In its relentless march toward world domination, Dunkin Donuts has announced the franchises are available in Eureka, Crescent City and 40 other locales in NoCal. Follow this link for more info, and good luck!
In its relentless march toward world domination, Dunkin Donuts has announced the franchises are available in Eureka, Crescent City and 40 other locales in NoCal. Follow this link for more info, and good luck!
You may have heard by now that the second largest grocery chain in the country (after Kroger) is in talks with a potential buyer. The announcements have been coy about the identity of the potential buyer but speculation has centered on Cerberus Capital Management, a private equity firm that bought 600 Albertson’s stores in 2006, and pared the lot down to 200 over the next seven years.
Safeway, headquartered in Pleasanton, is the fifth-largest employer in the East Bay and currently owns 1400 stores. It has already divested itself of 213 stores in Western Canada and is in the process of unloading 72 Dominick’s stores in Chicagoland, apparently getting itself in shape for a sale. Safeway is being closed-mouthed about negotiations as would be expected. The United Food and Commercial Workers, which represent Safeway employees, are posting updates on their website, as available. Cerberus was involved in a similar takeover of the Albertson’s chain in 2006 which , according to the Union, “did not go well”. If any stores are closed, you would expect them to be stores in low-income areas or historically unprofitable stores. Considering the long distances between the North Coast stores (Crescent City, McKinleyville, Arcata, Eureka and Fortuna, with Eureka already converted one store to a VA Clinic) one would think the remaining stores were safe, but who knows?
Traditional grocery stores have come under intense pressure from competitors such as WalMart, Dollar General and on the other end of the spectrum, Whole Foods. Kroger’s reported a 3% growth for the first three quarters of 2013 while Safeway showed less than 2%. Whole Foods reported 5%, which if you’ve shopped in their stores explains their nickname, ”Whole Paycheck”.
Let’s hope that things go smoothly and well for our friends and neighbors who work for Safeway. Change happens but hopefully this will be positive change.
Ed Asner, the “Lou Grant” of television fame, star of numerous films and a lifelong labor and civil rights activist, will speak at the annual meeting of the Shasta-Tehama-Trinity chapter of the ACLU on Saturday, March 22. The meeting is free and open to the public and will take place at the Pilgrim Congregational Church, 2850 Foothill Boulevard in Redding from 1-4 pm. Donations will be accepted to support the programs of the local ACLU chapter.
Asner, who is 83, and has been nominated for 20 (twenty) Emmies and won seven. He also has had an extensive voice acting career, his most recent success being the animated “Up”, currently in rotation on HBO and other channels. He is the only actor to win televisions’s highest honor for playing the same character in a sitcom and a drama. He was president of the Screen Actors Guild for five years and has been active in a variety of causes both involving the rights of the working performer and other causes such as human rights, world peace, environmental preservation and political freedom. Recently, with actor Mike Farrell (MASH) has been outspoken in his criticisms of the Obama administration’s Syria policy.
I would expect high interest in this event, so get there early and carpooling would be an excellent idea. I hope to be there. They don’t make ‘em like this guy anymore.
For additional information, call (530) 410-8761.
FISHERMAN’S TERMINAL RESTAURANT/MARKET
Ever wanted to run a restaurant?
Check this out: “The City of Eureka is soliciting proposals from qualified restaurant/cafe’ operator(s) to establish a restaurant/cafe’ and retail seafood counter at the Fisherman’s Terminal Building located at #4 C Street and Waterfront Drive.” The announcement from the City continues, “An outdoor patio area for alfresco dining is also incorporated into the space. The restaurant/cafe’ is located at the east end of the Fisherman’s Terminal Building with unparalleled views of picturesque Humboldt Bay, and is adjacent to the newly constructed C Street Market square, the Madaket docking facility and Ticket Booth, and Old Town”. The announcement adds, “A low-interest loan may be available to a qualified applicant.”
This is a tremendous opportunity for some entrepreneur to play a major role in our waterfront revitalization, and a couple dozen have already expressed interest. To receive a complete Request for Qualifications package or ask any questions, contact Judy Harrison, Economic Development Coordinator, by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or call (707) 268-1830. Here’s some more info from Economic Development. Be patient if it takes them a while to get back to you; there are only
four 1.5 people in the section and this is a major undertaking. DEADLINE FOR SUBMITTAL IS JANUARY 31, so get busy and be a part of Eureka’s history! And make some money, too.
AIRPORT TURBULENCE: First, the good news, for frequent flyers anyway. The TSA has opened three enrollment centers to enable frequent airline passengers to pass through security more quickly. Once enrolled in the program, flyers will be excused from removing shoes, belts and jackets and from having to remove their laptops to display to the TSA screeners. What’s the catch? Well, they have to be fingerprinted and pay an $85 fee, good for five years. Where are these enrollment centers? At Sac International, Stockton and- wait for it- EUREKA!!! According to the AP, the centers went online on the 15th and, by the way, they refer to our airport as EUREKA, not that six-word name that I can never remember.
So that’s the good news. The bad is that airport usage from 2007 thru 2012 is wildly inconsistent, with SFO increasing by 27% and Oakland and Burbank DOWN by 31%. San Jose declined by 22% while Sacramento, which just opened its new $1B Terminal B (“B” for ”Billion” I suppose) has declined by 18%. I find this puzzling. Who wouldn’t rather fly into Oakland or San Jose than SFO, given a choice? With the recession, the choices are realigning and becoming fewer in number. See the “Fly Humboldt” Facebook page for more info. Also, Ms. Emily Jacobs, Administrator at ACV, has promised us an update on airline recruitment efforts in the near future. So watch this space!
Counting your blessings on Thanksgiving Day, on the Redwood Coast, is an overwhelming job, which is why I am not trying to be inclusive. Here are just a few items which have come to my attention lately, for which we should give thanks.
First, we should give thanks and remembrance to the three loggers who died on the weekend of October 19-20. It doesn’t seem to me that enough attention was paid to these incidents and we can never give enough emphasis to the dangers of logging.
Let’s also, on the verge of the Christmas holiday, remember the 25 or 30 of our friends and neighbors who have lost their jobs due to the closure of Ray’s Food Place in Eureka. I never saw more than two or three customers in the place and I don’t know how they kept it open as long as they did, but it’s gone now. If you know any of those employees, show a little more kindness than usual.
Let’s be grateful for the farsighted educators of Ferndale High School for purchasing a 3-D printer for their engineering class. The friendly staff has advised that Mr. Michael Baggot, 786-5900, can be contacted for a possible appointment to observe the machine. ‘Way to go, Ferndale!
Let’s also be grateful for community groups like the Humboldt Area Saltwater Anglers (HASA) who devote many hours to the welfare of our precious Bay. Here is a link to their newsletter, which is a great one. It will take a minute or two to load, but is worth the wait. What a pleasure to see our friends Ben Doane and Pat Higgins and thanks to Casey Allen for keeping me on the mailing list.
Not local but still neat: did you know that there is a movement afoot to install chargers for electric and hybrid vehicles all along Route 66? There’s a festival coming up in Kingman, AZ to commemorate the Mother Road going green.
We can be grateful that despite what seems like an all-out effort by Amtrak to stifle our passenger trains, the Surfliner and the San Joaquin have more riders than ever.
And finally, not local but I bet he’d love the Redwood Coast, movie star Kirk Douglas, who has survived blacklisting, bad movie roles, strokes and God knows what else, has just published his TENTH novel at the age of 94. Long may he wave, and I hope I have his ambition at his age. Have a great holiday and don’t forget to count your blessings.
CATFISH-If any of you have not seen “Catfish”, either the movie or the TV series which just finished its second season on MTV, you’re missing out on a phenomenon. I waste more time than I care to admit watching junk TV (“Pawn Stars”, anyone?) but “Catfish” is in a class by itself. The whole franchise got started when Nev Shulman, a young, good-looking and seemingly intelligent New Yorker formed an online friendship via Facebook with a young girl in the Midwest who appeared to be a phenomenal graphic artist. (I don’t usually use the word “intelligent” and “Facebook” together, but bear with me here.) Certain things didn’t add up, so he decided to investigate the situation with the help of his filmmaker brothers and discovered that the girl’s mother had done the artwork and that he had been “catfished”, a term which has entered the language now and which normally refers to a person who has been taken in by someone who hides his/her true identity on Facebook. The motive could be money, spite, whatever but Shulman got so many emails after the film “Catfish” started being shown that it became clear there was ample material for the series, which is heading into its third season.
It would be easy to dismiss the various victims as just plain stupid, and some of them are. However, some are quite sophisticated and wary of situations that seem too good to be true. There are infinite variations on the plot (using a model’s photo in lieu of your own, creating a fantasy identity etc) but after you watch long enough , some eternal verities emerge, some of which Redwood Coast Businesspeople should keep in mind in your marketing campaigns. Take these to the bank:
1. People believe what they want to believe. You know that old gag, “Who ya gonna believe, me or your lying eyes?” Most people are totally capable of ignoring reality when convenient.
2. Hope invariably trumps common sense. You didn’t show up for our long-postponed meeting because at the last minute you were carjacked? That one was actually used in one episode.
3. Nobody likes to be lied to. When the truth finally sinks in, when the gorgeous girl is finally revealed to be a hundred pounds heavier that her photo, or a different sex than what was advertised, the reactions are always the same. ANGER! Some of the couples work it through but the vast majority, when they finally figure it out, are disgusted with themselves AND the perp and terminate all contact immediately. They’re ashamed, embarrassed etc.
What are the implications for sales and marketing? Simply put, a little light-hearted kidding (like the Joe Isuzu campaign) can be great, but making indefensible statements or claims will always come back to haunt you. Come to think of it, this applies to politics too.
PORT OF OAKLAND TO EXPAND- along with the Panama Canal. In this account, from the Capital Weekly, Greg Lucas does an excellent job of laying out complexities facing the eleven California harbors, including our own. Food for thought for our local rail supporters.
HUMBOLDT BAY TOURISM CENTER- Has been open since May down at 2nd and G in Eureka and I have referred at least 18 people there just to look at the beautiful job they’ve done with the building. If it were a bar, it would be one of our most elegant. The space is in zones for taste, planning activities etc. and I’ll let their own website tell the story. It’s a beautiful facility, staffed by pleasant people, but what I had hoped for was to be able to give an account of the impact it had over the past season. It turns out that’s impossible. According to the management there they have NO DATA on how many visitors they’ve had, how many tours or activities have been booked through, how many lodging bookings- nothing. They are just now- at the nadir of the tourist season- starting to keep some records which they will certainly need when their two-year contract with the HCCVB is reviewed or renewed.
Anyway, check them out for a relaxing break from hectic Holiday shopping. They don’t have any parking, which is a hassle, but I’ve always been able to find something within a couple of blocks. We’ll revisit them here next summer when they have a whole year under their belts. And wish them well. We need all the help we can get.
Just a few weeks ago, I would have thought that 3-D printing was just a crazy idea with no relevance to the Redwood Coast. I was wrong. Right here, right now, right down on Third Street at Times Printing, they have a display of objects (see picture) created on their THREE printers. The future is definitely here, and for once it’s not bypassing Humboldt County.
In point of fact, the Times-Standard online edition has carried three articles since May about online printing which I missed because I only read the print version. Not any more! I’ve learned my lesson. I became intrigued with the concept from a couple of articles in The Economist and had been calling local fabricators who either didn’t know what I was talking about or didn’t return my calls. Then last week at the GO-Biz seminar, Councilperson Marian Brady brought up the subject and when I followed up with her, kindly referred me to
Times Printing, where Lane Strope interrupted his busy day to talk with me.
There are several different methods now in use for accomplishing 3-D printing and I can’t explain it better than the Economist did. The process begins “with software that takes a series of digital slices through a computer model of an object. The shape of each slice is used selectively to harden a layer of light-sensitive liquid, usually with ultraviolet light, to form the required shape. After each layer had been made, the build tray lowers by a fraction, another layer of liquid is added and the process is repeated until the object is complete.” It’s easier to show than to explain so here is a video from the Times of London. ( There are several more on You Tube) but as long as you’re on You Tube you may want to look at some other examples. ”Eureka” is a manufacturer and the Times is THAT Times, not ours.
The implications of this technology are immense and varied, although there are a few skeptics, including Terry Gou, the boss of Foxconn, the world’s largest maker of electronic goods, which makes many of Apple’s products in China, who is so convinced that 3-D is just a gimmick that he has promised to start spelling his name backward if he is wrong. He’s a brave man. While it is true that 3-D, or as it is sometimes called, additive manufacturing, cannot produce thousands of parts at low cost like conventional methods, when combined with conventional manufacturing it can break new ground. RedEye, in Minnesota, is printing parts for the 3-D printers produced by RedEye’s parent, Stratasys , which along with 3D Systems in South Carolina are the market leaders in 3-D printing.
How is it being used? Healthcare for one. 3D has printed millions of hearing-aid shells from scans of patients’ ear canals. Align Technology of San Jose has printed 17M sets of molds and clear plastic braces which are replacing metal braces for straightening teeth. Prostheses is another area with great promise. Optomec, in Albuquerque, is developing ways to print electronics directly onto mobile handsets and printing LED lighting onto wallpaper. Soon you will no longer send away fro a replacement part but have a file emailed to you and do the fabrication yourself. Now that some of the early patents have expired, and manufacturers are developing methods which use a greater variety of materials the price of some printers has fallen to less than $1K. Or, you can send the work out. Companies like Shapeways in New York, Sculpteo in France and and Materialise in Belgium can print objects on demand from digitalized plans.
Recently, a large Chinese manufacturer was setting up a production line and realized they were missing some parts that should have been ordered from an injection-molding company. The Economist again: “Faced with weeks of delay it looked at 3-D printing the bits instead. Sculpteo had the first batch of 5,000 parts on their way to China within Days. It is yet another example of how 3-D printing is not competing with conventional manufacturing techniques, but is instead complementing and hybridising with them to make new things possible. When 3-D printing can come to the rescue of mass manufacturing, its place in the factory of the future is assured.” And Mr. Gou/Uog will have to order some new monogrammed sheets.
A crowd of 70 entrepreneurs, hopefuls and civic officials gathered yesterday at the ungodly hour of 8:30am to hear about Governor Jerry Brown’s GO-Biz program which was initiated in 2011 as ”a single point of contact for economic development and job creation efforts”. Their excellent website sets forth some of the success GO-Biz has already had in retaining and/or luring back businesses who were planning to move out of state. GO-Biz administers the state Innovation Hub (iHub) program which includes 12 regional innovation clusters which bring together government, academia and businesses through innovation incubators. The North Coast, it would seem, is a logical place for such an incubator.
The speakers included Louis Stewart, who spends his time on the road promoting the program, and Professor Steve Karp, who heads HSU’s Sponsored Programs Foundation. This foundation runs as many as 300 projects, grants and contracts concurrently ranging from studies on bats and bees, hydrogen -fueled cars, and the discovery of 100 new species of fungi in Guyana. They employ around 300 students and 500 staff and faculty in cutting-edge research. Third was Sergio Herrera from the Humboldt Bay Tourism Center, which we’ll be examining in detail in a future post.
Then there were the entrepreneurs themselves, first Milia Lando and Rosa Dixon, the founders of Natural Decadence, a gluten, nut, and dairy-free bakery. (They didn’t give samples but the pictures of the chocolate pies had people drooling). After only two years in business they have recently inked a deal with Whole Foods which will give them distribution in 130 stores on the West Coast and In Hawaii. They have been using the commercial kitchen at Redwood Acres but are on their way to the national Anaheim Food Show and a national launch. They have a great story too, the business having its roots in their struggle to cope with food allergies, theirs and their children’s. Their future is so bright they should have been wearing shades, but that would have detracted from their excellent and heartfelt presentation.
Last on the program was Greg Dale, Southwest ops Manager for Coast Seafood, a frequent and enthusiastic advocate for our shellfish industry. They used to say of Maria Tallchief, the ballerina, that she could make you feel that there was nothing as worthwhile as being a dancer. Greg can make you feel that there’s no higher calling than wrangling oysters. He reports that the permitting process- which involves seven agencies- is still onerous and efforts are being made to fashion a Model Permit Process involving pre-permitting, in conjunction with Morro Bay and Tomales Bay. Much luck to them. He reports that the demand for shellfish is so great that there is a $200M shortfall. How great to have a product that is sold before you take it out of the Bay. We need more of those.
GO-Biz is an important program and the civic leaders who attended included Eureka Mayor Frank Jager and the entire City Council, and Supervisor Mark Lovelace, who came by before the BOS meeting, as well as many others. You will doubtless be hearing more about an iHub for the North Coast. Pay attention. This could be a great step toward strengthening and diversifying our one-crop economy.
This post would have been published Tuesday but technical problems intervened, so you’ve probably heard most of this already. As everyone not living in a cave knows, BevMo, the behemoth liquor successor to Beverages and More, is opening in Eureka this morning (Oct 18) at 9am, across from Eureka Natural Foods. Free BBQ lunch from 12-1.
As a point of civic pride I hope there is NOT a long line waiting at 9am.
The company was started in 1994, according to Wikipedia and has had a somewhat turbulent history of trademark disputes and false starts; they nearly went broke after over-ambitious expansions into Nevada and Florida before pulling back and concentrating on California, Arizona and Washington. The Eureka store will be their 149th and with each store employing an average of 17 workers, they have a workforce of over 2500 people, including Willard Wong, cellar master, who writes a wine blog on the company’s own website. They have a membership program and wine tastings. This is a bigtime company entering a small market. How will our small local stores be affected?
One of their opening specials is Lagunitas IPA, sale price $12.99 for a 12-pack. Murphy’s carries it right now for $14.99. This may be the pattern, prices low enough to catch your attention but not enough to make a special trip for. The government figures it costs you $.56 per mile to operate your car, so it may or may not pencil out in your case. They will have tastings and events to draw you in and this Wednesday’s Times-Standard has a coupon, $10 off your purchase of $50 or more. I don’t buy $50 worth of liquor in a year so I’m probably not the right person to write about this. l buy a bottle of Cherry Heering for about $30 once in a while and have only been able to find it at John’s Liquors on Myrtle. I’ll be curious to see if BevMo carries it. They probably do, and I’ll probably keep going to John’s.
I don’t know for sure, but the arrival of BevMo may have impacted the future of the Henderson Center Marketplace that is/was planned for the old Robert’s site. Wine tasting was going to be featured there, also, but the site lays empty. Neighborhood gossip is that the partnership behind the HCM has unravelled and the proposed operator has left town. Realtor Mark Burtchett, whose name is first on the liquor license, did not return my call or my email, which is not a good sign. Mr. Burtchett, we’re all pulling for you. Henderson Center needs a bit of BevMo.
Sometimes the consultants get it right.
The headhunters charged with finding us a new police chief- excuse me, I meant another new police chief- stated it correctly: “Eureka is unique, a rural area with serious urban issues.” Chief Mills is apparently going into this with his eyes wide open. And I guess it’s just a coincidence that the Chief is arriving just at a time when I feel my home town being taken away from me.
I live a simple life. When I moved into my very average house in Cutten, all I demanded was a good yard for dogs, closeby amenities like a grocery to minimize driving and a sense of safety and security. Do I still have it? Not so much, since a few months ago when a parolee from Oregon went on a rampage starting at Walnut and Redwood and smashed a few car windows before racing through my neighbors’ backyards before eventually being apprehended nearby. Why he skipped my yard is a mystery. Maybe he’s afraid of old dogs. All I know is, the tranquility is gone.
There was a time when I could walk my dog in Sequoia Park. Not any more. There are too many shady characters lurking along the pathways looking for a quick pickup or a drug deal. Some of them were involved in a shooting on Glatt Street the other day. But the real reason I can’t walk my dog there anymore is the huge number of unleashed or unsupervised dogs. The folks who enter the park on the Glatt Street side walk right past the sign advising that all pets must be on a leash. A large family approached me with a pit bull that was on a leash, alright, but it was one of those extendable leashes and they thought it was just hilarious to let their dog growl and snap at my dog while letting it approach to within about half an inch. My dog was terrified and tried to get away. I ended up face down in the mud but managed to hang onto my dog. Then I had to listen to how sorry they were. I regret to this day I didn’t call the police but I was so shaken up I didn’t even get their license.
So there’s assignment No. 1, Chief. Reclaim Sequoia Park for us. Instead of parking a black and white on W Street to catch those villains (like me) who don’t come to a complete stop at the corner, how about putting a black and white near the Glatt Street entrance? A little deterrence there could do wonders. Let’s try it.
As I said, I live a simple life. I shop at Winco at least twice a month but now that people are being carjacked in the Winco parking lot in broad daylight, it doesn’t seem as welcoming as it used to. Or as safe. Can you help us with ensuring folks can patronize our biggest grocery store without placing themselves and their kids in jeopardy? We’d sure appreciate it.
I suppose you’ve heard about the series of spectacular car-pedestrian and car-motorcyle collisions. Fifth Street is a death trap for pedestrians, especially those of us who actually try to use the clearly marked crosswalks, especially at the corner by Denny’s. When I took driving at Eureka High, they used to tell us that “pedestrians have the right of way in California”. How about a little enforcement? It couldn’t hurt, could it? I turn at the intersection of H and Hodgson nearly every day of my life. I am usually impressed with the politeness of the other drivers but that wreck the other day hit pretty close to home. It’s sobering to think that the only thing between you and sudden death is a split second of someone else’s attention. A stoplight or an officer nearby would do wonders.
So Chief, we’re glad to have you here, and glad that you’re going to go through with this career change although it must have been disconcerting to learn that the fellow who hired you is moving on himself after only nine months on the job. When you need a break, take a stroll through the Sequoia Park gardens. One of your predecessors and his wife have devoted thousands of hours to maintaining the flowers because the city can’t afford to. It’s that kind of town.
Welcome to Eureka .