Articles

$40M prison work program helps inmates, businesses

If you’ve ever cooked a hamburger over a grill at Shakamak State Park, sat in a hospital waiting room chair, or sipped from a water fountain, you may have used products made by Indiana convicts. Although offender work programs have been around since the 1920s, most Hoosiers know little about the Indiana Department of Correction’s prison-based industries, which generate $40 million a year in revenue.

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Fitbrains.com offers games to keep your memory sharp

Vivity Labs has developed a Web
site called
Fit Brains (www.fitbrains.com), which features engaging games and activities that exercise the five key cognitive
areas of the brain: memory, language, concentration, executive functions, and visual and spatial skills.

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Entrepreneur has high hopes for deck-chair markers

In late May, Darrell Bowman launched Lounge Hats LLC, an Indianapolis-based company that makes fabric covers that fit over
beach or pool-side chaise lounges to make one thing clear: This seat is taken. Bowman withdrew $20,000 from personal savings
and added another $50,000 from an investor, his friend Mike Oswalt, to start the company. He runs Lounge Hats out of his garage,
hiring a Chinese company to sew the hats and contracting with a local printer to finish them off.

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NY Times job helps ACS Sign gain attention

ACS Sign System’s unusual approach to sign-making–some are not strictly signs at all–has helped the company grow its revenue
and expand its footprint beyond Indiana. In recent years, sales outside its home state have grown from 20 percent of total
revenue to almost half.

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Hilbert taking on tanning niche

Less than two years after New Sunshine LLC was bought by a group led by former Conseco Inc. CEO Stephen Hilbert, its Australian Gold division has acquired its top two competitors, amassing 80 percent of the indoor suntan lotion market.

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Changes flowing at Delta; is sale next?

Amid sagging profits, locally based Delta Faucet Co. has parted ways with two of its top executives. And some analysts think
Delta’s parent corporation–tiring of its sagging performance–is considering selling the faucet manufacturer.

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Fortville firm’s helmet pads protect U.S. troops

Fortville-based Genesis Manufacturing makes helmet pads for U.S. troops through Colorado-based Skydex Technologies, which
won a contract this fall with the U.S. Air Force for 120,000 helmet pad kits. Most of the helmets have wound up in Iraq, where
the military has discovered soldiers need something more than Kevlar-lined helmets to survive roadside mines and exploding
Toyotas.

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Carmel company helps clients determine next big thing

The employees of production-innovation consultant Insight2 interview customers, but they also watch and videotape them using
various products. That footage then is dissected to see how consumers deal with problems they encounter. More times than not,
the result is a new product intended to satisfy needs consumers didn’t even know they had.

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