Last week I met with St. Olaf grad Phong Nguyen about his new company, AhaDiscounts. He hosts local businesses’ promotional discounts on his website. People who carry his City Discount Card can then get year-round discounts at those businesses.
Local governments and independent non-profits can be resources for business owners in need of support, especially in today’s tougher economic times. In Northfield, however, not everyone agrees on what the government and non-profits should do in order to offer the most help to the most business owners. The Representative Journalism Project attempted to collect more information about the matter by issuing a survey in January to 60 business owners or managers from a variety of fields. (continued)
It’s been a tough few months for many downtown businesses. First there were high gas prices cutting into families budgets, then there were the street projects complicating access, finally there was the Global Financial Contraction challenging the minds of the best and brightest.
As Radtke found out, local retailers are seeing some impacts on their customers. Pinched in the present and worried about the future, folks are being more careful about their money. Radtke reports that store owners have responded by cutting operating costs, working to build other income centers, and trying new promotions to get people into their stores.
Not all businesses are experiencing slowing sales. Some are holding steady and a few are even up slightly from last year. However, Radtke notes that even these business owners have contingency plans in place, such as a shift from luxury goods to more practical items.
Many local experts who spoke to Radtke believe that the media coverage of economic set-backs, a steady drumbeat featuring sub-prime mortgages in California, risky commercial loans in Iceland, and a store closing in Northfield can undermine consumer confidence. Feeding the pessimism, they warn, can extend the recession.
Radtke ends his piece on a positive note. Entrepreneurs, like the downtown business owners he interviewed, run on optimism. They’ll continue to make adjustments, and believe that economic conditions, and retail sales, will eventually improve.
Griff had suggested that I close the comments on this post and send them to my previous post on the Deep Economy. I’ve decided that I disagree. I hope that the comments on “Digging Deeper into the Local Economy” will focus on ideas for shifting some pieces of the economy from global to local in order to benefit the Northfield community.
For this piece, I’d like to explore the impact of the media on consumer confidence and economic conditions. Do you think the media’s stories on economic events have an impact on the economy?
Continue for the text of Myles’ article or see the PDF:
I’ve owned an Amazon Kindle (wireless reading device) for about six weeks now. It’s been out for almost a year but I waited to see if there was significant industry and user momentum behind it before I ordered one.
There’s lots to like about it. Among my favorites: reading in the bright sun; reading a book while eating — no hands required; highlighting and making notes that can be exported; free sample chapters of new books.
There are two other early morning coffee drinkers I see who’ve gotten a Kindle lately. Hey, that’s almost enough to start a NKUP (Northfield Kindle Users Group.) Anyone want to organize it?
For every two bikes I sell, Kona will donate one to a home health worker in Africa as part of the BikeTown Africa program. This video explains the program better than I can.
This particular bike is a single-speed utilitarian model with “thorn-proof tires”. A three-speed model is also available. Go to Jerry’s blog to get to the tech specs of the bike; I just liked the idea that you can shop local and support an important humanitarian cause at the same time. Jerry, like many of our independent retailers here in Northfield, has a lot of interesting ideas.
Northfield News managing editor Jaci Smith wrote an article a month ago about Tom’s book titled, Swift tells story of oft-forgotten pitcher. (Tom was editor of the Northfield News for a few years earlier this decade.)
I know these are piece ‘o cake questions for many of you long-time townies and/or regular commenters here.
So for this post, initial guesses (until nailed correctly) should only be submitted by people who’ve not yet commented here on Locally Grown thus far this calendar year, 2008… hence my use of the word ‘newbie.’
Sooooooo…… click the thumbnail to enlarge and if you’re a (relative) newbie, make a guess at one, two, or all three of these questions (attach a comment):
Who are these guys, what are they doing and why?
3/8 update: Jerry Bilek (Monkey See Monkey Read) nails it. See this poster and the comment thread for details.