Mello Joy, Duck Dynasty partner in coffee venture

From The Associated Press and staff reports.

Baton Rouge tourism benefiting from marketing
BATON ROUGE — The vice president of Visit Baton Rouge says the city’s tourism is benefiting this year from local participation in a federal marketing program known as Brand USA.
Renee Areng told the Press Club of Baton Rouge on Monday that means this is the first year for the local area to promote its tourist spots to people in foreign countries.
Areng said the program requires state and local sharing of expenses.
She said Visit Baton Rouge paid $20,000 into the project to promote the city in countries where Spanish, French or German is spoken.
She said the impact from that effort is expected to be at least five times the expense.

Mello Joy, Duck Dynasty partner in coffee venture
LAFAYETTE — A Lafayette-based company has teamed up with Duck Dynasty’s starts to craft two gourmet coffees that will be sold in 12-ounce bags and single-serve cups starting in August.
Mello Joy president Mike Gregory said the Duck Commander Coffee will feature a dark roast and a medium roast using 100 percent Arabica beans and they will also provide a Duck Commander hot chocolate and cappuccino.
Gregory said the roasts would be a rich blend of Brazilian and Central American coffee beans with no bitter aftertaste. The new coffees will be available nationwide in September although the roll out will begin in August.
“We plan to sell the Duck Commander coffee in nationwide grocery chains including Costco and Wal-Mart,” Gregory said. “We will sell it on our website and the Robertsons will sell it on their website but initially we will be focused on selling it through grocery stores rather than online.”
He said Friday that his company competed with several other coffee companies to collaborate with Duck Commander and the Robertson family. He did not provide further details.
“When we set out to launch our Duck Commander coffee, we searched for the best coffee and chose Mello Joy Coffee right here in Louisiana,” Duck Commander CEO Willie Robertson in a statement. “It is exciting to have these two iconic Louisiana brands come together to create something new.”
Mello Joy is sold in restaurants across Lafayette, Gregory said. While Mello Joy’s Duck Commander coffees will be available in single cup servings, it will not be sold in restaurants initially, he said.
Duck Commander is a family-owned and operated business established in 1972 by Phil Robertson and based in West Monroe. It began by selling duck calls, and has since grown into a multi-million dollar empire. Duck Commander products are sold in retail stores and online.
Mello Joy was founded in 1936 as the Original Cajun Coffee.

State-run insurer starts Home Depot claims program
BATON ROUGE — Louisiana Citizens Property Insurance Corp. will connect its policyholders with experienced, licensed and insured local contractors in a program with Home Depot.
The state’s property insurer of last resort says the free and optional Property Pro-Net service is designed to streamline the traditional claims-adjusting and repair process. Network contractors will work with Citizens to estimate repair costs. Work can usually begin within a matter of days. Citizens customers also have the option of going to a Home Depot to select materials for the repairs.
Quin Netzel, Citizens’ chief claims officer, said the idea is to make property repairs quicker, easier and hassle-free.
Property Pro-Net contractors are required to pass background checks, financial strength analysis, license verification and meet required levels of insurance.

Stage Stores raise about $1 million with ‘30 Days of Giving’ campaign
HOUSTON– Stage Stores turned the month of March into “30 Days of Giving” at all 849 of itsstores. Customers who visited any one of the company’s department stores, which include Bealls, Goody’s, Palais Royal, Peebles and Stage, were invited to donate $1, $5 or $10 to a local valued group in their community. The campaign resulted in a total of $896,295 being donated to more than 700 local organizations.
As an additional thank-you, each customer who donated during the campaign received a Community Counts 30 percent off Saving Pass that could be used during the store’s Big Spring Sale. In addition to the amount their customers gave, Stage Stores made an additional donation to each local organization.
“The success of our ‘30 Days of Giving’ initiative wouldn’t have been possible without the enthusiasm and support of both our customers and store associates,” said Michael Glazer, president and CEO of Stage Stores Inc. “I am elated when I think about the positive impact these many organizations have on their local communities and the good that can be done with the money they will receive as a result of this campaign.”

FERC releases impact statement on Cameron LNG
CAMERON — A proposed liquefied natural gas export terminal in Cameron Parish would not significantly damage the environment, the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission staff said. The conclusion also applies to 21 miles of pipeline and associated facilities proposed for Cameron, Calcasieu, and Beauregard parishes.
The project has adequate plans to compensate for filling in 213 acres of wetlands, according to an environmental impact study released Wednesday. It says those include using dredged material to turn an area of open water to brackish marsh and buying credits from approved mitigation banks.
The report by FERC environmental staffers concluded that construction and operation won’t affect any of the eight threatened or endangered species in the area, though it said surveys for the red-cockaded woodpecker should be updated within a year before construction.
Cameron LNG LLC and Cameron Interstate Pipeline LLC have included adequate safety features in their plans, it said.

BASF eyes new propylene plant along Gulf Coast
NEW ORLEANS — German chemical titan BASF SE is evaluating plans to spend more than $1.4 billion to build a propylene plant somewhere along the Gulf Coast.
Kurt Bock, chairman of the company’s board of executive directors, said Friday that a feedstock of cheap natural gas would give BASF a price advantage, and would allow it to stop buying so much of the building block for plastics and chemicals from others.
“We want to further process this basic product in North America and significantly expand our business,” Bock said in a speech to shareholders at the company’s annual meeting in Mannheim, Germany. “Propylene is needed, for example, for coatings, detergents, or superabsorbents for diapers.”
Bock said the plant would convert natural gas to methanol and then to propylene, which he described as a new technology.
The world’s largest chemical company said the plant would be its single largest investment ever.
It didn’t give details about where it would build, but chemical makers have flooded into south Louisiana and the Texas coast to take advantage of cheap natural gas being extracted from shale formations through hydraulic fracturing. Tens of billions of dollars’ worth of projects have been announced in Louisiana, although not all will be built.
“With shale gas and shale oil, we also have access to cheap energy and raw materials for our production,” Bock said.
In October, BASF made a similar announcement that it and the Norwegian company Yara were jointly exploring a “world scale” ammonia plant along the Gulf Coast. Like with the propylene announcement, BASF said it would like to make its own ammonia for use in chemicals rather than buy it from others.
BASF already has more than 2,000 employees in Louisiana, with a major site at Geismar. It also has plants with more than 100 employees in the Texas cities of Beaumont, Freeport, Pasadena and Port Arthur, as well as one in McIntosh, Alabama.

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