Thursday, June 11, 2009

Random Thoughts and Ramblings

I am back to work now and finally feel like I am somewhat caught up (at least as caught up as normal). The first few days of work after the small break were brutal with at least twice feeling very overwhelmed but I am still glad we did it and am working on our next break probably towards the beginning of fall.

Fathers Day is just a little over a week away and we are going to be doing something that goes against the grain of traditional business thought. We are going to be giving away food on the busiest day of the year! While Judy and I were driving down the road on our trip, she came up with this bright idea and it felt good so I jumped on it and ran. We will be selling Steak and Eggs for $8.99 of which by my restaurateur's mind is at or below cost. Why am I doing such a crazy thing? Well, I actually have three reasons: First, I am doing it for Judy. I value her contribution in our diner, I could not ask for a better partner and Jimmy is willing to come in on his days off and fire up our BBQ to do up the steaks even better (Hmmm, I just realized that I am not marketing this one right. This is actually, BBQ Steak and Eggs for $8.99). Secondly, cause it just feels good. Now, I know that is not always the best thing for a business man to do but it has worked for me in the past a time or two so who knows. And lastly but not least, I am doing this as yet another thank you to the public for a very good year. I don't have the figures right now but this year is definitely up from last quite a bit and what better way to say 'Thanks' than on the busiest day of the year. My kids will undoubtedly have to start without me at the demolition derby in Redmond because I think that I will be working just a little later than normal that day. BTW, it looks as if we will be sponsoring the event yet another year which by my figures makes us a sponsor for around twenty years.

Our next big event shortly on the heals of that will be our Fourth of July BBQ and Blues. This was the first big event that we ever had at the new Jake's which makes it our fifth annual fourth event. And since we turned it over to the Vietnam Veterans in 2007 it will be our fifth annual fourth event with the third straight year of the same sponsor. I cannot think of anything that is unique for the second year but their is a first and that is the name. It just seems to flow better as the Taelour Project (of which I did coin the name last year) is primarily a blues type band. This will be our fifth year for them and I don't see us doing anything different in the coming years there. Last years event was a success and I don't see this as being much different. Many of the vets will be here to help us serve while many others will be coming to support the event. Once more, out of the norm of marketing, next Monday, I am bringing in a man to meet up with the Band of Brothers to promote an event that conflicts with this one. Why would I do such a thing? Because I believe in this other event, I feel that there is room in our town for more than one event, and I honor our customers decision to choose what they feel to be where they want to go. That event is another 'Tax Day' event down at the old mill district. They will be having a parade of vets at 3PM and speakers talking from four till dusk of which will be the same time as our BBQ.

Now, I will probably be way to busy preparing for our own event but if I can swing it will at least be there to march or ride along with some of my other fellow vets for this huge cause. I will attempt this because I feel personally that it is way past time that we stand up and be counted on the issue of the direction that our country is taking as of late.

This is not a Democrat or Republican issue but one of realism. As we go about our daily business, I don't know of any business man out there who is not preparing for an up and coming very real possibility of hard and inflationary times and nearly every day we seem to hear things coming from Washington that can only feed this.

We have lost quite a few businesses in the last year here in Bend and many of them were lost because of debt problems. So, how can we possibly figure that we can survive and thrive in a larger scale as a country by increasing our debt? Other businesses that have failed have done so by expanding to much. So, once more how can we possibly see a brighter future in our country by expanding our government and adding more to our tax structure?

We bailed out banks of which just led us to a smaller amount of larger bigger banks that have tightened their rules for loans making it harder for businesses and individuals to borrow. We have set up programs to assist the ones who have not been as careful with their debts and are ignoring the ones who are hurting but have worked hard to do the right thing and keep up with their payments. This at times seems to go against the grain of personal responsibility. Now, I realize that their are and will be some very needing persons who will be helped but I am looking at this from an over all viewpoint.

And the latest bail out seems to be above and beyond all measure of reason. We bailed out two of our largest automakers only to see them both go into a government induced form of bankruptcy where we now own the major stock in one of them and have allowed the sale of the other to a foreign firm thus harming our local investors of that same stock. Within the realm of these same decisions someone some where has decided that it will be better off for both of these companies if they reduce the amount of distributors. This decision just does not make any sense and of even lesser sense is how the decision of who stays or goes is made.

First off, is only makes sense if the distributors harm the larger companies cash flow or bottom line. But all of these distributors cost the main company nothing and have no feasible bearing on their bottom line. All of these distributors paid well to be one, have paid for all of their vehicles and parts, employ many people, and influence businesses that are close by. Part of the fall out of this might be seen right in front of our business as the Chevron station that was probably highly supported by the Chrysler lot that sat next door is now not selling gas. We used to have problems with our lot being encroached with cars from that same Chrysler lot that had not enough parking spots for all of their crew. Now, there are tons of spots for the same much smaller crew.

Making even less sense is the closing down of the local Chevrolet dealership. That dealership has been in this community for nearly one hundred years. I have watched it owners give back to the community over and over and to my understanding was a very profitable business. The same could be said of the Hamilton's up in Redmond. Since the passing of Dave, his wife and daughter have gone to great lengths to let it be known to the community that they would keep the business running just as it was before and now we are pulling the rug out from under a widows feet both in the Jeep and Chevrolet line.

Do they honestly think that we as customers will drive fifty miles to buy one of their cars when their is so much more of a variety right here in town of vehicles that we know that we can count on? None of these decisions have done anything to help the customers trust. I have a friend who has always purchased new Chevies. He always bought them from Bob Thomas of whom he trusts. He was recently sent a letter from the regional VP of Sales for General Motors asking him to keep his trust and his business. He promptly sent a letter back with a copy to Bob Thomas that told of his disappointment in their recent decisions and of his intentions in the future of driving a Honda from the same dealership that he has always had trust in.

Now I have always and will always respect our governing bodies. But the last I knew it was still our government of which is to make it's decisions based upon the desires of it's people. So, if you don't agree with what is happening, now is the time to make those disagreements known.

While we are talking of stimulating the countries economy, let me give you my tongue in cheek version of a stimulus package that seems to me to be a very workable smart idea ( I only wish that I had thought of it first). Give every person over the age of 55 one million dollars. This money will have the following three requirements to it: One, they must retire. Our unemployment rate will immediately drop. Two, they must purchase or pay off their existing houses. This will stimulate the building, solve housing problems, and feed the banks. And thirdly, they must purchase a new American made car thus shoring up the auto industry. I understand the financial figures of such a plan will be greatly less than what we have already paid out.

Now, I am not a politician and know that I could never be one. I also know that things are far more complicated than this simple man's mind. So, with that, I will get back down off of my soap box and continue to run our small business in the best way that I can.

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