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November, 2014 |

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Brothers transform used whiskey barrels into home furnishings

C.J. Shaver isn’t much of a whiskey connoisseur. But whiskey barrels? That’s a different

C.J. and his brother, Curt, have made a fledgling business out of reimagining whiskey barrels as
home furnishings. Their 2-year-old enterprise, Columbus Barrel Co., transforms Kentucky bourbon
barrels into benches, bottle openers, clocks, coat racks, cutting boards, desks, ice buckets,
stools, tables and — of course — bars.

With the help of other shops, they’re even turning the charred oak barrel staves into
accessories such as cuff links, sunglasses and watches.

The brothers come from a long line of woodworkers. Their grandfather and father ran a cabinet
shop, Scioto Kitchen Sales, before selling it two years ago.

Still, the brothers stumbled a bit onto the whiskey-barrel idea.

After graduating from the University of Kentucky, Curt thought he could make some money buying
and selling old whiskey barrels from Kentucky.

“I brought them up from Kentucky,” Curt said. “I just loved them. I thought they were cool, and
one day C.J. said, ‘Let me take this apart.’  ”

C.J. cut the metal straps from the barrels and the staves popped apart like a blooming

Whiskey barrels are made of inch-thick white oak, steamed into curves and charred inside.
Distillers typically use them only once to age whiskey. (To be called
bourbon, whiskey must be aged in new barrels.)

Once bourbon distillers are finished with the barrels, the barrels enjoy a lively secondary
market among brewers and rum, tequila and international whiskey distillers.

C.J. found the wood so distinctive that he thought it would be perfect in furnishings. He
crafted a table and stool set from the first barrel and kept on going.

The company has grown enough to provide a full-time job for C.J., although the 24-year-old also
picks up some cash from his other passion — bass fishing tournaments.

C.J. works the wood while Curt, 27, handles marketing and sales during his spare time as a
manager for Builders Club, a homebuilder rewards service.

Columbus Barrel Co. benefits from low overhead: It operates from a garage behind the Westerville
home of C.J. and Curt’s parents.

Curt lives in a nearby apartment, but for C.J., who lives at home, the commute to work amounts
to a 50-foot walk from the back door into the shop.

When the weather is warm, C.J. works in the driveway and takes his lunch while fishing in the
family pond.

The shop contains basic woodworking tools — a band saw, belt sander, drill press, chop saw and
planer — along with assorted hand tools. The brothers recently added a printing machine that can
print any image on the wood, allowing them to personalize items.

The brothers hope to buy a laser saw and other equipment. They also hope to move into a larger
shop with a retail outlet.

For now, the company’s only bricks-and-mortar outlet is Celebrate Local at Easton Town Center,
which sells Columbus Barrel Co. bottle openers, ice buckets and bistro table-and-chair sets. The
bottle openers ($20 and $28) are particularly popular, a store salesman said.

Otherwise, business comes from the company’s website,; Celebrate
Local’s website,; street
markets; and word of mouth. While the company has some standard products such as the bottle
openers, much of the work is custom.

C.J. is building a desk and a bar for two customers.

Columbus Barrel Co. helped furnish Kraft House No. 5 when the restaurant opened in Powell during
the summer. Whiskey barrels provided the raw material for the restaurant’s hostess stand, outdoor
benches, clock, chalkboard and beer trays.

“For us, it’s a perfect fit,” said co-owner Michael Pappas. “We’re going for that rustic look,
and these old barrels tie in really well with that. . . . Everything they’ve made has held up
really well, and it helps complete the look we’re after.”

The list of companies specializing in making products from whiskey barrels is short, so the
Shavers occasionally field requests from customers who don’t realize the small size of their
operation. A West Coast grocery chain recently asked the brothers to build liquor display cases
from barrels.

“They said they wanted 500 barrels,” C.J. said. “We said, ‘How about four to start?’  ”

Once or twice a month the brothers drive to Kentucky to pick up a trailer full of 30 barrels.
They wouldn’t divulge what they pay for the barrels but said prices have doubled in the past two
years as demand for the barrels has increased.

Empty, the barrels weigh 125 pounds.

“They’re heavy, but they’re easy to move,” Curt said as he threw a barrel to the concrete floor
and rolled it around.

“And they never break.”


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Slate of Whirlpool products win ‘Best of Year Awards’

BENTON HARBOR, MI — Whirlpool Corp. was the winner of 11 2014 Best of Year Awards.

The awards were presented Nov. 14 at the home appliance maker’s Technology Center in St. Joseph by Robin Liss, president and chief executive officer of, a reviewer of consumer electronics and appliances.

Various Whirlpool products, bearing that brand name as well as Amana, KitchenAid, Maytag and Swash by Whirlpool, received awards.

They were awarded in the following categories: Best Smart Appliance Platform; Best Induction Cooktop; Best Value Gas Range; Best Value Electric Range; Best Four-Door French Door; Best Value French Door; Best Value Side-by-Side Fridge; Best Laundry Innovation; Best Dryer Feature; Best Mid-Range Top-Load Washer; and Best Dishwasher Feature.

Entrepreneur Robin Liss is a Kalamazoo native who sold her group of technology-review web sites to USA Today in 2011.

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Supersize your smartphone with these awesome accessories

You don’t go anywhere without your smartphone — it’s your one go-to gadget that helps keep you organized, entertained and in touch with those who matter.

Even though it’s already like a smart, multi-functional Swiss Army Knife, you can get even more out of your beloved mobile device by picking up a clever accessory or two.

Oh sure, you’re well aware of protective cases and designer headphones, but there are many other clever add-ons that can help expand the functionality of your phone (or tablet, for that matter).

Look no further than the following for a handful of worthy — and lesser-known — suggestions, which also make for ideal gifts over the holiday season.

• Have a seat

You enjoy taking a load off, so why shouldn’t your smartphone? A quirky gift idea for a music lover is the aptly named Phoniture ($99.00), a colorful charging station and Bluetooth speaker set designed to look like an armchair with matching ottoman. Drop your smartphone into the seat (vertically or horizontally) and plug your charging cable into the USB port on the back; the chair is then plugged into an AC outlet to juice up your phone. The chair also illuminates a soft, white nightlight, which you can turn off, if desired. The ottoman — er, wireless speaker — has a rechargeable battery that lasts up to 3.5 hours, plus it includes an integrated microphone in case a call comes in, and a 3.5mm jack for non-Bluetooth devices. This two-piece Phoniture set is available in red, blue or black.

Tiny tech

Have you been reluctant to wear a Bluetooth headset because of the size of the device sticking out of your ear? If so, you might be keen on trying the Moto Hint ($149.99), a new Bluetooth headset that’s only slightly larger than the device Joaquin Phoenix wore in the movie Her. Along with its teeny size (measuring just 0.95 by 0.70 by 0.74 inches), it’ll also conveniently turn on when you pop it into your ear, so you can take calls hands-free, and it turns off when you take it out. Actually, you can keep the Moto Hint in your ear as it offers “pass-through audio,” which means you can still hear the world around you. Compatible with any Bluetooth-enabled smartphone, the Moto Hint, between its main battery and an extra one integrated into the carrying case, offers up to 10 hours of use, and up to 100 hours on standby.

You drive

While “Network Attached Storage” (NAS) might be one of the geekiest category names of hard-drive products, it does offer many clear benefits to digital packrats who like to download tons of TV shows, movies, podcasts, music, photos and more. The Seagate Central (from $149 for 2-terabytes) joins your home’s network, and not only does it automatically backup your PC or Mac’s files for you (and even download Facebook photos and videos), but it lets you share content to multiple devices in, around and even outside of your home — from laptops to phones to tablets and game consoles to Smart TVs.

Button up

Are you getting thumb cramps while typing long e-mails or documents on a small smartphone or tablet screen? The Microsoft Universal Mobile Keyboard ($79.95) is a small, lightweight and wireless keyboard that works seamlessly with a number of mobile devices, including iPhone and iPad, Android and Windows tablets — and it can be paired with up to three devices with the flick of a switch. A detachable keyboard cover converts into a stand to prop up your phone or tablet, while the integrated rechargeable battery provides up to six months of usage on a single charge, says the company.

Power play

Consider it the granddaddy of all portable battery chargers: RAVPower Xtreme ($99.99) is a 23,000 milliamp (mAh) backup battery, which has enough juice to charge an iPhone a dozen times, as well as tablets and even laptops multiple times over. In fact, you can charge three different devices at the same time. A small screen shows you information, such as when it’s time to plug in the RAVPower Xtreme to top off its charge. Included with the paperback-sized battery are connectors for many different kinds of devices, along with a carrying case. Say goodbye to your “wall hugging” days.

Just face it

Chances are you have photos and videos on multiple devices. Because your memories might not be stored in one place, it could prove difficult to find something in particular. This is where LyveHome comes in. This $299 gadget helps to aggregate, back up, manage and view your entire photo and video collections — and on any device. Consider LyveHome (rhymes with “hive”) a 3-in-1 product: It’s a cloud service for all your photos and videos; an app for your mobile devices and computers (PC and Mac); and a 2-terabyte hard drive with a 5-inch screen in which to see your memories displayed like a photo frame, say, on your office desk or kitchen counter.

Tasty IoT

Everyone loves cookies, right? Now they can help simplify life for everyone in the household. Wait, what? The first members of the’s “Mother” family, Cookies are small sensors you can place on any number of objects, such as one in your pocket that counts your steps (and calories burned), another in a child’s backpack so you’re notified when he or she gets home safely and a third in a baby’s nursery to monitor room temperature. As with other “Internet of Things” (IoT) platforms, these small devices monitor activity and send notifications to your smartphone. Up to 24 Cookies can be connected simultaneously to their Internet-connected Mother — a small, white doll-like overseer of your connected life. A starter kit costs $299 for one Mother and a box of 4 Cookies.

Follow Marc on Twitter: @marc_saltzman. E-mail him at

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Cyber Monday cheat sheet: What’s on deck for online shoppers

The website for Reebonz Pte, an online retailer of discounted luxury goods, is displayed on an Apple Inc. iPad Mini in an arranged photograph in Hong Kong, China, on Friday, Aug. 1, 2014. Two technology companies backed by units of Singapore's state investment company Temasek Holdings Pte are considering U.S. initial public offerings, people with knowledge of the matter said. Photographer: Brent Lewin/Bloomberg

Online shoppers have already seen a bounty of deals served up on Black Thursday and Black Friday.

But Cyber Monday brings with it a fresh crop of promotions, and thus offers incentive to fire up your tablet or your laptop once again and check some gifts off your shopping list.  Here’s what you need to know if you’re planning to fill up a digital shopping cart on Monday:

*Good news for nighttime shoppers: Some of the deals are staggered this year. For anyone who sits in an office with an open floor plan, Cyber Monday can present a big conundrum:  You don’t want your cube mates (or, worse, your boss) to see you scrolling through screen after screen of knee-high leather boots or cashmere sweaters.  But you worry if you wait until after the work day to pounce, items might be sold out. Lucky for you, some retailers are trying to adapt their promotions for your 9-to-5 schedule.  Wal-Mart, for example, has announced its first ever “Evening Edition” of Cyber Monday sales, a slate of fresh deals that will come online sometime Monday night.  This batch of deals will include a Samsung 55-inch Ultra HD TV for $998 and the Hamilton Beach stand mixer for $24., meanwhile, is adding new deals every 10 minutes throughout the day.

*Can’t shop on Monday? Don’t fret. We wrote last week about how Black Friday has bloated into several days, or even weeks, of discounts.  The same is true of Cyber Monday: Many retailers are spreading the discounts over several days, in some cases even changing the name of the promotion to “Cyber Week.”  Amazon kicked off its Cyber Monday sales on Saturday and plans for eight days of sales.  Some of the e-commerce giant’s deals include: 50 percent off Leap Frog toys, 25 percent off Philips DOT Bluetooth Speakers, and a Nest Thermostat for $199.  Wal-Mart, too, is dubbing its promotion “Cyber Week,” and is promising 500 new online deals every day through Dec. 5.  Target is also promoting a full “Cyber Week” this year and promises discounts on more than 100,000 items from Nov. 30 through Dec. 6.  Among the deals Target is touting is a KitchenAid stand mixer for $224.99, marked down from $449.99.  The retailer is also offering “buy one, get one 50 percent off” on My Little Pony and Star Wars toys.

*Buying electronics? This data can help you figure out where to go. Mobile shopping app ShopSavvy used its database of sales information to size up the deals this year.  When it comes to electronics products, ShopSavvy found that Best Buy will have the most products on sale: 638, compared to 409 of such items at Target and 257 at Wal-Mart.  Prefer to shop with whoever has the deepest discounts, not the greatest number of discounts?  ShopSavvy found that Wal-Mart will have the biggest average discounts on computers, followed by Amazon and; the biggest average discounts on TVs will be at Amazon, followed by Target and then Best Buy.

 *You may have a little less shopping competition this year than last.  The National Retail Federation surveyed shoppers over Thanksgiving weekend to ask whether they planned to shop on Cyber Monday.  Fifty-two percent of respondents said they would shop on Monday, but that’s down a bit from the 54.8 percent who did so last year.

 *Any recommended reading to help me navigate the sales?  You bet.

Not sure what tech gifts should be on your list? The Post has you covered.

You should be ready for Elsa-mania.

Retailers are still going to be competing intensely on price.

Retailers are in a bigger-than-ever shipping battle this year, and that’s creating new conveniences for you.



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20 of the best office holiday gifts under $20

With the holidays fast approaching, you may already be creating both your wish list and your gift-giving list. If you’re like most people, you may have a combination of family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers to shop for, which can quickly result in a giant credit card bill (or an empty bank account) at the end of December if you don’t plan carefully. In 2013, consumers planned to spend an average of $801 on holiday shopping, according to the American Research Group. However, some consumers end up spending thousands of dollars during the holidays.

Coworkers are perhaps the most difficult people to shop for. Unlike friends and family members, whom you know on a personal level, and neighbors, who you can bring a pie, plant, or cookies to as a gift, coworkers often have a strictly business relationship with one another. This makes it tougher to know what coworkers would want as a gift. Their sense of humor may not be the same as yours is, and if you bring 70-year-old Janice from accounting a movie like Old School or South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut, she could absolutely hate it.

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Plus, although it’s the thought that counts, you don’t want to be the person who buys a stapler for the person in the cubicle over, who in turn hands you a box filled with a $100 kitchen gadget or a new tablet. “What a jerk to spend so much money on my present,” you think as you exchange the uneven gifts. Office Secret Santa exchanges usually specify maximum spending amounts to try and prevent anyone from being embarrassed and also to provide some parameters.

When you have a maximum price to work with, that helps narrow your search a little bit. Also, if you know a few details about the person you’re buying for, like gender, age, and interests, that can narrow the search even more. When buying a gift for a coworker or Secret Santa gift pool, a price of $20 is a pretty safe price point. It’s a price point at which you can purchase a nice gift that a person will enjoy without breaking the bank.

We’ve created a list of gifts you can buy for Secret Santa pools and office coworkers, all for less than $20. These gifts are gender-neutral and they do not lean toward any specific “type.” These are items that (almost) everyone should be able to enjoy. And although these are meant for coworkers and Secret Santas, these are gifts you could really purchase for just about anyone.

1. Amazon gift card
2. Comfy slippers
3. Chocolate
4. Flavored coffee or tea
5. Coffee mugs
6. Starbucks gift card
7. Food basket
8. Hat and gloves set
9. Scarf
10. Wine or wine accessories
11. Best-seller; you should probably try to stay away from anything too risqué, though
12. Picture frame
13. Pen set
14. Desk decor
15. Holiday CD
16. Gadget — there are a ton of cool gadgets that are inexpensive but still useful (maybe a key finder?)
17. “As Seen on TV” product, but make sure you check out the reviews first
18. Something ergonomic, like a new mouse pad or a cushion for a work chair
19. An experience — a few rounds of mini-golf or two tickets to the movies are great gifts
20. Ugly sweater

If all else fails, bake something. But, of course, ask if your recipient has any allergies — and please, no fruitcake.

The Cheat Sheet is a USA TODAY content partner offering financial news and commentary. Its content is produced independently of USA TODAY.

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Paragon Accessories announces Black Friday Discounts for Its New Brand of …

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Joining the mass of businesses competing for the attention of consumers during the Holiday Season, the online company is offering discounts on all of its products for as much as 40% off. The sale lasts from November 28th to December 15th.

Paragon Accessories announces Black Friday Discounts for Its New Brand of Kitchen and Barbecue Tools

New products such as Julienne Vegetable Peelers, Blade MeatTenderizers, Meat Thermometers, Seasoning Injectors, and much more can bepurchased on using discount coupons accessed on their new . Additionally Paragon will be offering discount coupons to their fashionproducts which include the 13 piece makeup brush set, as well as CentralAmerican handmade bracelets and water bottle holders that can be accessed atFashion Coupon Codes .

“Customers should be able to participate in the annual BlackFriday shopping deals without having to leave the comfort of their homes thattraditionally are spent with family and friends” stated Victoria Keys,spokesperson for the company. “Now consumers will be able to watch football andenjoy their turkey feast and purchase their favorite products at massivediscounts conveniently from their homes with their electronic devices.”

This year customers will have access to the ParagonAccessory Black Friday coupon Codes not only through the Thanksgiving weekend,but right up to December 15th giving them plenty of time to receivethe product shipments before Christmas.

Following areexamples of some of the Holiday Season deals that will be available until mid-December.

48 Blade meattenderizer normally selling for $19.95 will be available for a 25% discount atcheckout on Amazon. Considered to be a superior tool for tenderizing meatcompared to the hammer models, the bladed design allows for marinades to soakinto the meat for optimum seasoning flavor. Comes with free cleaning brush.

2 Ounce StainlessSteel Meat Marinade Injector with two 6 inch needles normally selling for$29.95 will be available at a $30% reduction of $10 at checkout on Amazon. Thisprofessionally designed marinater is built to last and uses silicone sealersfor smooth injecting and control of leakage.

Stainless SteelJulienne Vegetable Peeler selling for $9.95 reduced by $20 at checkout onAmazon. The most versatile peeler design as it allows for peeling most fruitsand vegetables, in addition to cutting decorative strips of carrots, zucchinis,etc. It comes with a handy cleaning brush for hard to get at crumbs of food.

Slotted SiliconeSpoon selling for $11.95 reduced to 20% off at checkout on Amazon. Cookingspoon is designed with a 9 inch stainless Steel handle, spoon head made ofBPA-free silicone, and a hook at the bottom for hanging with your othercookware.

All of theGreentisory cooking tools come with a free 300 Grilling Recipes Ebook. “We’llalso be adding more products to the line by early December that will also havediscount codes available for the holiday season” added the spokesperson.

For more information about us, please visit

Contact Info:
Name: Victoria Keys
Organization: Paragon Accessories
Address: 712 Bancroft Rd Suite #125 Walnut Creek, CA
Phone: 925-285-5440


Release ID: 69372

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ModVive Holiday 2014: Gifts for the Home Kitchen

If your looking for something thoughtful, yet practical that is sure to be used, consider purchasing a gift for the home. Below are some unique kitchen accessories that will wow any recipient this holiday season.


Easing the burden on busy families

HikuThe Hiku is a kitchen gadget that ensures that you will no longer experience that dreaded moment when you return from the grocery store just to realize you’ve forgotten an essential item. Hiku is a dedicated device that stays in your kitchen, where you need it. You can even keep it directly on the fridge via a magnet.

The device syncs with your phone simply (both iOS and Android), so your list is always available when you need it. A really nice thing about this device is that it is fuss-free, with a low power standby mode it doesn’t require charging for 2 months. Also, the ability to either scan items in or speak them directly into the speaker, the Hiku makes list-making a cinch. A perfect gift for the busy family.


Available at Hiku


Sophisticated, stylish kitchen gadgets

Savora Colander

These aren’t your grandmother’s kitchen accessories. Take the Savora colander for example, its drainage holes are arranged in a vortex pattern and it is polished in any one of eight striking colors.


Choose from persimmon, indigo or berry to delight the chef on your list.


Savora Ice cream scoop

You can’t usually say much about ice cream scoops. You buy one, it breaks or bends, you push it to the back of the drawer and use a spoon.


This is not so with Savora’s ergonomically designed scoop. Not only is it impressive to look at, it is substantial in the hand. This is a no-brainer for the ice cream lover on your list.


Having Savora accessories in your kitchen is like having a Ferrarri in the garage!

These items and much more available at Savora

Room Copenhagen

Sophisticated, stylish kitchen gadgets

PantoneKnown only as Bowl 3 in the Pantone Universe series, this stylishly simple bowl is a great way to spice up an evening meal. For the person on your list who loves to entertain, they are sure to appreciate this eye catching piece. The bowl is available in five different sizes and nine bold colors.

$34.99/Large Bowl

Available at Room Copenhagen

Sponge Bath

Made in the USA

SpongebathThe germ-conscious person on your list likely has a sink caddy to organize sponges and brushes. What they probably don’t have is an antimicrobial sponge cleaner which doubles as storage when your sponge is not in use.

With a LED light to remind you when it’s time to change the cleansing cartridge, you can be sure that your sponge is clean every time you use it.

Available at Bed Bath and Beyond



“Cups that care”

JOCOJoco cups are stylish, reusable, glass coffee for coffee on the go. The cups are modeled after disposable cups to keep you and your barista on good terms.

Joco’s come equipped with a thermal sleeve to keep beverages warm and best of all, the glass, sleeve, and lid are all microwavable and dishwasher safe.


Available at Joco

Do-Be Brass Grill Brush

Grill brush perfection

grill_brushHelp the griller on your list lessen the burden of cleaning the grill that they use so frequently. Do-Be products has perfected the grill brush!

The brass grill brush with its extra long handle and soft brass bristles allows grillers to easily scrape away charred food remnants without scrapping away the coating on the grates unlike with typical steel-bristled brushes.

Works great between grill rods to fully remove even the toughest baked on grease. Leaves the grill top looking like new time after time!

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