App guides you in mall

  • Updated: February 8, 2010 - 10:33 AM

FastMall is a free iPhone download that works like an indoor Google Map.

Directionally challenged shoppers, take heart. There's an app for that.

FastMall is a free iPhone download that works sort of like an indoor Google Map. FastMall can help shoppers navigate through the maze of stores, find restaurant peer reviews, and (of course) get coupons and exclusive deals.

Parents with strollers can locate escalators and elevators. A GPS function can reunite parking ramp wanderers with their cars. FastMall even provides a turn-by-turn route to the nearest restroom.

FastMall is a product of New York-based MindSmack, which does Web development for such companies as Citibank and IBM. The program launched in mid-December, and was upgraded a little more than a week ago.

If at first you don't succeed ...

In mid-2008, Medica introduced the state's first individual health insurance plan aimed at early retirees. Called Encore, it targeted the 50- to 64-year-old market and offered drug coverage and other benefits.

It seemed perfect timing for the recession that arrived soon after. Many Minnesotans who lost employer coverage were buying individual health policies. But Encore, which is more expensive than the plethora of stripped-down plans aimed at young adults, never quite took off.

Now Medica is trying again.

This month, it relaunched Encore, with a twist: Any two people can share a policy, whether or not they are married. That includes roommates, parent and child, brother and sister, co-workers, anybody really.

Medica's biggest selling point is the two share one deductible and "thereby avoid out-of-pocket costs more quickly."

A couple of caveats: Deductibles for two-person policies start at higher levels than for one person. So while you may be sharing a deductible, you're sharing a higher deductible. Monthly premiums are slightly higher, too.

Smart card

Target gift-card holders who want to declutter their wallets now have the option of pulling the information onto their smart phones.

Shoppers create a secure account on the mobile site, and plug in the relevant numbers from each gift card. The site creates a bar code that can be scanned at the cash register.

The Minneapolis-based company claims to be the first major retailer to offer the service. Spokesman Eric Hausman said it is part of a broader mobile strategy to give shoppers access to discounts, product information and store information via mobile devices.

New owners for resort

The Telemark Resort in Cable, Wis., appears ready to change hands.

A private partnership signed a purchase agreement last month with the Telemark Interval Owners Association (TIOA) board of directors. A purchase price has not been disclosed.

The 1,700-owner association still needs to approve the sale and is scheduled to vote on it March 6. Until then, the buyers and the board will work on a purchase agreement contingency to amend some city and county comprehensive land-use plans and zoning designations to reflect current and future uses of the property.

The TIOA has owned the Telemark Lodge and nearly 1,000 acres of property since 1999, when it bought it out the bankruptcy of Lake Properties, which developed the timeshare program at Telemark from 1987 through 1998. The resort offers summer and winter recreation, including snowboarding, cross-country skiing and mountain biking.

Job-seekers: Ready, go!

Rep. Erik Paulsen is hosting a job fair Monday at the Normandale Community College in Bloomington with 50 employers.

The job fair, which includes Best Buy, Allianz, American Medical Systems, HealthPartners and Coldwell Banker Burnet, is free and open to the public.

It will be held from 1:30 to 5:30 p.m. State employment experts, service and educational groups are available to review résumés, give interviewing tips and hold classes on job searching.


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