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Discover the Lake Minnetonka Area, September/October 2006

A family-friendly fund-raiser

Colleen Needles' company helps schools raise money—it also helps families find appropriate films

By Kelly Westhoff

It's hard to find a movie that will please every member of the family. Young children like colorful cartoons and silly music. Teens want films with action sequences starring key Hollywood names. Parents worry about bad language and graphic images; they don't want their children exposed to inappropriate themes. Yet adults want to be entertained, too. What's the modern family to do?

The Family Catalog, a new Internet-based company, may be just the answer today's families are searching for. The company sells family-friendly movies and music CDs.

In addition, The Family Catalog works with schools. Instead of hawking candy bars, popcorn tins and rolls of holiday gift wrap as a fall fundraiser, students can sell movies. Schools have the potential to earn up to 50 percent on each sale.

Headquartered in Minnetonka, The Family Catalog is the brain child of Colleen Needles. Many Minnesotans recognize Needles. For 17 years, she delivered the news on channel 4 before making a move to channel 5, where she worked for just one year. Needles eventually left the news industry to spend more time with her family. A long-time Excelsior resident, she is the mother of three.

“One of the reasons I created The Family Catalog,” Needles said, “is that I know what it's like to go to the video store on a Friday night and look for a family movie. It felt like it was always a crap shoot. Unless you went with Disney, you could never be sure you were getting a family-appropriate title.”

Each title for sale through The Family Catalog, however, has gone through a screening process. Screeners watch for inappropriate language and sketchy content, but they also pay attention to production quality, said Needles. Plus, she noted, weak story lines don't make the cut.

“Most PG-13 movies don't make it into our catalog,” she said. “There are so many places already that specialize in those movies. We wanted to offer something else.”

The remainder of this article can be found in the September-October 2006 issue of Lake Minnetonka Living (formerly Discover the Lake Minnetonka Area) magazine.

The Family Catalog can be viewed at www.thefamilycatalog.com.

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