Corrections or additions?
These articles by Barbara Fox and Dina Weinstein were prepared for
the January 10, 2001 edition of U.S. 1 Newspaper. All rights
George Ascione and Catherine Saville both work for
Physics Laboratory during the day, but in their off hours they have
launched an impressive entrepreneurial effort at Montgomery
a web presence provider named Lighthouse Hosting LLC.
"Very few places do hosting and those that do have limited
says Ascione, "but 1 to 3 million new domain names will be
this year, and they will be hosted someplace."
Unlike some of its competitors, this company hosts websites without
offering dial-up services. You can put up your company web page here,
but you will go elsewhere for to get access to the Internet. "To
be an Internet Service Provider is a tricky business, because you
have to get somebody to sign up to dial into a modem connection and
lots of support needed," Ascione says. "Now everybody wants
cable modems or DSL, and dialups are becoming dinosaurs.
Ascione is a health physicist with a nuclear specialty at the Plasma
Physics computer facility. The son of a chemist in Bergen County,
Ascione went to Fairleigh Dickinson, Class of ’79, and earned his
masters there. He worked at Teledyne Corp. in health physics
and radiation detection, for Boston-based Atlantic Nuclear, and in the
medical health physics area for the University of Pennsylvania.
At PPPL he monitors environmental radiation safety and sits on the
radiation safety committee for the New Jersey State Police. "About
100 people are working in this field in the greater Princeton
Saville grew up in Old Bridge, where her father was a machinist. She
went to Rutgers College for computer science and economics and entered
the health field 15 years ago when she was asked to set up the first
databases for PPPL’s safety office. She and Ascione are engaged to
be married and were also partners in another webhosting company in
Toms River; they sold their stake to found Lighthouse Hosting.
"We had a lot of fun in the last company we were in," says
Ascione. "It is a new growth field, very interesting to run. And
it is a nice solid business. Once you get it running
well, it requires very little input."
The going was slow at first. "It took quite a bit of time —
six months — to get our own presence out there," says Ascione.
"Our business is now pretty regular."
"Our facilities are monitored by special computers that
send pages and E-mails and all kinds of warnings when something goes
wrong," says Ascione, who says he has 24 x 7 technical support,
redundancy on the network, and some degree of redundancy on the
He does extensive backups and is proud of his performance record,
pointing to how, last year, his computers were "down"
for change-making and adjustments for a total of only three hours.
"We have a very extensive and elegant statistical program that
generates 40 extensive reports on health and popularity of the
and where they are coming up with errors. It’s very graphical and
it’s on the web." Also available is a "full featured"
E-mail system, so that website owners can not only get access to their
website-based E-mail accounts, but they can also send E-mail with
the company logo.
Why the name? "We were looking for a friendly theme that would
be suitable for graphic design," says Saville. So far, all
those in the business are keeping their day jobs.
Commons, Princeton 08540. George Ascione, president. 609-688-0905;
fax, 609-688-0907. Home page: www.lighthousehosting.com
Quilting is one of those centuries-old pastimes that is
in the 21st century. "It’s an over $5 billion business," says Jim
Hankins of Textile Creations at Ibis Plaza on Quakerbridge Road.
is done out of a need to be creative — mixing the fabrics and
colors to create what they want — and has rolled over into apparel
as well. Garments are becoming art pieces."
He and his wife, Margie, are trying to carve out a niche in the
trade. With 10 employees plus a sales force of manufacturers’
this company imports, exports, and resells cottons and silks, and
markets to the fabric stores — especially to the independent quilt
Jim Hankins, the son of a Methodist minister, has been working in
textiles all his life. "I always wanted to be a fashion
says Hankins. "I always liked clothes, was `best dressed’ in high
school, and wanted to go to the Fashion Institute in New York, but
the big city scared me off. Right out of college I started working
He majored in home economics at Middle Tennessee State, Class of 1974.
"I took the sewing classes, the tailoring, and the design,"
says Hankins. He met his wife when he was a buyer and she (the
of a Baptist minister and a graduate of the University of Tennessee
at Chattanooga) was store manager at a fabric chain based in
They have four children, ages grade school to high school.
After stints with two other retail fabric chains, he worked in New
York City for a textile company and broker before starting off on
his own. They opened their first office at Office Concierge,
a shared-office space at Princeton Pike Corporate Center. They have
a warehouse in Patterson and moved to their own space at Ibis Plaza
last summer. Richard Cohn is vice president and sales manager.
The fabric is made in Korea, Indonesia, or India. Hankins has no
about using Third World factories. "I have been to the places
where the goods are produced and there is no child labor
In addition to cottons for such chains as Joanne, Hancock, Hobby
the Hankins sell to garment manufacturers and the independent quilting
stores. They also do a line of silks for home furnishings under their
Textile Creations brand.
The Hankins’ marketing plan involves sponsoring individual quilt
or quilting guilds by offering giveaways such as "fat
pieces of fabric 18 " by 22," eight different patterns in
a bundle. Each bundle is the material for a quilt and retails for
$15 to $19.
Quilters are generally women, ages 35 to 60 plus, with median income
of $45,000 or more. "People at home with their kids tend to have
more time to do this, but certainly working people are also into
says Janice Crane, proprietor of the four-year-old Pennington Quilt
Works at Pennytown Shopping Village.
Hankins does all the original designs and is working on harvest and
patterns for 2001. He might draw 250 to 300 new designs per year,
and he chooses 150 of them for production. "I was in the retail
business for 15 years plus, and I sold a lot of fabrics to the
consumer. I feel I know what they want. You have to stay up with the
The trend right now is to patterns about gardening, the number one
hobby across the country. "You do 10 or 12 different patterns
to cover that theme — watering cans, hoes, rakes, hanging baskets
— and three or four different color waves in the same pattern,
all to coordinate," Hankins explains. "Women will use five
or six different patterns, cut them up or piece them, to make a wall
hanging or a quilt."
High fashion colors that emanate from Europe must be translated and
toned down for American tastes and divided among the four major areas
of quilting patterns: country, contemporary, classic, and themes.
"The theme can stand, but the patterns and colors will
he says. "Nautical is a big theme for the people who live in
the coastal areas. Right now animal skins are really hot."
"The Lord is with us in our business," says Hankins. "He
has blessed us and the people who are employed here."
@endline same — Barbara Fox
Plaza, Suite 201, Hamilton 08619. Jim and Margie Hankins.
Sarah Miller loves dragons. Think China and King
Arthur’s Court. Her
husband and business partner, Michael Miller, says virtual worlds grip
Sarah in both her hobbies and her professional life. "I’ve always
loved the Internet," says Sarah.
The couple met five years ago. Their first conversation focused on the
Internet, and that was before it was widely used. Sarah says that’s
what drew the two together. They have transformed two rooms of their
Ewing home into offices for Set Now Solution, LLC, started in 1996 to
provide web design consultation
for Internet and advertising agencies.
Sarah majored in English at the
College of New Jersey, Class of 1994, and worked at E-Design Group,
which was bought by InfoFirst. For
four years she operated the company while maintaining full-time
employment but has devoted full-time to Set Now since November.
Michael has been with the company full time for a year. An 1985
advertising and public relations graduate of
Ithaca College’s School of Communications, he worked in corporate
for Bristol-Myers Squibb and most recently for Stonehouse Media. He is
taking classes towards a masters degree in education at LaSalle
University’s Newtown extension
The company, newly incorporated, specializes in custom Internet
production. The Millers call themselves website producers, similar to
video producers, coordinating graphic artists, programmers, media
providers, Internet service providers,
advertising agencies, and website owners.
"We wear many hats," says Sarah. "I know programming back-end and
graphic design and Michael knows video. Together we pull together a
complete package." Their sites have a multimedia interface, using
Flash production, music, animation,
audio, graphics, copy editing, data base creation, security issues,
chat elements, live events, and streaming video technology. Their
business strategy involves collaborating with former employers to
achieve their goals.
The Millers pride themselves on making sites that work for their
clients, which include Atlantic Health System, dotPhoto, InfoFirst,
Mountainside School of Nursing, Teen Health FX, Yale Materials
Handling Corp., Children’s Medical Center,
the Center for Interim Programs, and Russell and Company.
Perhaps not surprisingly, some of the sites Sarah says are most
successful are those meant for children — like Disney’s. "We don’t
users to feel daunted by the website’s navigation scheme," she says.
"And we don’t want the user to work
too hard. Navigation should
work as people learn. Users shouldn’t learn to use navigation."
Both admit to having to adjust to working out of their home. "We’re
excited to go to the supermarket," Michael jokes. While they may miss
simple office social interactions, it is the Internet
that allows the Millers to connect with any business partner. "And, I
get to work with my best friend," says Michael.
— Dina Weinstein
08628; 609-406-1665; E-mail: email@example.com. Home page:
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