Electronic Magnifier Designed to Make Reading, Task Work Easier for Boomers

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A new electronic magnifier introduced by catalog and online marketer firstSTREET offers a unique feature sure to be appreciated by magnifier users: It can serve as a stand-alone with its own magnifying screen, or it can be attached to a computer for large-screen viewing.

Chris Fawcett, COO at firstSTREET, says the company's Compact Digital Magnifier is so small and lightweight (less than three ounces) it can be worn around the neck and go anywhere--for instance, to a supermarket where the freeze-frame capability is invaluable for creating a camera image of prices or ingredients up high, to be captured on the magnifier screen for viewing at eye level.

Something else that Fawcett terms especially helpful to those with low vision: the screen adjusts to display grey scale, embossed texture and inverse colors. "So far as firstSTREET knows," he says, "there's nothing else like this magnifier on the market, and there's a huge need for it among our customer base of baby boomers and beyond."
An article in the International Herald Tribune on Aug. 3, 2007, ("The World According to Baby Boomers: Dimmer") would seem to support Fawcett's point. It says, "As baby boomers age, they are encountering the daily indignities that accompany a downward slide in visual acuity … and unlike their parents and grandparents, they are not shy about expressing their displeasure … prompting some companies to pay attention."

FirstSTREET, according to Fawcett, is one company surely paying attention. A national catalog and online marketer headquartered in Virginia, firstSTREET focuses on products designed to benefit "baby boomers and beyond™," to quote the company slogan. While many firstSTREET products can be useful and enjoyable to all ages, a majority of the items available both online and in the catalog address some of the major issues of the baby boomer demographic--such as the earliest hints of decline in hearing, the barely perceptible diminishment of memory, the inability to obtain a good night's sleep and perhaps the first sign of aging, that "downward slide in visual acuity" referenced in the IHT article.

Fawcett says that unlike some catalogs that spotlight aging-related products, firstSTREET's approach is not doom and gloom. "A lot of us in the company fall into the baby boomer and beyond group," he points out, "and, believe me, if we ever edge even slightly towards a depressing look, we hear from our own staff about it. Staff members also often suggest products to us and are more than willing to try out new items before we agree to stock them."

One product group that the company has found especially popular is their wide selection of magnifiers, magnifying glasses and magnifying lamps--a source of customer interest that ultimately led the company to search out their new electronic model. "That declining vision problem is one in which we take special interest, and I can't tell you how many magnifiers of all shapes, sizes, designs and powers we have tried out, before arriving at the wide selection we now offer--everything from small, very discreet handheld styles--lighted, for restaurant menus or road maps--to Clip and Flips that hook over regular glasses for hands-free use, to floor and desk lamp styles."

Fawcett says firstSTREET generally has available at least 10 different models of magnifiers, with the new electronic version currently getting the most attention. "I hope people will go to our Web site and find out more," he says. "We know our baby-boomer-and-beyond demographic has a need for this exceptional magnifier, as well as others that we stock. It's a fine collection because we've put in the time to research and compare what's out there so we can offer firstSTREET customers the best and latest products available."

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Jeremy Hauser
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