KANSAS CITY – Among the family owned businesses that thrive in niche markets is Colonial Patterns, maker of Aunt Martha’s sewing transfers. Still family owned, they are in most major national retailers, including Walmart, Michaels and Hobby Lobby. Like the brands Coats & Clark thread, Wrights trimmings and The companyMORE HERE

ST. LOUIS – The Netflix drama Outer Banks has cleverly reintroduced the teen mystery format to a new audience. The show, which has started a second season, also has introduced a real Southern aesthetic to television. Peppered are mentions of brands, from Grady White boats to the Save A LotMORE HERE

KANSAS CITY – Bon Ami, one of America’s most beloved cleansers, has updated its packaging, for perhaps the third time in a decade or so. This time, their trademark yellow color, present for the last century, has mostly disappeared. The red remains, in a different usage. Most importantly, the chick,MORE HERE

KANSAS CITY, MISSOURI – Large consumer products companies like Proctor & Gamble and Colgate Palmolive have sometimes complicated the sale of household products. Endless product line extensions and umpteen variations on products have confused consumers who like the product as it was. Most recently, the trend has been the mixingMORE HERE

St. LOUIS – The walls of Cracker Barrel always have amusing signs, all real. One brand we saw along at one on I-95 in South Carolina were Alox Shoe Laces. Alox was founded by John Frier (1895-1974), who in 1919 invented a new way to make shoelaces by crimping aMORE HERE

We were cleaning up and realized we had TWO brands of spray starch in the house. Two. Is there room in the market for TWO brands of this stuff? A can lasts all year, doesn’t it? And what a funny thing to actually sell, as spray starch is really justMORE HERE