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Business News July 2010

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By Nancy Ford

Ja, Mycket Bra. IKEA Houston unveiled its $2 million remodel on June 9. In the Houston market for over 18 years, IKEA’s new 300,000 square-foot store layout shows customers more of the brand’s broad range, and the functionality of its products, as well as room settings that speak to Texas style and living. 7810 Katy Freeway. ikea.com

Online Relationship Help. Jeff Lutes, former executive director of Soulforce, has launched ContemporaryCouples.com, which provides high-quality relationship education for gay and lesbian partners and singles. Utilizing interactive, online training via web seminars with experts on communication, intimacy, and resilience, the site’s topics include “Bulletproof Bonding,” “Commitment Prep,” “Leveraging the Strengths in Same-Sex Relationships,” and more. Participants may choose to share feelings and personal experiences or to remain silent and simply absorb the information as they listen, Lutes says.

Park President. Discovery Green Conservancy has announced the appointment of Barry Mandel as president and park director for the Houston downtown park. In this role, Mandel is responsible for the executive management of park operations, programming, and fundraising. Formerly Legacy Community Health Services’ chief operating officer and capital campaign director, Mandel has served for many years in the nonprofit industry, including as the executive directorship of the Theater District and the creation of the Houston Downtown Alliance. discoverygreen.com.

Aging Info. The MetLife Mature Market Institute has announced it is making “Planning Tips for LGBT Individuals and Couples,” available free to the public to follow up on its study, “Still Out, Still Aging: The MetLife Study of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Baby Boomers.” Compiled with SAGE (Services and Advocacy for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual & Transgender Elders), the publication offers guidance and advice to LGBT boomers in the areas of legacy planning, employee benefits, health care, and financial and retirement planning. maturemarketinginstitute.com.

Transportation Expansion. American Corporate Transportation has purchased the assets of Black Tie Limousine. Wes Hart and Mitch Guidry, owners of ACT, now own both companies. Black Tie retains its name as it represents more of the “limousine” aspect of the industry, according to Hart. ”Until now, we focused more on corporate transportation, but adding Black Tie to our family will bring more diverse opportunities to our company.” 713/266-6677.

Island Buzz. Now open in Galveston, Nada is an earth-friendly, unique European-styled coffee shop and courtyard boasting a full bar and bakery treats. Patrons are invited to enjoy free WiFi with their beverages. 408 20th St., nadagalveston.com • 409/539-5241.

New Squeeze. Following its closure in May, Oasis Juice Bar has reopened under the new management of Peggy Morris. Morris says she plans to introduce more juices and baked goods to the popular island spot. 409 25th Street in Galveston. theoasisjuicebar.com • 409/762-8399.

Won’t You Come Out Tonight? Buffalo Exchange, a sustainable company that works to protect the environment by reusing and recycling clothing, is announcing the opening of its newest store, in San Antonio, on July 3. The 2,400 square-foot space is located at 145 W. Olmos Drive, and continues the buy-sell-trade clothing and accessories store tradition. The San Antonio store joins Buffalo Exchange’s four other Texas stores; two are located in Houston, with one in both Austin and Dallas. buffaloexchange.com • 210/832-8838.

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