Thursday, August 27, 2009

Delmont Subway Restaurant inside Wal-Mart Offers Customers Big Discount in Exchange for School Supply Donation

“Subway Helps Students in Need” promotion lets this Subway's Customers Help Give Kids a Great Start in School

By Christine Emmick

Now through the end of September the owners of Subway Restaurant inside of the Delmont Wal-Mart store will offer $1.00 off any item on their menu with a donation of new school supplies. They will distribute the school supplies to the families of students at Greensburg Salem, Jeanette, Penn Trafford and Christian Fellowship Academy schools.

The idea sprung from a wish to help those families struggling during these tough economic times. When assistant manager Jessie Staymates decided to offer an incentive to help give kids get a great start in school, she never dreamed her customers would be so giving. Folders, notebooks, pencils highlighters and stickers poured in. Because of the generosity of their customers, the Delmont Subway will have hundreds of dollars of school supplies to distribute to families in these school districts.

To get more information or to make a donation, call Jessie at 724-468-3010, or simply stop by the restaurant. To get directions to the Delmont Wal-Mart Subway, visit and click the “Restaurant Locator” tab at the top of the page. The “Subway Helps Students in Need” promotion runs through September 30th.

Christine Emmick is a freelance foods and business writer based in the Pittsburgh area. You may contact Christine through her blog site at or

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Real Estate Success Bus Tour

Search Real Estate Property the Easy Way by Taking a Ride with Staged for Success on the Pittsburgh Foreclosure Bus

By Christine Emmick

In today’s economy, foreclosures are inevitable, but the current market is great for Pittsburgh. In February of this year, Pittsburgh was named one of the best places to ride out the recession by Business Week. With a solid job market and plenty of affordable housing, Pittsburgh and the surrounding tri-state area could see home prices actually increase over the next decade. This is good for the local real estate market, especially since real estate is on sale right now. The market plunge has caused the Pittsburgh real estate value to dip slightly, about one percent according to real estate market reports found at With news like this now is the time to buy.

Real estate foreclosures present exciting buying opportunities for first time home buyers and those interested in investment property. You could comb through the real estate property listings filled with bargain basement money pits or go to one of those questionable real estate auctions requiring thousands of dollars cash up front to find foreclosures. Or you could take a ride on The Success Bus. Staged for Success, the premier staging company in the Pittsburgh region, is hosting real estate bus tours in many Pittsburgh regions. This hassle-free way of looking at real estate from Staged for Success takes you on a comfortable bus ride, using their gasoline, and lets you examine properties that are worthy of your time and money, with no pressure to buy any of the houses they show.

A ride on The Success Bus lasts from about 10am until 4pm and features full viewing of approximately twelve foreclosure properties. These real estate listings are hand selected so you won’t waste your time looking at houses that need torn down and made into a parking lot. The real estate tour also includes advice from experts in the Pittsburgh real estate markets and experienced negotiators to help get the best price for the home. Not only that, Staged for Success provides lunch, including chips, drink and sandwich. For those that choose to make a purchase, take any of the classes available on their website or use any of their staging services, they offer 25 to 50 percent off their services. The cost of the tour is only 50 dollars per person or 90 dollars per couple and you receive a full refund of the tour admission when purchasing a home through the program. For upcoming tour dates and Pittsburgh neighborhood locations, visit or call 724-757-9291. For any questions about the online home buyer’s class, visit the Staged for Success website at

It’s time to get on the bus!

Content sponsored by Staged for Success, a full service home and business staging company serving the greater Pittsburgh area. For more information about Staged for Success, visit their website at

Christine Emmick is a freelance business and real estate writer based in the Pittsburgh area. You may contact Christine through her blog site at

Latrobe Area School to Get Free School Supplies through Campbell’s Soup Label Program

Mountain View Elementary to Receive Over 20,000 Labels for EducationTM from Morella’s Route 30 Shop-n-Save

By Christine Emmick

Since February 2007, the owners of Morella’s Route 30 Shop-n-Save have donated over 26,000 Campbell’s® Labels for EducationTM to Latrobe area schools, and they are set to do it again. Through a partnership with the company, the Latrobe Shop-n-Save will donate over 23,000 more Labels for EducationTM certificates to Mountain View Elementary School in Latrobe.

With these certificates, the school can select anything from Crayola® art supplies, Merriam-Webster’s® reference books and Math Blaster® learning software, to playground equipment, a MiniDV camcorder or a wireless PA system. The program also includes earning points for video projectors, iMac® and Dell® computers, flat panel TVs, educational games, science kits and models, microscopes and even an electronic scoreboard.

The Morella’s encourage members of the community to join their efforts by simply donating Labels for Education UPC codes from the products they use. Just drop them off at the box located at the front of the service desk. Many Campbell’s® soup UPC codes qualify for the Labels for EducationTM program, and Labels for EducationTM points are also found on selected Spaghettios®, Franco-American®, Prego®, Pepperidge Farm® and Swanson® products. Selected V8® juice caps and certain Campbell’s® Foodservice products are even accepted. For more information on what to collect, visit and click on View Eligible Products.

For more information about the Labels for EducationTM program, weekly specials or other sales promotions, contact the Morella’s Route 30 Shop-n-Save at 724-532-3939. Look for Morella’s on the web at Click the Jobs & Community sidebar to learn more about what the store does for the Latrobe area, and click Special Promotions to find out about their specials.

Christine Emmick is a freelance foods and business writer based in the Pittsburgh area. You may contact Christine through her blog site at

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Get Your House Ready to Sell This Spring

Strategic Home Improvement Increases Your Home Value, Inside and Out

By Christine Emmick

Spring is a great time to do home improvement and when you’re selling a home, you need every one of those investment dollars to count. When a home buyer looks for houses for sale, curb appeal is not the only important factor anymore. Multi-photo listings and virtual home tours mean you need to have your house looking its best, both inside and out, before the real estate agent does a home appraisal.

Start with your home interior. Tackle the clutter and get rid of anything you do not use at least on a weekly basis. Give away what you don’t use, throw away the junk and store the rest. You’ll find dozens of storage facilities listed at Then decide whether you’ll hire a carpet cleaner or carpet installer. If your carpet is more than five years old or it is stained, it’s best to replace it with new, neutral colored carpet. Finally, get a few estimates from a painting contractor to give the interior walls a fresh look. Again, make sure you choose neutral house paint colors.

Next tackle the outside of the house. Attack the clutter here as well, and then consider new improvements like roof, windows, siding and exterior house paint which will ultimately raise the sale price of your home. Again, keep with neutral shades and be sure to choose colors that complement one another. In general, avoid blue with reds, and any purple, pink or orange hues. Also, make sure to get a copy of the insurance certificate of any roofer, window installer or painter before they do any work and check the references for each contractor as well.
Don’t forget the landscaping. People get their first impression of a property from the landscaping and simple inexpensive changes, such as adding an accent shrub or replacing mulch, can make a big difference. A general landscape contractor can bring an established landscape back to life, but it’s best to hire a landscape architect to re-design a badly maintained site. Early spring is the perfect time to hire a landscape contractor since most are eager to get to work after the off season.

You can do all this yourself, if you have the time and resources. Most people selling a house don’t have time to check a contractor’s references, let alone have the experience required to inspect their work. This is where a good staging company, like Staged for Success comes in. A staging company hires experienced contractors for you who have a proven record of reliability. Also, the staging company is often times able to negotiate a better contract price than a homeowner, mostly due to the volume of business they bring to that contractor.

Staged for Success, the premier staging company in the greater Pittsburgh area, provides free consultations to all prospective staging clients and offers online classes for both those looking to buy and sell a home. Try the Home Buyer Class if you want to know more about real estate agents, credit scores. The Home Sellers Class, which is geared to help you make the most of the selling process, gives details on what to look for in a real estate agent, as well as the particulars on how to make your home look its best. You can reach them at their website,, or by telephone at 1-877-615-3294.

Spend some time on home improvements this spring. This is the way you “Set the Stage” to sell your home successfully.

Content sponsored by Staged for Success, a full service home and business staging company serving the greater Pittsburgh area. For more information about Staged for Success, visit their website at
Christine Emmick is a freelance business and real estate writer based in the Pittsburgh area. You may contact Christine through her blog site at

Thursday, January 29, 2009

Investing in the Future of Real Estate

Mary B. Smith - Pittsburgh, PA

In today's unstable economic climate, it is more important than ever to take hold of one's own future. With unemployment rates rising and investment in the stock market producing less than favorable results, real estate continues to be a sound investment for the future. It opens opportunities for financial success to anyone with the right knowledge and a small amount of determination.

Jim Toner knows this fact well, going from rags to riches while building his own success through real estate investments. Twenty years ago, Toner lived in a one-room apartment furnished with plastic lawn furniture. Today, he resides in a beautiful home with his wife and two children and can easily afford luxury cars and vacations. Even more important than the luxury comforts is the peace of mind that comes with financial stability, a peace of mind that everyone strives to achieve.

Toner helps others gain that kind of personal freedom and financial security by helping those less fortunate through his involvement in community assistance programs and sharing his knowledge and experience in real estate. Toner, who was born and raised in Pittsburgh, feels a strong sense of responsibility to give back to the community. "It is my opinion that any part of a successful life must include helping others," says Toner, "this is why we make it a point to stay actively involved in community, national and international outreach services."

Toner achieves this goal by donating his time as head of the advisory board for the McKeesport branch Salvation Army. In addition, Toner acts as a board member of Frank McKinney's Caring House Project Foundation, a non-profit organization that helps the poor all over the world by providing shelter, food, water and even medical support.

They also help people in need within their own community via Hope Lives Foundation. This non-profit organization focuses on providing hope and basic needs to people that have slipped through the cracks of other charitable organizations and have nowhere else to go. The Hope Lives Foundation provides housing, food, clothing and monetary help with utility bills and security deposits.

Besides helping those in need, Toner also strives to help fellow community members achieve their financial goals by offering the benefits of his 20 years of experience in real estate. He shares these useful tools and insight through seminars and workshops. He also has the assistance of a complete team of local people who know how to avoid the risks and pitfalls when making a real estate investment. The Wealth Builders team is made up of local investors, familiar with the Pittsburgh real estate market, that assist and support local investors as they launch their own real estate investment business.

The Wealth Builders team is sponsoring a free seminar, complete with free beverages and appetizers. The seminar will cover all the basics of "flip" investing, rental real estate and more. This event will be held at Dave & Buster's Restaurant at the Waterfront in Homestead, PA on Saturday, January 31 at 12 noon. To register for this free event, call 412-673-9800 or go to the website, Registration is required as space is limited.

Mary Smith is a freelance writer and aspiring author.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Preventing Identity Theft
Take These Simple Steps to Protect Your Personal and Corporate Identity

By Christine Emmick

Identity theft is something most people do not think about until it is too late. Identity theft statistics show over two-hundred-thousand people fall victim to this crime each year just in the United States alone. With these numbers growing, identity theft prevention is more important than ever. Here are some ways you can protect yourself from identity thieves.
Use your credit card instead of your debit card. Credit cards tend to carry more identity theft protection, such as zero-liability for unauthorized purchases. After just two days you may be liable for up to $500 in unauthorized charges on your debit card, and after 60 days you may be liable for all of it.
Choose just one credit card for your everyday purchases. When buying all your personal and corporate supplies, it’s smart to stick with one card instead of spreading the balance over multiple accounts. When you use multiple cards, you are putting each of those accounts at risk for fraud. Also, be sure you monitor the activity on that card closely.
Check your balance frequently. Also consider setting spending limit alerts with your credit card company. Most credit card companies offer an alert service that automatically contacts you when a large charge is made to your account. Contact your credit card company’s online service department to see what type of alerts they offer.
Use an identity theft protection service with fraud alert. There are several companies, like Fair Isaac’s myFiCO, which will help you monitor your credit report and alert you when a possible fraud attempt is made. Some will even back you monetarily, reimbursing you for the losses you’ve suffered at the identity thief’s hand.
Be cautious when opening new retail credit card accounts. It may seem like a great idea to take advantage of that discount, but some retail workers may not be as careful with your sensitive financial information as they should, especially during busy seasonal times. As an aside, each credit inquiry from a lender lowers your credit score, eventually limiting your financing choices.
Check your credit report often. Make sure all the information is correct, including your contact as well as your credit information. Under federal law, you are entitled to one free copy of your credit report each year. Contact each of the three major credit bureaus, Equifax, Experian and Trans Union, and ask what the procedure is to get your free report.
Take a credit class. This gives you a good overview of what you will find on your credit report, helps you understand what affects your credit rating and tunes you in on how much damage is caused by identity theft. Credit and You is a class that covers the how to on preventing identity theft, how your credit score is determined as well as how to improve this credit score. This course is available from Staged for Success and for a limited time offered at over half off the regular price. Call 877-615-3294 or visit the website to register.
Following these simple rules reduces your chance of becoming a victim of identity theft drastically. Preventing identity theft does not happen by accident. Know your credit score, monitor your credit activity, and educate yourself about the credit process and identity thieves will shop somewhere else for their next victim.

Content sponsored by Staged for Success, a full service home and business staging company serving the greater Pittsburgh area. For more information about Staged for Success, visit their website at
Christine Emmick is a freelance business and real estate writer based in the Pittsburgh area. You may contact Christine through her blog site at

Saturday, January 10, 2009

Weathering the Storm: Why Local Real Estate May be the Best Way to Invest Money in Today’s Changing Financial Climate

Christine Emmick - Pittsburgh, PA –January 5, 2009

Although the economic storm of recent months has many investors holding tight to their stocks praying the DJIA recovers, some are taking this financial tornado and riding it out in the housing market. While real estate investments have taken a dive in other parts of the country, Pittsburgh continues to be an attractive place to purchase real estate. The Pittsburgh Business Times even reported a global interest in the Pittsburgh region with the Pittsburgh Regional Alliance hosting a group of international investors touring Pittsburgh looking for investment opportunities. “That kind of investment is very good for our region because it creates business activity and jobs here," says Allegheny Conference CEO Mike Langley. (Ref:

These opportunities aren’t limited to the large overseas investor. Small-business investors can take advantage of the Pittsburgh real estate market with a little know how. A quick look through the real estate property listings will reveal hundreds of attractive investment opportunities for those searching for the right prospect. Jim Toner, real estate investor and owner of Wealth Builders, helps people get started. He says that the local investor may have the edge when it comes to the local market because if you live and work in a community, you’ll simply know the climate better. “I believe that only local people, real investors, can know and understand what makes local real estate investing work,” says Toner.

To that end, Toner and his group of experienced real estate investors have created a free seminar to help local investors own some of the community in which they live. This seminar will be held in three area locations in January. They will cover real estate investing basics, property value tips, case studies and business strategies to help the beginning investor start their real estate investing career.

These seminars will be in Greensburg at the Four Points Sheraton, January 13, 2009 at 7:00 p.m., in Greentree at the Radisson, January 14, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. and in Cranberry at the Pittsburgh Marriott North, January 15, 2009 at 7:00 p.m. If you have any questions, or want to register for any of these upcoming business seminars, please call 412-673-9800, or visit the Wealth Builders’ website at Registration is required, as seating is limited.

Christine Emmick is a freelance business writer and Pittsburgh area native.