…at Bayshore Mall. The other stores in the County (Arcata, Fortuna, Myrtle Avenue) will remain open for the time being while radio Shack closes thousands of its locations. The staff at the Mall was very helpful when I asked why Fortuna and Myrtle weren’t answering their phones. It’s because they help live customers over phone calls- don’t you wish everyone did that?-and the stores don’t have answering machines. Yup, that’s right. They sell them, but don’t have one . The liquidation of the Mall location is well along and is the only store closing I’ve ever heard of that’s being advertised on Craig’s List. Entrepreneurs, check it out. They may have something you can use.
I took my car into Old Town Brake and Auto at 4th and D as I have for the past 15 years and Wally told me he’s retiring at the end of the month, turning the shop over to his son Brian (whose own shop, Eureka Brake & Automotive, on Second Street, will remain open.) Wally has achieved the American dream- a successful business to pass on to his kids and as far as I can figure he did it the old -fashioned way-through hard work. Keeps the same employees around for years too. Stop by and say goodbye to Wally and Sharon, who are remaining in the area. We’ll miss ya, Wally.
And I’ll be offline for a few days while St. Joseph’s installs my new knee. Or should that be, my knew knee? Blessings of the season to all of you.
..is holding its official opening tomorrow. Here’s a link to the menu as posted on Facebook (they don’t have their website operational yet) so you can check it out before lunch tomorrow ’cause it sounds like there’s going to be a stampede. You have to scroll down aways to see the whole menu. The beet salad sounds incredible. Good luck to them!
This month’s Index reflects an economy in the doldrums. Although the Composite Index increased 1.2 points this month, it is down 2.2 points from this time last year. Retail and Employment are up, Home Sales, Hospitality and Lumber showed declines. Again our thanks to Dr. Eschker and his hardworking team.
Dr. Eschker and his dedicated group have published their Economic Index for September. They found that in September Hospitality, Lumber, Employment , and manufacturing orders were up, while Home Sales, Retail, unemployment claims, building permits and “help wanted” advertising were down.
Do you love dogs? Sure.
Do you love OPD (Other Peoples’ Dogs)? Uh, not so much.
Well, as of January 1, California restaurants with patio spaces will be allowed to serve dogs right along with their owners, assuming the owners are human. This “change” will probably affect Humboldt less than more urban regions because plenty of local eateries are already allowing dogs. The rules are that the patios must have separate entrances so that the doggies don’t enter the restaurant itself and they continue to be banned from food preparation areas. The new rule does NOT mandate that dogs must be allowed on patios; that’s up to the proprietors. Nor does it change any of the rules on bona fide service animals.
I’m a dog owner who does not envision taking my dog to a restaurant in this lifetime. For one thing, she’d eat everything in sight. For another, she’d never be able to share space with one of those cute fuzzy little dogs that look and sound exactly like her squeak-toys. The other question is, do I want to share a table with someone else’s dog? When MY dog drools on the table, it’s cute. When YOUR dog does it, it’s disgusting.
I’m all in favor of consumer choice, so when I pass by a patio cafe where chows are chowing down in favor of a human-only environment, that’s a valid choice. I wonder how the majority of Humboldt diners will react to their new dining companions.
The Humboldt Economic Index. produced by Dr. Erick Eschker and his team at the Economics Department of HSU, does not show a pretty picture this month. The leading indicators are, shall we say, mixed.
Lumber is up, but Hospitality, Retail and Home Sales were down in July, as were building permits and help-wanted advertising. On the positive side, manufacturing orders are up slightly and UI claims are down. The national jobless rate declined to 6.1 percent in June while the unemployment rate was 7.2, virtually the same as the State as a whole.
Here’s what you’ve been waiting for: gas prices. “Both California and the Northern California region have seen 8% decreases in their average gas prices this month, while Eureka’s average price stayed at $4.25 in June.” Enjoy the report, and our continued thanks to the HSU team.
PART ONE: Imagine there were a company that offered on-line shopping, business-to-business sales, online payments, wholesale trade and cloud computing- in other words a combination of eBay and Amazon that is actually bigger than eBay and Amazon combined. Welcome to Alibaba.
Started by a schoolteacher named Jack Ma on his kitchen table in Hangzhou in 1999, the company, now based in Hong Kong, is about to launch what may be the biggest initial public offering in history, one which could easily surpass Facebook’s fumbled IPO of $16B in 2012. Why will be the biggest beneficiary? Yahoo, which owns 24% of Alibaba and will probably use the infusion of cash from the IPO to continue its buying spree of smaller tech companies. To give you an idea of the scale, Alibaba processes $248B in retail sales yearly. Here’s a description from the Mercury News:
‘”Nearly 8% of all Chinese online shopping goes through Alibaba sites; on Singles Day last year, a popular holiday in China for online shopping, the site processed $5.8B in in purchases. By comparison, eBay’s total sales on its online marketplace for all of 2013 were $6.8B.”
Alibaba is also moving into mobile commerce in a big way, investing in American companies like Mountain View -based Tango Me and in Lyft, the San Francisco -based ride sharing app, while attempting to consolidate its position amidst its nearest rivals, Baidu and TenCant, which is already rolling out its own IPO. (Google and eBay have departed the China market). Alibaba’s IPO was scheduled for August 8 (eighth day, eighth month- the Chinese like “8”s) but may be delayed due to last-minute glitches involving SEC approval of some of their subs which are based in the Cayman Islands. Ma, who is worth over $8B, has stepped down as CEO but remains as Chair of the 21.000 employee firm and is devoting his time to a charitable trust.
It’s a global economy for sure, and becoming more so every day. Wonder how long it will be before we start seeing Singles’ Day promotions? That ‘s too good an idea to skip.
PART TWO: The Analects of Jack. The early history of Alibaba is set forth in a documentary and a book (Alibaba, by Liu and Avery, 2009) which describes how at one time in the early days, Ma was literally kidnapped and held hostage in a Malibu mansion at gunpoint until he talked his captor into going into business with him). Ma only got into college on his third entrance exam but his English major has definitely been put to good use in the following phrases which were compiled by American City Business Journals from various interviews and an appearance on Charley Rose that I’m sorry I missed. Here’s a sampling.
Why he likes small businesses and tries to help them through Alibaba: “I’ve seen people make a fortune by catching shrimps, but I’ve never seen anyone make a fortune by catching sharks and whales. It’s like Forrest Gump.”
On putting customers first: “It’s customers No, 1, employees, two, and shareholders, three. It’s the customer who pay us the money, it’s the employees who drive the vision, and it’s the shareholders who when the financial crisis comes, these people ran away. My customers and my people stayed.”
On technology: “I know nothing about technology. I use the computer to browse the Internet and receive email. That’s it.”
On developing a business: “If you want to be a great company, think about what social problem you could solve.”
On money and Alibaba’s large cash reserves: “When you try to solve problems with money, that is when your real problems start. A company’s assets are like a country’s armed forces.You cannot use it lightly, but if you ever need to mobilize it, you must win.”
A new law just signed by Governor Brown (AB 2486) and effective immediately allows wine and cider tasting at Farmers’ Markets under the following conditions:
-The wineries (or cideries) must grow ALL the fruit in their product
-Only one winery can hold tastings on a given day
-Each Farmers’ Market can determine whether to hold testings
-The tasting area must be cordoned off
-Samples are limited to 3 ounces of wine or cider per adult customer.
The bill, which was authored by Assemblyman Mark Levine, D-San Rafael, passed both houses UNANIMOUSLY.
The delightfully named Portia Bramble of the North Coast Growers’ Association reported that Winnett Vineyards from Willow Creek would be a likely participant at the Arcata Farmers’ Market, at least by next season. This is one story which does not seem to have a downside.
This is my third post about “The Caribbean Picnic”, on Henderson where the GoGo Bistro used to be. I finally made it in there yesterday. It’s a PUERTO RICAN restaurant with CUBAN food also. The two main offerings are Cuban sandwiches (ham, pork, usually pickles) and a Puerto Rican sampler, both $9. I’ve eaten a lot of Cuban sandwiches, having family in Florida, and this was not only better than average, it’s HUGE, easily two meals for the average person. They also have a selection of pretzels, not the little brittle kind but serious big puffy ones. The staff is welcoming and helpful and I will definitely be back. Any of you who visit this place, please share your opinions with us.
On another note, Marcelli’s Pizzaria (their spelling) had a soft opening a few days ago and folks were streaming in for lunch at what used to be Big Louie’s. They don’t have a website yet but they’re open 7 days and the menu looks a lot like the old BL one. You can call them at 497-6374 for eat-in, takeout, delivery or take’n’bake. So much to be grateful for! Please share your reviews with us. Bon appetit.