Health care for your pet

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Pet owners want the best in medical care for their animals, and new advances have made significant improvements in available care. Included is how to take care of pet dental problems, flea control, behavioural problems, arthritis, eye problems and several others.

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Pets aren’t just animals anymore. Increasingly, they are considered members of the family. In fact, according to a 1996 survey by the American Animal Hospital Association, 51 percent of pet owners give their pets human names. Many include news about their pets in correspondence-my own holiday cards mentioned Cappy, Winston, Fred and Jennifer, my family’s dogs and cats-and pamper their furry and feathered friends like children. So it’s no surprise that pet owners have come to expect the best in medical care for their animals too. Here are just a few ways veterinary medicine is striving to improve the quality of health care for your pet:

Dentistry

Does your pet have bad breath? Dogs and cats aren’t immune to dental problems or diseases and, just as in humans, prevention is the best medicine. More and more pets are receiving dental care to get rid of plaque and tartar buildup, which can lead to periodontal or-gum disease. In extreme cases, bacteria originating in the mouth can cause kidney and heart-valve infections. To prevent-dental problems, veterinarians recommend annual dental checkups for pets. This includes teeth cleaning and examination under a safe, short-term anesthetic. The same instruments used in human dentistry are used for pets. Home care is also necessary. Your veterinarian can tell you how to brush your pet’s teeth.

Flea control

It wasn’t long ago that insecticidal dips, sprays, powders and collars were all we had to fight fleas. They were fairly effectire, but they sometimes had toxic effects on pets if they were used too frequently or in the wrong dilution. In addition, puppies and kittens were often sensitive to some of these older treatments. Technology has given today’s pet owners new choices. An oral flea treatment impacts the eggs laid by affected fleas. It works by preventing the flea from making chitin, which is necessary to form the “beak tooth” that allows it to break out of its egg. This cuts down on the population of new fleas and gives you time to “catch up” to the adult population. Another new flea treatment is delivered by applying a solution to the pet’s skin. It is not absorbed but rather travels across the lipid layer on the skin, forming an ultrathin protective barrier, affecting the nervous systems of adult fleas and eggs. Both are killed on contact.

These and other new flea-control technologies require only periodic usage (every one to three months) to control fleas. They are more convenient for pet owners and, because they are more readily used, more effective. Humans and pets alike benefit not only from the disappearance of fleas, but also from decreased exposure to the chemical residues associated with some of the older treatments.

Behavior

Is your dog digging up your backyard? Is your kitten refusing to use her litter box? Pet owners have more questions about their pets’ behavior than almost anything else. It can be frustrating to try to teach your beloved puppy or kitten to obey your commands. In fact, problem behavior is often the reason why pet owners give up their animals, making it the number-one killer of dogs and cats in the United States. Shelters and humane organizations destroy millions of dogs and cats each year because of behavior problems that make them unsuitable for adoption. But there is hope. More and more veterinarians are becoming knowledgeable in behavior diagnosis and treatment. Behavior can be modified both through proper training and medication. Veterinarians and animal shelter professionals are now able to help resolve problems that in the past were unmanageable.

Microchipping

Reuniting lost or stolen pets with their owners can often be a difficult task. For example, when natural disasters hit, pets are often separated from their owners and many wear no identification tags.

Technology is helping to solve that problem with microchips, tiny computerized identification tags that can be safely inserted beneath your pet’s skin by a veterinarian. The microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and is implanted with a device similar to a needle and syringe. As a supplement to traditional collar tags, microchips carry information about your pet that can be read with a special electronic scanner, now being used by many shelters. While microchips have not yet been universally accepted, many veterinarians, industry professionals and humane organizations are working to ensure that a standard system of chips and scanners and a central database of microchip information is adopted to help protect pets everywhere.

Arthritis

Many older dogs share a painful disease with their human counterparts-arthritis. The most common form, osteoarthritis, is a debilitating disease that causes stiffness, lameness and sometimes severe pain resulting from the degeneration of cartilage in the dog’s weight-bearing joints. While arthritis is often considered a geriatric disease, it can also be found in dogs with inherited joint problems or overworked joints. Arthritis can turn a once-playful dog into a companion who is too stiff and sore to jump and romp any longer. While there is still no cure for arthritis, there is new hope for dogs suffering from this condition. Inflammation due to arthritis kan be controlled with new drug therapies in combination with a diet and exercise program. In some severe cases, surgery may also be an option. With your veterinarian’s help, your arthritic dog may well be able to live a long and active life.

Ophthalmology

Just like aging humans, older dogs often lose their sight due to cataracts. Until recently, this condition went uncorrected, but today dogs with cataracts can receive treatment from veterinary ophthalmologists. Often, cataracts can be surgically removed and replaced with artificial, sight-restoring lenses. Now aging dogs can live better, brighter lives as they grow old with their human companions.

State-of-the-art diagnosis

Beyond standard X-rays, veterinarians can now use MRI and CT scans to see areas like the brain and spinal cord that would be impossible to study otherwise. In addition, new testing abilities at most veterinary hospital labs offer rapid, onsite results, allowing for the crucial early diagnosis of serious diseases such as feline leukemia, feline AIDS, canine parvo virus and heartworm. Rapid results are also available today for many standard medical tests. Quigker testing and diagnosis means a better prognosis for seriously in pets.

Vacci nations

Vaccinations have been developed against Several of the serious diseases our pets face. It wasn’t long ago that we didn’t have a vaccine to prevent feline leukemia. Now the incidence of feline leukemia, as well as canine and feline .distemper, parvo virus, kennel cough and other diseases in animals, has decreased. thanks to new vaccines. The use of recombinant gene technology will allow the production of many more new vaccines i nan extremely. safe form in the near future. Your veterinarian can tell you which vaccinations are necessary in your region.

High-Tech equipment ….

Monitoring critical patients in intensive care involves equipment identical to that used on humans Pulse oximeters measure Oxygen in the blood, blood pressure monitors continuously check for changes during anesthesia, EKG monitors track heart rate and rhythm and respirators assist the lungs when necessary. There isn’t much in human medicine.that can’t be done for pets as well-including radiation treatment and chemotherapy for cancer-and veterinarians are constantly learning more about treatments that will help pets lead even longer, healthier lives in the future.

These are just a few of the areas in which your veterinarian can help you improve your pet’s health and well-being. With eight years of higher education and a lifetime of continued learning, veterinarians have committed a great deal of time to mastering their profession in order to provide your pets with healthier, happier, more comfortable lives.

Dr. Geasling is president of the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) and owner of Sheridan Animal Hospital in Buffalo, N.Y., where he has practiced companion animal medicine for 20 years. He is board certified in companion animal practice and practices with a board-certified surgeon, a board-certified ophthaltnologist and two other general practitioners like himself.

>>> View more: Holiday Countdown

Holiday Countdown

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Byline: Raina Kelley

The reason we loved holidays is kids isn’t just because we got all those presents. It’s because we didn’t have to do anything! Children don’t have to stay up writing cards while baking 12 dozen cookies for 13 different social events and wrapping gifts between batches. But neither do you. We’re not going to tell that our Holiday Countdown is all-inclusive or a surefire way to take the stress out of getting your chores done, but it will help you get a little done every day and still have time to watch ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ one more time. We start with decorating and holiday cards, then gently move you into gift shopping and entertaining, and just when most people are panicking, you’ll be checking your list twice and ordering your goose online. And in case you’ve forgotten the true meaning of the holidays, we’ve thrown in some charity suggestions and a little extra family time. SO calm down, take it day by day and have a Happy, Merry, Joyous Everything!

NOVEMBER

24 Happy Thanksgiving! Catch a football doubleheader while the bird cooks: the Atlanta Falcons play the Detroit Lions; the Denver Broncos go against the Dallas Cowboys. ^ TRIVIA: Dallas and Detroit are the only NFL teams that play every turkey day.

25 Got turkey? Go to foodtv.com for recipes. We like the Luxurious Turkey Tetrazzini by Michele Urvater; it doesn’t even taste like leftovers. Skip the Black Friday madness and look for deals online, like L.L. Bean’s pre-lit Maine Balsam wreath ($39.50; llbean.com).

26 Start saving time now! Buy Holiday Cookie stamps online at usps.com/shop. Get in the spirit with holiday music from iTunes. Make a mix from Bing Crosby to Britney Spears. Even if you don’t have an iPod, you can burn your playlist onto a CD and print labels (itunes.com).

27 Try moma.org for the Holiday Air Stream card ($16 for eight). Or get Multiple Choice notes at knockknock.biz, and check sentiments like best wishes for a “Felicitous Kwanzaa” or “Depressed Drunken Binge” ($14 for 12). Design personalized cards at cardstore.com ($3 each, plus stamp).

28Holiday weekends fill up fast, so send a save-the-date e-mail for your party at evite.com. Then get some perspective by buying “Every Person on the Planet,” a hilarious book about a holiday party where every member of the human race is invited–and shows up ($12; simonsays.com).

29 “March of the Penguins” comes out on DVD… perfect for the whole list. Buy a copy for yourself, and be grateful you don’t spend Christmas in Antarctica. Stock up on batteries. Energizer e2 disposable lithium batteries last seven times longer than alkaline (energizer.com for stores).

30 Have your carpets cleaned (searsclean.com for estimates and stores), or get your house cleaned ($150 an hour; maids.com). The Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular has shows in 10 cities (tickets vary from $22 in Minneapolis to $50 in N.Y.C.; ticketmaster.com).

DECEMBER

1 Each one of us is expected to blow $681 on gifts this year. Stay out of debt by making a budget with Quicken personal-finance software ($50; quicken.com). Then spend your dough on the new Fiorucci collection at Target. Get the gold hobo bag ($35; target.com).

2 Order your tree. Go with the Fraser fir from homedepot.com ($90 for 5 to 6.5 feet), or get the totally mod tinsel tree in silver, blue or gold from West Elm ($39; westelm.com). If you decide to chop down your own, don’t forget to make a fresh cut before you put it in the tree stand.

3 Dig out your holiday decorations, take an inventory of busted ornaments and get Star-burst Holiday Boxes ($20; containerstore.com). Then decorate the outside of your house. Try lowes.com for ideas; go to christmasdepot.com for bubble lights ($16.50) or snowball lights ($23).

4 Holiday parties are starting, so gather some hostess gifts. How about peppermint bark ($22.50; williams-sonoma.com), a money tree ($38; redenvelope.com) or a bottle of Codorniu Brut Cava (a Spanish sparkler rated 85 by Wine Spectator; $9) in a swank neoprene BYO Bag ($15; builtny.com)?

5 Order specialty cuts from your local butcher; try smithfield ham.com (an 11-13lb. ham is $73) or go to dartagnan.com for a goose ($66 for 8-10lb.). Order baking spices like Vietnamese Cassia Cinnamon, Minced Lemon Peel and Anise Seeds from Penzey’s (penzeys.com).

6 Make your holiday invitations at the Crane & Co. print center (crane.com). Make mailing labels and print two sets: one for your invites and one for Christmas cards (save the file). Now take a break! “S Is for Silence” by Sue Grafton hits bookshelves ($19; bn.com).

7 It’s Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day –go to www.usocares.org and send a personalized care package to a U.S. soldier abroad ($25) or send a calling card via operationuplink.org. ^ TIP: The Department of Defense can no longer accept mail addressed to “Any Service Member.”

8 Order gift baskets for your dentist or hairdresser (try the Holiday Jingle Basket, $50 from mrsbeasleys.com, or the Eight Nights of Hanukkah, $40 from harryanddavid.com). Write out a gift-recipient list. Making a plan now will keep you from overspending at the last minute.

9 Send out your holiday cards. Try getting a family holiday photo before the stampede. JCPenney still does it, and still offers funky backgrounds (jcpportraits.com for studios, pricing and coupons). ^ TIP: The Smiles by Wire program lets you post pictures for family members to order.

10 Order a cookie press that really works from surlatable.com (Wilton Cordless Cookie Press; $35). Need recipes? Try “The All-American Dessert Book” by Nancy Baggett ($21; amazon.com). ^ TIP: Form dough into balls, freeze and then put in a freezer bag for drop cookies any time.

11 Trim the tree. Short on ornaments? Dash out to Kmart or Target for a great selection. ^ TIP: For a great Christmas tree, lights first, then garlands and then ornaments. Use themed ornaments like birds or icicles. And don’t forget to decorate the inside and the tips of the tree for depth.

12 Order cut flowers from flowerbud.com (choose your own delivery date). And then, why not get hors d’oeuvres from Appetizers to Go for your party? The new Coney Island Combo includes everything from knishes to pigs in a blanket ($65; appetizers togo.com).

13 Santa Lucia Day, honoring the Swedish Queen of Lights. Order candles for a holiday glow (16 filled glass votives in white or ivory, $24; potterybarn.com). We also like the Good Tidings Candles from Red Envelope ($30 for HOPE, WISH, PEACE and LOVE; redenvelope.com).

14 Even the fanciest dinner can seem slapped together if it’s served out of pots and pans. If you need serving pieces, go to surlatable.com for a 2.5-quart warming dish ($30), or get the Be Merry platter from Target ($18; target.com for stores). It’s a perfect cheese plate.

15 Full moon. Get that wrapping paper together. Order prewrapped gift boxes from holdeverything.com ($22 for three), or go out to the Container Store or Kmart for cool paper at great prices. ^ TIP: Don’t wait until the 24th. Wrap two gifts every night after the family’s asleep.

16Stop at your local Starbucks and donate a toy to its Holiday Angels joy drive. Or order some S.O.S. (Spicy Old Southern-Style Hot) pickles; proceeds go to Gulf Coast Hospitality Workers Disaster Relief ($120 for a case of 12 jars; southernfood ways.com).

17 Take another look at your spending: keep close track of budget busters like stocking stuffers, end-of-year tips, shipping costs and hostess gifts. Run out of express-shipping money? Today is the last day to order from Amazon using free Super Saver Shipping.

18Take a walk or a drive. Look at the lights and get back in the spirit of the holidays. Put “The Grinch Who Stole Christmas” on your Netflix list. Roasting chestnuts in the oven just isn’t the same–get your fireplace blazing with fatwood kindling from L.L. Bean ($14.50; llbean.com).

19 Make “busy bags” for the kids’ table so you can eat your holiday dinner in peace. Print activity pages and buy crayons, washable markers and stickers from crayola.com. ^ TIP: Last day to send Express Mail to military personnel stationed overseas (usps.com).

20 Order silver favor boxes from Crate & Barrel ($3; crateandbarrel.com), fill with red and green M&Ms or your favorite candy, tie on a place card (25 for $26; smythson.com) and voila, you now have a festive name card and favor for everyone at your holiday table.

21 First day of winter. Send a bulb-forcing kit to a distant relative who won’t be able to join you for the holidays, like the paperwhites in a bird’s nest fromSmith & Hawken ($24; smithandhawken.com) or the Grand Trumpet Amaryllis Trio ($50; jacksonandperkins.com).

22 UPS deadline for overnight mail by Christmas Eve (ups.com). Need something about Chanukah with more meaning than that Adam Sandler song? Pick up “Stars of David: Prominent Jews Talk About Being Jewish” by Abigail Pogrebin ($15; borders.com).

23 Set the table for dinner, bake Santa’s cookies, stuff the stockings and take a break! Still have a Hula Hoop and a hamster to wrap? Call the Scotch-tape wrapping hot line for tips (877-8-SCOTCH). ^ TIP: If you run out of gift wrap, a paper grocery bag with a pretty ribbon will work.

24 National Egg Nog Day. Buy some–we like the Southern Comfort brand–and play games with the family. Try Pick Two Deluxe ($40; beehive.com.sg), Yahtzee Texas Hold ‘Em ($16; boardgames.com) or the Can You Beat Ken Trivia Game ($20; amazon.com).

A Photographic Vision

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Byline: Jeff Housenbold; Housenbold Is The Ceo Of Shutterfly.

Shutterfly was a survivor of the dotcom crash. Now it’s a leader in online photographic services and a trusted brand. The CEO explains how he did it.

Facing adversity at a young age can either build your drive or crush it. I grew up in Brooklyn, where my parents relied on welfare and food stamps to support us. Although there were times of self-pity, I quickly decided the only way to change my situation was to dream big. I was driven to take control of my destiny. I like to think my childhood helped me get to where I am today. In a strange way, I’ve always relied on adversity. These experiences have strengthened my fortitude and have given me the confidence to take risks. When my high-school guidance counselor told me not to waste $35 on a college application, I was all the more motivated. Part-time jobs and scholarships allowed me to attend Carnegie Mellon. Not wanting to squander a fantastic opportunity, I worked harder than most and graduated at the top of my class. That success led to a Harvard M.B.A., an Internet career with senior roles at companies including eBay and AltaVista, and now my position as CEO of Shutterfly, the leading online photo service.

My most powerful life lessons have come when things seemed impossible. In January 2005, when I joined Shutterfly, I inherited a company that had managed to survive the carnage of the dotcom crash but had a culture of “survivorship.” We were not forward-looking — we hadn’t even updated our home page in four years. At my first board meeting, I announced we weren’t ready to go public — although I was hired with the expectation to do just that. To succeed, we had to reinvent the company, which would ultimately produce a better IPO. The legendary founder of the company, Jim Clark (who had already produced three Silicon Valley hits), was surprised, but he and the board supported me as we spent the next 18 months investing in R&D and forging relationships with new business partners like Target, Sony and Amazon.

While some CEOs might have angled to be acquired by another company at that point, I couldn’t resist the idea of facing adversity head-on. We were embarking on the journey to build a trusted lifestyle brand. My early insight was that Shutterfly wasn’t just an online photo service churning out four-by-six prints — we were really in the relationship business. People have an intrinsic desire for social expression: to capture and share their experiences, to relive special moments and to communicate their memories. As a result, we decided to take Shutterfly in a new direction. We would launch a next-generation personal publishing platform that would enable our customers to be more creative.

It worked. Today, Shutterfly has crystallized its mission: to “make the world a better place, by helping people share life’s joy.” Some potential investors laughed out loud during our IPO roadshow when I uttered that. But we believed in it and we made bold moves. First, we repositioned ourselves as a high-end brand with premium products and prices — an aggressive decision, since deep-pocketed competitors, including Hewlett-Packard and Wal-Mart, were then driving a price war. Second, we believed that advances in Internet and digital printing technologies would open up new product possibilities, and so we expanded our services. We focused on coffee-table-worthy photo books and personalized products such as greeting cards, invitations and calendars.

Our strategy required sizable investments in manufacturing and advertising. We also involved our customers, asking them to weigh in on such things as new colors and styles for holiday cards. I’m inspired by the creativity of our customers. We’re making it possible for a family to transform a grandmother’s recipes into a treasured cookbook, or for a sister to create a scrapbook celebrating her dying brother’s life so her nephews remember the happy times.

This week we’ll celebrate the first anniversary of our IPO. We’re now the leader in market share. I can’t help but smile when I think how Shutterfly is helping people share life’s joy. As for my high-school counselor and the Wall Street skeptics, I hope they’ll be smiling in coming months. Their mailboxes will be filled with Shutterfly holiday cards from family and friends — including one from me.

Housenbold Is The Ceo Of Shutterfly.

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HOUSENBOLD with friends

PHOTOGRAPH BY GREGG SEGAL FOR NEWSWEEK

Technology’s march produces ever more ideas for gifts

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It’s less than three weeks until Christmas, and you’re still wondering what to give the computer person in your life?

Some more ideas:

REMOVABLE STORAGE

There’s one thing that just about every computer user can enjoy, and that’s more storage. In years gone by, that usually meant getting a larger hard disk drive, finding a four-leaf clover for luck and hoping the installation went well.

While buying a larger hard disk drive is still one of the most sensible upgrades you can make on an older PC (adding more random access memory is the other), the alternatives in removable mass storage are quite impressive.

Taking off this year is the LS-120 disk drive standard, pioneered by Imation (www.imation.com) and available in both internal and external versions for the PC, and a Universal Serial Bus version for the iMac and other Apple Macintosh computers equipped with USB ports.

Each of these disks holds 120 megabytes of data, roughly 85 times the capacity of a 1.4-megabyte floppy. Happily, the LS-120 drive will read both kinds of disks. Prices range from less than $100 to $149, depending upon the drive model.

Still there in the storage race is the Zip drive from Iomega, also available as internal and external drives for PCs and traditional Macs, and in a USB version for iMacs. If you have a notebook computer, there’s a good chance you can find a portable Zip drive to slip in an available drive bay.

Zip disks, which can hold 100 megabytes of data, cost as little as $9 each (when purchased in bulk), and the drives are extremely popular. You could walk into just about any Kinko’s, for example, and work on one of its computers from your Zip disk, a boon for finishing off last-minute presentations and the like. More info on the Zip drive can be found at www.iomega.com.

LABEL IT

You might want to give (or get) this one before Dec. 25. Avery Dennison’s LabelPro 3.0 software, which runs under Windows 95 and 98 and sells for around $40 in stores, is just the thing for creating almost any kind of label imaginable. Start with mailing labels and return-address labels and move on to labels for diskettes, video- and audiotapes, business cards, greeting cards, name tags and so on.

Because Avery Dennison makes one of the widest ranges of labels and card products around (more than 200 different items), this software will doubtlessly come in handy for people with home-based offices, as well as for families and other groups. I personally like its ease of use and its ability to handle both mail merges and printing graphics on labels. You’ll find the product in computer and office-supply stores, and more information on line at www.avery.com/software/lpwin.html.

PLAIN SPEAKING, PORTABLE

A couple of weeks back, I wrote about Dragon NaturallySpeakingPreferred, the voice-to-text program that takes what you say and puts it in a computer file, such as a word-processing document. The software is a good gift in and of itself.

Now, the Dragon folks (www.dragonsys.com) have upped the ante by offering a pocket-sized recorder that stores up to 40 minutes of dictation, plugs into a PC and then feeds the audio file into the software for transcribing. Called Dragon NaturallySpeaking Mobile, the product is available through Dec. 30 for $299, which is $50 off the usual retail price.

If you have a great dictator in your life, this is a cool gift for them to receive.

STUFFIT

Lest you think I’m being disrespectful, this imperative is directed at Mac users who want more hard disk space, speedier e-mailing of big files and general happiness. Yes, friends, StuffIt Deluxe 5.0 has arrived, and it may be the best $79.95 you’ll spend on a Mac software package. The new features in this version include smaller compressed files and better exchanges with Windows users.

Go to www.aladdinsys.com and find out why this program is worth having or giving.

* Write Mark Kellner in care of The Washington Times Business Desk, 3600 New York Ave. NE, Washington, D.C. 20002, send e-mail to MarkKel@aol.com, or visit the writer’s Web page (http://www.markkellner.com).

>>> View more: Supply store brings the party to Baltimore-D.C. region

Supply store brings the party to Baltimore-D.C. region

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Card and Party Giant, a Southfield, Mich.-based party-supply retailer, plans to open 10 stores in the Baltimore-Washington area within a year.

The company opened its first 12,000-square-foot store in the area earlier this month at the White Flint Plaza in Rockville. A second location at Rolling Valley Mall in Burke is under construction and is expected to open next month. The company has also signed a third lease at the Frederick Crossing in Frederick.

Officials at the real estate firm KLNB Inc. are currently scanning possible Maryland locations in Germantown, Laurel, Glen Burnie Catonsville, Hunt Valley and Towson. KLNB is also looking at Virginia locations in Bailey’s Crossroads, Fairfax, Kingstowne, Reston and Sterling.

Card and Party Giant is targeting the Washington and Baltimore areas because the retailer believes the area is underserved in the party-supply category. The company was also attracted to the high household income in this market. Chairman and chief executive officer Leonard Zucker said that through the company’s research it has found that the higher household income a market has, the more party supplies they purchase.

The retailer has nearly 50 stores primarily in Michigan, Ohio and Pennsylvania and also plans to expand into the Philadelphia area. Card and Party Giant store, which usually employs about 35 full- and part-time workers, carries approximately 30,000 different items from party supplies, greeting cards, gift wrap and costumes.

UP ALL NIGHT

When 3 a.m. rolls around and you need that extra note pad, pen refill, copies, or even a computer, you’re in luck.

The Staples in Tysons Corner is now open 24 hours a day.

That location is one of 15 Staples stores around the country that will have the all-day and all-night service. The company’s target is small business owners and college student so the company selected Staple stores that were close to college campuses and those that serve dense business populations.

OPEN FOR BUSINESS

Car Max, the used-car superstore, opened its Rockville store April 7. It will offer more than 250 used cars and trucks and will employ more than 80 workers. Car Max is a subsidiary of Circuit City Stores Inc.

The Corner Bakery Cafe opened Thursday at the Washingtonian Center in Gaithersburg. The 120-seat cafe serves daily specialty sandwiches, pastas and salads ranging from $1.75 to $7.95. The Corner Bakery Cafe, which is owned and operated by Brinker International, currently has eight locations in the area.

Part of the Towson Town Center in Towson, Md., has been transformed into a rain forest. The Rainforest Cafe, which has animated wildlife and special effects, opened at the regional mall March 23. The 355-seat restaurant takes up about 18,643 square feet and has a 1,850-square-foot retail space.

The new Sears store at Dulles Town Center officially opened Saturday. The 166,000-square-foot location will employ about 240 people.

WHAT’S IN STORE?

Old Navy is joining the St. Charles Towne Center. The casual clothing retailer, which is a division of Gap Inc., will be located in a 20,500-square-foot store near the Montgomery Ward. The store’s construction is scheduled for June 1999 and is expected to be complete by Fall 1999.

* Donna De Marco can be reached at 202/636-4884.