The QualityStocks Daily Blog
Covering Micro-Cap and Small-Cap Companies

Our writers and journalists keep investors up to date with the latest news from around the markets. The QualityStocks Blog is another extension of our commitment to help the investment community discover emerging companies that offer excellent growth potential.

Giggles N’ Hugs, Inc. (GIGL) an Investor-Accessible Play with a Unique Business Model in the Thriving Fast Casual Sector

August 24, 2016


A story that really grew legs earlier this year, based on the May report from leading independent strategic market research firm Euromonitor (, clearly illustrates how China’s massive consumer market has rapidly processed the clean food trend that took years to sweep through Western markets. The shift toward healthier alternatives by a large percentage of fast food and casual dining consumers is likely also related to the accessibility of information that has come with ubiquitous internet access all over the planet. The implications of all this for the industry, however, irrespective of the component architecture of causes, is strikingly unambiguous: serious changes toward healthier menu options have become vital.

Fast food giant McDonald’s (NYSE: MCD), which opened doors in China back in 1987 and has grown to over 2,200 locations, as well as Yum Brands (NYSE: YUM), the operator of KFC and Pizza Hut (7,200 locations), are both shedding Chinese footprint. Yum’s market share alone has declined 17 percent since 2012 (MCD lost around 2.7 percent), resulting in strategic divestment of 20 percent of its overall position to a Chinese company, a vector also being pursued by MCD. Consumers want healthier and heartier meals now. This is perhaps the core driver behind the success of outfits like Panera Bread Company (NASDAQ: PNRA) and Chipotle Mexican Grill (NYSE: CMG), as well as 2015 IPO Shake Shack (NYSE: SHAK), which, while not quite as focused on healthier options, definitely speaks to the same consumer sentiment about real food value.

The time has come to seriously start building a portfolio of promising, investor-accessible fast casual and even fast food companies who understand where the industry is headed and have been able to successfully capitalize on the trends, and not just with lackluster, after-the-fact menu alterations the way MCD has done, a decision which has (unsurprisingly) failed to win over increasingly savvy consumers. It makes sense to look at companies who have flipped the script and started from scratch with a new model, operators who understand not just the underlying trends, but the full spectrum of logistical issues as well. Issues like cultivating brand awareness and an identity early on that will have real staying power, or shrewdly setting up the entire model from the get go to really succeed when it comes to securing optimal locations that are heavily trafficked and/or are geographically localized to premium target demos.

Giggles N’ Hugs (OTCQB: GIGL) is one to watch in this arena, with its unique restaurant concept that fuses together high-end organic food and healthy, cutting-edge play/entertainment for children, a model which has already proven itself by becoming extremely successful in Southern California at some of the high end malls the company brilliantly likes to target for maximum traction – both with the general public and a growing retinue of A-list celebs. This is an extremely important kind of passive celebrity branding that costs GIGL nothing, yet (especially for SoCal folks) resonates hugely with target demos.

Some 15 percent of all ads last year featured high profile celebs (, and whilst most companies must navigate the choppy waters of picking the right kind of celebrity that parallelizes their brand, secure endorsements via huge payouts, or gift celebrities their products in mere hopes that they will thereby gain attention – GIGL simply has to do what it does best: open the doors every morning to one of the finest organic casual dining, “Gymboree” playspace experiences available anywhere on earth. And it just so happens to be the perfect place for birthday parties, which GIGL does masterfully, with themed and specially catered parties that have live entertainers and actors/staff dressed up as the kid’s favorite cartoon star, comic book super hero, or other, similar thematic constructs.

Fast casual is the sector sweet spot, too, as this entire clean food trend comes to a boil globally, with the segment showing a 10.4 percent sales uptick last year compared to 2014 ( Even the largest consumer foodservice market on Earth, China, saw sales grow 9.5 percent year over year to $617 billion. The GIGL story is really something to look at, with tightly-knit partnerships between the company and some of the world’s largest mall operators helping to ensure its longer-term franchise success, as well as a brilliantly executed and highly unique model. By the way, this is a model that can work anywhere on the planet. This versatility is something for investors playing the long game to think about with GIGL, especially considering the baseline receptivity in Asian markets to this kind of family-centric dining concept.

Learn more by visiting

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2050 Motors, Inc. (ETFM) Moves Forward with Carbon Fiber Auto Assembly Plant as Global EV Market Soars in Q1 2016

Even with fuel prices dropping significantly over the last couple of years, which has prompted some industry commentators to predict a slowdown on the electric vehicle market, overall sales reported in the first quarter of 2016 were 42% higher year-on-year ( The Q1 increase is indeed not as high as the figures reported in Q4 2015, which was particularly strong for electric vehicle sales in anticipation of reduced incentives on several markets this year. Nonetheless, plug-in sales in the first quarter totaled an impressive 180,500 units worldwide, with China alone responsible for a considerable portion of the growth, as year-on-year sales in the Asian nation doubled compared to last year.

China remains a significant market for electric vehicles, not only in terms of sales, but also in terms of manufacturing. One of the most revolutionary electric cars on the market at the moment, the e-Go EV sold by 2050 Motors, Inc. (OTCQB: ETFM), is in fact the product of a Chinese company, being engineered and designed by Jiangsu Aoxin New Energy Automobile Co., Ltd. What sets the e-Go EV apart from other electric vehicles is that it is the only such car with a carbon fiber body and parts installed on an aluminum racing car frame and suspension. The entire manufacturing process is done with the help of robotic machines, which lowers both the time and cost of fabrication. The result is an electric car that weighs thousands of pounds less than other similar vehicles on the market, at only 1,450 lbs., and with a carbon fiber body that is five times stronger than steel.

2050 Motors, which has exclusive rights to assemble and distribute the e-Go, says this is the most efficient and affordable electric vehicle ever built, with over three times the battery life of other cars in its class. The vehicle’s battery warranty is eight years with unlimited mileage, the same as Tesla’s (NASDAQ: TSLA) Model S. The company also plans to launch a carbon fiber luxury sedan, the Ibis EV, in the near future.

This might be very soon, as the company recently secured an equity purchase agreement of $10 million for the construction of an assembly plant in Las Vegas. The deal was sealed with Southridge Partners II, LP, a Connecticut-based holding firm specializing in advisory services and direct investment. The facility will be built specifically for the assembly of carbon fiber electric vehicles, including the body and parts being manufactured and shipped from the Jiangsu factory. 2050 Motors is close to completing negotiations with the City of Las Vegas regarding the project, which is expected to bring a great number of high paying jobs to the city.

Additionally, the company is in talks with the Las Vegas Global Economic Alliance for the creation of a foreign trade zone for the assembly factory, which would allow it to bring the car bodies and parts from China without formal customs processing or customs duties until the assembled products leave the trade zone.

For more information, visit

eXp World Holdings, Inc. (EXPI) Subject of Updated Research Report by Fundamental Research Corp.

Yesterday, Fundamental Research Corp., an independent research firm specializing in the small-cap and microcap sectors, announced the release of an updated analysis on eXp World Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB: EXPI). The new analysis, which includes upward revisions from Fundamental Research Corp.’s original report released in April of this year, highlights EXPI’s strong fiscal performance in the second quarter of 2016, healthy balance sheet and recent independent additions to its board of directors as reasons prospective investors may want to take a second look at the company.

“We are raising our revenue forecast for 2016 from $40.50 million to $48.94 million, and for 2017 from $72.00 million to $82.50 million,” reads the Fundamental Research Corp. report. “We are also raising our long-term forecasts. In our previous models, we had assumed growth to 10,000 members by 2020. We are now extending our models based on the assumption that membership will increase to 15,000 by 2022.”

To view the full report, visit

Taking a quick look at EXPI’s progress toward expanding its presence in the North American real estate market in recent months, Fundamental Research Corp.’s decision to revise its previous growth forecasts comes as no surprise. Since the original report in April, EXPI has successfully commenced real estate brokerage operations in seven new states and the District of Columbia. In total, the company’s Agent-Owned Cloud Brokerage® is currently operational in 41 states; Alberta, Canada; and Washington, D.C. Alongside its entry into new jurisdictions, eXp Realty, the real estate brokerage division of EXPI, has had tremendous success in recruiting real estate professionals to its growing family of agents and brokers. In a news release from earlier this month, the company reported more than 1,580 agents across all of its markets, up from just 864 at the beginning of 2016.

The rapid growth of its real estate brokerage division has also spurred strong fiscal results for EXPI in recent months. On August 15, the company released its second quarter results, which included revenues of more than $13.2 million, a year-over-year increase of 137 percent. This coincided with a 111 percent year-over-year increase to eXp Realty’s agent count. EXPI’s cash position was also strengthened during the second quarter, with cash and cash equivalents up 207 percent from June 2015. Glenn Sanford, chairman and chief executive officer of EXPI, summed up these results in a recent news release.

“eXp Realty continues to experience accelerated growth in agent count and in revenues as a result of our commitment to agent ownership, agent support, and agent engagement,” he stated.

For more information, visit the company’s website at

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Laguna Blends, Inc. (CSE: LAG) (OTC: LAGBF) (LB6A.F) Now Has Skin in the Game

Now that Laguna Blends (CSE: LAG) (OTC: LAGBF) (FRANKFURT: LB6A.F) has signed a distribution agreement with ISO International, LLC to promote and distribute seven CannaCeuticals (“Canna”) cannabidiol (CBD) skin care products, the Canadian-based network marketing company is taking its winning ways into the billion dollar aesthetics industry. Canna is a Swiss brand of skincare products based on cosmeceutical-grade CBD. Under the deal, Laguna Blends will pay a one-time license fee of USD 100,000 and commit to purchasing USD 1.5 million worth of product at wholesale prices over the first two years of the agreement.

The company will harness the extensive reach of its affiliate-marketing network to market the Canna skincare line in the U.S., and, after regulatory approval is obtained, plans to market the line in Canada, Asia, Europe and Mexico.

Clinical trials conducted early last year on CBD7 serum, the active ingredient in the Canna skincare line, yielded positive results. The regenerative microencapsulated time-released therapy ‘blurs the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles in 7 – 14 days’ and ‘significantly improves the texture of skin’, the report, undertaken by BioScreen® Testing Services, Inc., concluded.

The product under test, one ounce Facial Serum CBD, ‘provided the following statistically significant improvements after 14 days of… use’. There was a ‘12.74% improvement in skin texture’; ‘80.95% of subjects demonstrated an improvement in skin texture’; there was a ‘7.40% improvement in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles of the mouth area’; and ‘80.95% of subjects demonstrated an improvement in the appearance of fine lines and wrinkles of the mouth area’. These were encouraging outcomes, which have not gone unnoticed. The widely-circulated May 2016 issue of Elle Magazine, with Beyoncé Knowles on the cover, featured CannaCeuticals CBD7 in its ‘Tips and Trends’ section.

The medical aesthetics market was estimated at $7.5 billion in 2015 by Markets and Markets ( Over the next five years, it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 10.8%, reaching $12.6 billion in 2020. The skincare market is even larger. At the launch of the distribution deal for the Canna line, Laguna’s CEO Stuart Gray observed:

“We are excited to announce the closing of this transaction, which firmly roots Laguna in the $121 billion global skin care industry. The pairing of our rapidly growing affiliate network with a revolutionary and clinically proven product line creates a powerful opportunity of growth and expansion.”

The Canna brand supplements Laguna Blends’ products based on the nutritional health benefits derived from hemp. Laguna Blends is a network marketing company, sometimes referred to as a multi-layer marketing company, which generates retail sales through independent affiliates. In April 2016, the company announced the commencement of beta testing for its Laguna World virtual 3D community with independent affiliates. Laguna World, an interactive platform, will enable affiliates to train, recruit and sell from home and so reduce unproductive hours spent on traveling. Laguna believes this innovative virtual world technology ‘is a game changer in the Direct Selling / Network Marketing Industry.’

Laguna’s flagship product is Caffe Protein Coffee which ‘is loaded in proteins: both whey and hemp.’ Another product is Pro369, which combines HempOmega®, hemp protein and ginseng and comes in four delicious flavors: Vanilla Caramel, Tropical Fruit, Mixed Berry and Chocolate Banana. Earlier this month, the company announced the renewal of the agreement retaining Emmanual Arceneaux, a player in the Canadian Football League, as a brand ambassador for Pro369.

For more information, visit

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Monaker Group, Inc. (MKGI) Set to Expand Industry Partnerships with Launch of Monaker Booking Engine

Before the opening bell, Monaker Group, Inc. (OTCQB: MKGI) announced completion of the design, architecture and buildout of its Application Program Interface (“API”) and the corresponding launch of its Monaker Booking Engine (“MBE”). This announcement marks a key milestone in the company’s efforts to develop a sustainable foothold in the rapidly growing alternative lodging space, as the completed API and MBE will allow Monaker to work toward partnering with large, established online travel agencies, tour operators, airlines and cruise originators to offer its sizable inventory in a real-time booking format. This real-time booking format is key to the company’s future growth, as the vast majority of alternative lodging firms still rely on the less convenient request/response approach to booking, which slows down the rental process.

“The completion of the MBE and API is an important milestone for the Company and our large inventory can now be distributed to our interested partners in the Alternative Lodging industry,” Bill Kerby, chairman and chief executive officer of Monaker, stated in this morning’s news release. “I’m very pleased with the functionality of the MBE and initial discussions with potential partners has suggested their desire to find a true ‘Plug and Play’ solution. We believe we can now uniquely provide this for the growing travel space.”

With the launch of the MBE, Monaker will look to add several large travel industry partners in the coming months. These partnerships will play a key role in the company’s efforts to expand distribution for its growing inventory of alternative lodging rental units. In a shareholder update issued in early June, Monaker reported an impressive 1.1 million alternative lodging rental units under contract and outlined plans to add more than 200,000 additional timeshare or resort units to its NextTrip Resorts platform by the end of this year.

Monaker has remained committed to developing a better approach to the alternative lodging space. Just last week, the company announced the launch of a premium service for its property owners. Leaning on its deep expertise in inventory acquisition, reservations services, technology and distribution, Monaker suggests that property owners who take advantage of its premium service could see an increase of nearly 50 percent in booking revenues while reducing the time required to manage their properties by 10 hours per week. Additionally, leveraging the company’s proprietary platform architecture and partnerships, premium service listings are positioned on up to 50 major global booking platforms in multiple languages worldwide.

With the completion of its API and MBE and the recent launch of its premium service for property owners, Monaker is differentiating itself in the global vacation rental market, which is expected to reach $169.7 billion by 2019, according to Research and Markets. Kerby reiterated management’s optimism regarding the company’s short-term growth prospects to close out this morning’s news release.

“Our goal of becoming one of the larger players in the Alternative Lodging Rental industry can now occur rapidly and we should be adding several large travel industry partners in the near future,” he concluded.

For more information, visit

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Explore Exotic Escapes with Monaker Group’s (MKGI) NextTrip Platform

August 23, 2016

Thanks to Business Insider (, we now know where U.S. travelers went for holidays this summer. It may have been the Games of the XXXI Olympiad in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, which ended on August 21. Although a scoop in USA Today ( claims that just 100,000 Americans attended the Games, down from the anticipated 200,000, stemming from fears of contracting the Zika virus. Well aware of these concerns, Brazil scrapped visa requirements for those holding American passports. From June 1 to September 18, Americans are able to save the hassle and the $160 fee to enjoy a samba summer. The Games may be over, but for a post-Olympic trip to Brazil or some other exotic destination, the adventurer can visit NextTrip, the online alternative lodging and travel platform from Monaker Group, Inc. (OTCQB: MKGI).

The Business Insider feature identifies the usual suspects. At number 10 is Playa del Carmen, Mexico. Mexico, which holds two places on the list, has been a perennial favorite for many years. A Pew Research survey in 2007 discovered that Mexico was the most popular vacation getaway for Americans, with an estimated 5.8 million holidaymakers traveling there each year. The city of love, Paris, is number nine, followed by Destin, Florida, at number eight. Located on Florida’s Emerald Coast on the shores of the Gulf of Mexico, Destin has developed from a fishing village into a popular tourist destination because of its many beautiful beaches.

At number seven on Business Insider’s list is the city whose streets, Dick Whittington thought, were paved with gold. Whittington journeyed to London with his cat and later became Lord Mayor of the city. There are no extant records of how his cat fared.

The Big Apple (New York City) comes in at number six, while Myrtle Beach, South Carolina, is at number five. Punta Cana in the Dominican Republic takes fourth place. Punta Cana is at the easternmost tip of Hispaniola, the island that the Dominican Republic shares with Haiti. Its 20 miles of beaches with clear water form the Dominican Republic’s La Costa del Coco (Coconut Coast).

Orlando, Florida, is third. Cancun, Mexico, is at number two. Finally, first place goes to Las Vegas, Nevada, known to be the city where ‘What Happens Here Stays Here’.

Now, through Monaker’s comprehensive booking platform, NextTrip, the traveler looking for that extraordinary experience can visit any or all of these colorful locales. However, NextTrip won’t just get him or her there. Through it, travelers can book a hotel room or inhabit what CEO Bill Kerby has described as ‘the hottest space in travel… alternative lodging’. Alternative lodging rentals (ALRs) are whole unit vacation homes or timeshare resort units that are fully furnished, privately owned residential properties, including houses, condominiums, villas and cabins, that property owners and managers rent to the public on a nightly, weekly or monthly basis. ALR listings have multiplied in recent times, with an astonishing diversity that illustrates the economic potential of the space.

A feature in USA Today ( tells the story of the most popular alternative lodgings based on images that users of Pinterest have uploaded. The top five list includes a two-bedroom loft in Rome, Italy. There is, also, a one-bedroom house in Beach Lake, Pennsylvania, and a two-bedroom rental in Tokyo. Then, there is a two-bedroom house in Tepoztlán, Mexico, and a charming one-bedroom Airstream trailer in Wimberley, Texas, all of which promise to be more singular than staying in a characterless hotel room.

For more information, visit

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IEG Holdings Corp. (IEGH) Achieving Record Loan Volume through ‘Mr. Amazing Loans’ Brand

IEG Holdings Corp. (OTCQX: IEGH) is a provider of unsecured consumer loans in 17 U.S. states through its state licensed operating subsidiary, Investment Evolution Corporation, under the consumer brand ‘Mr. Amazing Loans’. In recent months, IEGH has successfully leveraged the increasing marketability of its consumer brand to promote tremendous growth, achieving a record high in monthly loan volume of $1.13 million in May before announcing a record high in daily loan volume of $150,000 in early June. In July, the company built on this progress, surpassing $13 million in cumulative loan volume. This milestone marked an increase of 140 percent from January 2015, which IEGH’s management attributed to growing recognition of the ‘Mr. Amazing Loans’ brand, low cost lead sources and continued state license expansion.

After announcing second quarter fiscal results that included a 19 percent year-over-year increase in revenue to a record high of $535,356, IEGH gave prospective shareholders some additional insight into the company’s growth strategy for the coming months. IEGH’s management team aims to expand the ‘Mr. Amazing Loans’ brand into 25 U.S. states during 2016, bringing total nationwide coverage to approximately 240 million people, or about 75 percent of the population. To strengthen its cash position ahead of this growth initiative, the company is currently in the midst of a $95.32 million rights offering to its shareholders of record, with plans to use the proceeds stemming from the offering to fund new loan originations and general corporate expenditures. The subscription period related to this offering is underway and set to end on August 29.

Looking ahead, IEGH’s management team expects loan volumes to continue to rise as a result of tightening regulations on the P2P lending sector. Paul Mathieson, chief executive officer of IEGH, reaffirmed this outlook in a recent news release.

“Management believes the substantially increased regulatory and financing scrutiny on the P2P lending sector is a significant positive going forward for the Mr. Amazing Loans business,” he stated. “IEGH is not a P2P lender, however, we expect some of the P2P players will implode, leading to less overall consumer loan provider competition. We anticipate that this will result in cheaper customer acquisition costs for online, state regulated, balance sheet lenders with strong underwriting standards such as IEGH.”

In June 2016, the New York Department of Financial Services issued warning letters to 28 P2P lending agencies as part of an ongoing investigation into the potential adoption of additional regulation measures. The correspondence demanded ‘immediate compliance’ with the state’s licensing requirements for debt collection, transmitting money and mortgage lending activity. This investigation follows a 2008 decision by the Securities and Exchange Commission that required P2P lenders to register their offerings as securities, pursuant to the Securities Act of 1933. The result was the introduction of an arduous registration process to the P2P sector that led a number of lenders to exit the U.S. market. Notably, New York is one of the eight states being targeted by IEGH for expansion in 2016.

For more information, visit

Taking Stock of Star Mountain Resources’ (SMRS) Zinc Stocks

There is no doubt that Star Mountain Resources, Inc.’s (OTC: SMRS) stock is rising. The recent Industry Guide 7 Report (IG7 Report) prepared according to U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) rubric paints a rosy picture of the Tempe, Arizona-based junior exploration and mining company’s prospects in the zinc market. The report showed that Star Mountain’s Balmat Mine in St. Lawrence County, New York, has proven and probable reserves of 585,000 tons of 9.2 percent grade zinc that could generate $80.8 million in revenue over the first 2.5 years of operation. Star Mountain acquired the Balmat mine in November 2015 and since then has been gearing up to resume production. There couldn’t be a better time. Supplies are falling and zinc prices are rising.

Data provided by the London Metal Exchange (LME) illustrate this year’s market trends for refined zinc. Stocks registered with the LME have been falling steadily since the start of this year. On January 5, 2016, the LME reported opening stocks of refined zinc of 460,475 tonnes. By the end of May 2016, those stocks had fallen by 17 percent to 380,450 tonnes. During this five-month period, price and stock changes were inversely correlated, as might be expected, with prices falling if stocks rose and prices rising as stocks fell. Prices appreciated by 23 percent, rising from USD 1,547.00 per tonne to USD 1,906.00 per tonne.

However, the opening stock figures reported by the LME have been increasing since the end of May, albeit not continuously. From 380,450 tonnes at the end of May 2016, they rose to 442,700 tonnes at the end of June 2016, fell to 431,200 tonnes by the end of July 2016 and rose again to 455,875 tonnes on Friday, August 19, 2016. Registered opening stocks of refined zinc have climbed by almost 20 percent since the end of May, yet prices have kept on rising. There’s obviously more to this than meets the LME eye.

There is some suggestion, judging from International Lead and Zinc Study Group (ILZSG) reports, that global zinc inventory includes metal in government coffers, such as the State Reserves Bureau (SRB) of China, and stocks held by producers and speculators as well as exchange-registered tonnage. Consequently, delivery to the ‘official’ market may cause disturbing shocks.

A Reuters report ( details the sudden arrival, in the third quarter of last year, of ‘250,000 tonnes of zinc… delivered onto LME warrant, just about all of it at New Orleans’. A similar event occurred in February 2016, ‘when 50,000 tonnes hit the exchange’s warehouse system, although New Orleans only accounted for 8,725 tonnes, the rest arriving at the Malaysian ports of Port Klang and Johor’ . A warrant is a document of possession, issued by the warehouse company, for each lot of LME-approved metal held within an LME-approved facility. Warrants are used as the means of delivering metal under LME contracts.

Zinc, it seems, is beginning to materialize from thin air.

All of this indicates how rosy Star Mountain’s fortunes are with its Balmat mine. The mine, which has produced over 30 million tons of zinc so far, commenced operations in 1930 and produced continually until 2001 when zinc prices fell. Operations started again for about two years, from 2006 to 2008, when falling prices again caused a halt. Star Mountain also possesses an interest in the Star Mountain/Chopar project with 116 lode-mining claims and four metalliferous mineral leases, which cover 3,730 acres located in the Star mountain range of the Star mining district in Beaver County, Utah, and the Ogden Bay Minerals project located in West Ogden, Utah.

For more information, visit

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DigiPath, Inc. (DIGP) Cannabis Testing Service Consolidates Position in Nevada

August 22, 2016

The U.S. cannabis industry is booming, with Nevada being one of the country’s most important markets as a proposal to legalize the use of recreational marijuana in the state is expected to pass by a landslide in November. Nevada has already approved the use of medical cannabis in 2000, and the November 8 vote is seen as an opportunity for the state to possibly replace Colorado as the country’s main marijuana tourism destination and maybe even join global destinations for cannabis such as Amsterdam.

A significant part of the industry and arguably the most attractive is cannabis testing services, estimated to generate up to one billion dollars of the overall $35 billion the industry is expected to generate by 2020. Testing services are crucial for the industry’s development, especially on newer, self-regulated markets such as Nevada. Capitalizing on these trends, DigiPath, Inc. (OTCQB: DIGP), via its cannabis testing service DigiPath Labs™, has its foot set firmly in the Nevadan market, after opening a state-of-the-art testing facility in Las Vegas and already securing contracts with a great number of the state’s licensed cultivators.

In August alone, the company announced new service agreements with three leading cultivators located in the Las Vegas area: The Clinic Nevada LLC, Green Extracts – a Moxie Seeds & Extracts licensee, and Vegas Valley Growers. Based in Las Vegas, The Clinic has numerous cultivation and retail locations in Colorado and Illinois and, according to COO Jon Marshall, it chose DigiPath Labs as its cannabis testing provider because the service has ‘gone above and beyond’ in delivering reliable results with a quick turnaround. Moxie Seeds & Extracts is one of the foremost producers of cannabis extracts, manufacturing a wide range of extracts including hashes, oils, tinctures, and seeds for various cannabis strains. Moxie picked DigiPath Labs as a testing service for its licensee Green Therapeutics after being impressed by the quick 48-hour turnaround, its impressive staff of scientists and superior customer service. Similar words of appreciation for DigiPath Labs’ turnaround time, customer service and science staff came from Vegas Valley Growers COO Marla Wilson. Vegas Valley Growers is the exclusive licensee in Nevada of Bhang Corporation, a leading U.S. manufacturer of cannabis infused products, such as chocolate, as well as various types of cannabis vaporizers and refills.

The new deals will help DigiPath consolidate its position on the Nevadan market, where it aims to become the leading provider of cannabis analytic testing and set the industry standard for cannabis and cannabis-based product testing, using both proprietary operating procedures and FDA-compliant lab equipment. The company offers the fastest testing turnaround on the market – 48 hours to analyze test samples and return the results, with the help of ultra-sensitive analytical equipment produced by top diagnostics instrumentation manufacturer Agilent Technologies (NYSE: A). Under the management of Dr. Cindy Orser, a reputable biotech and diagnostic industry pioneer, the Las Vegas testing facility’s main goals are to enable manufacturers to offer safe products, free of contaminants, and to provide detailed cannabinoid profiles for cannabis-based medicine so as to allow patients to benefit from the right product for their needs.

For more information, visit

Medical Transcription Billing, Corp. (MTBC) (MTBCP) Full-Spectrum Web EHR & Services Platform Poised to Pop as Healthcare IT Market Booms

A recent report ( on the global Healthcare IT (HIT) market from Technavio projects an attractive seven percent CAGR for the space over the next four years, when the U.S. sector alone will generate upwards of $75 billion annually. The analysts at MarketsandMarkets affirmed this outlook in their report on the sector late last year (, projecting that the global healthcare IT market will see a CAGR nearly twice the Technavio figure when all sources are accounted for, coming to represent a total market valued at somewhere in the neighborhood of $228 billion by 2020.

The biggest names in the industry today are looking to capitalize on this growth, with players such as Athenahealth (NASDAQ: ATHN), Allscripts (NASDAQ: MDRX), GE Healthcare (NYSE: GE), Mckesson (NYSE: MCK), Oracle (NYSE: ORCL), Philips Healthcare (NYSE: PHG), and Siemens Healthcare (OTC: SIEGY) all making sizable bets on the future of the space. Another important aspect of this growth story is the proliferation of mobile devices, as the EHR (electronic health records) landscape becomes increasingly saturated with mHealth features like mobile apps and digital personal health records. Consider the installed base of some 2.6 billion smartphone users worldwide (, a figure set to grow 134 percent by 2020, and you can start to understand why the mobile medical workplace is perhaps a foregone conclusion. North America, as the currently (and for the foreseeable future) largest regional segment of the HIT space, is no doubt where the majority of the global market’s action will be. So it makes sense to start looking at competent, multiple-threat operators in the healthcare IT market that are accessible to the average retail investor, and which have an established footprint in the states.

Trading under a dollar, with a rapidly growing portfolio of products and service offerings, Medical Transcription Billing (NASDAQ: MTBC) (NASDAQ: MTBCP) for instance has made some impressive headway in this sector since its IPO in 2014. The company has rapidly blossomed into one of the most compelling full-spectrum, cloud-based EHR (ChartsPro™), practice management (PracticePro™) and mHealth solutions providers around. MTBC packs a powerful one-two punch of products and services that collectively constitute a unified, database-driven and fully integrated WebEHR platform, spanning everything from billing, data management, transcription, chat scribing, and business intelligence, to value-added and consultancy services. This is exactly the kind of one-stop-shop healthcare customers in this market are looking for.

Founder, chairman and CEO Mahmud Haq, as well as president and Director Stephen Snyder and CFO Bill Korn, made quite a showing at the 2016 Marcum MicroCap Conference ( back in June, just before the launch of the company’s hospital receivables management service via acquisition of New Jersey healthcare financial specialists WFS Services. The WFS Services acquisition superbly augmented the company’s already strong position in ambulatory (outpatient) services and enables MTBC to aggress the huge opportunity of underserved demand in patient balance collection and aged insurance accounts receivable. By exploiting its unique technological advantages and vast sums of expertise in order to serve the ominously compounding need for solutions to the nuanced and often arduously difficult challenges of collection and aged insurance accounts receivable, MTBC is setting itself up for long-term growth.

The company has had a laser-focus on strategic growth toward its 2016 objectives, scoring a spate of notably appropriate recent acquisitions, including Renaissance Physician Services (Tennessee), Gulf Coast Billing (Texas), and the WFS Services deal. And yet MTBC managed to wrap up Q2 with $6.6 million in cash on the balance sheet. This an extraordinarily visionary approach to this space for a relatively young company like Medical Transcription Billing, but management can read the handwriting on the wall: the healthcare IT market is only going to get hotter. Strengthening its already enviable position in the sector through shrewd acquisition is how the company set a new milestone for revenue growth from Q1 to Q2 this year, and the company hopes to continue this trajectory on the strength of things such as having already developed a comprehensive ICD-9 to ICD-10 mapping and transitioning solution.

And it is not just the increasing complexity of the space that will allow full-spectrum operators like MTBC to prosper amid all this demand growth. As new systems must be rapidly defined and rolled out to handle an ever more stringent regulatory environment, mounting demand for knowledgeable consultancy and expert services will likely continue to increase at a geometric rate. Medical Transcription Billing will prosper because its suite of offerings is able to deliver considerably enhanced efficiency and profitability metrics, something which is of paramount concern to everyone in the industry, as there exists a pressing requirement to bring down overall healthcare costs.

A set of common drivers behind all this demand growth are made strikingly clear in both of the aforementioned reports. Chief among these drivers is the rise-and-rise of EHR (electronic health records) solutions in general, spurred on by a concomitance of actors, such as the prevailing lack of in-house IT capabilities among most sector operators, the ease/robustness of cloud services, and the inherently complex regulatory environment that just gets more nebulous with each passing year. The MarketsandMarkets and Technavio reports mentioned earlier were both keen to acknowledge how everything in the industry is shifting toward external cloud and SaaS (software as a service) solutions. One of the fastest growing segments of the HIT market is healthcare provider solutions, where a projected 16.4 percent CAGR (MarketsandMarkets) shows just how hot the game truly is when it comes to solving the regulatory compliance/assurance woes that face today’s healthcare providers.

This is an area where something like MTBC’s fully integrated Meaningful Use Stage 2-certified and web-based EHR platform ChartsPro really shines. ChartsPro gives a practice everything required to easily execute a Meaningful Use Stage 2 implementation, including the necessary training, and the company even provides an MU expert to each of its clients as part of its regulatory compliance services package. Ranked among the best of the best by Utah-based health informatics research outfit and industry benchmark KLAS, and certified by the ONC (Office of the National Coordinator for Health Information Technology), ChartsPro can handle all the critical functions of a medical practice and is just the kind of highly intuitive, yet powerful framework that the clinical solutions segment of the healthcare IT market now demands. Notably, this segment has a projected 19.8 percent CAGR through 2020.

Whether it’s chart creation backed up by the company’s digital transcription technology, ChartScribe (a digital audio dictation to complete charts solution which is fully integrated into the ChartsPro architecture), or a host of other mission critical tasks, the web native ChartsPro platform is ideal for an increasingly work-anywhere digital environment full of tablets, smartphones, and other mobile devices. Correct and timely patient charts are essential at every practice and ChartsPro handles this key task beautifully, while delivering similarly excellent results when it comes to things like document management, claim creation, e-prescription, lab test ordering, PHR handling and scheduling.

The consistently emerging PM (precision medicine) model of healthcare, which is reinforced by a similarly emergent technical foundation and the need for tailored medicine in areas like cancer, will continue to be a substantial driver both for the HIT space, and for MTBC itself. This single market alone will likely grow to nearly $88 billion by 2023 according to a report by Global Market Insights (, with factors such as genome sequencing ($8 billion last year), and new drug discovery playing major roles. The White House has dedicated $55 million toward a new PM initiative, the industry has responded, and now it will be up to operators in the healthcare IT sector to pick up the ball and run with it. The explosion of diagnostics alone could send a multiple-threat WebEHR outfit like MTBC into the stratosphere. It should be interesting to see how things shake out for this aggressive young cloud-savvy player.

For more information, visit

Lucas Energy, Inc. (LEI) is Positioning Itself to Capitalize on Current Market Environment

In recent months, the economy has seen a downturn in energy prices. With some energy companies filing bankruptcy, Lucas Energy, Inc. (NYSE MKT: LEI) has not only survived the recent downturn but positioned itself perfectly to benefit from the current market environment. Furthermore, the company plans to expand on its current national footprint.

Lucas Energy, Inc. is a growth-oriented, independent oil and gas company based in Houston. LEI has working interests in over 10,000 net acres in South Texas with reserves valued at approximately $112 million, as well as other reserves estimated to be worth $60 million. All of the company’s acreage is located in the Eagle Ford shale and the Austin Chalk producing formations.

In 2012, LEI appointed a new management team with a vast amount of experience that positioned the company for growth and opportunity. Since the appointment of this new expert team, the company has reduced overhead, improved balance sheets, made field operations more efficient, and resolved legacy legal issues.

Today, the company’s main goal is to develop its most valuable asset in the Eagle Ford shale. The aim is to increase production and generate positive cash flow. As part of these efforts, the company made public a purchase agreement to acquire a working interest in producing properties in the Mid-Continent region. This acquisition will play a key role in the growth strategy of the company.

With this transaction, the company aims to produce more energy on a daily basis. These changes have led Lucas Energy, Inc. to plan a name change to Camber Energy in the near future, a name that LEI believes is better suited to the vision of the company. Although the oil and gas industry has not been as strong in recent times, LEI has put together a three pronged strategy. This includes developing its current assets, capitalizing on the down cycle, and pursuing further material acquisitions.

For more information, visit

eXp World Holdings, Inc. (EXPI) Reports Record Revenues in Q2 2016 Driven by Game-Changing Brokerage Division

August 19, 2016

The real estate industry is changing fast, with technology and enhanced interconnectivity set to mark a significant shift in the sector and alter realty professions significantly. Several industry-related jobs, most notably real estate brokers and sales agents, are actually likely to disappear and be replaced with artificial intelligence computer algorithms in the near future, according to Oxford University research (

The question that naturally arises is how these jobs will transform if they are to remain relevant and still present on a fast-changing, dynamic market such as the real estate industry. How will the real estate broker’s role change to meet the demands of an industry governed by technological advances, where virtual communication or virtual modelling are changing the rules of the game and challenging the traditional way of doing business?

eXp World Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB: EXPI) and its rather unique real estate brokerage division, eXp Realty LLC, might hold the answer to that question. With eXp Realty, The Agent-Owned Cloud Brokerage™, eXp World Holdings has tried and succeeded to stay ahead of the curve and create an innovative model of real estate brokerage that relies heavily on Internet and cloud technologies to build a strong online community of professionals and provide efficient services to consumers.

The concept at the base of eXp Realty is a cloud office environment, which offers its members, brokers and agents nonstop access to collaborative tools and systems, training features and socialization avenues so as to build a tight-knit community of real estate professionals that can share their experiences, strategize and innovate together.

This business model eliminates the traditional brick and mortar office, allowing brokers and agents to increase their profits, lower overhead and risk and provide a more effective service to consumers. In addition, eXp Realty’s platform offers members the opportunity to earn equity in exchange for their contribution to company growth. Brokers and agents also benefit from an innovative revenue sharing program that allows them to win a percentage of the commissions earned by other brokers they recruit into the company.

So far, it looks like this model is definitely paying off, as eXp World Holdings reported record revenue for the second quarter of 2016. The company reported revenues of $13,282,028 for Q2 2016, which is up a whopping 137% from $5,584,963 in Q2 2015. On June 30, 2016, eXp World Holdings had 207% more cash and cash equivalents than the same time last year, while its real estate division’s agent count was up 111% year-over-year to more than 1,400 agents.

These remarkable financial results were driven by EXPI’s realty division, particularly by its increased sales volume and growing agent base, according to the company’s CEO Glenn Sanford.

The realty division was also the driving force behind the company’s record figures last year, and the trend is likely to endure as eXp Realty continues to expand in terms of both sales agent base and coverage. It should be noted that since the end of the reporting period on June 30, eXp Realty has grown to more than 1,500 real estate professionals across 41 states, the District of Columbia and Alberta, Canada.

For more information, visit the company’s website at

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3Pea International (TPNL) is “One to Watch”

In November 2015, 3Pea International (OTCQB: TPNL) showed promising results and potential for growth, as highlighted in an article published by Seeking Alpha, titled ‘3Pea International: A Rare Find Given The Deep Undervaluation And Potential For Further Top/Bottom Line Growth’ ( TPNL is an organization offering prepaid debit card payment programs and other processing services. The company offers its services for corporate, consumer, and government applications through its PaySign® brand. TPNL’s customers include Fortune 500 companies, large multinationals, prestigious universities, and social media firms.

The article summarizes the company as “stronger” and breaking into “a huge market that can cushion the seasonal lumpiness of revenues.” According to the article, the company’s revenues had increased, debts were low, and free cash flow was high. In addition, TPNL has broken into the automotive industry, an industry that should help provide the company with regular revenue.

The company offers a range of services pertaining to customer loyalty through incentive and rewards programs. These come in the form of PaySign cards with the aim of motivating and rewarding employees, fulfilling customer rebates, incentivizing channel partners, monitoring corporate spending, and offering automotive incentives.

But TPNL goes beyond this. The company has revolutionized product sample distribution and co-payment assistance for the pharmaceutical industry by introducing its prepaid solutions to increase new patient acquisition, retention, and adherence. The PaySign payment option also offers blood and plasma collection organizations a comprehensive solution that increases donor acquisition and retention.

Other industries served by TPNL include the legal and insurance industries, federal and local governments, educational institutions, and various public sector organizations. 3Pea International offers solutions for both businesses and freelancers to connect and collaborate remotely. TPNL believes in meeting the highest standards of corporate governance while adhering to changing regulations and best practices.

For more information, visit

August Proves to be a Month Full of Activity for Laguna Blends, Inc. (CSE: LAG) (OTC: LAGBF) (LB6A.F)

Laguna Blends, Inc. (CSE: LAG) (OTC: LAGBF) (FRANKFURT: LB6A.F) has seen a promising start to 2016. It started with the announcement of a partnership with Naturally Splendid (“NSE”) to do the research and development on all the Pro369 flavors. This was shortly followed by the potential introduction of CBD skin care products into the company’s line of merchandise.

A few months later, Laguna made public its affiliate benefits program, with two new competitions that involve giving away three 2017 Tesla (NASDAQ: TSLA) S’s and a luxurious Las Vegas Getaway. In addition, the company renewed Canadian Football League All Star Emmanuel Arceneaux as its brand ambassador. To top off this successful start to the year, the company announced that it generated $105,000 in unaudited sales in just 11 weeks following the launch of its affiliate marketing network.

Another change was the introduction of a new president: Ray Grimm Jr. Laguna also recently added another valuable member to its team. At the beginning of August, Laguna Blends made public the appointment of Bryan Loree as chief financial officer, corporate secretary, and a new member of its board of directors.

Loree will be replacing two members of staff: Stuart Gray, acting chief financial officer, and Negar Adam, corporate secretary and director. Loree has over 10 years of experience in the accounting, financing, and management fields. However, Laguna’s August news did not stop there. The next day, the company acquired exclusive distribution rights for Swiss-made CBD skin care products. Although the foundations were in place for Laguna to be tapping into the skincare market, this had not been fully confirmed. Laguna has now entered into an agreement with ISO International, LLC, through which it has acquired the exclusive rights to market, promote, and distribute seven different cannabidiol (CBD) products, produced by Cannaceuticals of California. The CBD products will be incorporated into Laguna’s established affiliate marketing network.

Last but not least for the month of August, Naturally Splendid gave a public update on Laguna Blends’ Pro369 hemp protein growth and pro athlete brand strategy. Laguna and NSE previously entered into a manufacturing agreement for Pro369 after Laguna declared that it had beaten its sales projections for the first 11 weeks of sales. Today, Laguna is negotiating with a collection of professional athletes in the U.S. and Canada who see the benefits of hemp protein.

For more information, visit

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MannKind Corp. (MNKD) Relaunches Groundbreaking Inhalable Insulin Afrezza®, Promotes New Copay System

With over 29 million Americans living with diabetes, and more than 86 million with prediabetes, this disease is the seventh leading cause of death and swallows approximately 20% of nationwide healthcare spending, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) statistics ( Healthcare officials, patients and doctors alike are always actively searching for new therapies or innovative yet affordable treatments to combat this disease.

This is where leading biopharmaceutical company MannKind Corporation (NASDAQ: MNKD) and its groundbreaking inhalable insulin product Afrezza® come in. Touted as the first successful insulin inhaler on the U.S. market, Afrezza is a fast-acting inhalable insulin powder designed to be used in conjunction with regular type 1 and 2 diabetes treatments to help lower post-meal blood sugar spikes.

Beginning in July, MannKind relaunched Afrezza Inhalation Powder on the domestic market under its own branding, and the treatment is now available with major wholesalers, as well as by prescription in any retail pharmacy.

Leveraging its two-year experience in patient selection and copayment, the company has also announced several programs to promote patients’ access to Afrezza therapy. These include:

  • Enhanced copay assistance designed to lower insured patients’ out-of-pocket cost to $15 per month
  • Patient reimbursement support program, MannKind Cares
  • Bureau to educate and inform healthcare providers about the benefits of Afrezza
  • New titration pack that allows patients new to Afrezza more flexibility in adjusting their daily dosage

The new programs will join MannKind’s national salesforce, all of whom have extensive experience with diabetes and Afrezza, in its efforts to help enhance and streamline patients’ and providers’ experience with this key therapy. The company is committed to ensuring the treatment remains available to all diabetes patients in the U.S., without any disruption in supply.

The July relaunch came after the company released six more analyses of the pre-meal treatment, demonstrating a faster onset and shorter duration of action than with mealtime fast-acting insulin treatments. The findings, presented at the 76th scientific session of the American Diabetes Association, show that, compared to Eli Lilly and Company’s (NYSE: LLY) insulin lispro injection, Afrezza has a 50% faster onset and a 2-3-hour shorter duration of action.

The data supports the use of this therapy for rapidly controlling high glucose levels, according to the chief medical officer of MannKind, Raymond W. Urbanski, MD, PhD. Unlike injectable insulin, which risks causing hypoglycemia after a meal if dosed incorrectly, Afrezza works in the body more rapidly and leaves the bloodstream faster, offering an ideal balance between glucose control and a lower risk of hypoglycemia.

To find out more about MannKind Corp. and its innovative Afrezza Inhalation Powder insulin, visit

eXp World Holdings, Inc. (EXPI) Launches Real Estate Operations in Alaska

Earlier today, eXp World Holdings, Inc. (OTCQB: EXPI) announced the commencement of real estate brokerage operations in Alaska. Following this announcement, the company’s real estate brokerage division, eXp Realty, is now operational in 41 states across the country, as well as Alberta, Canada, and the District of Columbia. To date, the Agent-Owned Cloud Brokerage™ has attracted more than 1,500 of North America’s leading agents and brokers by leveraging an aggressive revenue sharing program and a host of collaborative tools made available through a unique, fully-immersive cloud training environment. The company’s brokerage operations in Alaska will be overseen by Brandon Tatum and Frank Zellers.

“Frank and I are excited to have the opportunity to bring eXp Realty to Alaska,” Tatum stated in this morning’s news release. “We’re looking forward to introducing the concept of agent-ownership and the idea that you can work alongside with and build relationships with some of the best agents in the business on a daily basis without having to go to a physical office or travel by plane or boat.”

News of the Alaska launch builds on what has already been an incredibly eventful week for EXPI. On Monday, the company released its second quarter financial results, reporting a 137 percent year-over-year increase in revenues to more than $13.2 million for the three-month period. This financial growth coincided with a 111 percent year-over-year increase in agent count for the company’s real estate division. Likewise, EXPI’s cash and cash equivalents at June 30, 2016, were up 207 percent from the second quarter of 2015. With a continued commitment to agent ownership, support and engagement, the company is strategically positioned to build on this impressive growth in the months to come.

The foundation for this growth has already been set through eXp Realty’s entry into new markets. Since the end of Q2, the company has already launched operations in both Utah and New Jersey, as well as Alaska. EXPI has also made moves to bolster its leadership team, adding industry veterans Rick Miller and Randall Miles to its board of directors on July 20. In the news release announcing these additions, Glenn Sanford, CEO of EXPI, referred to the move as “tremendous,” adding that the new board members “bring deep and diverse expertise” to EXPI and “give greater independence to its composition as the Company progresses.”

For more information, visit the company’s website at

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OurPet’s Company’s (OPCO) Successful Approach to Design, Branding Explained By Audiences’ Reception of ‘The Secret Life of Pets’

The blockbuster success of Comcast’s (NASDAQ: CMCSA) Universal Studios production, ‘The Secret Life of Pets’, which did a whopping $104 million plus in its first weekend at the box office and raked in over $254 million worldwide in just 11 days following its debut – is no surprise to the folks at OurPet’s Company (OTCQX: OPCO). The company’s OurPets® brand, in particular, which consists of high-end designs crafted to suit the ergonomics as well as psychology of our beloved animal friends, has become synonymous amongst “pet parent” consumers with the very best that they can give to their animals – animals who are increasingly treated as bonafide members of the family, complete with all the associated spending horizons.

This growing tendency among pet owners to treat animals as fully-fledged members of the family has several obvious market dynamic impacts, with consumers across all segments (but particularly the high-end consumers) spending markedly more on their beloved animals. Central Garden & Pet Company (NASDAQ: CENT) certainly has been feeling the juice, with long-term EPS growth projected around 10 percent.

Retailers are actively cashing in on the success of ‘The Secret Life of Pets’, and the collaboration with PetSmart to do a special collection of pet accoutrements branded to the film (which have been selling like hotcakes) speaks volumes about sector potential and marketing, especially for an ingenious design shop like OurPets, where the recent roll out of the company’s Intelligent Pet Care™ line of Bluetooth/Wi-Fi connected feeders, water fountains, waste systems, and usability devices, such as the SmartLink™ Tag for a pet’s collar, has been received by consumers and industry players alike with great enthusiasm.

A rock-solid IP war chest of over 170 issued and pending patents, which accounts for roughly 75 percent of the company’s revenues, was recently augmented by a shining example of why consumers have come to love OurPets as much as they love these animated films – as OPCO announced general licensing in early June of its bonded polymer material technology for pet bowl bottoms. The company has a variety of high quality polymer bonded stainless steel bowl designs available through its Durapet® brand (as well as via private label) and its fierce/successful defense of its proprietary polymer bonding on stainless steel technologies is a clear shot across the bow that investors would be wise to take note of.

This is a visionary company with elegant designs that speak directly to the most lucrative segment of the pet supply consumer space, and it is as militant about defending its IP portfolio, as it is shrewd about knowing when and how to do so.

For more information, visit the company’s website at

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Moxian, Inc.’s (MOXC) Artful Approach to the Trillion-Dollar O2O Market

August 18, 2016

In his immortal treatise on the conduct of warfare, The Art of War, Sun Tzu Wu, commander of the Ch’i armies, stressed the importance of indirect tactics or doing things differently. The English military historian, B.H. Liddell Hart, in his The Strategy of Indirect Approach, published in 1941, later examined this point. Captain Liddell Hart analyzed important historic battles and came to a conclusion that validated Sun Tzu’s 2,500-year-old maxim that battles are won by those who attack their opponent’s weaknesses. This is a principle that the captains of Moxian, Inc. (OTCQB: MOXC) know all too well. In the company’s latest 10-Q, filed just a few days ago, this credo appears:

“Where we believe we are different from other companies is that our plan is to sign up merchants first and build our user base utilizing their customers. Many companies utilize a different strategy of building up a user base first and then signing up paying merchants and other clients to access that user base.”

That Moxian strategy is aimed at China’s mammoth Online-to-Offline (O2O) market. The company has built an online platform for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) that already operate brick-and-mortar establishments, which will enable them to extend their marketing reach. The platform, named Moxian+, is one that will not only give SMEs an online presence but also create an ecosystem of merchant clients and shoppers through its social media features. Moxian+ consists of a User App for shoppers and a separate app, called the Moxian+ Business App, for merchant clients. Both versions of the App are currently available in the Google Play Store and the Apple App Store, where they can be downloaded free of charge.

The Moxian+ platform has five main components. The first is its ecommerce capability. Merchant clients can advertise and promote their products, on the one hand, while shoppers or users, as they are referred to in the Moxian universe, can order products for later delivery. The second component consists of MO-Points Rewards and the MO-Coins Virtual Currency. Users can obtain MO-Points when they shop online, which allow them to participate in activities sponsored by merchant clients. MO-Points can be redeemed at merchant clients’ online shops or can be redeemed for MO-Coins, which can be used at any merchant client’s physical store location.

Users can also play games on Moxian+. This third useful component is linked to the fourth, which is Moxian+ as a social media engine that allows users to connect with each other and with merchant clients. Users can also, naturally, make new friends, discuss interests with old ones, and share pictures and videos. The fifth component of the innovative Moxian+ platform is its data analytics capability. Merchant clients are able to receive regular reports on a variety of demographic and purchasing data generated by users, giving them insightful intelligence to construct effective marketing campaigns.

As its 10-Q states, Moxian’s strategy is to quickly add merchant clients with subscription accounts. Users will follow naturally, building on the base of existing customers that the online locations already have. The company has already signed up over 30,000 merchant clients in Shenzhen, China, for test versions of the platform. These provide a fertile base to be targeted for upgrade to subscription accounts on Moxian+.

The O2O industry has emerged rapidly as one of tremendous potential. An article in Inc. magazine explains ‘Why O2O Commerce Is a Trillion-Dollar Opportunity’ ( The most attractive features of such platforms appear to be their data analytics faculties. The Inc. piece enthuses that:

“Equipped with O2O tools and services, business owners would have an unprecedented level of accuracy in their online marketing and, for the first time ever, would be able to reliably determine ROI from online advertising. Until recently, that technological ability simply did not exist.”

The report went on to point out that Alibaba (NYSE: BABA) had invested about $3 billion in O2O technology and that the U.S. Chamber of Commerce shows that ‘over 93 percent of purchases still take place offline, which accounts for over $4 trillion each year’. In China, where Moxian is operating, the numbers are even larger.

For more information, visit the company’s website at

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Smith-Midland Corp. (SMID) Primed to Build on Position at Forefront of the Domestic Precast Concrete Market

Despite its more than five and a half decades at the forefront of the domestic precast concrete market, Smith-Midland’s (OTCQX: SMID) recent coverage gives the impression that the company has only recently sprung into existence, fully armored, like Athena being born from the forehead of Zeus. Currently enjoying a nice pop following the release of its Q2 financials on August 11, shares of this ceaselessly innovative precast concrete manufacturer are now trading around pre-2008 highs, with considerable tailwind in the form of numerous recent project successes.

Globally speaking, the precast concrete industry itself is seeing something of a rebound, after a tough recession period and ongoing adjustment to China’s growth slowing down. A recent study by DecisionDatabases ( even projects a CAGR of 3.2 percent moving forward through 2022, when the global precast concrete market is expected to reach upwards of $58.7 billion.

Subsequent to the post-2008 dip ( that was experienced by just about everyone, SMID has been a portrait of the old adage that, “slow and steady wins the race.” The company has quietly been advancing the state-of-the-art in precast concrete design, manufacturing, and delivery systems, while landing contract after contract. This constant innovation is readily exemplified by the company’s high-performance SlenderWall™ system, a lightweight (66 percent lighter than traditional precast) architectural cladding system, which is as robust as it is easy to install. Recently described by Rodney Smith, chairman and CEO of Smith-Midland, as the company’s most profitable product, the SlenderWall is a feature-rich and proven system that not only addresses the typical cost and logistical metrics of competing solutions beautifully, it actually offers superior structural advantages as well. This exterior cladding system is effectively isolated from wind loading, seismic shock, expansion/contraction, movement of the underlying steel frame, and other structural forces experienced by the primary structure.

Fully code compliant and available with a proprietary (optional) Lift-and-Release™ panel-landing system, which allows an already simplified installation to be done even faster, SlenderWall is also the only wall system in the industry today to fuse together the four key technologies required for an efficient solution that can easily be applied to either new construction, or renovations. By skillfully leveraging its architectural precast concrete manufacturing expertise, Smith-Midland has found a way to embed high-tech PVA fibers into its products, making the SlenderWall cheap to install, yet able to provide a long lifespan of maintenance-free use. And these beauties are secured with a combination of thermal coated anchors and heavy gauge galvanized steel (or stainless steel studs), making this lightweight solution far more sturdy and long-lasting than one might ever expect.

SlenderWall is the perfect economical and efficient choice for a variety of 20,000 square foot plus jobs, whether it is a renovation like the 2013 Johns Hopkins Medicine (Baltimore Campus nine-story Nelson Harvey inpatient facility) job (, or a massive new undertaking like the recently announced 2-mile-long Port Imperial redevelopment project in West New York, New Jersey. This sizable (42,000 square feet of SlenderWall) undertaking with New Jersey’s largest homebuilder, K. Hovnanian (NASDAQ: HOVNP), is a striking example of how prominent SMID has become as an east coast precast concrete manufacturer.

Smith-Midland primarily serves the construction, transportation and utilities markets, as well as the agricultural, beach restoration (via Beach Prisms, a shoreline erosion control barrier system) and small precast building markets (via wholly-owned subsidiary Easi-Set Industries), with a wide variety of brilliantly designed solutions that it sells, licenses, and/or rents to various customers. The company actually cut its teeth back in the 1960s as Smith-Cattleguard Company, which was founded by Rodney Smith and his father when the business was just about precast concrete farm products. This rich tradition is still carried on today in the form of an array of highly durable cattle guards and feed bunks, as well as waste storage and watering systems.

The market’s warm reception to SMID’s Q2 financials is not surprising given that the company’s long-term growth story (slightly hampered by an admittedly sluggish Q1) has been supercharged of late by increased opportunities in several of its primary end markets, due in large part to generally improving underlying economic conditions as well as the company’s own continually growing brand presence. Perhaps the most notable market here for the company is transportation, where SMID operates via its Concrete Safety Systems (CSS) subsidiary. CSS was founded in 1977 as the then nascent industry’s first and only entity focused specifically on leasing highway safety barriers to contractors and state highway departments. CSS is a full-service barrier rental company that delivers, installs and then carts away the company’s J-J Hooks positive connection barrier system, which is ideal for roadwork (freestanding, bolted or pinned), and also security functions (especially when configured with an optional fence top).

CSS is housed at the company’s primary 44,000 square foot facility in Virginia. Between this primary facility, the company’s Smith-Carolina 8,000 square foot facility and the soon to be 40,000 square foot Smith-Columbia facility, SMID will have an enviable 300 mile-wide striking distance up and down 800 miles of the East Coast. This is a considerable territory, stretching all the way from New York City, to the southern Georgia border. The new Columbia location shores up coverage of the Atlanta metropolitan area nicely for SMID, as well as nearly a dozen military bases throughout South Carolina and Georgia, putting Smith-Midland’s legendary ability to innovate front and center when it comes to aggressing a whole host of projects in the region.

In many ways, the precast industry is overshadowed by the looming predominance of government initiated infrastructure projects, but SMID has done a marvelous job diversifying into the rapidly growing residential and commercial construction arenas. At the same time, SMID has positioned itself perfectly to benefit from the $305 billion, five-year highway infrastructure bill passed late last year in December (, and the company is likely already experiencing a boost because of the bill’s passing. With presidential candidate Trump talking about building a wall on the border between the U.S. and Mexico (a project that would require setting up localized construction facilities for regional manufacturing the way SMID has done for the East Coast), it is not unthinkable that a company such as Smith-Midland could experience considerable upside on sector momentum alone, even without landing any contracts.

But it’s not like the company even needs such a huge project, as even a cursory glance at this year’s news reveals a spate of sizable contracts. Contracts range from an Easi-Span Building used in Illinois as a township’s water supply aerator, to a set of two massive Virginia DOT road projects, which will utilize a whopping 300,000 square feet of the company’s proprietary SoftSound™ sound absorptive composite panels. In the last decade of official data alone, we have added some 6.5 percent more paved roadway to the U.S. nationwide, bringing the total number of miles of paved roads up to well over 2.744 million. Demand for outdoor noise barriers, primarily associated with stopping traffic noise from reaching residential communities, is slated to rise 3.7 percent per year through 2019 in the U.S. alone, according to a recent study by Freedonia ( That same study sees the overall U.S. market as growing to $191 million over the same interval, as a good chunk of that $305 billion highway infrastructure package looks like it could go directly toward state DOTs putting up more noise barriers alongside highways.

Smith-Midland is the portrait of an under bought niche leader and remains quite accessible to the average retail investor at around three bucks a share, especially when compared to other sector players such as CRH plc (NYSE: CRH), and that is despite SMID trading very near to its 52-week high. With many, many takers for its cutting-edge precast solutions, a perfect storm of potentials exists for the company. Smith-Midland also just so happens to have the unquestionable experience and leadership needed to truly capitalize on this storm of potentials for its shareholders.

For more information, visit

Monaker Group, Inc. (MKGI) Announces Launch of Premium Service for Property Owners

Earlier today, Monaker Group, Inc. (OTCQB: MKGI) announced the launch of its new Premium Service for owners of alternative lodging listings, which is designed to even the playing field between homeowners and travel industry suppliers. According to the news release, major travel industry suppliers – including airlines, hotels and car rental companies – employ cutting-edge tools that allow them to actively manage their rates on a minute-by-minute basis in order to react to competitive pricing, utilization and other market conditions. As a result, these suppliers are able to efficiently maximize revenues. Using Monaker’s Premium Service, individual property owners can enjoy many of the same benefits. Key elements of the service include:

  • Active management of the homeowner’s calendar, opening the door for real-time booking capability
  • Comprehensive management of guest communications ranging from booking to checkout, including inquiries, booking requests and 24/7 emergency assistance, offering the potential to save multiple hours each week that are normally required to manage listings
  • International distribution across global booking platforms with native language conversions and pricing available in all major currencies
  • Customized revenue and pricing management tools that update property pricing on a daily basis to better reflect real-time market conditions

For Monaker, the launch of its Premium Service is a win-win. According to the company’s pilot marketing efforts, Premium Service clients can expect to see an increase of 50 percent or greater in year-over-year booking revenue while enjoying a substantial reduction of about 10 hours per week to the time required to manage listings. By offering these industry-leading perks, Monaker expects to enjoy added success in attracting more individual and unique properties to its rapidly-expanding alternative lodging inventory. In a shareholder update issued in June, the company reported approximately 1.1 million alternative lodging rental units under contract with its NextTrip Resorts platform, with plans to add more than 200,000 additional timeshare or resort units by the end of the year.

“The Premium Service leverages our deep expertise in inventory acquisition, reservations services, technology and distribution,” Bill Kerby, chairman and chief executive officer of Monaker, stated in a news release. “We see this as a win-win scenario, ultimately delivering more real-time bookable inventory to the market, and greater choice in inventory to travel consumers.”

According to a report from Research and Markets, the global vacation rental market is expected to reach $169.7 billion by 2019. Additional insights reveal that roughly 24 percent of leisure travelers have stayed in a vacation home rental during the past two years, while about 47 percent are interested in staying in an alternative lodging rental during the next two years. All told, the alternative lodging market “is known to be one of the fastest growing segments in the Travel space,” as alluded to by Kerby in the news release.

For more information, visit

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Star Mountain’s (SMRS) Management is Minding its Mine

August 17, 2016

Late last year, when Star Mountain Resources (OTC: SMRS) acquired the Balmat zinc mine near Gouverneur in St. Lawrence County, New York, its president, Mark Osterberg, spoke to North Country Public Radio. At the time, according to the news report, zinc was selling ‘for just pennies on the pound’. Prospects for the metal looked grim. Yet the Star Mountain management team was casting a perspicacious eye to the future. Osterberg, noting that his company was well aware of the economic climate, said at the time:

“The mining cycle is down, which means that assets like Balmat are available at bargain prices. So we think we bought the property at a very good price and we believe the commodity prices are going to come back up.”

His crystal ball has not let him down, as current market conditions indicate. Zinc prices are climbing, and so are Star Mountain’s fortunes.

At the start of this year, zinc prices were hovering around $0.65 per pound. Now they are closer to $1.02 per pound, appreciating by an astonishing 57 percent in a little over seven months. The consensus attributes this buoyant market to tightening supplies. A Reuters story warns that ‘Zinc deficit looms, prices up, but output restarts unlikely’ ( A Bloomberg piece declares a ‘Zinc Supply Crunch as China-Owned Miner Seeks Peru Deposits’ ( Peru has the world’s third-largest reserves of zinc, with an estimated 25 million tonnes (metric tons), after Australia, with 63 million tonnes, and China, with 38 million tonnes, according to Statista. The ‘China-owned miner’ in that Bloomberg report was MMG Limited (OTC: MMLTF), an Australian-Chinese mining giant.

Last year, MMG Limited, in a report ( on its website, announced it had shuttered its mining operations at Century in Australia. The Century mine was said to be the world’s third largest. In 2014, it produced 465,696 tonnes and accounted for around 3.5 percent of global zinc output in that year. Its 2015 production has been estimated at 350,000 tonnes. Supply anxieties have been further exacerbated after Vedanta Zinc International (NYSE: VEDL) closed its Irish Lisheen mine in October 2015. Lisheen was Europe’s second-largest zinc mine with a capacity of around 175,000 tonnes, according to a HardAssetsInvestor story ( Quoting Bloomberg Intelligence, the story said Lisheen’s closure would reduce global supplies by another 1.3 percent. Adding to the supply slump news is a Bloomberg Business report ( stating that Glencore plc (OTC: GLNCY) would cut output from mines in Australia, Peru and Kazakhstan totaling around 500,000 metric tonnes, which would amount to about four percent of global production. Taken together, these closures will have reduced global supplies by between 7-10 percent.

At a recent conference call, the CEO of MMG Limited said:

“There is so little zinc around. Those people who are in zinc are also bullish about the zinc market so they don’t want to sell. That’s why we keep coming back to the focus we’ve got on finding zinc.”

All of this proves how sagacious the management team at Star Mountain Resources has been. Heading the team is CEO Joseph Marchal, who previously served as chief executive officer for the Asia-Pacific Region of Chi-X Global Inc., a subsidiary of Instinet, the equity-trading arm of the Nomura Group. President and COO Mark Osterberg, PhD has worked for major gold and base metal mining companies and has over 30 years’ experience in the mining business. The CFO is Wayne Rich, who was previously the chief financial officer of Northern Zinc. Star Mountain acquired a 100 percent interest in Northern Zinc, which, in turn, acquired all the issued and outstanding common stock of Balmat Holding Corporation and its wholly-owned subsidiary, St. Lawrence Zinc Company, LLC, which owns the Balmat Zinc Mine.

Thomas Bidgood, PhD is VP technical services. He has over thirty years’ experience in the operations and exploration sides of the mining business and, from 2001 to 2011, was professor and chairman of the natural sciences and math departments of the Colorado Christian University in Lakewood, CO. The operations manager is John Heinzig, who was previously director of private equity funds at Summit Capital USA. Ryan Schermerhorn is site manager. He was previously site manager of St. Lawrence Zinc Company’s Balmat Mine and Mill from 2009 through 2015.

For more information, visit

Let us hear your thoughts: Star Mountain Resources Inc. Message Board

OurPet’s Company’s (OPCO) Innovative Mousetraps for Cats and Dogs

If Ralph Waldo Emerson’s theorem, paraphrased as ‘build a better mousetrap, and the world will beat a path to your door’, is valid, OurPet’s Company (OTCQX: OPCO) is following ‘a broad hard-beaten road’ to success. OurPet’s Company got into the pet care industry precisely to make the aphoristic mousetrap better. It’s doing that and making new mousetraps too. Writing in 1855, Emerson was expressing his belief that ‘common fame’, what we would now call a good reputation, would eventually make itself known, which is true for OurPet’s Company, a company with a reputation for innovation. It is a company that aimed to revolutionize and disrupt the rather staid pet care industry and has already been doing so for over 20 years. The rewards from this creative approach have been showing up in both the top and bottom lines.

Net revenues have increased steadily over the past five years, rising at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 6.86 percent. This is well above the industry CAGR of 4.44 percent. OurPet’s Company’s sales in 2010 were $17.1M. The latest 10-K filing reports sales in 2015 were $23.8M. Gross profit has been improving, as well; and so has the gross profit margin, which has climbed from 23.6 percent in 2011 to 31.7 percent in 2015. Particularly encouraging for shareholders has been the moderate increase in outstanding shares, which went up by a little over 10 percent during the last five years. In addition, net income per share has risen by 600 percent from a paltry $0.01 in 2011 to $0.07 in 2015. Taken together with the increase in income available to shareholders, this shows modest dilution risk.

OurPet’s Company has been serving the pet care market since 1995. It started with just one product: the Big Dog Feeder®. Since then its product line has exploded. The company has approximately 1,000 stock-keeping units (SKUs) available to customers over a diversified range of product solutions. Added to the current product offerings is a broad pipeline of now-developing and soon-to-be-developed products and line extensions based on OurPet’s Company’s 160 patents issued and pending.

OurPet’s Company’s strategy is to focus on high-growth categories in the pet care market, which overall is expected to reach $62.75 billion in 2016. The company is in the feeding and storage systems segment, which is estimated at $100M annually, with novel products such as the Barking Bistro®, the High Rise Diner® and its OurPets® Tilt-A-Bowls. It has a foothold in the $250M a year feline waste and odor control category with its SmartScoop® Intelligent Litter Box, Kitty Potty™ No Touch Litter Box System and the OurPets® Switchgrass Natural Cat Litter with BioChar.

It’s also blazing a trail in the toys and accessories segment, which is estimated at $1.0 billion annually, with the amazing OurPets® Catty Whack® and the Intelligent Pet Care® line of products. The Intelligent Pet Care® line applies Bluetooth and Wi-Fi technologies to keep us in closer touch with our pets by signaling changes in their behavior through digital applications. OurPet’s Company’s mission statement is ‘to exceed pet and pet parent expectations with innovative solutions’. They might have added investor expectations to that declaration.

For more information, visit the company’s website at

Let us hear your thoughts: OurPet’s Co. Message Board

Monaker Group, Inc. (MKGI) Enters Agreement with Trisept Solutions to Fuel Growth

August 16, 2016

Before the opening bell, Monaker Group, Inc. (OTCQB: MKGI) announced a new agreement with Trisept Solutions, a division of The Mark Travel Corporation. Through this partnership, Trisept will both power Monaker’s flagship brand with its Synapse travel merchandising platform and distribute its alternative lodging inventory through VAX VacationAccess, Trisept’s premier travel agent portal. This agreement is expected to fuel NextTrip’s forward growth by enabling expanded product offerings and distribution in the months to come.

“Trisept has the most advanced technology available for leisure vacation packaging today,” Bill Kerby, chairman and chief executive officer of Monaker, stated in this morning’s news release. “Expanding NextTrip’s capabilities and access to agents and consumers will accelerate our growth and differentiate us from our competition.”

By integrating NextTrip’s product offerings into Trisept’s VAX platform, Monaker’s sizable inventory of vacation home rentals, resort residences, rooms and unused timeshares will be available to a network of over 70,000 travel agents. NextTrip’s inventory will give these agents an easy, commissionable option for selling vacation rentals to clients. Integration of NextTrip into both Synapse and VAX is expected to take place over the next several months, with the companies setting a target completion date of the end of this year.

Monaker’s newly-announced distribution agreement with Trisept continues to build on the development strategy the company’s management team outlined in its June shareholder update. In addition to searching out new channel partners in order to broaden distribution of NextTrip’s more than 600,000 properties, Monaker has remained focused on structuring new relationships with established travel clubs, operators and distribution groups. In the June update, the company’s management team highlighted new relationships with the Travel Club and 20,000 travel agents via International Travel Organization, and its newest agreement with Trisept is expected to play a key role in continuing to expand the distribution capabilities of the NextTrip platform.

Moving forward, Monaker will look to build on the number of alternative lodging rental units available on its NextTrip Resorts platform. The company boasted an impressive 125,000 available units following the beta launch of its platform in February, and it reported roughly 1.1 million total units under contract in early June. This sizable inventory, combined with the distribution capabilities of Trisept’s VAX portal, could set the stage for considerable market growth as Monaker continues to bolster its foothold in the growing travel industry.

“Integrating NextTrip’s product offerings into our VAX platform will give agents for the first time instant confirmation and an easy, commissionable way to sell vacation rentals,” John Ische, president and chief executive officer of Trisept, concluded in an August 15 news release.

For more information, visit

Let us hear your thoughts: Monaker Group, Inc. Message Board

At Giggles N’ Hugs (GIGL), Children can be Seen and Heard

August 15, 2016


Last year The Washington Post published an article with the captivating title ‘The most important thing you can do with your kids? Eat dinner with them.’ It was penned by Anne Fishel, a professor at Harvard Medical School, who is a founder of The Family Dinner Project and author of “Home for Dinner”. It’s a piece that every parent should read, pointing as it does to often unexploited opportunities for childhood development at mealtimes. Two parents who know of these fortuities are Joey and Dorsa Parsi, who founded Giggles N’ Hugs (OTCQB: GIGL) in 2007.

A feature in Bloomberg Businessweek tells their story. On Valentine’s Day 2007, Joey took his wife out for the first time since the birth of their second child six months earlier. Their first child, an exuberant three-year-old with the delightful name of Yasmine, collided with a fellow diner’s table, spilling his water, whereupon the aggrieved patron glared at Joey, condemnation evident in his looks. As Joey said to Dorsa later:

“Shame on us for taking kids to a restaurant where we have to turn to our 3-year-old and say, ‘Be something other than a child.’”

However, out of evil came good. That adverse incident gave the L.A. couple the idea to create a kid-friendly restaurant concept which they christened Giggles N’ Hugs, a play on the name of the hugely successful Australian children’s music group, The Wiggles. The rest, as the saying goes, is history.

Attitudes to children have changed since the fifteenth century when, in a collection of homilies (Mirk’s Festial) written by English clergyman John Mirk, the saying ‘a child should be seen, but not heard’ appeared in its original form. Modern parents want to spend time with their children, but, all too often, other time demands make this difficult. Consequently, mealtime presents a unique opportunity for bonding.

Dr. Fishel writes that ‘researchers found that for young children, dinnertime conversation boosts vocabulary even more than being read aloud to… Young kids learned 1,000 rare words (those not among the 3,000 most common) at the dinner table, compared to only 143 from parents reading storybooks aloud.’ Vocabulary, naturally, is crucial to the acquisition of knowledge. The child can only learn if he or she understands.

Research has also shown that ‘for school-age youngsters, regular mealtime is an even more powerful predictor of high achievement scores than time spent in school, doing homework, playing sports or doing art’. In addition, ‘family dinners have been found to be a more powerful deterrent against high-risk teen behaviors than church attendance or good grades’.

Giggles N’ Hugs is not only an upscale fast casual that offers a menu created from the finest organic ingredients; it’s a fine-dining institution offering the solution to a social problem. Social mores have changed since the fifteenth century, but, in many cases, institutions have remained the same. A Giggles N’ Hugs outlet is a restaurant and play space combo where parents can relax and dine while kids frolic under supervision. Currently, the company operates two upscale locations in high-profile Los Angeles malls. There’s one at Westfield Topanga Shopping Center in Woodland Hills, Canoga Park; and a second at the Glendale Galleria.

There are encouraging indications that these are choice locations. In the area served by Westfield Topanga Shopping Center, 38 percent of households have at least one child and 30 percent of households have incomes in excess of $100,000. In the area served by Glendale Galleria, 47 percent of households include children and 23 percent have incomes above $100,000.

Giggles N’ Hugs is aiming to have 12 restaurants up and running by the end of 2017. This is eminently possible since mall owners believe having Giggles N’ Hugs as a tenant will burnish the family image brand of a mall. In addition, such a tenant will create glamour and buzz and increase foot traffic to the mall. Giggles N’ Hugs has been offered rent discounts of up to 75 percent and upfront cash to cover setup costs. At present, discussions are underway with Westfield to open restaurants in major airports throughout America, including Los Angeles International (LAX), Kennedy, LaGuardia, Newark, O’Hare, Boston and Logan.

Learn more by visiting

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Monaker Group, Inc. (MKGI) Well Positioned for Seismic Shift in Consumer Spending

According to a recent Nasdaq article (, retail store earnings have not been moving much in the past few months. The research showed a shift in consumers habits whereby Americans are spending more on experiences such as travel and entertainment rather than clothing, accessories, and electronics. Services are now making up a large majority of consumer expenditures.

Healthcare and travel are at the forefront of spending, with healthcare making up 20% of total consumption, a number that’s up from just 5% in the 60’s. And information from First Data Corp. shows a rise in spending on travel of 8.6% since last year. On the flip side, sport shops, restaurants, cafes, and bars have seen a considerable drop.

As a result in this seismic shift in consumer spending, hotels and various other accommodation types have had to adapt their facilities and offerings to a broader clientele. The once inconceivable thought of staying in someone else’s home instead of a hotel has now become a growing trend. Still, there is not enough supply to fulfill the demand in terms of accommodation, and so hotels and hosts are pressured to be more tactful in the way they provide for their consumers.

Over the last decade, hotels and inns have expanded their facilities with sub-brands that suit a variety of consumers. These include luxury resorts, hotels, and other forms of unique accommodations. This shift is not only because of the lack of supply, but also the growing need for consumers to have an experience that is not alien to the place they are visiting. People increasingly seek a traditional experience associated with locale, and the accommodation is seen as part of that.

Technology-driven travel company Monaker Group, Inc. (OTCQB: MKGI) has provided consumers from around the world with the chance to search through and book a variety of accommodation types in order to meet the growing needs of the 21st century consumer. The website features a range of alternative lodging options that include not only hotel rooms, but resorts, villas, unused timeshares, apartments, and creative niche style accommodations that uniquely reflect individual locations.

In addition to the above, the company’s flagship enables customers to book everything they need to organize the perfect holiday. MKGI works with a range of key partners and travel brands, enabling them to reach a large audience and tailor experiences accordingly. Monaker Group aims to continue expanding its portfolio in order to become the ‘one stop’ vacation center.

For more information, visit

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