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Cabot Creamery honors volunteers

BY CSA STAFF

Cabot Creamery is honoring 50 volunteers from across the United States with what it’s calling a “trip of a lifetime.” On Jan. 11, the volunteers will board the Celebrity Cruises Summit for an all-expense-paid, six-day, seven-night Caribbean cruise organized in their honor, courtesy of the 1,200 farm families who own Cabot Creamery Cooperative.

The farmer-owners of Cabot have presented the Cabot Community Celebrity Award program since 2010 to recognize individuals from across the nation who have made a difference in their communities.

"For the past four years, the Cabot Community Celebrity Awards have honored the powerful achievements and contributions of select volunteers," said Rich Stammer, Cabot president and CEO. "Partnering with major market media and national organizations, we spotlight those who serve others with little thought of personal recognition, and reward them with the trip of a lifetime. Our Community Celebrity Awards seek to redefine what ‘true celebrity’ really means."

One of the 50 volunteers going on the cruise is Sean Evans, a resident of Moore, Okla., who founded Serve Moore after the tornados that devastated the town in May. He developed a website to help coordinate relief efforts, connecting resources and thousands of volunteers to bring aid and comfort to the victims of the storm.

Also going are Tawanda and Robert Jones from Camden, N.J., who founded the Sophisticated Sisters Drill Team to serve the children of one of America’s most consistently impoverished and crime-ridden cities. Since founding the group in 1986, the couple provided a constructive outlet that has helped guide the lives of more than 4,000 of the city’s children.

"There are so many stories here of everyday people doing remarkable things in their communities. Stories of people who spend their weekends building dream bedrooms for kids with cancer; who spend their nights collecting food and goods for the hungry and homeless; who spend their days mentoring a child growing up alone in poverty," said Stammer. "They truly deserve this."

The Cabot Community Celebrity Award Cruise departs San Juan, Puerto Rico and stops in Barbados, St. Lucia, Antigua, St. Maarten, and St. Thomas, before returning to San Juan. Round trip airfare for the Cabot Community Celebrities and their guests is also included.

"We want them to exhale and let their worries and pressures escape, to relax, recharge, and celebrate, so they can go back to their communities refreshed and ready to do more," Stammer added. "And hopefully, inspire others to do the same."

Cabot is able to spotlight those who serve their communities by partnering with AARP Create the Good, Points of Light and working with an ever-growing list of highly conscious nonprofit organizations like Habitat For Humanity, St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital and The DREAM Program.

Once again this year, several of Cabot’s Community Celebrity Award recipients were selected from local radio stations that help Cabot spread the word on the valuable work volunteers do each day across the nation. Still others were selected from Cabot community relations programs, like the Reward Volunteers iPhone App, the mobile app a computer widget that enables volunteers to track their time serving nonprofits and to win great prizes and cash for themselves and the organizations they serve.

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Streamz lauds ‘world’s first smart streaming headphones’

BY CSA STAFF

Streamz, a Mozaex spin-off company, has released what it’s calling the “world’s first smart streaming headphones.”

The headphones have a built-in Android processor, WIFI, Bluetooth and storage, which allow you to play music and audio from multiple sources, including onboard stored music, streaming online radio, streamed phone music, plus audio from your TV, movie and game player.

The company will be demonstrating Streamz and their BLUWAVS 7.1 HDMI Surround headphones during the 2014 CES Expo, held in Las Vegas from Jan. 7–10, booth #54009.

"When it comes to entertainment there is only one thing more valuable than free, and that is simplicity," said Streamz CEO Douglas Kihm. "You no longer need to bother with a separate player since it’s all built inside. Many people don’t want the hassle of carrying, connecting, and draining the battery of their phone or music player. Streamz replaces multiple headphones so that you can enjoy all of your entertainment from any device with one simple-to-use pair of headphones."

According to the company, these are the first headphones to incorporate a music player, a 48 kHz/16 bit CD quality Digital Analog Converter (DAC) plus individual 3 Watt vibration drivers and 160 mWatt dynamic amplifiers.

The market for headphones continues to experience high growth, especially in the premium sector. Global headphone sales in 2013 were $7 billion with a growth of 20% per year. According to the NPD Group’s Retail Tracking Service, "U.S. sales of premium stereo headphones ($100+) grew 25% in units in Q1 2013 year-over-year, accounting for 95% of the revenue growth for the total headphone market."

Streamz headphones will be available for $549 and will be shipping March 2014.

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Late season online sales fizzle

BY CSA STAFF

Online holiday sales from desktop computers increased a less-than-expected 10% after a late season surge failed to materialize, according to comScore.

The digital measurement firm in late November predicted online sales from desktop computers would increase 14% during the November and December time frame and reach slightly more than $48.1 billion. However, as of December 26, data from the firm showed sales were up 10% to $42.8 billion for the comparable period.

"Our expectations for the online holiday shopping season anticipated that consumers would spend heavily later into the season out of necessity to make up for the highly compressed holiday shopping calendar this year," said comScore chairman Gian Fulgoni. "Unfortunately that was not in the cards, as the final online shopping week saw considerably softer sales than anticipated, including zero billion dollar spending days — although Monday and Tuesday came close."

2013 holiday season to date vs. corresponding shopping days* in 2012

Non-travel (retail) e-commerce spending

Excludes auctions and large corporate purchases

Total U.S.: Home and work desktop computers

Source: comScore
Millions ($)
2012
2013
Percent

Change
Holiday season-to-date (through Dec. 22)*
$38,912
$42,750
10%
Thanksgiving Day (Nov. 28)
$633
$766
21%
Black Friday (Nov. 29)
$1,042
$1,199
15%
Cyber Monday (Dec. 2)
$1,465
$1,735
18%
Green Monday (Dec. 9)
$1,275
$1,401
10%
*Corresponding days based on corresponding shopping days (Nov. 2 through Dec. 23, 2012)

The late season online slowdown was in contrast to a heady start Thanksgiving weekend. Online sales on Thanksgiving Day increased 21% to $766 million, Black Friday sales rose 15% to nearly $1.2 billion and Cyber Monday was up 18% to $1.7 billion.

"Strong momentum coming out of Thanksgiving, in addition to heavy weekend buying, suggested we would meet or exceed expectations as long as momentum continued through the final week before Christmas,” Fulgoni said, noting the most recent week fell short of those expectations. “In the end, I think we’ll look back at this online holiday season as one where absolute dollar sales gains in consumer spending were held back by heavy retailer price discounting that occurred in an attempt to stimulate consumer demand, while at the same time, consumers weren’t willing or able to increase their spending rate to fully compensate for the six-day shorter shopping period between Thanksgiving and Christmas."

For the holiday season-to-date, comScore said the categories showing the greatest increases were, video game consoles and accessories, apparel and accessories, consumer electronics, computer hardware and home and garden.

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