We’ve used the Helios twice now and have been quite impressed each time. It has everything production could want AND it’s earth friendly! We will use the Helios on every job in which we need a moho." Mario D’Amici—Production Coordinator, Beef Films
King Kong… top notch service, incredible drivers, clean, well equipped vehicles, on time—every time! Thanks guys…. you ROCK!!!" Elaine Lee—Producer 5th and Sunset Los Angeles
Rusty, Bruce and the guys at King Kong were a crucial asset to my photoshoot. They took a lot of stress off of my plate and came through when I needed them, allowing me to focus 100% on the production. Without a doubt, King Kong is now my go-to for production vehicles and I do not hesitate to recommend them to my colleagues. And, not only is Rusty the best and most helpful driver I have ever had the pleasure of working with, he is also awesome with a fog machine!" Brett Spencer-Producer, Nastygal.com
The Helios is a great motorhome. Not only is it energy efficient but it offers a large space for production to work in. The copy machine is great because you can wirelessly print and make color copies and send faxes. The satellite phones came in handy when we realized we didn’t have any cell service on location. We received several compliments throughout the shoot day. Crew walked into the motorhome in awe of such a beautiful space." Courtney Witherspoon-Production Coordinator Three One O
Thank you so much for lovely Eko lav — definitely the nicest port-a-potty I’ve ever used!" Amanda – Producer
I just wanted to send you a quick message and let you know how amazing Rich is. I have hired motos from all over and this was by far our best experience. Really nice to work with great people" Crystal Raymond- Chinese Laundry
I wanted to give Rich another glowing report, He was AMAZING on our shoot. The most helpful driver I’ve ever had. I’ll definitely be requesting him on future shoots.
Thanks for everything guys!" Adrienne Burton – Freelance Prod Coordinator
You guys are the BEST!" Marie D’Amore—Production Supervisor, HSI
You guys did a phenomenal job with the Helios. And Rob, as always, went above and beyond for us." Dan Kae—Assistant Production Supervisor
The drivers were awesome to be with. Hard working drivers!! It really stands out when the drivers jump in to help set up base camp, and tear it down. Not to mention always having a fresh green tea for me just when I needed it every time. They really were great and I’d ask for them anytime we get vehicles from you. Thanks!" Mary Brooks – 3 Star Productions
Just wanted to say thanks for the awesome customer service. Our driver was friendly and professional. He arrived early and had everything ready to go for us. The motorhome was clean and in perfect shape. Every detail matters on a shoot to help keep everything running smoothly. We love working with King Kong!" Jamie Williams- That Girl Productions
King Kong has great motorhomes and the best drivers in the business. Working with you guys is always easy and a pleasure." Cat Burkley-Portfolio One
We truly enjoyed working from the Helios, the attention to detail to make it an Eco friendly asset to our industry should be commended. The quiet workspace you get when running on the solar power is delightful! Rob was pleasant to be around and always willing to help out. Thank you Rob and King Kong for bringing us the Helios!" Rochelle Savory-Assistant Production Supervisor
…the moho was super nice, everything was great! I will definitely rent it again!!" Susan Borbely – Prod Coordinator
North Six has been working with King Kong for many years now. Not only is their customer service unparalleled, but their fleet of motorhomes is always clean, reliable, and exactly what we need to support our photo productions." Kyd Kisvarday—Producer, North 6
Archive for February, 2013
NEW YORK (AP) — Target said Tuesday that its pledge to match prices of select online rivals this past holiday season is now a year-round promise.
The nation’s second largest discounter behind Wal-Mart Stores (WMT) said it will match prices that customers find on identical products at top online retailers, all the time. The online list includes Amazon.com (AMZN) as well as the websites of Wal-Mart, Best Buy (BBY) , Toys R Us and Babies R Us.
Target’s holiday price match program with online retailers began Nov. 1 and ended Dec. 16. Target(TGT) is also making permanent its holiday offer of matching prices of items found at its stores with those on its website. And for the first time it will include products that are out of stock on Target.com.
The company’s stock price closed at a record $61.30 a share and was 0.7% lower in Tuesday trading.
The moves follow a disappointing holiday shopping season for the Minneapolis-based retailer, hurt by stiffer competition from online rivals and stores like Wal-Mart that have hammered its low prices.
It’s also the latest step from brick-and-mortar stores to combat “showrooming” — a growing trend for customers to browse their stores to check out products, and then go online to buy the same products for less elsewhere.
Mark Schindele, Target senior vice president of merchandising operations, noted the discounter monitors prices of 30,000 items, and thousands more online, to make sure it’s competitive. But Target says it had to do more to give shoppers more confidence.
“We believe that our prices are competitive year round,” Schindele said in an interview. “We also know that our guests shop in many ways.”
Many major stores have offered price matching guarantees for local competitors’ brick-and-mortar stores, but it wasn’t until this past holiday season that the focus was on matching online prices. That can be difficult, since online prices tend to be lower and fluctuate often.
Best Buy is matching prices with 20 online retailers on electronics and appliances at its physical stores through Jan. 31. Best Buy spokeswoman Amy von Walter declined to “speculate” on whether it would make that plan permanent.
Since last summer Toys R Us has been matching online prices for all identical items or models of baby gear merchandise from selected national competitors like walmart.com, target.com, sears.com, Amazon, buybuybaby.com and diapers.com. Like Target’s policy, it excludes Amazon’s third-party Marketplace items.
Wal-Mart has trumpeted its low price message but stopped short of matching prices with online rivals.
Joel Bines, managing director and co-head of the retail practice at AlixPartners, praised recent moves by retailers to have an online policy.
“Retailers have finally gotten the message,” he said. “You can’t put an impediment between consumers and consumption.” But he said that the policies can backfire. Stores have to make it easier for shoppers to get the price match. And he noted the move could also turn out to be “profit draining” as more people are encouraged to shop the Web to get the lowest price.
Bines and other analysts say the online price match policies are also tough to implement given the constant fluctuation of online prices, even in the same day. That was particularly evident around Thanksgiving week. From Nov. 19 to Nov. 30 Amazon.com doubled the average number of promoted products it changed prices on each day compared with the same period a year ago, according to Dynamite Data, which tracks online prices.
Still, having a price match policy in place is essential for cheap chic Target, analysts say. The discounter, known for selling trendy merchandise and staples like toothpaste under the same roof, has seen uneven sales growth since the economic downturn as it tries to convince frugal shoppers it has good prices. This past holiday season, Target chose to limit promotions to preserve profits. That resulted in muted sales in November and December. However, Target expects fourth-quarter earnings to meet or possibly top the low end of its previous outlook.
As for the holiday price match plan, Schindele noted that shoppers like the plan. Price matches may be requested at Target’s guest services desk prior to purchase, with proof of an online competitor’s current price or after purchase with the original Target receipt and proof of the lower online price.
“This has been a seamless experience,” Schindele said. “There have been a lot of positives.”
Home Solar Systems to Be an Option for Honda Customers
Automakers have long resorted to incentives like zero-percent financing, rewards points and rebates to inspire customer loyalty. Now Honda is offering a different deal: inexpensive home solar power systems for customers.
Through a partnership with SolarCity, a residential and commercial installer, Honda and Acura will offer their customers home solar systems at little or no upfront cost, the companies said on Tuesday. The automaker will also offer its dealers preferential terms to lease or buy systems from SolarCity on a case-by-case basis, executives said.
The deal, in which Honda will provide financing for $65 million worth of installations, will help the automaker promote its environmental aims and earn a modest return, executives said. It could also open the door for more corporate investment in solar leasing companies, which has largely been limited to a small cluster of banks to provide capital for their projects.
And SolarCity, one of the few clean-tech start-ups to find a market for an initial public offering of its stock last year, will potentially gain access to tens of millions of new customers through Honda’s vast lists of current and previous owners.
“When we partner with financial institutions, they aren’t promoting us to their customers, they’re essentially just providing us with capital,” said Lyndon R. Rive, SolarCity’s chief executive. But with Honda, he said, the company is gaining, “access to a broader customer base, and a customer base that is conscious of the environment.”
Whether the marriage will prove successful remains to be seen. “I don’t think that by finding Honda buyers you’ve homed in on the perfect solar customer, but there’s enough overlapping between the demographics that you’re better off than the general population,” said Shayle Kann, vice president at GTM Research, adding that car buyers were more likely to own their homes and have the income and credit history to qualify for solar leasing. While the American solar industry in general has been struggling in the face of declining government subsidies, overcapacity in production and a glut of inexpensive Chinese panels, interest and investment in solar leasing, or third-party ownership, has continued to grow. According to a recent report from GTM Research, a renewable energy consulting firm that is a unit of Greentech Media, third-party ownership accounts for more than 70 percent of all residential installations in developed markets like Arizona, California and Colorado and has generated at least $3.4 billion in private investment since 2008.
SolarCity and a rival, Sunrun, were among pioneers of the approach, but players like Clean Power Finance and Vivint, a home security company owned by the Blackstone Group, are also gaining momentum.
In a typical arrangement, a company provides a system at little or no cost in exchange for a long-term contract in which the customer pays a fixed fee for the electricity generated, set at less than the customer would pay for power from the local utility. The solar price often rises over the life of the agreement, which can last 20 years.
Honda approached SolarCity more than a year ago when it was looking for a partner to provide solar installation services for its hybrid and electric vehicle customers, said Ryan Harty, American Honda’s assistant manager for environmental business development. The company then decided to expand to all its customers — a group it is defining “very, very broadly,” Mr. Harty said, to include not just car owners but also those who have explored its Web sites. The offer will be available in 14 states: Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Hawaii, Maryland, Massachusetts, New York, New Jersey, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Texas and Washington, and the District of Columbia.
The two companies say they hope the joint venture leads to projects that integrate solar power and electric vehicle recharging for its customers.
The program will give Honda and Acura customers an extra $400 discount on top of SolarCity’s normal promotions, which they can use to sweeten the terms of the solar contract, like eliminating the escalation of the monthly payment. Honda projects the fund can finance as many as 3,000 systems on homes and 20 for its dealers. If the program catches on, Honda plans to expand it. Executives said they saw more immediate promise in cutting carbon emissions through solar power than the electric vehicles it would sell.