Here's bad news for the fragrance industry. People are more sexually aroused by a whiff of Good & Plenty candy and cucumbers than cologne or perfume.
That's the word from the Smell & Taste Treatment and Research Foundation in Chicago that measured the blood flow to the private parts of 85 volunteers.
For women, researchers detected a 13 percent increase in blood flow from the scent of Good & Plenty and cucumbers. Straight baby powder did just as well. But men's cologne actually slowed blood flow 1 percent.
With men, floral perfume increased blood flow 3 percent. But that was far less than a 40 percent increase produced by the combination of lavender and pumpkin pie, 32 percent by doughnuts and black licorice, and 20 percent by doughnuts and pumpkin pie.
Foundation director Alan Hirsch unveiled the results at a recent meeting in Clearwater of the American Psychosomatic Association. His work aims to create new treatment for sexual dysfunction.
Why Good & Plenty?
"I just happened to have a box of it sitting on my desk when I did the test," Hirsch said.
_ MARK ALBRIGHT
Give the alien his due
Some chief executives might consider it undignified to pose for pictures surrounded by a sea of saucer-eyed pink alien toys. But Lowell McAdam of PrimeCo Personal Communications owes a lot to the cartoonish character named Primetheus. The wireless communications company in Dallas says its brand awareness in Central Florida has jumped 72 percentage points to nearly 90 percent in 15 months, with the help of its fictional mascot.
_ LARRY LIEBERT
Christian lands on his feet
In the swirl of recent bank mergers, plenty of area executives have been squeezed out of their jobs or have relocated to find work in comparable positions.
One exec lost to the Tampa Bay area is David Christian. The former Barnett Bank of Tampa senior vice president and ex-head of the Tampa Bay Black Business Investment Corp. just resurfaced in Orlando with NationsBank (which bought Barnett early this year).
No surprise: NationsBank already had a community reinvestment manager in Tampa, leaving Christian with no local opportunity. So he opted to take a similar spot in Orlando.
While Christian now oversees community investing in a seven-county region in central Florida, his heart still belongs to Tampa Bay. In his 15 years in the area, Christian had emerged as one of the few blacks to break into the senior ranks of a large area bank. He helped improve the conduit between big lenders and minority businesses.
In Orlando, Christian says he's getting used to his new territory and the less autonomous style of his new employer. NationsBank is more structured _ and a lot bigger.
"People don't usually think of a bank as a growth company," Christian says. "But that's what NationsBank is."
_ ROBERT TRIGAUX
Coming your way: the Welcome Wagon
The Welcome Wagons are rolling out across the bay area.
For years, the company has dispensed advice in neighborly tones to new residents around the country about everything from doctors to carpet installers. Now, Welcome Wagon is expanding its area presence.
Officials are hiring 36 new representatives, mostly in the fast-growing areas of north Hillsborough and north Pinellas counties. They join nine already in the Tampa Bay area. Eventually, the company plans to have 70.
Welcome Wagon representatives earn $10,000 to $30,000 a year, visiting 40 to 100 homes a month. The company, which says more than 9,000 people are moving into Pinellas, Hillsborough and Pasco counties each month, finds them through county records, real estate agents and word of mouth.
The half-hour visit is part sales pitch, part conversation. Companies pay Welcome Wagon to pitch products, and representatives answer questions on everything from schools to where to find good pizza. And of course, there's the traditional free basket with flowers, snacks and coupons.
"The No. 1 topic is doctor and dentist referrals," said regional vice president Brenda Fitzsimmons. "But after that, some things are a bit unique to Sun Belt states, like pest control, lawn care and pool supplies."
The 70-year-old company, now owned by consumer-service giant Cendant Corp., has 2,000 representatives in 48 states. Welcome Wagon long concentrated on the Midwest and Northeast, but now it's pushing into fast-growing states like Florida, Arizona and Nevada.
_ KYLE PARKS
TAMPA BAY TRENDS
A look at facts about life in Tampa Bay
The Tampa Bay area's largest 401(k) plans
A 401(k) plan has become the most popular way to save for retirement at dozens of Tampa Bay companies. Here are the largest plans at the end of 1995, based on reports the companies filed with the Internal Revenue Service. No doubt these plans are even larger now, thanks to big stock market gains.
Company Name Participants Net Assets
TECO Energy 4,266 $335,735,262
Times Publishing Co. 2,755 $128,401,111
Anchor Glass Container 907 $60,107,747
Eckerd Corp. 3,760 $59,960,051
Smiths Industries 2,087 $51,269,115
Essilor of America 1,597 $47,794,166
Raymond James Financial 2,033 $35,493,279
Lockheed Martin Specialty Components 468 $34,374,471
Kash n' Karry food stores 4,014 $29,354,623
Danka Industries 4,947 $26,377,576
St. Petersburg Medical Clinic 325 $22,987,651
Source: Matthews Benefit Group, St. Petersburg, from IRS filings