it was only twelve) and I’m doing what all runners recovering from a DNF do:  planning my next attempt and struggling to make sense of my decision to pull the plug. I’ve been running and racing for 31 years and have DNF’d exactly three times, all due to significant injury. This time, I wasn’t injured – just hot and exhausted. What made me quit? Am I getting soft in my old age? And is it okay to accept defeat sometimes? I challenged that trail to a duel and I lost. It happens…but usually not to me.As I’ve processed this experience, one thing that I’ve realized is that the fact that this was a solo journey, rather than an organized race, made it easier to quit. Knowing that I had no one to answer to other than myself made stopping seem like less of a big deal. That, in turn, raised questions of why I run and for whom. It’s not easy to admit that part of the reason I push beyond the pain and discomfort is for the accolades I’ll receive from others. Big victories and course records garner a lot more attention than solitary excursions. It is far more difficult to persevere knowing that my accomplishment (or failure) will be unknown except to those closest to me. 1 2last_img read more