A weekend project with great ROI…DirectBuy of Greater Vancouver’s team building weekend improves morale and service.


As service representatives for DirectBuy of Greater Vancouver, the leading members-only showroom and home design center, part of the job is helping people find the materials and labor for their home improvement project. Yet on a recent weekend, the service team had another project in mind, team building.

Accompanied by DirectBuy of Greater Vancouver Co-owner Peter Ruetz, the entire service staff spent two days and one night at riverside resort in Whistler, British Columbia. To onlookers, the group might have looked like a family reunion, taking part in a competitive volleyball game and not-so-competitive game of bocci; campfires and ghost stories and a shopping excursion to Whistler’s Village. Yet according to Service Manager Megan Taylor, the weekend had a profound effect on her staff.

Said Taylor, “A weekend away from the office was helpful in connecting as a team and allowing us to see the other sides of our co-workers. Not only did we become closer as co-workers, but we are now closer friends.”

“Our first service retreat was a huge success. Everybody had fun on the trip, which is great, but the true impact has been back on the job. The renewed enthusiasm has translated to outstanding service for our members,” said Ruetz. “That’s why we’ve decided to make this an annual weekend as it has been a great success.”

Since 1971, DirectBuy franchises have offered members the opportunity to enjoy enormous savings on home furnishings, home improvement items, entertainment and outdoor products and accessories by buying wholesale, directly from the manufacturer. With four convenient locations in the greater Vancouver area (Victoria, Vancouver, Coquitlam, and Kelowna), consumers can enjoy a comfortable, country-club setting, where they finally have the financial control of buying direct.

For more information on a DirectBuy membership, visit www.DirectBuyBC.ca

About DirectBuy

Since 1971, DirectBuy has helped hundreds of thousands of families enjoy a better quality of life, enabling them to buy directly from more than 500 manufacturers and their authorized suppliers. Buying direct makes members’ hard-earned money to go much further, while having the selection and choice not available at any retail store. DirectBuy has been serving the greater Vancouver area since 1997. Access to confidential prices, local suppliers, and unparalleled selection helps make members’ dream projects a reality.  It’s a comfortable, country-club setting, where you finally have the financial control of buying direct. The four DirectBuy showrooms serving the greater Vancouver area are part of more than 160 franchise locations throughout North America.


Consumers interested in becoming members may obtain a Visitor’s Pass to attend an Open House by contacting DirectBuy at 604-552-5255, or visiting www.DirectBuyBC.ca


Locations of the four DirectBuy showrooms serving the greater Vancouver area are: DirectBuy of Vancouver, 2659 Lillooet St., Vancouver, British Columbia V5M 4P7; DirectBuy of Greater Vancouver, 91 Golden Drive Unit #1, Coquitlam, British Columbia V3K 6R2; DirectBuy of Central Okanagan, #5 2260 Hunter Rd., Kelowna, British Columbia V1X 7J8; and DirectBuy of Greater Victoria, 350B Bay Street, Victoria, British Columbia V8T 1P7.


To learn more about the superior value and benefits of a DirectBuy membership, visit www.directbuycares.com.



How the “new” Scrooge did his shopping for the next Christmas.


There’s no question seeing the three spirits changed Ebenezer Scrooge forever. Yet did it really undo buying habits ingrained over a lifetime? Or did he convert that frugality into shrewdness for getting the most for his money, saving money and being the guy who gave the best gifts? By enabling its members to buy direct from more than 700 name brand manufacturers and their authorized suppliers, DirectBuy gives its members the opportunity to be modern-day Scrooges—without the retailer’s hidden markups.

“There are a lot of similarities between a reformed Scrooge and DirectBuy members. Both embraced a new way of buying and/or giving but probably without giving up the built-in need to save money and get the best deal,” said Sara Shragal, of DirectBuy. “Of course, we can only speculate on Scrooge. There’s hard data to show DirectBuy members are buying now more than ever, even in a difficult financial climate.”

Over the last 12 months, DirectBuy members from more than 160 showrooms across the U.S. and Canada purchased more than $1.1 billion in merchandise. That’s a 13 percent increase over the previous 12 months. In addition to the increased spending, DirectBuy members are also renewing their memberships at record levels.

“Tough times mean people want to get the very most for their dollar, something the old Scrooge could certainly appreciate. Yet by taking advantage of their DirectBuy membership and getting quality items at manufacturer low pricing, our members are also getting value, something new and improved Scrooge would definitely approve of,” said Shragal.

DirectBuy offers everything you need for your home improvement projects and gift-giving needs for the holidays and throughout the year—all at wholesale prices direct from the manufacturers and their authorized suppliers. In addition, DirectBuy also employs product specialists and designers, so if you’re stuck for gift ideas or on deciding which direction to take your home improvement project, you have professionals at your service who can create the look that works best for you and your family.

Another area DirectBuy has in common with the new and improved Ebenezer Scrooge is in generosity. DirectBuy center owners give to many charitable causes in the communities they serve, including Habitat for Humanity, Boys & Girls Clubs, YMCAs, Homes for Our Troops, children’s hospitals and much more.

For more information on a DirectBuy membership, you can visit http://www.directbuycares.com.

About DirectBuy

For more than 37 years, DirectBuy has been showing thousands of consumers unparalleled ways to save as they shop for virtually everything for in and around their homes – from furnishings, home improvement and flooring, to entertainment and outdoor products, accessories and much, much more. With more than 160 locations in North America, DirectBuy offers its members access to approximately 700 brand-name manufacturers and their authorized suppliers in the US and more than 500 brand-name manufacturers and authorized suppliers in Canada.

Consumers interested in seeing DirectBuy’s savings, service and selection up close may obtain a Visitor’s Pass to attend an Open House by visiting www.directbuy.com or www.directbuycares.com.

Does the expression “Cheap Date” take on new meaning? Is love tied to the economy?

Does the expression “Cheap Date” take on new meaning? Is love tied to the economy? Or, is finding that special someone considered a necessity, even in a recession?

Investing in a dating service membership may be considered a luxury good/service, but despite consumers’ fall in discretionary income, the demand for professional matchmaking remains the same. People view dating as a necessity and traditional brick and mortar dating services continue to grow.

“When times get tough, it helps to have someone there for you. People realize this. They don’t want to go it alone. They can’t control the economy, but they can be proactive and take charge of their love lives. That’s why we haven’t experienced a drop in membership,” explained Paul A. Falzone, CEO of The Right One and Together Dating, the largest traditional dating service in the world.

He continued, “The shift that we have seen is a significant increase in credit card payments for memberships. That, and people are just not going on really extravagant dates.”

Singles are using less cash and going out on more creative, yet inexpensive, dates. From catching a show at a community theater instead of buying ticket for a play at a major theater to choosing restaurants small on price and big on ambiance, singles are finding many ways to save money yet still have a great time on a date.

“It really isn’t about where you go, what you do or how much money you spend on a date. It’s about who you’re with,” noted Falzone.

Looking for additional “low cost” date ideas? How about going to a local artist’s Art Opening; a wine tasting event; a moonlit picnic on the beach; a long walk in the park; a concert at a coffee house; ice skating or bowling? There are a vast number of activities that make for a great date – don’t be afraid to get creative.

Now catering to more than 300,000 members at over 50 locations throughout North America, The Right One and Together Dating and Singles Station affiliate are the largest brick and mortar dating services in the industry. The Right One and Together Dating offer a more consistent product, a greater number of potentially compatible mates and added value of flexibility in transferring memberships to another geographic region.

Romantic Locations

The Right One’s offices and affiliates located throughout the United States include: California (San Diego); Colorado (Glendale); Georgia (Atlanta); Illinois (Downers Grove, Rockford and Normal); Massachusetts (Norwell, Newton, Shrewsbury and Woburn); Michigan (Bingham Farms); Nebraska (Omaha and Lincoln); Nevada (Las Vegas); New Jersey (Cherry Hill); Pennsylvania (King of Prussia); Rhode Island (Warwick); Texas (Dallas, Austin); Utah (Salt Lake City) and Wisconsin (Madison, Appleton, Elm Grove).

North American locations and affiliates of Together are: Georgia (Savannah); Indiana (Ft. Wayne, Carmel, Mishawaka); Kentucky (Lexington, Louisville); Louisiana (Metairie); Maryland (Columbia, Frederick); Minnesota (Edina); Nevada (Reno); New Hampshire (Hooksett, Nashua, Portsmouth and Salem); Ohio (Cincinnati); South Carolina (Greenville); Texas (San Antonio) and Virginia (Falls Church).

For more information about Together Dating and The Right One, please visit their websites at www.togetherdating.com and www.therightone.com, or call (800) 818-DATE (3283).

Singles Station Dating Company affiliate offices are conveniently located in Oklahoma City and Tulsa, Oklahoma; Bentonville, Fort Smith and Little Rock, Arkansas; Memphis and Nashville, Tennessee; and Springfield and St. Louis, Missouri. For more information about Singles Station, please visit www.singlesstation.com or call 866-807-LOVE (5683).

Plumbing projects that pack a punch. Hub Plumbing & Mechanical looks at which projects offer the highest return on investment.

For many homeowners, remodeling or upgrading their existing home remains an appealing option in an uncertain real estate market. The question is, which projects offer the best return on investment in the long run?

John Wood, founder and CEO of Hub Plumbing & Mechanical of Boston offers some suggestions on upgrade and remodeling projects that involve his area of expertise – anything that involves plumbing or HVAC considerations, including, of course, bathrooms and kitchens.

First of all, it’s important to decide what your goal is – maintenance and repair or a lifestyle improvement? Do you want to simply upgrade tired fixtures or do you want to invest in a lavish gourmet kitchen, or a spa-like retreat to replace an existing bath?

Notes Wood, “Plumbing is tricky; it’s not just a matter of running a few pipes to accommodate new fixtures or appliances. Depending on the age and condition of your home, you may be facing a hodge-podge of materials and plumbing “fixes” that have been incorporated over the years. You need to realistically determine what you can afford, establish a budget, and stick to it.”

That said, which projects not only provide comfort and style, but also offer a good long-term return on your investment? Using Remodeling Magazine’s 2007 Cost vs. Value Report for the New England region as a basis, a minor kitchen remodel, which would include a mid grade replacement of existing plumbing fixtures, would recoup an 86% return on investment (ROI.) A major mid range kitchen remodel, with features such as a double stainless-steel sink and a center island, would deliver a 77.7% ROI. An upscale kitchen remodel, utilizing elements such as designer fixtures, and a built-in water filtration system, would have an ROI of 76.7%

A mid-range bathroom remodel that would include the replacement of all plumbing fixtures, would deliver a 74.8% return on investment, while a midrange bathroom addition would yield an ROI of 65.8%. An upscale bathroom remodel, which would expand the bathroom within the existing footprint of the house, relocating all fixtures to accommodate a whirlpool and separate shower, would result in a 64.3% ROI, while an upscale bathroom addition, increasing the footprint of the house, would have an ROI of 64.1%

Once you decide what improvements you would like to pursue, don’t forget the basics when planning an upgrade or remodeling project. Research contractors by license number to make sure that they ARE licensed, and to see if any complaints have been filed against them. References should also be readily available and should be checked for verification. Also, don’t forget to ask for a copy of the contractor’s insurance binder.

About Hub Plumbing & Mechanical
Hub Plumbing & Mechanical was established in 1999 and now includes a staff of 16 full time employees. This full service plumbing company assists residential and commercial customers with code violations, sewer/drain clogs, garbage disposals, water heaters, water filtration, steam and hot water boilers, thermostats, leaky faucets, tub valves, gas pipes, appliance installation, outside hose faucets, and residential HVAC service.

Hub Plumbing & Mechanical was recently highlighted in a new book entitled “The Celebrity Experience” where Hub Plumbing & Mechanical’s Red Carpet Service was cited as an example of how it’s possible to create faithful life long customers by showering them with treatment usually reserved for celebrities.

Hub Plumbing and Mechanical’s signature Red Carpet service features experienced teams of licensed technicians who not only protect your floors with a red carpet, but also cover their work boots with stain-resistant booties, wear ID badges for security purposes, and arrive on time and smartly dressed in crisp, clean uniforms.

The company does not charge by the hour, but by the specific project. Hub Plumbing & Mechanical is available 24 hours a day and 7 seven days a week to provide immediate access and peace of mind. Dedicated 2nd and 3rd shift night dispatchers internally handle all calls at Hub Plumbing & Mechanical, not an answering service. The difference between the two enables Hub Plumbing & Mechanical to get real-time info on the customer 24/7 to expedite the call as efficiently as possible.

Hub Plumbing & Mechanical Inc. is located at 70 Old Colony Avenue in South Boston, MA 02127. For more information about Hub Plumbing & Mechanical call 1-866-HUBPLUMBING (482-7586), email services@hubplumbing.com, or visit www.hubplumbing.com.

PR Works meets with TV star Christopher Lowell at DirectBuy national convention in San Francisco.

Joe D'Eramo (left) and Steve Dubin (right) with Christopher Lowell.
PR Works Joe D'Eramo (left) and Steve Dubin (right) with Christopher Lowell.


PR Works founder Steve Dubin (Kingston, Mass. resident) and account manager Joe D’Eramo (Plymouth resident) recently met with TV star Christopher Lowell at the national convention for their mutual client DirectBuy.  The convention was held in San Francisco and attended by more than 1,500 DirectBuy staff members.

Lowell, a decorator and television personality, is the host of It’s Christopher Lowell! and the Christopher Lowell Show for which he won a Daytime Emmy Award in 2000.

Christopher Lowell has become a household name and has appeared appearing on The Hollywood Squares. DirectBuy provides members access to twelve room settings created by Christopher Lowell.  Lowell will host an upcoming series on Fine Living Channel called Work That Room with Christopher Lowell.

PR Works met with Lowell to discuss a variety of public relations initiatives to expand awareness of DirectBuy. PR Works develops visibility programs for the more than 160 DirectBuy stores that are located in the United States and Canada.

Held from November 22 to 25 at the San Francisco Marriott, DirectBuy’s conference, appropriately titled the Brilliance by the Bay, brought DirectBuy center owners, staff and vendors from across the U.S. and Canada. Besides awards banquets, keynote speakers, the conference provided a team-building opportunity.

“DirectBuy executives and staff are energized to create new business opportunities and continue to grow their brand,” noted Dubin. He added, “The conference underscored the unique niche that DirectBuy can offer to consumers – buying at manufacturers’ price can save an enormous amount of money and should be a fun, positive experience.”

As the leading members-only showroom and home design center, DirectBuy offers manufacturer-direct pricing on products ranging from light fixtures to televisions to kitchen cabinets, all from more than 700 manufacturers and their authorized suppliers. DirectBuy also offers design services to its members, as well as a listing of local contractors who offer installation services to DirectBuy members, many times at a discounted rate.

PR Works offering The Works

For 18 years, PR Works has been providing a wide expanse of public relations services including strategic PR planning, news releases, feature story development, media placement, media coaching, newsletters, case studies, grand opening management, product and service launch management, press tours, and press conference management.  In addition to public relations, PR Works provides complete marketing services such as brochure development, advertising campaigns, direct mail, and telemarketing.

Visit the new website at www.prworkzone.com.  For FREE brochures entitled “How to Talk to the Press”, “Making Newsletters Noteworthy”, and “Seminars Lead to Motivated Prospects”, please contact Steve Dubin at (781) 582-1061, sdubin@prworkzone.com, 51 Lot Phillips Road, Kingston, MA.