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Tea room brings on a new pastry chef, Valentine's gift ideas for guys, and J.C. Penney's big announcement

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Laura Simmons, owner of Tea with a Dutchess, poses for a photo.  JACKIE RICCIARDI/FILE
JACKIE RICCIARDI/FILE
Laura Simmons, owner of Tea with a Dutchess, poses for a photo.

No doubt you’ve seen J.C. Penney’s ads touting its “revolutionary” solution to department store coupon wars. What it announced wasn’t exactly mind-blowing, but a company that lost $143 million in 2011’s third quarter is looking for drastic measures.

J.C. Penney’s new pricing scheme revolves around three points: everyday pricing that is essentially a permanent discount of at least 40 percent, monthly sales on big sellers (such as swimsuits in June), and the best prices on the first and third Fridays (when most people get paid). The change went into effect Feb. 1.

Response has been mixed, but the biggest item in J.C. Penney’s favor is that the man in control knows what he’s talking about. CEO Ron Johnson is the man behind Apple’s retail stores and Genius bars, and he was a marketing guru for Target.

WHAT’S TRENDY

Let’s be honest, Valen­tine’s Day is pretty lopsided in favor of women. Jewelry, chocolate and flowers are everywhere. It can be challenging to find clever gift ideas for guys that are sweet that they’ll actually enjoy.

If your man has a hobby like golfing, gift buying can be simple. But maybe you should surprise him this year with a gift certificate for a facial or massage at Men’s Refinery Barber Spa in North Augusta – something he might not buy for himself.

Does he have a favorite restaurant or coffee shop in another city? Stumptown Coffee Roasters is a Port­land, Ore.-based roaster that ships amazing coffee on subscription basis.

Etsy has several gift treasuries, lists of ideas curated by users and creators, for men for Valentine’s.

Since etsy is populated by small-scale artists and sellers, get your orders in soon if you want them by Feb. 14.

WHAT’S NEW

If you haven’t been to Tea With a Dutchess on Monte Sano, you’re missing out. There’s never been a better excuse to drop by, now that French pastry chef Joseph Glass is on board. Owner Laura Simmons said he’s the perfect addition.

“He’s just what we needed, and he inspires all of us so much,” she said.

Glass will help Simmons with baking and will add French delicacies to the menu such as macarons, madeleines and brown butter sables.

Tea With a Dutchess is at 1403 Monte Sano Ave. and is open Tuesday through Friday from 11:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. and Saturdays from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.

To make reservations for high tea or more information, call (706) 733-4230.


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