Posts tagged with "The Chicago Tribune"

A ‘loo’ review: Trump says people are flushing toilets 10-15 times, asks EPA to rethink efficiency

December 10, 2019

President Donald Trump’s mind is in the toilet—but not necessarily in a bad way, for a change.  Complaining that  “people are flushing toilets 10 times, 15 times as opposed to once” in homes with low-flow appliances, the president said on December 6 that he wants the EPA to review water efficiency standards in bathroom fixtures, The Chicago Tribune reported.

He said other bathroom fixtures have slowed water flow to a trickle. “You can’t wash your hands practically, there’s so little water comes out of the faucet, and the end result is you leave the faucet on and it takes you much longer to wash your hands, you end up using the same amount of water,” Trump said at an event with small-business owners at the White House.

According to the Tribune report, the president said it was “common sense” to review standards he said resulted in showers with water “quietly dripping out” and toilets that “end up using more water” because of repeat flushing.

Trump has championed rolling back regulations since taking office in 2017, with a focus on environmental rules imposed or proposed during the Obama administration. The president routinely portrays himself as a champion of clean air and water, while his critics say he’s weakened regulations intended to fight climate change, conserve resources and promote clean air and water.

While the president said the Environmental Protection Agency was looking at the standards “at my suggestion,” the Tribune pointed out that a review of the WaterSense program was mandated under 2018 legislation passed by Congress that said the agency should look at any regulations adopted before 2012. That means the government is forced to revisit specifications for tank-type toilets, lavatory faucets, and faucet accessories, showerheads, flushing urinals, and weather-based irrigation controllers.

Those regulations include a 20% reduction in water use on tank-type toilets compared to standards adopted in 1992, and a 32% reduction in maximum water flow on lavatory faucets, according to the EPA.

Use of low-flush toilets started in the 1990s after President George H.W. Bush signed the Energy Policy Act. That 1992 law said new toilets could use no more than 1.6 gallons of water per flush. The law went into effect in 1994 for residential buildings and 1997 for commercial structures.

But the government has also said that the water savings make a difference—particularly in bathrooms, which represent more than half of all indoor water use. The EPA says an average family can save $380 in water costs per year and save more than 17 gallons per day by using appliances certified to WaterSense standards.

Research contact: @chicagotribune

Cheap thrills: How discount grocery chain Aldi is giving fancy supermarkets a run for their money

December 9, 2019

For years, Amber Walker held a dim view of Aldi, the discount grocer whose U.S. headquarters sits just a mile from her Batavia home, outside Chicago.  She associated it with dented 10-cent cans and no-name brands. She did not understand why, of all things, it also sold hammocks.

But Walker’s negative perception swiftly changed after her first visit to Aldi in decades in 2016, when the chain started accepting credit cards, and she found not the dingy floors from her childhood memories but a budget Shangri-La, The Chicago Tribune reports.

She could buy a week’s worth of groceries for her family of four for less than $100, and discover treasures in an aisle dedicated to random rotating items that “I don’t need but can’t live without.” Aldi, at least in Walker’s eyes, got even better when it broadened its limited selection to include more fresh, organic and high-end products—still at steep discounts— while undergoing an aggressive national expansion and chainwide remodeling blitz. Walker’s store in Batavia, renovated in 2017, even got a bakery.

Indeed, today, Aldi—which operates more than 1,900 stores in 36 states—takes what it calls “a simple, cost-effective approach to grocery shopping that saves [customers] on their grocery bills.” The store claims to save  shoppers up to 50% on their weekly must-haves by offering Aldi-branded goods—many of them manufactured by the nation’s leading food producers—instead of  name brands.

As a spruced-up Aldi climbs toward its goal of having 2,500 stores by 2022—which would make it the third-largest grocer in the nation by store count—converts like Walker are putting aside old perceptions of the brand and embracing the no-frills ethos that allows Aldi to sell quality products for cheap.

Although, The Chicago Tribune reports, behemoths like Walmart and Kroger continue to dominate the market, they are watching their backs as the German-born chain reshapes expectations of the shopping experience.

“I’m always shocked at what I can get for the cost,” said Walker, 37, an animal trainer who previously did her regular shopping at Walmart, Meijer, Costco and Super Target. “Aldi gets my business first, and then I will fill in holes elsewhere.”

Known for cost-saving measures—such as requiring customers to bag their own groceries and pay a quarter deposit to access a grocery cart—Aldi says its customer base has swelled as it modernizes its digs and broadens its selection to include items like fresh salmon, organic strawberries and artisanal cheeses.

At remodeled stores, which have been expanded to fit a bigger produce and fresh foods section, customer traffic has increased by 30% to 40%, Scott Patton, vice president of Corporate Buying told the Chicago-based news outlet.

“The more variety of products we carry, the more customers view Aldi as a place they can do their first shop of the week,” he said. While shoppers still have to go elsewhere for fresh ginger or water chestnuts or organic tofu— though Aldi is testing the latter—and can’t get a single lime without buying a one-pound bag, Patton said Aldi should cover 90% to 95% of their grocery list.

Aldi is ending the year with 2,000 stores, including 160 in the Chicago area, its largest market by store count. It has completed 70% of its $180 million in planned local renovations and is gaining ground on Jewel-Osco, the biggest local player, which has 188 stores in Illinois, Indiana and Iowa.

And the outlook is excellent: In a report last year, Morgan Stanley said one in five customers who recently switched grocery stores took their business to Aldi, a greater share than opted for Costco, Kroger, Target and Whole Foods. Walmart, the market leader, got 30% of switchers, but that was flat from the prior year while Aldi’s share was up significantly.

However, for all the Aldi nerds, there are plenty of people who prefer a more robust grocery experience, The Chicago Tribune says. Aldi does not have prepared hot foods or in-store dining options or butcher counters that shoppers value elsewhere.  At least, not yet.

“Would we ever have a piano player, a sushi bar or juice bar?” Patton said. “I would never say never. But I would say this: If we ever had any of those things, it would be the most efficient of our competitors, and we would do it better and faster than anyone else.”

Research contact: @chicagotribune

Is your Canada Goose parka keeping you single?

December 4, 2019

When it comes to potential partners, Lily Primamore, 28, considers herself pretty “non-judgmental.”

“I love everyone,” Primamore, who works at a gallery in New York City’s Soho, told The Daily Beast. Well, except. . .

“If you came to me and said, ‘Hey Lily, I’m going to set you up on a blind date,’” Primamore suggested, “And I went and saw someone sitting across from me in a Canada Goose coat, I would have to ask: ‘How would you feel if Freddy Krueger was sitting at [your] table?’ I’m going to have to go the other way, no thank you.”

Primamore, who has been vegan for about a year, loathes the trending Canadian label’s use of coyote fur trim and goose down lining, The Daily Beast reports.

What’s more, the knee-length padded parka—complete with the label’s insignia patch stamped over the right shoulder—costs over $1,000. Originally created in the 1950s as rugged outdoor gear for Canadian Rangers and other open-air workers, the parka gained instant “it” status when it was spotted on Rihanna and given away as Sundance Festival swag, the news outlet says.

But with its rise in prominence came overexposure. The perhaps inevitable backlash manifested in blogs like the now-dormant Canada Douche tumblr, which existed to publicly shame college students wearing the label. This month, the Chicago Tribune published a list of “Canada Goose alternatives: 10 ultra-warm winter coats that won’t set you back $1,000.” Animal

While at dinner a few weeks ago, a friend of The Daily Beast’s style writer Alaina Demopoulos posed the question, “What if you met someone in the summer who was perfect, but then it got cold and you realized they had a Canada Goose jacket?”

Afterward, she says she conducted “a very unscientific poll on my Instagram stories”—learning that 75% of those who answered would consider the offense a deal-breaker.

The reasons? “Animals rights [represented] the top concern, along with the coat being a major wealth flex and, to some, just plain boring.”

As Primamore asked, “What are you trying to symbolize [by wearing that brand of coat] other than being ridiculously expensive?”

“Everybody has those jackets,” Berto Calkins, 30, told The Daily Beast. “It’s kind of corny to be following that trend just because it’s expensive. You could get a different brand. Go to Zara and get a warm jacket—or worse-case scenario, layer!”

The personal trainer and nutritionist is currently coupled up, but if he were still dating, he’d pass on Canada Goose clones. “Some people buy the coat because it’s warm or whatever, but at the end of the day you’re buying it because of the branding.”

But Tedi Sarah, 32, who has been vegan for six years, takes a more measured approach, she said in an interview with the news outlet. “I’m all about living a cruelty-free lifestyle and making kinder choices for animals, people, and the planet, but there was a time when I didn’t know about these issues either,” she said. “As long as the person I’m dating is interested in learning more and open to making kinder choices, that works for me. It’s all about progress, not perfection.”

Canada Goose’s trapping methods have been meticulously documented by animal-welfare groups like PETA, which regularly stage protests outside stores, complete with fake blood strewn over cuddly coyote costumes.

This increased awareness, spurred by watchdog groups, does not seem to deter customers. Canada Goose revealed last month that its revenue increased over 27% from last year, bringing in a total of CA$249 million.

The brand has responded on its website, writing in a statement that “We do not condone any willful mistreatment, neglect, or acts that maliciously cause animals undue suffering. Our standards for sourcing and use of fur, down, and wool reflect our commitment that materials are sourced from animals that are not subject to willful mistreatment or undue harm.”

But maybe leave the parka at home on your next date. There are other ways to flaunt your six-figure salary. Or as Primamore put it, “It’s a black jacket with f**ing fur on it. You can find that from Chanel and Gucci, too.”

Research contact: @thedailybeast

Fruit that doesn’t spoil? Extending shelf life is a key tactic in the battle against food waste—and a startup is on the front lines

December 2, 2019

Imagine avocados that never go bad. To Aidan Mouat, CEO of Hazel Technologies, that’s not so far-fetched, The Chicago Tribune reports.

His company makes a product that extends the shelf life of all sorts of produce — bananas, cherries, pears, broccoli—by slowing the chemical process that causes decay.

Now, some of the world’s largest growers are using it to send their produce longer distances, or to reduce the amount that retailers throw away; and Mouat tells the Tribune that a consumer version could be next.

Indeed, as much as 40% of food produced annually in the United States, and nearly half of produce, goes uneaten, according to government estimates. While the waste happens throughout the supply chain, the vast majority of the $218 billion worth of uneaten food annually gets tossed at home or at grocery stores and restaurants, according to ReFED, a Berkeley, California-based nonprofit that seeks solutions to reduce food waste.

The average American family throws away 25% of groceries purchased, costing a family of four an estimated $1,600 annually, ReFED says. U.S. supermarkets lose $15 billion annually in unsold fruits and vegetables, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

 “I envision, in the next 18 months or so, literally selling a banana box to consumers,” Mouat said from Hazel’s growing office space at University Technology Park, a startup innovation hub on the Illinois Institute of Technology campus. “You keep it on your counter, put a (Hazel) sachet in there once a month, and you have bananas that last forever.”

Whate are those sachets? The company makes the small packs—the size of a salt or pepper packet included with takeout—that can be thrown into a box of produce to shut down the food’s response to ethylene, a chemical naturally emitted by many fruits and vegetables that triggers the loss of firmness, texture and color. The sachets continuously emit a small amount of an ethylene inhibitor, changing the atmosphere in the storage box but not the food itself.

How much Hazel can extend the shelf life depends on the type of food. For example, tests show an unripened pear gets an extra seven to 10 days after being treated with a Hazel sachet, plus an extra three to four days once ripe.

While ethylene management technology isn’t new, Hazel’s sachets are gaining fans because they are easy to use, whether in okra fields in Honduras or avocado packing houses in the United States, Mouat told the Tribune. In addition to ethylene inhibitors, the company is working on anti-microbial reactions and will soon bring to market antimicrobial liners for packages of berries, to ward off the white fuzz.

And the company also is gaining buzz and investors. Founded in 2015 by a group of Northwestern University graduate students, Hazel Technologies has raised $18 million so far, including nearly $1 million in grants from the USDA. It has 100 clients in 12 countries in North and South America.

Research contact: @chicagotribune

Greater Chicago Food Depository plans massive kitchen that will provide home-delivery of 4 million meals annually

November 12, 2019

The Greater Chicago Food Depository is cooking up plans that will provide what it describes as a “seismic shift” in the scale and dispersal of its operations, as it anticipates mounting demand for home deliveries from the elderly, people with disabilities, and others who can’t always to make it to a food pantry, The Chicago Tribune reported on November 11.

The Midwest’s largest food bank plans to build a 40,000-square-foot kitchen on a vacant lot adjacent to its headquarters on Chicago’s Southwest Side, where it will prepare meals for home delivery. Once fully operational, the kitchen will be able to produce 4 million meals a year.

The $50 million project, which it plans to fund with philanthropic help, represents a major expansion of the mission of the food bank, which primarily gathers and delivers groceries to food pantries, soup kitchens, shelters and other organizations throughout Chicago and Cook County.

With the population of older adults poised to explode, and many people still struggling to put food on the table despite the nation’s economic recovery, the food bank had a “deeply sobering” realization that a new strategy was necessary to address the need, CEO Kate Maehr told the Tribune.

“We have a recovery that has left many people without their own personal safety net, underemployed, and there is a new tidal wave of need that is poised to hit this community, and we have a responsibility to be ready for that,” she said. “This is a seismic shift.”

The food depository estimates that there is currently an unmet annual need of about 10 million home-delivered meals for low-income older adults and people with disabilities who have a hard time leaving their homes in Cook County. That number could grow to 13.8 million by 2030 as the population ages.

The number of adults over 65 in Cook County is expected to rise 48% by 2030, the news outlet reports—adding about 117,000 lower-income older adults to the area, according to an analysis by the food depository based on census and other projections.

The food depository plans to deliver the meals it prepares at its facility to its community partners, who will then do the last-mile deliveries to people’s homes. Some groups may use the meal service to hold communal dinners to bring people together.

The meals prepared at the kitchen will include hot, cold and frozen meals, some individually packaged and others for communal eating, like a pan of lasagna. The goal is to produce healthy, restaurant-quality meals tailored to cultural, medical or dietary specifications, with user-friendly packaging.

“One thing we have learned with older adults and people with disabilities is that sometimes a package can create a real barrier to accessing healthy food,” Maehr told the newspaper.

The food depository’s expanded campus will include a nutrition education center and community cafe, run by a yet-to-be-announced partner organization, that will connect the new kitchen with the headquarters. The center will feature a demonstration kitchen for classes on how to prepare healthy food, for use by students, health care professionals and others in the community.

There also will be an urban garden for growing produce, run in partnership with a nonprofit.

The depository has promised that the new meal prep focus will not disrupt the its existing work collecting and delivering groceries across a network of 700 partners. The network received nearly 1.5 million visits to grocery programs like food pantries during the fiscal year that ended in June.

The food depository plans to break ground next summer and open by summer 2021. It has no public funds for construction at this point and is relying on donations to make it happen. The organization purchased the land where it plans to build for $3.6 million last December from BNSF Railway.

Research contact: krmaehr@gcfd.org

High five: Illinois to allow medical marijuana users to cultivate ‘a handful’ of plants at home

August 19, 2019

Talk about farm fresh! Starting next year, medical marijuana patients in Illinois will be allowed to farm their own cannabis plants at home.

Each person enrolled in the medical program—to date, that’s more than 82,000 Prairie State residents—will be able to legally grow five plants, according to a report by The Chicago Tribune.

And home and garden centers, as well as their suppliers, are gearing up to help their customers grow a bumper crop.

Indeed, several companies from as far away as Colorado and California—states where consumers have legally grown their own weed for years—brought cannabis-growing equipment to last week’s Independent Garden Center Show at McCormick Place, which had its first-ever “Cannabis Corner.”

Attendees stopped at the booths, feeling soil samples, taking pamphlets and discussing nutrients. Exhibitors were working to get their products into more garden centers.

A Pot for Pot of Oakland, California, displayed two thriving marijuana plants at its booth. One plant was 80 days old and ready for harvest, with plump buds hugging the stem, the Tribune noted. The other was half as old and hadn’t yet developed buds—but the distinctive, five-pronged leaves were full and green.

The California-based company’s marijuana kits include nutrient-rich soil, beneficial bacteria and instructions. “We like to think of ourselves as Blue Apron meets Chia Pet for growing cannabis,” one of the founders, Jason Levin, told the news outlet.

“When you look at beer and wine, that requires a lot of skill on the brewers part,” added co-founder Joshua Mezher. “With this, the plant does all the work.”

The average customer grows 1 to 3 ounces of cannabis with the kit, Mezher said. The seeds are not included in the kit. Customers order them from A Pot for Pot’s partner in the Netherlands, and the plants are usually ready to harvest in about 80 days.

The kits come in different sizes, with a five-gallon kit selling for about $100 on the company’s website and a desktop mini version that Levin said sold for $30. (“That one’s a great holiday gift because it’s cute and affordable,” Levin said.)

“The time is right. States are falling like dominoes legalizing,” Andrew Victor, national sales consultant for the Denver-based American Cannabis Company, told The Chicago Tribune. “In the middle of garden center people, here we are, American Cannabis Company, talking about growing cannabis.”

Research contact: amarotti@chicagotribune.com

Cold comfort: Incoming medical students should be tested for empathy, study says

August 5, 2019

We’ve all been there—especially the women among our readers: Sitting in a doctor’s office and explaining our symptoms to a medical professional who is completely dismissive, disinterested, and in disbelief.

Worse yet is the practitioner who blames the patient for the condition—and lets her (or him) know about it through insolent or disdainful body language and comments.

Heather Cianciolo says she can tell within minutes if she’s going to like a doctor. “Ten minutes into a doctor’s appointment and I know if it’s going to be a waste of my time,” she said. “It’s a warning sign if someone doesn’t come in and ask me about me—{but rather] just starts talking at me.

“And it happens a lot,” she told The Chicago Tribune for a recent story.

The 46-year-old Oak Park, Illinois, woman—who has long suffered from migraine headaches— said she had to “go through” several specialists who didn’t listen to her before finding one she loves who is now her primary care physician.

“She listens and then she will explain her thinking. She expresses an interest in what’s happening,” Cianciolo said. “If you’re not going to take the time to answer my questions, why would I entrust my health care to you?”

Experts say the ability for doctors to build a rapport with their patients helps build trust and, in turn, improves patient outcomes.

In fact, Mohammadreza Hojat—a research professor of psychiatry and human behavior at Sidney Kimmel Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia who recently designed a questionnaire for  more than 16,000 students of osteopathic medicine—suggests that a norm-level of empathy could (and should) be required for all incoming medical students nationwide, according to the report by the Tribune.

Once a norm-level is established, Dr. Hojat suggests, medical schools should use the data to assess for empathy, alongside academic measures like college transcripts and MCAT scores, when considering medical school applicants.

 “There are two components of medicine. One component is the science of medicine and one component is the art of medicine,” Dr. Hojat told the Tribune. “When it comes to art of medicine, it is about interpersonal relationships and empathy, and we have no method in place” to measure that in medical students’ applicants.

Although empathy can be taught, Hojat said, students who already come to medical school with a strong sense of empathy will make better doctors. And he noted that, although the study focused on students of osteopathic medicine, the tool should be used by traditional medical schools.

Dr. John Prescott, chief academic officer at the Association of American Medical Colleges, said in a statement that “humanism and empathy are critical qualities required of tomorrow’s physicians.” But the statement also claimed that medical schools already look at a “holistic review of applicants … which looks beyond grades and test scores.”

And Jean Decety, a University of Chicago neuroscientist who studies empathy, told the news outlet that, although he hadn’t read the study, his work has shown that empathy only is important for “certain types of physicians.”

In fact, he said, some students will go into specialties that don’t require strong interpersonal skills—for example, radiologists who mostly read images, or surgeons who require excellent technical skills but not necessarily a lot of empathy.

“That’s what you want from your surgeon,” he said.

The study was published July 25 in The Journal of the American Osteopathic Association.

Research contact: @chicagotribune

Seeing stars: Cameo, a Chicago startup that sells video shoutouts from celebrities, raises $50M for expansion

June 26, 2019

Want a shoutout from Brett Favre ($500), Gilbert Gottfried ($150), Stormy Daniels ($250), Tommy Lee ($350), Teresa Giudice ($200), or Dr. Pimple Popper ($100)?

Cameo, the Chicago-based startup that lets users buy personalized video messages from celebrities, has raised $50 million to help fuel an international expansion and further develop its app, The Chicago Tribune reports.

Most of Cameo’s shoutouts are booked through its website, CEO and Co-Founder Steven Galanis told the news outlet. The startup has been building its product development team and working toward relaunching an improved app.

 “We want to make it something super engaging, that when you’re on the ‘L’ going to work, you’re opening Cameo instead of Instagram,” he told the Tribune in an interview.

Since Cameo launched more than two years ago, the startup has drawn attention for its quick and affordable access to celebrities. Last year, it joined tech giants such as Apple, Amazon, and Airbnb on Time’s list of 50 “Genius Companies.”

But the company has not made it this far without running into some problems: In late 2018, it was reported that an account associated with an anti-Semitic group had tricked several celebrities into making Cameo videos using coded anti-Semitic language. Galanis quickly responded, calling the videos a “wake-up call.”

Cameo employs about 100 people, more than 65 of whom work out of its Windy City headquarters. Galanis said he plans to bolster the company’s international employee ranks, and wants to add European soccer players, Bollywood actors, and K-Pop artists to its celebrity roster.

Currently, the site offers video greetings from thousands of athletes and B-, C- and D-list celebrities. Consumers can pay as much as $350 to receive a greeting from rapper and TV star Ice-T, or $200 for former Chicago Bears player Mike Singletary.

This month’s round of funding brings the total amount Cameo has raised to $65 million. Galanis declined to disclose the valuation to the Tribune-however

Menlo Park, California-based investor Kleiner Perkins led the round of funding. Other investors included media and tech investor The Chernin Group, venture capital firm Spark Ventures, Bain Capital, and Lightspeed Venture Partners.

Research contact: @chicagotribune

To attract teenage staffers, Walmart offers free SAT and ACT prep

June 5, 2019

Walmart, the nation’s largest private employer, announced on June 4 that it will offer free college SAT and ACT prep courses to its high school-age workers, as well as several online, general education college classes at no cost through Guild Education, The Chicago Tribune reported.

Walmart estimates about 25,000 people under the age of 18 work at its stores—a fraction of its 1.3 million person U.S. workforce. The company is looking to attract and retain more workers, right from the start of their careers.

The new offer represents an expansion of a program Walmart launched last year called Live Better U, which provides affordable access to a college degree for full-time and part-time workers who have been with the company at least 90 days.

Based in Denver, Guild Education offers “education as a benefit” to corporate workers through a program that costs $1 a day. Classes are sourced through nonprofit universities with online programs that have had success working with adult learners.

Guild, which is a startup says it is planning on expanding the number of degrees it offers—beyond business and supply management to an additional 14 that will include cybersecurity and computer science. Walmart says these programs will help provide workers with skills it needs in the future.

About 7,500 adult workers are already enrolled in the program. Walmart expects 68,000 of its employees to be enrolled in the next several years.

Walmart is competing with other major employers to find and retain higher quality, entry-level employees in a historically strong labor market.

The unemployment rate dropping to a five-decade low of 3.6% in the most recent jobs report issued by the Labor Department, and the average hourly pay rose 3.2% compared with a year ago. The economic expansion, which has fueled 103 straight months of hiring, is set to become the longest in history next month.

High schoolers represent an increasing challenging group for recruiters. In fact, only 26.4% of teens are expected to have a job by 2024, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. That’s down from 34% in 2014.

Research contact: @ChiTribBiz 

As business wilts, flower and gift delivery service FTD seeks bankruptcy protection

June 4, 2019

Flower and gift delivery service FTD filed for bankruptcy protection on June 3, with a plan to sell some businesses while paying down debt, according to a report by The Chicago Tribune.

In addition to FTD and Interflora, the nearly 110-year-old company—headquartered in Downers Grove, Illinois–has portfolio of brands that includes ProFlowers, ProPlants, Shari’s Berries, Personal Creations, RedEnvelope, Flying Flowers, and Gifts.com.

According to the Tribune, FTD had warned in March that it could go out of business or shrink its operations this summer if it didn’t find a buyer or raise enough money to pay back $217.7 million in debt due in September.

“With the advice and support of our outside advisors, we have initiated this court-supervised restructuring process to provide an orderly forum to facilitate sales of our businesses as going concerns and to enable us to address a near-term debt maturity,” Scott Levin, FTD’s president and chief executive officer, said in a news release. “Importantly, everyone involved with this process understands the critical role of our talented member florists, and we intend to continue supporting them as normal throughout this process.”

FTD said it is continuing to operate its businesses and has lined up $94.5 million in financing from existing lenders to fund operations while it restructures and works to sell pieces of its business.

A California-based private equity firm, Nexus Capital has agreed to buy FTD’s North American and Latin American consumer and florist businesses, including ProFlowers, for $95 million, FTD said.

It has also signed letters of intent with potential buyers for its Personal Creations and Shari’s Berries businesses. Any sales will still require the bankruptcy court’s approval.

In the meantime, FTD said its businesses are continuing to operate as usual, taking new orders and filling those already placed.

FTD’s Interflora business, which is based in Europe and is not part of the Chapter 11 filing, has been sold to a subsidiary of The Wonderful Co., based in California,  for $59.5 million, the company said.

Research contact: @laurenzumbach