Saturday, September 24, 2011

Contributing Writer

The Leader and Kalkaskian

MANCELONA, MI — DTX International has grown from two employees to 10 at its headquarters in Mancelona during the past few years and is thriving in an otherwise slow economy.

“We’re busy,” said David Tucker, DTX customer service manager. “Demand has grown and we’ve seen an increase in sales.”
The company, located on U.S.-131 south of downtown Mancelona, sells a wide range of products all over the world, from popcorn machines and tools to photography equipment. They have a storefront in Mancelona where they sell goods, but also via their website and on other websites like Home Depot, Walmart, Sears, KOHL’s, eBay and Amazon.

“If you go to one of those websites and search for popcorn, our machine will pop up,” Tucker said. “If you order one of our products from, it comes from this warehouse. It’s a big part of our business.”

Tucker’s wife, Tracey, met Brian Foster, one of the DTX partners, when she was working at the Habitat for Humanity ReStore in Mancelona.

“They were talking about his plans to move here from downstate,” Tucker said. “She introduced us and the next thing you know, I’m working with him.”

Foster and his partner, Tom Gerard of Rochester Hills, planned to locate their facility downstate.

“Brian had property in the area and was moving here,” Tucker said. “They found this building and decided to make it their headquarters.”

DTX is the official manufacturer of their goods, as everything is made to their specifications, but nothing is built from scratch in the Mancelona facility.

“Our products are imported here and disbursed to our customers and vendors,” Tucker said. A semi truck full of product typically leaves the Mancelona facility every day and, because DTX is involved in the shipping business, items sometimes get damaged.

“We have an employee designated to repair and refurbish damaged goods,” Tucker said. “We sell those at a discounted rate.”

A passing train recently hit the popcorn machine on display in front of the business, which stood there for more than three years.

“It somehow got a little too close to the tracks,” Tucker said.

The company welcomes walk-ins at their headquarters and sells brand-new merchandise off their shelves.

The business is open, Monday through Friday, from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. For more information, call 1-800-665-0728 or visit


Friday, June 3, 2011

Microsoft officially unveils Windows 8

From Microsoft has officially unveiled some key new features of its forthcoming operating system. The next-generation OS, which may or may not be called “Windows 8” (its “internal code-name”), delivers a completely re-imagined user interface, with a heavy emphasis on touch-based functionality that takes a hefty helping of inspiration from the Windows Phone UI.

One of the first major design changes from previous Windows versions is the completely overhauled Windows Start menu, which has been replaced with a colorful tiled design that evokes the Exposé screen of Firefox, or other similar quick-screen-navigation features found in most new web browsers. Rather than web pages, however, the new Start screen shows both static program icons and widgets, called “live tiles,” which provide constant notifications and updates. Windows 8 also allows users to access all the files on their computer in the same visualized way that programs are accessed, which helps make the OS easy to navigate with touch alone.

Since Windows 8 is obviously designed with tablets in mind (but can be used with a standard mouse and keyboard), users switch from application to application by swiping left and right in a similar fashion to mobile phone OSs, like Apple’s iOS or Google’s Android. Apps included with the OS, like a weather app, a stock ticker app, and a built-in news app, all take advantage of the entire screen. Fortunately, Windows 8 still allows for multitasking, and multiple apps can be viewed simultaneously on the same screen simply by dragging and dropping the app window onto the main screen.

Windows 8 also takes advantage of current web standards, like HTML 5 and JavaScript, and is optimized to work with Microsoft’s upcoming web browser, Internet Explorer 10.

Overall, Windows 8 looks like a step in the right direction for Microsoft, as it tries to compete with the touchscreen powerhouse of Apple’s iPad line and its iOS software. Windows 8 is still far from complete, however, and it is not yet clear when the software will be publicly available, though some guess a fall 2012 time frame. Check back with Digital Trends soon for the latest Windows 8 news.

See the Video on YouTube.