Sunday, March 28, 2010

Memorable Merchant(s) -

Usually, when I share experiences in Memorable Merchants, it is pertaining to a single merchant.  Today, it makes sense to focus on a group of local Gresham merchants that are trying to make a significant difference in our community.

Try Local First is a coalition of local business groups, launched by the Gresham Chamber of Commerce to urge East County citizens to support our own quality of life by supporting local businesses.  To their credit, check out the Try Local First banner in the rotation at the bottom of their home page.

The coalition's premise is based on a simple economic concept:  spend money locally, and the money stays in the local community longer and does more good than dollars that are sent outside the area, state, or country.


If you are an East County business owner - get involved.  If you are an East County resident, look for the Try Local First placards in local businesses.  At a minimum, look to our local merchants FIRST every time you shop.


Friday, March 26, 2010

Memorable Merchant - ShedRain Umbrellas

How often do you use a product for 14 years, have it fail (wear out, actually), inquire skeptically about the so called "Lifetime Warranty" and be taken care of without a single question asked?

Yes, I'm amazed, too.

ShedRain is a third-generation Oregon company founded in 1947. With a name like ShedRain, what else does an Oregon company make? Umbrellas, of course! And quality ones at that. Remember the 14 year statement?

When my wife's umbrella finally gave up, I called to find out about the Lifetime Warranty. Helpful-Warranty-Manager-Brandy said bring it in and they would take a look at it. So I did. Again, without any questioning, she cheerfully accepted the umbrella for inspection. Brandy indicated that within a week or so, she would have a decision on whether it could be repaired or if they will need to replace it.

Replace it? Again, I point out 14 years!

Friends and family are likely tired of the frequent story I tell about my first visit to a Les Schwab Tire Center years ago with a nail in my tire. When I tried to pay for the repair, they said "no charge." When I asked why, they said that it looked as it I would be needing tires in the near future and that they would appreciate it if I thought of them. Are you kidding? Since that day, I've never gone anywhere else.

From this day forward, I will never buy an umbrella from any manufacturer other than ShedRain. I suggest you do the same.


Saturday, March 20, 2010

Free Pastry Day at Starbucks March 23

Starbucks is bringing back their "Free Pastry Day" on Tuesday, March 23.  Simply print this coupon, take it to a participating location and "nosh!"



PS: Click on this small thumbnail image to display a larger image to print.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Gresham Rotary Wine Raffle!

The Gresham Rotary is ready to go with this year's Wine Raffle, Dinner, and Auction Event!

Friday, April 30
6:00 to 10:00 PM
Persimmon Country Club
500 SE Butler Road
Gresham, OR 97080

This is the 7th annual event with a dinner, silent auction, and wine raffle.  A good opportunity to have some fun and help a very good cause at the same time.  Rotary is a worldwide organization of business and professional leaders that provide humanitarian service, encourages high ethical standards in all vocations, and helps build goodwill and peace in the world. Approximately 1.2 million Rotarians belong to more than 31,000 Rotary Clubs located in 167 countries..

This is not a formal event, but it's a perfect time for me to wear one of my bow ties!  There's wine tasting, great food, and the auction -- simply a fun night.  $50 per person.

The Wine Raffle is a hoot.  Tickets are $5 each with prizes being:
  • 3rd Prize:  10 bottles
  • 2nd Prize:  25 bottles
  • 1st Prize:  50 bottles
The Silent Auction usually holds a great variety of items on which to bid.  Some are small; many are significant.  In the past, they have had in the neighborhood of 40 items.

Can you tell why I'm excited? I'll be there... Will you?


Sunday, March 14, 2010

If This Doesn't Motivate You...

...then you're not "motivate-able!"

Tennis buddies: it's almost time!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

New Wine for Seniors

There is a new wine being developed just for seniors.  Vintners in California's Napa Valley, which primarily produce Pinot Blanc, Pinot Noir, and Pinot Grigio wines have developed a new hybrid grape that acts as an "anti-diuretic.”

It is an extraordinary breakthrough that has not only the wine industry, but the medical community taking notice.

The wine will be marketed as… Pino More.

(Sorry – couldn’t resist.)

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Golf Back in the Gresham-Barlow School District

Recently, I received the following press release from the Gresham-Barlow School District. I'm happy to say golf is back! (And I'm also happy to say the fundraising golf tournament mentioned was a blast!

Gresham-Barlow School District News
January 12, 2010
Gresham-Barlow School District Reinstates Golf

Community-driven fundraising throughout the school year allows district to bring program back for 2009-2010 school year.

The Gresham-Barlow School Board reinstated the district's high school golf program after a series of successful fundraisers brought in $15,600 to pay for the program. The sport had been suspended for the 2009-2010 school year as a part of the school district's efforts to reduce the co-curricular budget.

"I am pleased our student athletes will have the opportunity to participate in this co-curricular program in spite of our budget challenges," said Superintendent John Miner. "The community support that has been shown for our students is truly appreciated."

High school golf coaches Ron Jones, Tom Starr, Jeff Nielson, and Scott Shields led the fundraising efforts. Student Tommy Schmitz, who plays on Barlow's golf team, raised almost $8,000 through a golf scramble fundraiser he conducted.

Golf is the second sports program to be reinstated. At the beginning of the school year, a community member anonymously donated $21,000 to restore the water polo program. The district was forced to reduce its co-curricular budget by $500,000 this school year due to reduced state funding. A majority of the cuts came at the middle school level. Cuts to the co-curricular program were part of an $11 million reduction to
the district's entire budget for the 2009-2010 school year.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

How NOT to Use PowerPoint

I ran across this recently and couldn't resist sharing it. From someone who lives in the PowerPoint world, and has seen all the bad juju that comes with poor slides, this is hysterical.


Monday, March 1, 2010

Safeway Grounds United Airlines

Today was the first day that I did not swipe my Safeway card when picking up my regular Starbucks purchase.  Effective February 28, Safeway has canceled the long-running United Airlines frequent-flyer program tied to their Safeway Club Card.

In a recent announcement, the move was to focus on reducing prices for ALL shoppers. Not a bad move.  Safeway has been higher priced on many items for years.  Me?  I pick up a few things along with my Starbucks purchases as needed.

It was only to get the miles.

For years, Safeway has awarded to Club Card holders who sign up for the United Mileage Plus Reward program 125 miles for every $250 spent on qualifying merchandise.  Will that get me to Fiji?  I think not.  Does that make me feel like I'm getting something for my loyalty?  Absolutely!

The irony in removing a frequent flier program actually runs contrary to the "frequent buyer" mentality.  I don't expect to buy my odds and ends there any longer since there is no benefit.  My wife does almost 100% of her shopping at Fred Meyer where there is a direct gift card rebate quarterly - and she gets gas discounts.

Starbucks recently initiated their Starbucks Rewards program, seeing the value in rewarding loyalty as McDonalds, Dunkin Donuts, and now Burger King continue to provide competition.

In a competitive grocery environment, Safeway may believe they are becoming more competitive, but I would argue they are looking in the wrong places.  I can go on and on about process improvement, lean operations and the like - areas where real and significant costs can be engineered out.  Sure, it costs Safeway to "buy" the miles United awards, but that is a coveted benefit I will miss.

I would speculate that after a recent request to have Club Card holders "renew" their participation in the program, they may not have had a large number take that action.  Again, asking a participating member to "renew" when they can see who are members and how many use the program, seems misguided.  They simply don't get it.

I do see one benefit, though: my wallet is now one card lighter!