Rails-to-Trails Conservancy's Hall of Fame

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy (RTC), the nation's largest trails advocacy organization, today announced that California's Sacramento River Rail Trail and Sacramento River Trail will be inducted to its iconic Hall of Fame.

Nestled beneath the Cascade and Trinity mountains, the trails provide 21 miles of transportation and recreation along California's largest river. The trail pair was selected for outstanding merits, including RTC's expanded eligibility criteria this year, which prioritizes multiuse trails that deliver exceptional accessibility and user experience, and contributions to the connectivity of regional trail and active transportation systems.

"Across the country, connected trail systems are proving their significance as essential community assets—creating safe space for people to be active outside, connecting neighbors and neighborhoods, and creating more transportation and mobility options for entire regions," said Ryan Chao, president of RTC. "This year's Hall of Fame nominees were examples of exceptional trails that are fundamental to our vision of a future where trails connect everyone, everywhere. The Sacramento River Rail Trail and Trail stand out by illustrating the impact of connecting trails in ways that provide opportunities for recreation, transportation and intimate connections to the history and nature steeped in place."

Once serving as a travel and trade route for indigenous peoples, then later by a subsidiary of the Central Pacific Railroad, the Sacramento River Rail Trail and Sacramento River Trail provide opportunities for the community to be active, access the outdoors, and connect to neighborhoods and destinations in and around the City of Redding, including the Shasta Lake Recreation Area and the Whiskeytown National Recreation Area. The trails also serve as a backbone for a developing regional trail system that encompasses more than 250 miles and will eventually stretch from the Shasta Dam to Redding's southern neighbor, Anderson, and beyond.

"We are excited to share with the world that the Sacramento River Rail Trail and Trail are indeed Hall of Fame worthy. We are grateful for our many partners who have collaborated on the development and expansion of the trails and our many users and support organizations who make the trails better every day. We invite you to visit and experience these world-class trails and scenic river," said Kimberly Niemer, director of community services for the City of Redding.

The trails are home to the Sundial Bridge, an awe-inspiring feature that links both sides of the Upper Sacramento River. The 700-foot-long, cable-stayed, glass and steel working sundial spanning the Sacramento River attracts an estimated 100,000 global visitors each year.

The bridge, park and Redding's vast network of trails—built in phases over the past three decades—have helped transform the region. The vast regional system of trails is a product of a partnership managed by the City of Redding, the Bureau of Land Management and the National Park Service with the support of local groups, foundations, other agencies and community members.

"We are proud to partner with the City of Redding and other groups in managing these trails that improve the quality of life for residents of our area, while offering destination-worthy opportunities for outdoor recreation," said Jennifer Mata, manager of the BLM's Redding Field Office.

The trail pair was among three nominees voted on by the public between Jul. 31 and Aug. 7, 2023, securing nearly 48% of the vote. The Sacramento River Rail Trail and Trail duo is the 37th inductee in RTC's Hall of Fame, joining an exemplary list of trails recognized for their outstanding scenic value, use, amenities, historical significance and community benefit. More than 30,000 votes were cast in the 2023 Hall of Fame contest. The other nominees were the Hennepin Canal State Trail in Illinois and the Prisma Health Swamp Rabbit Trail network in South Carolina. For more information about the Hall of Fame, visit railstotrails.org.

Rails-to-Trails Conservancy is the nation's largest trails organization—with a grassroots community more than 1 million strong—dedicated to building a nation connected by trails, reimagining public spaces to create safe ways for everyone to walk, bike and be active outdoors. Connect with RTC at railstotrails.org

First ever Angry Birds Retail Cafe in NYC

One of the world's most popular games is getting a delicious real-life twist in Flushing, Queens. The retail café, named iSwii by Angry Birds Retail Cafe, will feature playful desserts, trendy bubble teas, gaming stations, a retail section, and unique interactive activities for the whole family to enjoy.

iSwii by Angry Birds Retail Cafe – the world's first Angry Birds-themed retail café – is set to open on Saturday the 8th of July, in Flushing's latest family-friendly destination spot the Food Court area within Tangram's new 275,000 square-foot, multi-level retail center, in the heart of the revitalized Queens-Flushing International Market District. The new interactive café and retail destination combines in-person and on-screen thrills, making for a unique adventure.

In a deal facilitated by Angry Birds' global licensing agency IMG, Angry Birds' creator Rovio Entertainment partnered with SCG America, a leading construction conglomerate, to build a one-of-a-kind retail café for Angry Birds fans to visit.

Designed for individuals and families alike, the 3,300-square-foot iSwii by Angry Birds is adorned with modern décor and features a collection of Instagrammable NYC-themed statue installations outside the entrance, an eye-catching bright mural ceiling with Angry Birds graphics, a vibrant terrazzo counter, and flooring resembling dessert sprinkles. Additional unique Angry Birds-themed elements include nest-like wicker and hanging chairs, bird paradise graphic wall coverings, and tropical plants on the shelving units where hatchlings, the baby birds wander around. Other fun interactive features include a glass-partitioned exhibition display with chef's custom-decorated yummy seasonal holiday cakes & pastries, all of which collectively create the most fun retail and cafe experience anyone can imagine. Interior Designs were by Tina Wu, Head of Interior Design, SCG America.

iSwii by Angry Birds experience is also available for private parties & events in private "nests" - rooms that will offer Angry Birds VR games & treats, including customizable Angry Birds-themed gift bags for party-goers.

"Launching iSwii by Angry Birds is a perfect way to bring locals and Angry Birds fans back to fun in-person experiences," said Executive Director of Asset Management of SCG America, Robert Leck. "This unique concept will feature endless culinary treats, bright visuals, newest Angry Birds Games and interactive technology, and the coolest-ever themed shopping experience. Angry Birds as a global brand was a perfect fit for this location with its appeal to a wide age range, gender-neutral audience and touch points in all entertainment forms. The fans will now be able to enjoy and engage with the brand in a completely new way, the location truly is an exciting first for New York and North America."

"We are always delighted to find forums for Angry Birds fans to interact with the brand in new and fun ways. This unique establishment goes beyond the screen, offering an immersive experience where fans and customers can delight in tantalizing foods and drinks as well as engage in gaming and capture extraordinary moments in our exclusive photo opportunities. The United States is a key market for the Angry Birds brand and we're excited to open this venue in one of the greatest cities of the world, New York", says Katri Chacona, Director, Brand Licensing at Rovio.

Over five billion downloads, 25+ million social media followers, and 96% brand awareness make Angry Birds a timeless favorite for fans. Launched in 2009 as a popular mobile game, the brand has since evolved into a globally-recognized media franchise, spanning various entertainment and consumer products, two feature films, a long-form Netflix series, and location-based entertainment. In the USA, the Angry Birds can also be experienced in interactive experiences through partners such as Topgolf and Immersive Gamebox.

Love, Bonito Launches First U.S. Pop-Up Store in NYC

Love, Bonito, an omnichannel womenswear brand making waves in Asia, proudly announces the grand opening of its inaugural U.S. pop-up store in the vibrant SoHo neighborhood of New York City. With doors wide open to greet U.S. fans, the launch of the pop-up store signifies a major step towards Love, Bonito's global expansion outside of Asia.

"I started Love, Bonito because I struggled to find clothes that fit my body type. More than a decade ago, when I shopped for available options amongst popular brands, the proportions were off or the pockets were non-existent. It was disheartening to feel misrepresented by the styles and outfits marketed to me," said Rachel Lim, Co-Founder of Love, Bonito. "So, I decided to change the narrative by creating a brand that represented me and my community. With our official U.S. launch, we hope our message connects with diverse, Asian American women who celebrate their own unique journeys and feel empowered by what they wear."

The brand aspires to empower women with their message of Come Into Your Own - a mantra meant to celebrate every woman's journey of self-discovery and finding her community. The Love, Bonito pop-up experience is located at 465 Broadway New York, NY 10013 and will operate now until December 31, 2023.

About Love, Bonito

Designing for the key moments and milestones of a woman's life, Love, Bonito's comprehensive assortment features stylish and comfortable pieces for the modern Asian woman at home, work and play. Love, Bonito is the largest vertically integrated, omnichannel women's fashion brand in the region today. We remain committed to relationship building and nurturance, imbuing soul into innovation with thoughtful design and dedicated community outreach.

Malabar Gold and Diamonds Opens 300th Global Showroom in Dallas USA

The grand inauguration of the 300th global showroom of Malabar Gold & Diamonds, the 6th largest jewellery retailer globally with a strong retail network of 300 showrooms across 10 countries, was held in Dallas, USA.

Ms. Susan Fletcher, Collin County Commissioner and Mr. Jeff Cheney, Mayor of Frisco, Texas, jointly inaugurated the showroom in the presence of Mr. Shamlal Ahamed, Managing Director, International Operations. The event was virtually attended by Mr. M P Ahammed, Chairman, Malabar Group; Mr. KP Abdul Salam, Vice-Chairman, Malabar Group; Mr. O Asher, Managing Director, India Operations, other team members, well-wishers and dignitaries.

"It is a moment of great pride for us as we touch the 300th mark with this new showroom in Dallas, USA. We started off with a small showroom in Calicut, Kerala, India and today, in less than 30 years, we have a strong retail presence of 300 showrooms across 10 countries; all thanks to our customers, shareholders, employees and other stakeholders. We will continue to strengthen our retail presence in the regions where we have established a robust presence, as well as enter new markets with our differentiated products, services and assurances. The acceptance and patronage received by the brand gives us the confidence to further speed up the expansion process in becoming the No. 1 jewellery retailer globally," said Mr. MP Ahammed, Chairman, Malabar Group.

Malabar Gold & Diamonds currently operates in 10 countries and has immediate expansion plans into the UK, Bangladesh, Australia, Egypt, Canada, Turkey, South Africa. The future expansions are expected to create approximately 6,000 job opportunities in the retail, manufacturing, technical and management areas related to jewellery trade.

"Malabar Gold & Diamonds has played a vital role in making Indian jewellery more acceptable and trustworthy at the global level in recent years. We are now crafting unique experiences targeting the individual and specific preferences of our customers. As the design discovery and initial decision-making of most customers are happening online these days, we are focusing greatly on strengthening our omnichannel retail strategy, for which we are making use of the services of global technology giants like Microsoft, IBM, Accenture, E&Y, Deloitte etc..," said Mr. Abdul Salam KP, Vice Chairman, Malabar Group.

Malabar Gold & Diamonds is renowned globally for offering an unparalleled jewellery buying experience with convenience, and customer-friendly policies along with the 'Malabar Promise' of incomparable quality and service assurance. Malabar Promise includes assured lifetime maintenance from any of the showrooms across 10 countries, guaranteed buyback, IGI and GIA-certified diamonds ensuring 28-point quality check of global standards, zero deduction gold exchange, complete transparency, 916 hallmarked pure gold, responsible sourcing, fair price policy and fair labour practices.

"We are very excited about our future growth plan and will immediately be expanding into new markets, including the UK, Bangladesh, Australia and Canada, followed by Egypt, Turkey & South Africa. Apart from this, we will further strengthen our retail footprint within the existing markets as well. We constantly make efforts to evolve in line with the diverse preferences of our multicultural and multinational customers, as part of which we will focus further on product variety and a superior shopping experience, in addition to opening more stand-alone stores for local customers of the respective regions," said Mr. Shamlal Ahamed, Managing Director, International Operations, Malabar Gold & Diamonds.

The new showroom in Dallas has a stunning display of more than 30,000 jewellery designs from 20 countries across gold, diamonds, precious gems and platinum, catering to the design preferences of those residing in and around Dallas.

"We have an ambitious retail expansion plan in India as well, especially in the North and Central Indian states and are gearing up in a big way to enter new territories as well by setting higher standards in the jewellery trade. We understand the sensitivity of the industry and ensure compliance through responsible sourcing, ethical business practices, and transparent and professional fund management. Our association with trade bodies, financial houses, and government regulators help to ensure that our operations are infallible globally," said Mr. O Asher, Managing Director, India Operations, Malabar Gold & Diamonds.

"We will further strengthen our manufacturing capabilities to support our retail expansion drive globally. We will also be hiring skilled artisans and related staff as part of this process. This will also further bolster our mission, 'Make in India, Market to the World.' Keeping in line with the brand's outlook as a responsible jeweller, all our ongoing and upcoming facilities have and will be designed to provide safe and pleasant working conditions to the employees," said Mr. Nishad AK, Group Executive Director, Manufacturing & B2B, Malabar Group.

Malabar Group believes that the most successful companies are those which integrate responsibility and sustainability into their core business and commit 5% of their profit to support socially responsible purposes both in India and abroad, since its inception in 1993. Hunger, Health, Education, Women Empowerment, Housing and Environment are the key focus areas for the Group.

About Malabar Gold & Diamonds

Malabar Gold & Diamonds was established in 1993 and is the flagship company of Malabar Group, a leading diversified Indian business conglomerate.

With an annual turnover of $4.1 billion, the company currently ranks as the 6th largest jewellery retailer globally and today has a strong retail network of 300 outlets spread across 10 countries in addition to multiple offices, design centers, wholesale units and factories spread across India, Middle East, Far East & USA. The group, owned by more than 4,000 shareholders, has more than 16,500 professionals from over 26 countries working towards its continued success. Malabar Gold & Diamonds also features an online store www.malabargoldanddiamonds.com providing customers the opportunity to purchase their favorite jewelry at any time and on any day from the comfort of their homes.

The group also operates MGD, Lifestyle Jewellery, a retail concept offering trendy and light weight jewellery that represents the independent and the modern woman through its designs and collections.

CSR has been the primary commitment of the group since its inception; integrating ESG (Environmental, Social & Governance) principles into the core business. The key CSR focus areas of Malabar Group are Hunger, Health, Education, Women Empowerment, Housing, and the Environment. The ESG goals of the organization are periodically strengthened by integrating responsibility and sustainability to remain a socially conscious and responsible organization. The group contributes 5% of its profit to such initiatives in the same country of operation.