Acorn International Celebrates 10th Anniversary of Initial Public Offering: Founder Robert Roche Recognizes Milestone for the Company

Acorn International Founder, Robert Roche reflects on the companies milestones on its 10th anniversary of their initial IPO.

Acorn International celebrated the 10th anniversary of the company’s initial public offering (IPO) earlier this week. On May 3, 2007, the company made its IPO on the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) for more than 8,855,000 American Depositary Shares (ADSs). Acorn went on to gain 39% from the IPO price of $15.50 ADS during its first day of trading. The deal generated net proceeds of more than $108.9 million for the company, with Deutsch Bank Securities and Merrill Lynch Co. acting as joint book runners for the offering.

Robert Roche, Acorn International’s founder, chief executive officer and executive chairman, recognized that this anniversary was a major milestone for the company. “I am proud of the resiliency Acorn has shown in the face of major headwinds during our first decade as a public company,” Roche stated in a press release. “Offering some of China’s best known and trusted products, Acorn is committed to supporting our own brands and building a reputation as a trusted partner for top foreign brands entering China.”

Acorn International is one of China’s leading marketing and branding companies. It has grown a reputation for developing and marketing some of China’s most popular consumer-branded products since it was co-founded by Robert Roche in 1998. Acorn is organized into two main divisions, a direct-sales platform and a nationwide distribution network. Acorn’s direct-sales business markets and sells products directly to consumers through the company’s outbound marketing platform, as well as through an online sales platform. The company’s distribution network distributes these products throughout all provinces in China, reaching more than 2,200 retail outlets across the country.

Since its inception, the company has also developed proprietary-branded product lines such as the Ozing line of electronic learning products and Babaka posture-correction products. Acorn has also developed several proprietary kitchen and household products that are now sold throughout China.  

Robert Roche founded and has managed Acorn International with the goal of taking the world’s best products, designs and management practices and offering them to Chinese consumers. He has led the company through a number of business challenges, recently leading a business turnaround in 2016 which resulted in the first net profit for the company since 2011.

Cachet Hospitality Group Named 2017 Up-And-Coming Hotelier

Cachet International Hospitality Group receives prestigious award of 2017 Up-And-Coming-Hotelier.

Cachet Hospitality Group (CHG) was named one the year’s up-and-coming hoteliers at BDWest, a design trade fair for hospitality design professionals. The award was presented during the fair on April 7th at the Los Angeles Convention Center, and recognized CHG’s role as an innovator in hospitality design. The Up-And-Coming Hotelier award was launched in 2015 to recognize young hospitality brands that are poised to change the look and function of future hotels. Hospitality brands that have been recognized in the past include Room Mate, Dream Hotel Group, and Starwood Capital Group.

In a recent press release, Pauline Choo, CHG’s Director of Cachet Interior Design, expressed the organization’s excitement at receiving the award. “This award is a tribute to the hard work of our CID team and our strong alignment with CHG Operations to design spaces that capture revenues,” Choo said, “We are proud of our team’s efforts.” Cachet Interior Design (CID) is a team of interior designers that provide design solutions for CHG’s hotels, restaurants and nightlife establishments around the world. Members of the CID team include Npatchanan “Bee” Sasiworasad, who has focused on public food and beverage spaces within CHG properties; Pawaroot “Paul” Pibulrat, who has contributed to Cachet projects including Cachet Deluxe Cabo, Zheijang Circuit in Shaoxing, and Cachet Hotel Chengdu; and Benjaporn “Tah” Songsanan who joined CID after working for international firms such as Blink Design Group and Space Matrix.

BDWest is presented by Boutique Design Magazine. The trade fair was started in 2013 as a companion to Boutique Design New York and has a larger focus on hospitality design. The fair showcases the latest trends in hotel design elements and products, and also introduces attendees to some of the industry’s innovators through panel discussions, exhibits and recognitions like the Up-And-Coming Hotelier Awards.

Sturm College of Law Dean to Meet With More Than 5,000 Alumni in His First Year

Newly appointed Dean of University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law announces plan to meet with more than 5,000 alumni throughout the US during his first year.

Bruce Smith, Dean of the University of Denver’s Sturm College of Law, plans to meet with thousands of Sturm alumni in Colorado and around the U.S. during his first year as Dean. The goal is to engage with 5,280 alumni this academic year in a campaign known as the DU Extra Mile. The goal of meeting with 5,280 alumni symbolizes an important number to the University of Denver community. Commonly heard around campus, the city of Denver sits 5,280 feet above sea level, also earning it the nickname “Mile High City”.

Dean Smith’s journey is being documented in an interactive map on the Sturm College of Law website, with the dean also sharing posts and updates about his meetings on Twitter. To date, he has visited with 2,112 alumni in 61 cities in Colorado and in San Francisco. During his meetings, he has taken part in discussions with alumni related to law, philanthropy and new concepts for alumni engagement.

Dean Bruce Smith was appointed to be the 20th Dean of Sturm College of Law in July 2016. Prior to joining the University of Denver, he served as dean of the University of Illinois College of Law from 2009-2014, where he also taught since 2006. Specializing in Anglo-American criminal procedure, Dean Smith is internationally recognized and authored History of the Common Law: The Development of Anglo-American Legal Institutions. He has taught as a visiting faculty member at George Washington University, the University of Luxembourg and University of Michigan Law School. He also practiced law in Washington, D.C., focusing on intellectual property law and sports law. His appointment to the position of Dean in 2016 represented a continued commitment to the advancement of Sturm, and a commitment to increasing alumni engagement and deepening collaboration within the Denver community and beyond. The DU Extra Mile campaign represents one major step towards realizing these long-term goals.

For more information and to track where Dean Smith has been, visit the DU Extra Mile page on the Sturm College of Law website, or follow along on Twitter at #duxtramile.

CURE Brings Together Citizens and Researchers to Find a Cure For Epilepsy

The CURE founders joined together to “spearhead the search for a cure.” Since CURE’s Inception, they have helped create a dramatic shift in the way epilepsy is researched and understood.


Citizens United for Research in Epilepsy (CURE) is a non-profit organization committed to raising awareness and finding a cure for epilepsy. The organization was founded in 1998 by a small group of parents of children who suffered from epilepsy who were unwilling to take a passive role in protecting their children from seizures and negative side effects of existing epilepsy medications and treatments. The CURE founders joined together to “spearhead the search for a cure”, and have helped create a dramatic shift in the way epilepsy is researched and understood. Since the organization’s founding, it has grown into a worldwide movement and raised more than $43 million to fund research initiatives that are helping to develop a cure.

CURE has several programs that are helping the scientific and medical community better understand the underlying causes of epilepsy. The Epilepsy Genetics Initiative (EGI) focuses on collecting data that will help develop a personalized approach to epilepsy. CURE also leads research initiatives for different types of epilepsy including Sudden Unexpected Death in Epilepsy (SUDEP) and Infantile Spasms (IS).  The organization works with an internal scientific team of epilepsy researchers, a Scientific Advisory Council and a Lay Review Council. All three bodies help review grant applications and distribute funding for new and expanded epilepsy research being conducted all over the world.

Each year, CURE presents grant awards to promising research working towards a breakthrough in understanding and finding a cure for different types of epilepsy. These awards are in the form of two year research grants of up to $250,000, and have the potential to make a significant impact on the lives of individuals living with epilepsy.

The 2016 CURE Research Award Recipients represent scientific researchers working on breakthrough discoveries in epilepsy all around the globe. Grant recipients include researchers from University of Colorado, Boulder, Boston Children’s Hospital, Baylor College of Medicine, the University of Melbourne, the University of British Columbia and others. CURE also gives Innovator Awards in the form of 1 year grants of up to $50,000 to highly innovative concepts relevant to epilepsy. 2016 Innovator Award recipients represented researchers from Italy, Connecticut and Massachusetts.

For more information on CURE and the CURE Research Awards, visit  the CURE website.

Cachet Hospitality Group to Debut SAVANT Hotel Bangkok

Cachet Hospitality Group announces its partnership with Vela Hotels Co., Ltd in opening its SAVANT Vela Hotel in Bangkok, Thailand.

Cachet Hospitality Group (CHG) will debut SAVANT Vela Hotel, its affordable lifestyle brand, in Bangkok, Thailand later this year. Cachet is partnering with real estate owner and developer Vela Hotels Co., Ltd. to develop the hotel, which will open near Siam Square in Bangkok. The SAVANT Vela will be located in close proximity to major tourist destinations in the city including Siam Center, MBK Shopping Mall and Sea Life Bangkok Ocean World.

The opening of the SAVANT Vela-Bangkok represents one of the first steps in Cachet Hotel Group’s plans for rapid expansion in Southeast Asia. The hotel is CHG’s second property in Bangkok and the first SAVANT brand hotel in the Southeast Asia region.

Designed to be a stylish and affordable space for travelers in one of the world’s highest ranked travel destinations, the SAVANT is set to open in November 2017 and will feature 72 guest rooms, a bar with an array of affordable wine tasting options, a lounge and a workout studio.

Following the announcement of SAVANT’s debut, Cachet Hospitality Group also announced the appointment of new leaders that will oversee the brand’s growth in Southeast Asia. Kimy Chen was promoted to President of Southeast Asia, Pauline Choo was promoted to CHG’s Bangkok- based Cachet Global Interior Design Division, Jitsak Lim-Pakornkul joined CHG Southeast Asia as Director of Brand Marketing, and Sorachai Rojanasuwan joined the team as Director of Business Development, Southeast Asia.

Alex Mirza, CHG’s President and CEO, stated that the appointment of new leadership and the signing of the SAVANT Bangkok represented the company’s commitment to expansion in the region.

The Cara Program Annual Gala Will Celebrate 5,400 Chicagoans Who Have Bettered Their Lives Through Cara

The Cara Program hosted its annual gala celebrating the program graduates who have been placed in jobs in conjunction with the organization.

The Cara Program is a Chicago-based nonprofit that provides job training and placement services for city residents impacted by homelessness and poverty. The organization holds its annual gala on March 31st at Morgan MFG in Chicago celebrating more than 5,400 Cara graduates who have been placed in jobs since the organization opened its doors.

Cara was founded in 1991 by Chicago philanthropist Tom Owens and serves individuals who face conditions that make it difficult for them to find quality jobs and stay employed. In addition to offering professional development and employment placement, Cara also offers personal development opportunities. These services equip individuals with the tools they need to break the cycle of poverty and empower them to make impactful changes within their own lives.

Cara’s annual gala will recognize community partners who have supported the organization and its graduates and will honor the many individuals Cara has served. Among those accepting honors at the Gala will be businessman Neil Bluhm, owner of Rivers Casino. He and Greg Carlin, CEO of Rush Street Gaming, the company that operates the casino, will be recognized for working with Cara graduates. Over the past five years, the Casino has hired 26 individuals who have graduated from Cara’s job training programs.

For more information on the Cara Program, visit:

Cachet Hospitality Group Recognizes Women Leaders in the Hospitality Industry

Cachet Hospitality Group honors the women a part of their leadership team in celebration of International Women’s Day.

In honor of International Women’s Day on March 8th, Cachet Hospitality Group published a post on their website honoring the women on the company’s leadership team. Women who were recognized included senior level managers Meredith Gelacak Mulligan, President of Hotel Operations-Americas, Kimy Chen, President of Southeast Asia, Lei Li, General Counsel, Yvonne Choi, Chief Marketing Officer, Pauline Choo, Managing Director of Design, Nicole Hendrix, Director of Operations – Americas and Jessie Li – Vice President of Business Development – Asia.

Cachet Hospitality Group, one of the Asia-Pacific’s leading international hospitality branding and management companies, has the most gender-diverse executive team of any Asian-based company in their industry. Women represent more than half of the company’s senior management team.

According to Accor and Diageo, women make up half of Asia’s workforce. However, in the hotel and hospitality industry, women represent only 20% of managerial positions and less the 10% of General Manager positions. While there is progress being made toward equal gender representation in the industry’s leadership, companies like CHG have recognized that more work needs to be done.

In their International Women’s Day post, CHG stated that they have made working towards gender equality a priority within their own business. The company has set a goal for women in company management positions to reflect the representation of women in the overall workforce. CHG has hotels and restaurants in Southeast Asia and China, and in North America in the U.S. and Mexico, and plans to foster the growth of women in management positions in all of their locations. CHG is working to achieve this goal by providing mentorship and growth opportunities for women in the company, and growing the pipeline for the next generation of women leaders in the hospitality industry.

Gallup Energy Logistics Park (GELP) Receives National Certification for Development Potential

New Mexico announces their selection by GELP to develop their railway system.

In January 2017, BNSF Railway Company selected Gallup Energy Logistics Park (GELP) in Gallup, NM as one of six new certified rail sites, recognized for its development potential. The BNSF Site Certification program not only recognizes these sites for their growth potential but also features them on certain BNSF marketing materials and helps connect them with new economic development opportunities.

GELP is one of two New Mexico certified sites, joining Central New Mexico Rail Park in Los Lunas, NM. Four other sites named in January include AgriTech Park in Great Falls, MT, Ameripointe Logistics Park in Ardmore, OK, Commerce Center of Southeast Iowa in Middletown, IA and John W. Kelsey Business and Technology Park in Greenville, IL. These six newly-certified sites are among only ten sites nationwide.

According to a press release from BNSF Railways, factors that were analyzed while making the site selection included the availability of utilities and public services, site access to highways, proper industrial zoning and land ownership and transparency. GELP was selected because of its central location, existing and planned state investment and a planned expansion of up to 2,500 acres.
On February 9, 2017, New Mexico Governor Susana Martinez announced the selection of GELP and Central New Mexico Rail Park and recognized the potential the Gallup site brought to the state’s economic development opportunities. Governor Martinez noted that one of the state’s top priorities is becoming a leader in commerce and trade, and stated the value of the certification in helping New Mexico become a leader in national and international business.

Cachet Boutique New York Hotel to Debut in Spring 2017

A Cachet Boutique hotel is planning to open in Manhattan in Spring 2017.

In January 2017, Merchants Hospitality, Inc. and Cachet Hospitality Group (CHG) entered into an agreement to open Cachet Boutique New York Hotel in Manhattan during Spring of 2017. Located in midtown Manhattan on West 42nd St., the hotel will open in an important cultural center of the city with close proximity to Times Square, Broadway theaters, the Javits Convention Center, Central Park, Madison Square Garden and more social and cultural destinations.

Cachet Boutique New York will be the first Cachet Boutique in the United States, and its opening marks the continued expansion of the brand into North America. The Cachet Boutique brand has locations across the Asia-Pacific in China and Thailand.

Meredith Gelacak, Cachet Hospitality Group’s President of Hotel Operations-America, stated in a press release that Cachet was honored to be partnering with Merchants Hospitality and bringing the brand to New York City.

Cachet Boutique New York will feature a signature farm-to-table bar and restaurant, an indoor-outdoor wine terrace and outdoor wellness area, as well as the Cachet brand’s signature luxury and technology offerings within guestrooms. Hotel renovations will be completed in Spring 2017, with interior renovations being led by Cachet Interior Design (CID).



Cachet Hospitality Group Partners With Wahlburgers to Expand Burger Chain Into Asia

Cachet Hospitality Group partners with the Whalburgers chain in their expansion into the Asia Pacific market.


The burger chain Wahlburgers, run by Wahlberg brothers Mark, Donnie and Paul, recently entered a partnership to expand the chain into Asia. The deal is a joint venture with Cachet Hospitality Group and businessman Farooq Arjomand, an investor in Cachet. Wahlburgers is headquartered in Massachusetts and currently operates locations across the U.S. and Canada. This deal with Cachet Hospitality will help open 100 new stores throughout the Asia Pacific region.

Wahlburgers opened its first store in Hingham, MA in 2011 and has since opened 12 more locations. This venture will be the company’s first outside of North America. The expansion will begin with the opening of three initial stores in the Chinese cities of Shanghai, Hong Kong and Wuhan.

“This combines perfectly with the explosive popularity of international restaurant brands in China’s malls and airports, opening the door to tremendous opportunity for Wahlburgers and our Asia Pacific joint venture,” Cachet Hospitality Group’s CEO Alexander Mirza said in a news release announcing the deal.

Wahlburgers CEO Rick Vanzura told the Boston Globe he was confident the chain would thrive based on the Wahlburgers experience and products, even in parts of the world where the Wahlberg name has less recognition. In an interview with City Weekend, Mark Wahlberg explained that while menus in the new locations would be adapted to satisfy local tastes, the core Wahlburgers experience would remain the same. “Our partners and we agree that, at its core, what we need to deliver is a Wahlburgers experience built around our core products,” said Wahlberg.

Cachet Hospitality Group is a Shanghai-based hospitality branding and management company. The group operates primarily in the Asia Pacific and North America. Cachet has already signed deals to secure the opening of new Wahlburgers locations in Asia and will continue to drive the expansion and development of the American chain in the region.