Happy Small Business Week -Oysters, Enterprise Zones, ROI’s for College and Who’s Reading Newspapers?

Our friends at Google remind us today that this is Small Business Week. They’re not sending us flowers or candy or a discount on a coveted service but it’s the thought that counts, I guess.  Makes you feel kind of like a father on Father’s Day. Anyway, cheers.

THE OYSTER FESTIVAL – I haven’t heard yet whether the proceeds matched those of previous years but I can tell you it was the most enjoyable OF I’ve ever attended. There were a couple of hopefuls walking around trying to pick up a buck by holding places in line for the eager oyster-eaters. Only problem with their business model -there were no lines!!!  The longest line I saw had four people waiting.   As usual I managed to miss out on the prize-winning entries but the cooked oyster that blew me away was a crunchy fried number from Smokin’ Moses. A relaxed and very enjoyable outing.

ENTERPRISE ZONES GOING AWAY-  I know that certain local businesses have taken advantage of the Enterprise Zone program although when I worked at State Rehab it seemed we never got it quite right. The employer was always located just beyond the zone limits, but it seemed like a good program.  Apparently in celebration of Small Business Week, we’ll be saying  goodbye to all that.  Capitol Basement’s The Roundup reports quoting the LA Times’  Marc Lifsher: “At issue are enterprise zones, which were established to boost employment in disadvantaged urban neighborhoods and rural areas. California is home to 40 of these special districts, in which about 35,000 companies have qualified for tax credits. Last year they reaped an estimated $700 million in credits — a figure that state tax officials project will grow to $1 billion by 2016.” “Giants FedEx Corp. and Wal-Mart Stores Inc. have availed themselves of these incentives, which are worth as much as $37,400 for each hire. So have small businesses, including two Sacramento strip clubs named Gold Club Inc. and Deja Vu Showgirls.”

“But the identities of most beneficiaries are a mystery. Because of the confidential nature of state tax laws, it’s nearly impossible to find out which companies got credits, how much they were worth and how the companies qualified for them.”

Still, it seems like a good idea and hopefully, there will be a replacement soon.

WHAT’S THE ROI ON COLLEGE?  For all those freshly minted graduates we’ve been celebrating this week, the stats on bankrate.com offer grounds for hope and despair. The salaries of course are completely out of sync with what is paid locally but it’s still intriguing to note that according to PR Daily, it takes an average of nearly 32 years for a journalism student to repay his or her loans, while advertising/marketing/promotions boasts the lowest number of years it takes to repay loans at 5.83. Marriage and Family Therapists are especially disadvantaged, according to the table at bankrate.com.  Maybe don’t read it while your new grad is around.  Let them enjoy themselves for a few days.

WHO”S READING NEWSPAPERS? A research company called Scarborough (apparently no connection to Joe) reported the highest daily readership of papers currently takes place in Pittsburgh with second place a tie between Albany NY and Hartford/New Haven CT, fourth Cleveland and fifth a four-way tie  between  Buffalo, Honolulu, NYC and Toledo. The lowest readership? Atlanta, followed by Houston and San Antonio, tied, then Las Vegas and our own Bakersfield.  I wasn’t even sure they had a newspaper in Bakersfield. It’s comforting to know there are still other primitives like me who enjoy opening a paper in the morning. How long will we have this option?

So Happy Small Business Week and don’t forget to bring the family to the Redwood Acres Fair, “The Best of Humboldt” on Thursday through Sunday.  Complete schedule of events at  redwoodacres.com   See you there!




While meandering the backroads of South Carolina- which I’m sure we all do occasionally- one cannot help noticing the most notable structure in Bowman, the “Official South Carolina UFO Welcome Center”.  I tell you, these folks are ON it. Ready, definitely ready for visitors.

UFO Welcome Center, Bowman SC, pop. 890

Are we as ready as they are? Our two welcome centers (the one in Arcata and the one at the Chamber building) are well-stocked and the tiny staff is helpful,  but in Eureka especially the traffic roars past without stopping, even though the number of inquiries to the Chamber has being rising steadily. Remember the kerfluffle a few years ago when a waitress at the late, great Seafood Grotto  told an inquiring visitor that there was “nothing to do” in Humboldt? I think that same waitress served me. Right around that time I took a visitor to lunch who inquired about the oyster stew.  The server wrinkled her nose. “Eewwww! I don’t eat those, “she said.

For awhile there we had remedial classes at CR in the care and treatment of visitors but I haven’t heard about those lately. Do we still have them? Do we still need them? Are you and your staff ready to deal with visitor inquiries? Do any of you do your own training? Tell us about it and tell us if you have unmet needs in this area.

The structure in Bowman was built by a fellow who works in a lawnmower factory in nearby Orangeburg ( yes, they still MANUFACTURE things in South Carolina) and is conveniently located right behind the gas station, handy for fueling up for the return trip.

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