In brief

Hallmark expands ‘Duck Dynasty’ products

Updated: 2013-06-06T02:20:35Z

‘Ducks’ in a row

Father’s Day cards are just the beginning of a licensing agreement between Hallmark Cards and “Duck Dynasty.”

As previously announced, the popular “Duck Dynasty” characters — members of a Louisiana family that star in a reality TV program — will first appear on Father’s Day cards available only in some Wal-Mart stores.

Next month, the Kansas City-based card company will start selling “Duck Dynasty” humor cards for other occasions, including birthdays. By mid-September, the offerings will expand to more cards, gifts, books, gift wrap and plastic cups. They will also be a Wal-Mart exclusive.

And if that’s not enough, look for school supplies in August. The line will include spiral notebooks, three-ring binders, composition books and folders.

Diane Stafford, stafford@kcstar.com

Hostess ribon cutting

State and corporate leaders will attend a 2 p.m. ribbon cutting Thursday for the reopening of the Hostess Brands bakery in Emporia, Kan.

Development officials will join executives of Hostess Brands LLC, a company created by Apollo Global Management LLC and Metropoulos & Co., the investors who bought some Hostess assets out of bankruptcy in April.

The Emporia bakery will again make Twinkies, Cup Cakes, Ho Hos and Ding Dongs when production resumes this summer. Plans call for the bakery to employ 250 full-time workers.

The public is invited, but no plant tours or indoor photos will be permitted.

Diane Stafford, stafford@kcstar.com

Diesel to decline

Ryder System Inc., the largest commercial fleet leasing company in the U.S., sees the growth of natural gas use in transportation expanding enough to affect domestic demand for diesel.

Ryder is working with about 50 companies, including Sherwin-Williams Co. and Staples Inc., that are beginning to test natural gas in their trucks, said Scott Perry, vice president of supply management for Ryder. That’s up from 12 two years ago, he said.

The degree to which companies are embracing natural gas as a transportation fuel means its use will keep growing and supplant some diesel demand, Perry said. Development of fueling stations, truck engines and lower-cost manufacturing capabilities is also rising.

“There are so many positive variables there,” including abundant supply, environmental benefits and cost, he said.

Bankruptcies down

Business bankruptcies in the U.S. fell about 25 percent in May from a year earlier as companies continued to trim debt, the American Bankruptcy Institute said.

There were 537 commercial Chapter 11 filings last month, compared with 716 in May 2012, Alexandria, Va.-based ABI said Wednesday.

Consumer bankruptcy filings declined 11 percent to 92,413 from 104,197 a year earlier, the institute said, citing data from Epiq Systems.

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