Colleen Chapin gets the goodies from all over the country for the homesick hungry
Colleen Chapin didn't miss Wisconsin's winters after she moved to West Palm Beach, Fla., in 1984. But she sure missed Candy Raisins—a sugary treat sold chiefly in Cheesehead territory. "They look like a brownish Gummi Bear," explains Chapin, 43. Her transplanted neighbors were also craving hard-to-find favorites such as Jiffy Pop stove-top popcorn and My-T-Fine pudding. "That got me thinking," she says.
In 1998 the mother of five hit the Web with a sweet idea: Hometown Favorites (www.hometownfavorites.com), a shop stocked with such nostalgic noshes as wax soda-bottle candies and Skybar chocolate bars. Sales "exploded," says Chapin, who fills orders in her garage and expects to rake in $500,000 this year (husband Terry, 47, is a car dealer). Raves Jessica Mauterer, 20, an Atlanta resident who snaps up chocolate cigarettes: "You can't get these things anywhere."
Some celeb Web sites look like fanzines; barbrastreisand.com is more like a politician's. The site showcases in huge letters a Truth Alert! section, where la Streisand continues her never-ending battle to squash gossip-column reports—such as the recent one that said security forces at Las Vegas's MGM Grand hotel ordered passersby not to look at her as she swept through the halls. But some say her dot-com has as much mythology as that Blair Witch site. "It's diva denial," gibes Norm Clarke of the Las Vegas Review-Journal, who says he broke the story and that several MGM Grand employees confirmed it. Streisand's camp declined to comment.
How long should I wait for someone to respond to an e-mail?
First, consider your correspondent. E-mailers tend to fall into three groups: those who would happily implant a modem in their brain, those who check mail daily and those who regard booting up the computer as a once-in-a-while adventure (hi, Mom). As a general rule, wait a few days, then zap 'em a reminder. After a week, pick up the phone.
Click and Get It
If eBay.com is an Oscar barometer, The Green Mile is the favorite to win Best Picture, leading the nominees as of March 1 with 98 tie-ins up for auction, including a movie still signed by Tom Hanks. American Beauty has 72 items; The Sixth Sense, 38 (dig that magic fortune-telling ball); The Insider, 34. The Cider House Rules is the out-cider at 12.