Christmas is coming earlier this year for Frank Carpenito.
As the chief executive of Dancing Deer Baking Co. , Carpenito (pictured) knows all about ramping up for the holiday rush. But Dancing Deer picked up a few more national accounts — big names like Target, Safeway, and Publix — and Carpenito had to start adding seasonal workers in late July, a month earlier than last year.
It's a good problem to have, of course.
"We've been playing a little catch-up, which I think is a good thing, as opposed to having a little more time on our hands," Carpenito says.
So let's talk numbers. Normally, Dancing Deer employs 70 or so workers at its Hyde Park plant year-round. Last year, Dancing Deer brought on 150 seasonal workers to keep up with the Christmas gift-giving demand. This year, Dancing Deer is on track for 175. Revenue, Carpenito says, for the calendar year so far is up 22 percent compared to the same time in 2014. Total annual sales will be in the $15 million to $20 million range.
One key factor with this growth: a new round of investments last year from private equity backers Ironwood Capital of Connecticut and Boston's Generation Equity Capital , along with new partner River Hollow Partners of New York. Their goal: Triple the size of the company over five years.
Some of that money has been plowed into product development, such as the creation of Dancing Deer's "dessert bites" line.
Of course, the more confections, the more temptations for the staff. But Carpenito says that the taste-testing work that comes with his job is enough to satisfy his sweet tooth.
"Most of us spend a lot of time tasting new products and realize we can't go out and start snacking," Carpenito says. JON CHESTO
Not snakes, lobsters! On a plane!
Dubai-based Emirates doubled its capacity out of Boston earlier this month by adding a second daily flight between its home city and Logan Airport — and we're not just talking about the airline's capacity for carrying people.
It turns out that there's another kind of passenger on these flights, one who won't be making the return trip back to New England: lobsters, tons of them.
Duncan Watson, vice president for cargo commercial operations at Emirates, says lobsters represent at least half of the cargo shipped in the bellies of these planes. Many of these critters move through Dubai, home to one of the world's busiest airports, for flights bound for other places.
Watson says he estimates that Emirates is shipping at least 10 tons a day of lobsters out of Logan, now that the airline has two daily flights.
"Obviously, people around the world are eating more of it because we're shipping a lot of it," Watson said.
Most of these lobster shipments are coordinated on this side of the Atlantic by Oceanair Inc., a logistics company in Revere. John Kingsley, a perishables manager there, says they're often in Styrofoam containers with cold gel packs. The cold lowers their metabolism, essentially allowing them to go to sleep for the long flights.
Kingsley says it's not just Emirates driving demand for Logan-shipped lobster — although the growth has been particularly fast at the Dubai airline. Most other international flights carry New England-caught lobsters as well.
"If you're on an international flight out of Logan, chances are there are lobsters downstairs," he says.
A new sugar high from Kane’s, but hold the buzz
Late in the workday yesterday, just as we were dragging, Kane's Donuts sent out an e-mail blast introducing two fall specials that almost made us forget it was Monday: Doughnuts dipped in Sam Adams Pumpkin Ale and Angry Orchard Hard Apple Cider.
Turns out, the pastries aren't exactly buzz-worthy.
The local institution, which is known for selling handcrafted confections at shops in Saugus and the Financial District, said the doughnuts are dipped in glazes made from reduced pumpkin beer and hard apple cider.
We're sad to report that any alcohol content is removed in the cooking process.
The new specials sold out Monday — hopefully patrons knew they were eating the doughnut version of an O'Doul's.
‘Orange’ author Kerman to speak at fund-raiser
Landing a ticket to the Rosie's Place annual fund-raising luncheon this year was tougher than ever, with headliner Piper Kerman , author of "Orange is the New Black," slated to speak at the event Tuesday.
Kerman is the Boston-born, Smith College graduate whose year in prison on drug trafficking charges was the basis for the explosively popular Netflix series named after her book.
She is helping draw the biggest crowd ever — 1,700 attendees — to the event for Rosie's, a women's homeless shelter in Boston's South End that was the first of its kind in the nation.
Kerman, in a Globe interview ahead of the fund-raiser, said there's a fine line between who ends up with a roof and who doesn't after prison.
"The day I got out of prison, I got to go to a stable place to live and get a job. That's not true for the majority of people leaving the system,'' Kerman said. Some people "knew they would be headed straight for a homeless shelter when they got out."
The founder of Rosie's, the late Kip Tiernan , spent her life advocating for housing for poor women and men living on society's edges.
"This question of safe and stable housing is incredibly important,'' Kerman said. "Especially for women and girls and kids who are at risk of ending up in the criminal justice system."
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