Annual Edition 'Buying Power of
Black America' report breaks down billions in expenditures Black
consumers are responding to tighter economic condition by focusing more of
their spending on items and services that improve their homes and
lifestyle. That's one of the trends revealed in the 15th annual report,
"The Buying Power of Black America," published by Target Market News. The
report analyzes spending for black households in 2008 and finds that
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Cracker Barrel Old Country Stores to market Smokey Robinson CD By Gail Mitchell
Billboard (October 3, 2010) For the first time, Cracker Barrel Old Country
Store's exclusive music program will feature an R&B artist: Smokey
Robinson. Now and Then, a 12-song CD featuring classics and new songs by
the Motown legend, will go on sale Nov. 1 and be available only at
In addition to signaling the music program's expansion beyond country
and bluegrass, the move could mark a turning point in Cracker Barrel's
sometimes checkered relationship with the African-American community.
Following complaints that black patrons were seated in areas segregated
from white customers and frequently received inferior service, the
company settled a discrimination suit filed by the U.S. Department of
Justice in 2004. Several months later, it was reported that the Lebanon,
Tenn.-headquartered restaurant company had agreed to an $8.7 million
settlement to resolve all racial discrimination lawsuits brought or
supported by the NAACP.
"It's time to change that imagery of Cracker Barrel," Robinson said of
his decision to partner with the restaurant chain. "I'm very happy to be
the one breaking that ground with them. It's progress."
"Country and bluegrass are an important part of our music program, but
it's not the only part," Cracker Barrel VP of Marketing Peter Keiser
added. "We have a broad customer base, and we want our music program to
reflect that. What better way to diversify and reach that base than with
Smokey Robinson? He is one of the best-loved figures in the history of
popular music. His music and the Motown era were a great influence on
our culture and helped shape who we are today."
Six of the songs on Now and Then are live versions of Robinson's
best-loved classics recorded this year during various performances. The
list includes "The Tracks of My Tears," "Going to a Go-Go," "I Second
That Emotion" and "The Tears of a Clown." The other six tracks are
culled from the singer-songwriter's 2009 CD, Time Flies When You're
Having Fun. Those include "Time Flies," "Girlfriend" and a cover of
Norah Jones' "Don't Know Why." Now and Then will sell for $11.99.
Cracker Barrel is working in tandem with Time-Life to develop a
broadcast component to complement the marketing campaign behind Now and
Then. In conjunction with the CD's Nov. 1 release, Robinson will launch
a series of media appearances, with dates including Today, Fox &
Friends, The Wendy Williams Show, ABC News, The Mo'Nique Show, AP
Television, Sirius XM Radio and Good Day New York.
The release comes as Time-Life country and roots-music imprint Saguaro
Road Records recently announced its own expansion into contemporary R&B.
Cracker Barrel operates 595 stores in 41 states, according to Keiser.
Its exclusive music program was established in 2005 with a CD by Alison
Krauss & Union Station.
Robinson's Now and Then is the latest in a series of Cracker Barrel
releases this year, including Rodney Atkins' self-titled album, Craig
Morgan's That's Why: The Collector's Edition and others.