Ups and downs

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Ups to American Greetings. Snapping up the ailing Gibson Greeting Card Co. accomplishes two things: It shores up American Greetings’ already-strong market position and prevents another of Ohio’s legendary companies from disappearing. This begs the question: Will we soon see a greeting card touting corporate mergers?

Downs to IBM. Big Blue’s pulling its poorly selling Aptiva computers off the store shelves. Why a downs for such a bold admission that its product isn’t doing well? Because the company is waiting to make the move until Jan. 1, when the Christmas shopping season is over. That spells bad news for consumers who buy the computer, then later come looking for help from tech support.

Ups to Bedford Heights-based toy maker Toy Craze. Its unique marketing idea — sending four vans of employees around the country to give away the company’s plastic Crazy Bones toys to kids — helped it leap from $3.5 million in revenue in 1998 to nearly $26 million this year. Talk about giving new meaning to the phrase “aggressive marketing blitz.”

Downs to Cleveland Public Power. The company is wavering on whether to participate in Ohio’s upcoming electricity deregulation and open its doors for new competition in the Cleveland market. Isn’t the entire goal of the legislation to pave the way for competitive pricing on electricity? Apparently, Cleveland officials missed that memorandum.

Ups to SBC Communications Inc. Impact of its merger with Ohio-based Ameritech is being felt quickly as the new company recently announced four-fifths of its local phone customers will have high-speed Internet service available by the end of 2002. Who says those big-time corporate mergers quash innovation?

Ups to the Cleveland Cavaliers. While their on-the-court prowess is still in question, there’s no questioning the Cavs commitment to Northeast Ohio. With help from the Fannie Mae Foundation and Cleveland Housing Network, last month the Cavs helped rehab three homes in the North Collinwood neighborhood. Call that a slam-dunk for everyone.