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Chicago Emerges as Brand Hub

By: Leslie Benson
Posted: March 5, 2008, from the March 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

page 5 of 7

According to Beth Cassiday, vice president of Paris Presents, the company’s central location is convenient for numerous reasons—including tapping into local manufacturing and packaging resources. And having O’Hare International Airport nearby’s not too bad, either. “We’re in the Chicago suburbs and are able to easily understand what the customer wants and needs,” Cassiday says. “We’re so accustomed to traveling in the U.S. and abroad. From here, we’re able to go wherever we need to go.”

Founded by Robert Zall in 1947, Paris Presents began as a general merchandise distributor to hospital gift shops, boutiques and drugstores. Now, the brand distributes to mass merchandisers such as Target and Wal-Mart, department stores such as Kohl’s and specialty retailers, including Bed, Bath & Beyond. Of course, drugstores are still on their loyal list of retailers, but to compete in the mass market, Paris Presents has had to stay on top of trends, such as utilizing earth-friendly materials in new products.

“One of our launches is centered on a natural concept,” says Cassiday. “It’s called ecoTools—a natural line of bath accessories and cosmetic accessories.” The line, which includes cosmetics applicators and loofah buffs, uses bamboo and recycled materials.

China-Gel Incorporated
Arlington Heights, IL
www.chinagel.com

For cubicle workers with backaches or arthritis, a cool, soothing therapeutic cream could offer just enough relief for muscle tension. Using a Chinese herbal remedy, that’s just what China-Gel Incorporated set out to create. Combining seven ingredients—menthol, camphor, ginseng, angelica, lavender, aloe vera and witch hazel—in an acupuncture clinic, the company developed a topical, greaseless gel to alleviate minor aches and pains.