Follow by Email

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Year 2009


Perhaps since the Great Depression or at least since any of us can remember, 2009 rates right up there as the biggest mixed bag of hope, soap and dope we have ever witnessed. Now, we do not have bread lines or apple sales on street corners, that was 1934 not 2009; but we have very similar situations. Every one of us knows at least one person out of work. Most of us know of a business that has gone under or is teetering on the edge. And as we look within ourselves, how many of us are adjusting or shifting careers and getting into something else that we believe will help us keep our houses and sooth our creditors? 2009 has indeed been economically wacky.

Now, there is Hope. The financial markets are re-stabilizing. Gold and mutual funds have strengthened. Some markets are growing. Businesses like Anna’s Pizzeria in Apex are expanding. The Automotive Industry is slowly straightening itself out. And inflation continues to head in the right direction. Unemployment is easing but we have to continue to watch the “meatless sandwich” that the Obama Administration calls the jobless recovery.

There is Soap… How many politicians and superheroes have messed up their personal lives with the blatancy of their positions? Governors, Senators, heck almost everyone of positional power person takes advantage of it. In North Carolina, the problems of our former governor and the continuing reflection of our current governor in regards to flights have shortened our patience and increased our cynicism. In sports, all the Tigers made headlines. The one living in Orlando is, as they say in the South, a mess. And the Detroit first baseman that partied into the early morning of a home game at season-end cost a critical loss and a pennant.

And finally, there is plenty of Dope. Most recently, Italian Prime Minister Berlusconi gets his face bashed in by an attacker because of his private indiscretions and scandals. How did someone get so close? The White House gate crashing is the security comedic highlight of the year, but there are other stories. Remember the Balloon Boy fiasco? How about the extremely short-lived “buy a grade program” in one of our local elementary schools? In another area, the continuing problems of rebounding oil prices for profit, is the major reason for the struggles of our local economy. Just read the back pages of the Wall Street Journal. When gas prices rise for no apparent logical reason and more money comes out of the wallet, people cut back. They eat at home and bag their lunch. They master “couponing” and the local restaurants and stores have much less traffic. The more revenue that oil makes, the weaker our economy continues to be. Keep gas at $2.00 a gallon for six months and see what happens. This “ain’t rocket science”. The instability of Dubai and the apparent lack of OPEC focus will lessen the chance of the two buck gas idea, but I love the thought for our families and businesses that depend on transportation. The challenges and confusion of H1N1 vaccine distribution continues. Now that everyone can get it are we out of the woods? Afghanistan is taking a lot of our attention as it well should. But as we send more troops in, we announce at the same time we are withdrawing them. Which is it?
Regardless of politics and personal beliefs, we have one commonality, 2009 has been one wild and crazy ride.

In the New Year, 2010 will show steady economic growth. Mr. Obama will continue to improve as President. The mid-term elections will soon dominate the news. Watch the Tea Party party as it gains strength. Hopefully we will continue to improve our professional and personal situations through focus and hard work. That is one thing that has not changed since 1934. It has not changed since 1776. As a nation we are a great people.

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.
www.vtrconsulting.com

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Scary Chris-mess


12-16-09 Apex, NC
Kindle? I thought they said Ken Doll. I ordered six Barbies too.

Got to love the new HH Gregg radio spot. It is true punishment to listen to it and it drives me to Best Buy, even for batteries!

I want to give Rush, Sean, Bill, Mark and the Prez the important gifts of humbleness and gratefulness. All five of them can’t pass a mirror without stopping in true admiration. This will shock my Crat friends, I honestly think the President will fix that overtime. The others, absolutely no hope…

Ahhh, but I agree with a lot of what the talk show dudes say… But you knew that! Lately, I give all of them, including the President a C! Actually, the President gets an incomplete. He has a ton to accomplish in 2010. I support that!

I want to gift all our celebrities with simple faithfulness. It works. And it prevents completely innocent victims. These individuals should not want to be caught in those woods…

I wish common sense for all in political office. I wish honesty for all in political office.
Do we have any honest, common sense ones? Come on mid-term elections!

On Christmas Eve, I am heading to Walgreens and buying everyone on my wish list a French-English dictionary in paperback, and a bag of green and red M&M’s. Who said Holiday shopping wasn’t easy?

And speaking of Holiday… Do you say Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, or Season’s Greetings?

I hear snow is coming to the Triangle… Yeah sure… There go the eggs and bread… and beer.

Have you noticed only Geico hasn’t gone seasonal on us when every flippin’ single commercial on TV features an Elf near a bunch of toys?

The Bowl season will soon be all over the place. I predict that Alabama will beat the Detroit Lions 48-3. And that is just after they beat Texas in three OT's... yep… on the SAME DAY!

Ouch, the HH Gregg commercial is playing on WPTF 680 again. Crap… Hang on; I just shut it off. Thanks for waiting.

Also on the radio this morning, an Army WAC came on to wish her children here in NC a Blessed Christmas. She also wished her son in Iraq the same thing. WOW!! God bless her. Remember to say your Pledge of Allegiance and to support all our brave men and women who give us freedom in times when it is not so free.

Did you know that 150,000 women served in the Women’s Army Corps during WW II?

Just fill in the blank… Merry ___________ to all and to all a good blog!

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Peak of Good Festivals


12-03-09 Apex NC

WOW! What a Festival we had.

Historic Downtown Apex rocked for 72 hours as events, gatherings, awards, films and VIP’s became vogue along Salem Street and in the Halle Cultural Arts Center. We declare the Peak City Film Festival – Family Style a wonderful success.

Jerry Mathers and Charlie Gaddy have quickly become the famous faces of the Festival. These two dynamic individuals, stars in their own right, and who have both set numerous longevity records in the field of news and entertainment, brought their “everyman” appeal to each event they attended. What a pair of true gentlemen. What do you say about well known individuals who are also extremely friendly and giving? It is rare to see as we read the daily headlines. It is simply refreshing to have celebrities who are not self-evolved. Down the road when the Festival commits to a Hall of Fame, the first two plaques are easy. And the wall space is well worth it.

It is exciting to announce that both Jerry and Charlie will again be the faces you will see in 2010 as the second Peak City Film Festival – Family Style comes back to the town of Apex on November 20. It is not that far away.

Although a famous face is critical to the longevity of this effort, John Demers of Studio in the Woods is quite honestly, the heart. His festival vision to bring edutainment and increased family values to this community was central to its success. It continues to need his leadership and energy as year two fast approaches.

With the face smiling and the heart beating, the hands and feet of the festival this year were the senior committee and the simply awesome volunteers who worked BEYOND hard, long and cheap to make things happen. We put you away dirty and wet… And we love you so much for your efforts!

The life’s blood of our festival was the array of film producers whose efforts were the quite the show! You created awesome and wholesome entertainment that brought passion to the screen. Thank you so much.

The body of this year’s Festival is a no-brainer. It is you. The community came out in droves, selling out night one and bringing excitement to the historic street of Salem for three days!

Finally, the soul of the festival is never ending. It continues to be the generous and committed local, regional and national businesses who opened their up pocketbooks or gave “in-kind” donations in this crazy economy to make this unknown initial event an over- the- top success!

When you look deep and think about it, it is the soul that drives the opportunity. The Peak City Film Festival, the Rusty Bucket Kids Club, and the Studio in the Woods are more than committed to being in the business of creating business for our businesses. The Mission of the Festival as it evolves over time is exactly this. If we helped sell one more pizza, one more book, one more oil change, one more bottle of soda or one more dinner, we did it to keep our local community and our local businesses growing in the toughest of times.

Merry Christmas from all of us in the Peak City Film Festival – Family Style, to you and your family, and a Happy New Year!! Godspeed in 2010! Success every day!

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

The Peak City Film Festival - B2B Style


Apex, NC …November 18, 2009

We all know that the Peak City Film Festival – Family Style is heading into Apex at 90 miles an hour; Jerry Mathers of the beloved Leave It to Beaver TV series will be in town to receive the Festival’s Continuing Lifetime Achievement Award for his wonderful career. The Apex Herald, Carolina Business Connection, Southwest Wake News, the N&O, and Inside 919 all have run features about this event in recent days. This is a fast paced fun week for everyone involved, from the senior committee and volunteers to the cast and crew. Yes, cast and crew of the Rusty Bucket Kids Club will be around this weekend. The feature film, starring among others, the legendary Charlie Gaddy, will premiere at the sold out Festival Gala on Friday night. Don’t worry; go to http://peakcityfilmfestival.org so you can attend the 9:30 show that night at the Halle Cultural Arts Center in Historic Downtown Apex on Salem across from the Apex Chamber of Commerce. The website is also the place to purchase tickets to see the winning and honored films that have been submitted by a truly international array of film producers. Showings both Saturday and Sunday afternoon will delight families and general audience entertainment fans.

Now let’s slow this down. As we look at the Festival and the new TV show there one distinct commonality. Virtually “everyone sleeps in their own bed at night” stated John Demers, the Executive Producer of both events. And Demers planned it that way. His vision is simple; local supports local. I am on board with this Festival strictly because of his vision. As the Director of Corporate Relations, the department’s sole purpose is the business of driving business to all of our local businesses.

I have been very lucky. I am in the tallest tree in the organizational forest and I get to see all the other trees. What a view! We have hundreds of business; each sleeps in a local bedroom at night. Many support the Peak City Film Festival and every one of them deserves our patronage. I now know a couple hundred of our best business people by their first name. What a privilege. But privilege always comes with responsibility.

Our new Walmart of Apex has not had the consumer activity it anticipated. It has gotten off to a slow start. We wanted to help. Over the weekend you will see a Walmart informational table across from the Apex Chamber of Commerce in the Promenade Building near the enV Salon Color Bar and adjacent to the Common Grounds Coffee House. This is also the area to get The Rusty Bucket Kids Club DVD‘s and CD’s as well as the central location for Festival ticket Will Call.

I know we missed some businesses over the past two months; but the Festival is back on November 20, 2010 in year two and we will be in contact early in 2010 to build the B2B relationship.

And our ability to support business and community is worth the price of admission. So head to Historic Apex this weekend and have some good ole fun in the Peak of Good Living.
Again please go to the our website http://www.peakcityfilmfestival.org

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Yeah Yeah Yeah!!!


11-9-09 Apex, NC…
I was sitting in my office one late afternoon about this time of the year, when an employee rushed in with a big problem. He needed my help. He could not find anyone else. He had a critical report, full of incomplete disinformation , that was due on the big guy’s desk right away. The owner of the sand box wanted it ASAP. He needed to look good in front of everyone in the morning. This poor guy was late and over his head. He needed me to help fill in the some blanks. I listened with great patience, although I was in the middle of something for the big boss too, and with the straightest face I said, “Yeah, yeah, yeah; you and the Beatles!” This stuck in my cranium and I use it all the time.

From then on, I have integrated the Beatles in a true tongue and cheek way to assess the people in our professional lives who we are involved with at least 10 hours a day; yep, our business coworkers, acquaintances, cohorts, associates, customers and alliances. Now I have you thinking. Where is he going with this blog? How can John, Paul, George, and Ringo define the temperament, personality, and habits of the people around us? I mean, geez, this is so Sixties!

Actually there was a voluminous amount of organizational assessment that was launched by disciplines like organizational behavior and industrial psychology in that decade of freedom and self discovery. But this is more White Album than White Paper. And it was not all the Beatles. It was the classic songwriting legends, the duo of Paul McCartney and John Lennon.

And you know, although I am being mostly and highly facetious with what you are about to read, there might be a semblance of something real there.

Hit it Ringo!

Help! Remember the guy above who needed to finish the report?

I Want To Hold Your Hand. These people only work when you do this.

A Hard Day’s Night. Work is everything. Too bad you have forgotten the name of your kids.

Fixing a Hole. These people are always in the middle of something while leaning on their “shovels”.

Eight Days a Week. The boss just put up next week’s schedule.

Good Day Sunshine. You are still sleeping and that guy is already at work.

Please Please Me. These employees volunteer for everything and nothing gets done.

Mean Mr. Mustard. This is the one who owns the sandbox.

I’ll Be Back. Have you ever made a cold call?

Helter Skelter. If your organization or your circle of influence is big enough, you can think of at least one.

Let It Be. Ever played referee in an issue that did not involve you at all?

Yesterday. You ask this coworker to do something and it is already done.

Twist and Shout. Have you ever had a slight miscommunication with a customer?

The Fool On The Hill. Read Mean Mr. Mustard again.

Nowhere Man. Think about the employee with the Golden Handcuffs.

I’m Happy Just to Dance with You. Did you survive the last “off boarding” week when six people were let go due to the jobless recovery?

I am the Walrus. Finally I mention me and all of us who are small business owners!

Maybe I should expand on this blog and make it a seminar!

Hope you had a little fun reading this.

Please attend the Peak City Film Festival that starts November 19. Tickets can be had at www.peakcityfilmfestival.org

And have a wonderful and blessed Happy Thanksgiving!

Remember even though this is not a Lennon/McCartney title, be kind to the turkeys in your life!

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Local Loco

Apex, NC 11-08-09

I am loco for Local. The old saying, "all politics is local" is a very powerful commentary about the human being. Cave people hunted and plundered close to the shelter of the open cave. Over the centuries, need forced us to travel in chariots, covered wagons and eventually automobiles to distant lands for the purposes of success and discovery. Today, there is no need to physically travel to the remotest island in the South Atlantic. I can travel there on google earth and hit the website for gorgeous pictures and commentary. By the way that is the island of Tristan Da Cunha. I have seen the Queen Mary's Peak. In fact I go there a couple times a month. I love it there. My travels are at Internet speed. But when I am there via the information highway (who remembers calling it that) I am a local.

So to say I am a local fan of local is very true. Most of us get it when it comes to local. Some of us are forced to accept it because of the price of bread,eggs and gasoline. But all of our livelihood comes from our jobs near our homes. Our "family" is next store or down the block or across the street. With one of five of us here who actually were born here, we bond with next store who came here from Wyoming, and we share dinner with the family from New Jersey down the street.

Here is my message. We still are not out of what I call the Great Recession. So we want our community to survive and succeed. We want our local businesses to survive and succeed. Inside 919, Carolina Business Connection, and our local Chamber exist with this sole purpose. The inaugural Peak City Film Festival and the new pilot, The Rusty Bucket Kids Club exist strictly for the success of the community. They get it. It is their vision.

Local drives our ups and downs, our losses and our wins, and it even educates our children. Our hospitals, restaurants, and grocery stores are local. Our downtowns are local. And we need to become localites and promote local every chance we can get. Because we live here. Because we work here. Because we love here. It is more than responsibility. It is more than common sense. It is about opportunity.

Support the Peak City Film Festival, the neighborhood grocery store, and your favorite hangout. Do it just because it's local.

I want you to walk over to your refrigerator and look at the drawings, appointments, pictures and magnets that splash the doors with everything local. See I wasn't kidding! It starts with your fridge. You have been doing it all along!

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Apex NC Goes Hallewood!!! 11-21 and 11-22

11-04-09

Jerry Mathers is the special VIP guest for the global debut of the Rusty Bucket Kids Club! We are only days away from the event of the year for Historic Apex, NC!

The Peak City Film Festival-Family Style is now fully dressed in formal attire and is ready to walk the red carpet!

On Friday November 19th, at the Halle Cultural Center, Jerry Mathers, the lovable Beav in the classic television show Leave It To Beaver, will make a special appearance at the Peak City Film Festival Sponsor Night during the premiere of The Rusty Bucket Kids Club Television Show!

Tickets sales are underway for the 1st Annual Peak City Film Festival-Family Style Event. Venues will be open on Saturday November 21 and Sunday November 22 in Downtown Apex!!

Tickets for admission to the screenings of the films and productions that have been entered in the Peak City Film Festival are available for advance reservation through the PCFF website http://www.peakcityfilmfestival.org and at three locations in historic downtown Apex.

These locations are:

Common Grounds Coffeehouse
219 North Salem Street
Apex, NC 27502


The Rusty Bucket
104-A North Salem Street
Apex, NC 27502


All Booked Up Bookstore
104-B North Salem Street
Apex, NC 27502


For more information call 919 533 9069 or e-mail sales@peakcityfilmfestival.org OR rustybucketkidsclub@gmail.com

COME MEET JERRY MATHERS as he spends the entire Festival weekend in good 'ole Apex...

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Good Morning Charlie!

Apex NC, 10-20-09

In 1970, a gentleman named Charlie Gaddy came to the Triangle, joined the WRAL family and started "Good Morning Charlie" on local television. Twenty-four years later, Charlie retired as the anchor on WRAL; but as always, good people never fade away, they continue to touch people's lives. In his final broadcast, July 1, 1994, he stated this to his final audience: " Thank you for being my friends. We will meet again some sunny day!"

The first time I met Charlie it was a sunny day in the Triangle. It was Monday, October 19, 2009. Yep, it was yesterday. Yet, I now count Charlie as one of my friends because his presence makes every day a sunny one. His persona and kindness shine through to everyone. My definition of a Southern Gentleman is a simple one. Charlie Gaddy. He has never met a stranger and treats everyone with respect and commonality, regardless of stature or position.

He was in Apex yesterday filming his role as Grampa Peakson for the new television pilot, Rusty Bucket Kids Club. Unbelievably, this is his first acting role, and he was excellent in character. You will enjoy the twinkle he brings to the small screen.

I stood quietly in the background during the filming yesterday in the wonderfully eclectic Rusty Bucket store on Salem in Downtown Apex. My role in the production company is as critical as it is unique. You see, I am Charlie's driver.

In my 30+ years of work, I have to tell you that this job rates near the top. It is such a privilege to be one-on-one with this legend in broadcasting. It is quite an experience for me.

In the late 70's, Charlie was the master of ceremonies for the Miss Apex Pageant. As he approached the podium and began to speak, the snickers became distracting. Looking over his shoulder, Charlie noticed the X has fallen from the sign that said, the Miss Apex pageant. Just a moment in his professional life that typifies the humanity we all have have in common.

As you spend time with Charlie you realize that his past and present will be our future. Just take care of people around you and involve them in what you do. That is Charlie's success. And it is a simple path to follow.

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Walmart Smart

Apex NC 10-14-09

Although it was 55 degrees and cloudy with light rain this morning, it was bright and sunny and 70 degrees in the new Walmart in Apex. I had the privilege to hold the yellow ribbon with new store manager Theresa Drake and our Mayor, Keith Weatherly, as the ribbon cutting and grand opening took place before employees, managers, Chamber members and manufacturer reps, as well as the most important people, Walmart customers. After the ceremony, I was one of the first with a cart. I needed a dorm room fridge for our son, a sophomore at State, and this was the place to get it. Yes,I got a great deal!

Here is the thing, and it is at the heart of this commentary. Apex employment increased by 420 this morning. I counted the smiles! And our tax and revenue base increased big time as well, in what is still considered nationally as a slow jobless recovery. Mayor Weatherly, in his remarks, stated with a vein of humor, "It's about time Walmart found us."

All of us present at this grand opening agree. The store is drop dead gorgeous. Large aisles and well placed items typify the Walmart focus. It is a wonderful place to get EVERYTHING!

Save money. Live better. That is Walmart's theme. This store will bring traffic from Fuquay, Holly Springs, Cary, and Pittsboro. This day is a major moment in Apex history, and further insures Apex, the Peak of Good Living, to be a player on the East Coast for real estate, industry, newcomers, and opportunity for a long time.

Without a doubt, Apex is a great place to live, play and work. I talked to Chris Welborn, the Walmart Market Manager about the first Apex community event that Walmart might associate itself with, the Peak City Film Festival-Family Style. It is a perfect match. The common denominator for Walmart, Apex, and the Festival, is family.

Check out the new Walmart! And thank them for employing your neighbor! Walmart's presence in our town changes how we do business. And that's wonderful news!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

Detroit Guy

10-6-09 Apex, NC

Don't be confused by the location above. I am a Detroit Guy. If you know me you know I grew up in the Motor City. Persistence, passion, hope, loyalty, optimism, success, and hard work are learned aspects of who and what Detroiters are. And for me, I learned them through the Detroit sports teams and my years in the car business!

My Detroit Tigers lost last night in the most bizarre indoor setting and with the craziest result that I have ever seen in baseball. If the ump was wearing my glasses he would have noticed Inge got hit by the baseball and we would have gone ahead. Again. Lost balls, umpire fiascoes, the entire roster playing, and spectacular plays ended the twenty three week Tiger reign in First Place, ended their quest for their very first American League Central Division title and put them in coach for the LONG short flight home. It is the off season now. And nobody in town is believing it. You think I was doing a telethon with the tweets(@salestherapist), the calls and the voice messages I received during and after the game. You see, I take my Tigers very, very seriously.

Believing success this season is one thing; predicting it is another. I never said it out loud but the tiny word "choke" was in the back of my head for 163 games. Maybe it was the sweep at home by Boston in June or maybe it was the Royals home sweep in September, but it did get you thinking. This 2009 Bengal version can lose with relish. I love Leyland and the guys. They play hard and bring their lunch box to the mound and plate. But 1968 and 1984 happen too infrequently. In 1961, the Tigers won 101 ball games and finished second to NY. Those winning-losing seasons happen too often in Motown. I was not here in 1907, 1908, 1909, 1934, 1935, 1940 and 1945.

In football, we have been waiting since 1957 for the Lions to win another championship. Now all of us hope they get to the Super Bowl before we die. The Wings, awesome in the regular season most years, can fall over too. Check where the Stanley Cup is right about now. And my Pistons, with relatively few exceptions since they played in Fort Wayne, are the Pistons.

The best teams are in history. Bobby Hebert and the USFL Michigan Panthers, and the AFL Detroit Drive, exist as champions in our Detroit memories. Who can forget the Silverdome rocking with cheap beer and a full house as Anthony Carter or Kenny Lacy make huge play after play. They are still Champions down Motown Memory Lane.

Lately, you can buy a house in the City of Detroit for 11,000 dollars and there is a 20% plus unemployment rate. But you cannot find a finer community that has suffered so much over the past century. It is a resilient community. Just like the Tigers, they never give up, even in the search for success. History will be kind to Detroit. Greektown, Buddy's Pizza, the Henry Ford, the Riverfront, and beautiful well-manicured suburbs typify what Detroit is all about.

The car business is cyclical and will be back. Quite frankly, Detroit will always be the Arsenal Of Democracy that helped win World War II. The birthplace of mass production is unique and all American.This is Detroit!

But we learn life from sports and we learned a big lesson in the bottom of the 12th last night. Ahh, but there is hope.

"We will win in 2010!!"

Monday, October 5, 2009

Idle Thoughts By Accident

10-5-09 Apex, NC...

Did anyone see the crash test on YouTube that features a 1959 Chevy Bel Air and a 2009 Chevy Malibu? Front-end at 40 MPH. You will be surprised.

People are still driving down the road checking e-mails, texting, tweeting, and answering their phones. I bet one of two fender benders are caused by cell-phone use.

If you want residual income, use grocery and restaurant coupons; I have saved a $1000at the grocery store this year just by coupon use. Try it. You go to the store without coupons and you lose money by accident. Think of coupons as tiny paychecks.

Big names are crashing as we speak. David Letterman is lucky to have his job and still more rounds of craziness for John Edwards.

Start planning your Holiday shopping and events now!! It will be here before you know it.

I was almost run over again by a silent Prius as I stepped off the curb over at Beaver Commons. Can't they put a beeper on those things when they go electric?

It is interesting as I offer partnerships and sponsorships to businesses for the Peak City Film Festival. The gate keepers come out like Night of the Living Dead in protective mode and everyone is in a meeting, on the phone, off-site, had to leave, etc.

I just smile. My 86 page dissertation in grad school was on bureaucratic inertia and gate keeping.

If you are a business, it is okay to say, "not this year". It saves a lot of time and will not hurt our feelings. Actually, that kind of candor is refreshing. It keeps me from coming back; and you know I will be back...

Finally, according to the Washington Post, there have been 342,000 injuries caused by cell phone drivers.

And that statistic my friends is no accident.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Just Like Us, Only Different!

Apex, NC... 9-26-09

The term "made in" is an interesting term. We see it everywhere,from clothes to cars. In fact with the automotive industry, the phrase "Made in Detroit" has changed over time. We now see "Made in Japan" and most recently "Made in China" as very credible partners of the U.S car business.

Being a native Detroiter, I still wish everyone drove a Ford or Chevy. But that is not current reality. Imports are the majority of what we drive in the Triangle. In fact, I was stunned when I was passed the other day, while I drove my HUMMER, by a Toyota Prius with DUAL EXHAUSTS! Times have certainly changed.

I was really reminded of that yesterday at the Final Friday Forum, the always excellent opportunity to network, that is hosted by Dancing Elephants in Cary every month.

The guest speaker, the best I have seen this year, was Gary S. Davis. He is a speaker on business networking and is the author of Networking In The South. He had recently visited China and he spoke to us about the commonality and the differences of the American and the Chinese "world view". It was very cool stuff.

That got me thinking. At the 2009 Detroit Auto Show the Chinese had presence. Believe this, China has about 30 automotive manufacturers. Saab and HUMMER are part of this stable. According to DailyFinance.com, auto sales are up 36% from last year in China. And they will soon have a big foot print here in the US.

Chery Automobile, Tenyzhong, Geely Automotive, and Beijing Automotive will be here in the near future with good quality products that will sit in neighborhood driveways.

I will still always drive Detroit. It is my "world view". But the Chinese people are indeed just like us only different. We are as Gary Davis said, "wired the same".

Think of this. Although China is thousands of years old, its automotive industry is less than 20 years old. And it is building steam, and with that opportunity.

And if it helps the car business, man I am all over that. I am not afraid to line Beijing up with Tokyo, Stuttgart and Detroit. It is as inevitable as a Toyota with dual exhausts. Because this Chinese variable will make Detroit and Tokyo better. And I want Detroit thriving again. It will always be the Motor City. I love the town!

In fact, the Oakland County Schools, in a plush suburban community north of Detroit, is teaching Manderin Chinese to its students!

We live in a small world with global posture. We need to be a major part of it. Our commonalities must always overcome our differences. It is a message much larger than the Automotive Industry. And it would fix a lot of things beyond cars!

www.vtrconsulting.com

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Community is Everything

Apex, NC September 17, 2009

I have had the rare privilege to be in the midst of the community over the past couple weeks. I have been meeting with the small and large business owners in Apex and Cary as the Peak City Film Festival seeks partners whose support will make the Festival a continuing success. And from a funding perspective, it has been challenging. Selling sponsorships is not easy. People indeed are having a harder time, and as the 4th Quarter fast approaches, some "marketing" avenues set in January have been met.

There are businesses owners out there, who although it has been a heck of a year, are very much supportive of the Festival and what it brings to community, especially what it brings to the town of Apex and the neighboring community of Cary.

To the letter, the business owners are 100% behind the Peak City Film Festival. It will bring a much needed nudge just before Thanksgiving, with hundreds of people utilizing area hotels, eating at our fine dining establishments and spending money at the local level.

Our community is local. John Demers, the Peak City Film Festival's Executive Producer understands and is reminded of this critical value. He told me: "Jim, I wanted this Peak City Film Festival - Family Style to happen at this time. I think the timing is perfect. We are the right medicine in a world still concerned with so many things!"

He is right about the so many things... Bizarre performances at the MTV Awards, congress verbally imploding; famous people losing their cool or acting in ways we just cannot fathom, man I am glad I have community.

This Festival is an integral part of our community. It is made up of community and it reflects community. It was born from community. With so many of us here in this area with family hundreds of miles away, our neighbors and friends are our family. They help us watch the kids. They bring cookies over during the holidays and they call on us during sickness and sadness. We are US. And that is pretty cool and dang refreshing.

The next time the Evening News makes you sober about your own situation, call a neighbor or go play catch with the kid next store. All Community is local!

And when I walk into your store or call you to say hi, smile when I mention community!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Peak City Film Festival - Family Style

8-28-09 Apex, NC

The excitement continues to grow as the Peak City Film Festival moves closer and closer to fruition. There are so many quality people on the Senior Staff who want the Town of Apex to benefit from this wonderful endeavor. John Demers and Bob Crowley head up the team, and each member is an expert in a specific facet of Festival creation and facilitation. One thing that came out in last night's meeting at the Apex Chamber of Commerce is the need for sponsorship funding that will really drive this inaugural event. Being a Festival sponsor is a fairly straight-forward process and the opportunity to be a sponsor brings an array of benefits.

Most business will get their logo and link posted directly to the main website www.peakcityfilmfest.org; and at many sponsorship levels, preferred seating at all events and screening tickets are just part of the benefits. But that is not all. Many of the sponsors are on the festival programs, the sponsor list displays at the screening venues, the publicity posters, and sponsors will receive press exposure in multiple interviews and releases.

As one early sponsor stated, "I can't beat the visibility I get for my contribution." Just as "all politics is local", the best marketing strategies are cheap and they are grassroots. Business identity is essential in this economy, and as the families in the Triangle focus on restaurants, services, and products, they are doing it close to home. First Citizen's Bank in Apex, Woomer Protective Insurance, Sony Creative Services, and Scott Lassiter are sponsors already on board.

Being a sponsor for the Peak City Film Festival makes a lot of sense. Drop a note to sales@peakcityfilmfestival.org or call 919 533 9069 and they will send out an info packet that you can assess for yourself or your business. They have had non-business individuals, supporters of the cinematic arts, who have come on board as well; so this is open to anyone who wants to be a part of the Festival in a direct and very tangible way.

The Peak City Film Festival - Family Style will bring blended generations together to watch wholesome entertainment from shorts to documentaries.

The dates are November 20, 21, 22. All the sponsors will get the opportunity to meet the legendary Jerry Mathers of the beloved series "Leave It to Beaver". There will be a huge Sponsors Reception at 6 p.m. November 20 at the Halle Cultural Arts Center that will kick off three days of family fun right in the Historical Town of Apex, the Peak of Good Living! See you there!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

CLUNK DUNK

8-21-09 Apex, NC – Forty years ago, the wreckers pulled up to the mud-dried roads leading to Woodstock and began the slow, grinding process of towing away hundreds of abandoned cars that have been parked in haste or haze near the grounds of the festival. It is symbolic today to see the similar thing happen as the dealerships shoot liquid glass into the hood cavities of vehicles destined to the hallowed grounds of Wreckstock USA. And it looks like both groups, the Woodstock followers and the Wreckstock followers, only have their memories left. The money is just not there.

Dealerships across the country are STILL waiting to get paid, and waiting to get paid, and waiting to get paid. The paperwork fiasco might as well have been written on Zig-Zags. Although the stores are selling more vehicles, they are having a tough time collecting from the coffers of the program. On Wednesday, the U.S. Transportation Secretary, Ray LaHood assured dealers they would get paid. He expressed confidence in the program. Remember the last time an owner of a sports franchise declared complete competence in the head coach? Ouch.

This whole thing is not very pretty. Millions of dollars are now outstanding in submitted claims. Now the dealers are used to chasing a bad debt or two; heck, they have pulled cars back when a check bounces, BUT this is much bigger. This is Wrecksville and the government is doing the wrecking. Today it was announced the program will end Monday. The Clunker Dunker date is now August 24, 2009. The smart stores have already stopped the program. Inventory is in short supply and the selections are getting tougher and tougher to choose from. I have a friend who was looking for a 2010 Ford Edge. He is still looking.

Tapping a line of credit to keep cash flowing is a strategy, but it does not quicken the money coming back into the New Car Departments. The customers are frustrated. The New Car Managers are scratching their heads, and many salespeople are waiting for commissions that only come from done deals. Another ouch.

When are we going to learn? The government is a big fat bureaucracy full of inertia and incompetence. It does not matter the branch of government. It does not matter the party. Right about now, I want to wear a WHIG!

In the “what the blank” department things are speeding along. It is the only thing going fast in Washington these days. My taxes are up. My healthcare is being challenged, and the car business I love is kicked between the headlights one more time.

I just shake my head. Is this what we voted for in November?

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Tinseltown Southern Style

THE PEAK CITY FILM FESTIVAL – FAMILY STYLE
If you blend one of the best small towns in America with a heavy dose of tinsel, add the flavor of the start of the Holiday Season, and mix in the correct amount of family entertainment, you have a spectacular menu of community treats for cinematic audiences of all shapes and sizes.

And that indeed is exactly what is happening in Apex, NC, from November 20 to November 22 as Historic Apex, known by many as the Peak City, celebrates a film festival with global magnitude. The Peak City Film Festival- Family Style is truly a defining moment in town history. Consistently named in numerous articles across a variety of media as one of the best towns in the United States to raise a family, Apex is ready to grow in international exposure, just as the town’s population has over the past decade.

Wonderful, enriching family films from around the country and around the world are starting to come in for review. The Festival’s focus of a general audience theme creates a unique opportunity to review a wide segment of the Arts. And the commonality of such films will bring budding cinema artists and students to this event. This Film Festival is creating exciting educational opportunities as well.
And of course, everything that shouts, “Lights, Camera, Action”, involves sponsorships and funding.

“We have an eclectic array of local businesses who want to get on board quickly and take advantage of this unique grass roots marketing opportunity. There is a variety of sponsorships available for local and regional businesses and the sponsor’s corporate logo gets immediate exposure on our website (www.peakcityfilmfestival.org)”, states Bob Crowley, Peak City Film Festival Producer.

He comments further, “It seems that so far the most successful businesses in town want to be involved with this family- themed event. And it makes sense. Apex has always been known for its focus on parents and children and the town features family-based functions during holidays like the Fourth of July and Christmas. So this is a natural. We even have a mascot, Crew the Raccoon, who is starting to get very busy as the news of the Festival grows. The kids love him. And so do adults. He even made a recent appearance in front of the Apex Town Council!”

Jerry Mathers, the star of “Leave It to Beaver”, will be present during the celebration and he will be receiving a Lifetime Achievement Award for his years of work entertaining family audiences.

Please call or SMS 919 533 9069 for sponsorship information or contact info@peakcityfilmfestival.org

You can send a film in for review to Peak City Film Festival, Inc P.O. Box 2186, Apex, NC, 27502 USA. The deadline for entries Thursday October 1, 2009

Saturday, August 15, 2009

1969 Idle Thoughts

8-15-09 Apex, NC

Yes, I have a confession to make to my friend Bob Butler... I was a Democrat back then.

Forty years ago, my Dad took me by my collar, and out of the pick up bed of Dean's 1964 El Camino... The guys were heading to Woodstock. I had a satchel, eight bucks, and a pair of jeans with me. My Mom had called my Dad at work. I was 16.

To this day, the music of Woodstock is by far the best collection of Rock n Roll ever recorded.

1969 is my favorite year. It was a year of fun, girls, and so much potential. As I look back those 40 years, I realize it was a truly extraordinary 365 days. 1969 was special.

Not only was Woodstock the Diamond of this year to remember, there were other very memorable jewels that made '69 what it was.

There were so many firsts. Apollo 9, the ATM, Seiko's first quartz watch, Wal-mart, the Pontiac Trans Am, the microprocessor, the first human eye transplant, bell bottoms, Sesame Street, and Abbey Road.

People we cannot ever forget. President Richard Nixon's first year in the White House, Clint Eastwood, and Goldie Hawn among others instantly famous in 1969, and Charles Manson's vicious murder of Sharon Tate making headlines in unbelievable fashion.

Funny Girl and Easy Rider were great flicks.

Cars cost, on average, $3200. Apartment rent was $135. Gas was 35 cents.

Who could forget the Draft Lottery?

Chicago and Blind Faith were brand new bands.

The number one song was "Sugar, Sugar" by the Archies.

And finally, Zager and Evans singing "In the Year 2525".

Our past is so reflective of our future. And our future depends so much on our past.

That's heavy man... Heavy...

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Idle Thoughts Politicio

Apex, NC... 8-13-09

The Clunker Law is no clinker. Many estimates state new vehicle sales will increase by 200,000 to end up at around 10 million. 16.2 million were sold in 2007; 13.2 million last year.

The Apex Town Council will be a heck of a race in November. Look for Scott Lassiter to have a successful campaign and become an outstanding councilman. Scott, former President of the Student Council at Apex High, and Student Council Treasurer at NC St., is positive and high energy. Go to www.votescottlassiter.com for additional information.

John Edwards. He is a mess as they say in the South.

David Bowden, the Cary resident who put "screwed by the town of Cary" on the side of his house, is finally getting used to his home being a destination for drivers passing by with their thumbs up in agreement.

Michael Vick is now an Eagle? Houses are popping up in Philly with messages similar to the one in Cary.

Let the people vote on Health Care. It is "We the People" isn't it? Don't put it to the people. Put it to a vote.

Neumann's Spiral of Silence is a great theory that will help many of you understand the emotion of the Town Hall Meetings. The implosion of deviant opinion is here. Google it. it is all about Grass Roots.

Woodstock. From Richie Havens to Janis, what would the Boomers be like if there never was a Woodstock?

I love Twitter. It has changed how we communicate. And it is a great tool. Direct messages are replacing e-mail messages in many cases.

Consumers still are not spending money unless it is for need. Economic growth will be slow and gradual. It is not surprising. With all the instability in our political future, it is normal that people are holding on to cash. If indeed they have any.

I love Google Voice. It gives me a phone number on steroids. Mobility is the key. With one number all my phones ring. I get a text of the call to my Blackberry. And I never miss business. I am a big fan!

Remember the Kiwanis is having a Blood Drive Wednesday the 19th, near the fire station in Historic Downtown Apex. 10 a.m through 2 p.m. The community needs blood big time. They have free cookies!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Politically Incorrect Idle Thoughts

8-9-09 Apex, NC

It is hot outside. Extreme heat should be a Town Hall Meeting not the temp.

Real people getting real mad is at the heart of the health care scare.

Low taxes and high growth are the ingredients of a solid economy. What do you call the opposite? August 2009.

Most of us are considering unpartying ourselves. A third party focused on getting new talent into every cranny of government is not a bad idea.

The polls show the President with low ratings. Keep pushing this agenda and it could get worse. He is the only one who can fix it.

I read Clinton was going to Africa. I wondered which Clinton.

September 1, taxes go up and services get cut. Yes. You read it right.

I know a lot of people who are not in the same income bracket they were last August. Read above the revenue enhancement strategy one more time.

Paula Abdul quit Idol and did not want to settle for five million a year. Five million sounds good to me.

I see a lot more Fords driving around. The new Fusion and the Edge along with the Focus are at the heart of the Ford success story.

The tax free weekend started as a success as well. Until people realized it still cost big money to send children to school, right through college.

Josh Hamilton defines being human. I wish him luck.

The Rex/Kiwanis Blood Drive is August 19th near the Apex NC fire station Downtown. Ve vant your blood! Bela Lugosi will be making a special appearance. 10 am-2 pm.

Things are gearing up for The Peak City Film Festival-Family Style, November 20-22.
If you are a business in town, you will want to be part of the Festival in a concrete way. Sponsorships are a marketing plus for the visibility you need to increase revenue and traffic to your location. Give me a call at 919 533 9069 for details. Put your name in lights! www.peakcityfestival.org

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Out of Control

Out of Control
8-4-09 Apex NC…
There is nothing more challenging in any business than to hurry up and wait. When something is pending there are always a lot of variables. As the Democrats and Republicans make this clunker deal a message on health care, the dealerships across the country have pending oppotunities, and not just a few but thousands. Charlie Customer brought in his 2000 Clunkerr LX, last weekend and is sitting at home waiting to pick up his 2009 BrandX. But nothing is happening as the days quickly go by. It could be a week to 10 days before the Senate reviews the additional funding that was quickly approved by the House; and as we all know, days kill deals. The new car, now days out of detail, is gathering dust.

One dealer principal summed it up. “I thought this thing would last through November, not through the middle of last week.” With the stores across the country, working bell-to-bell to deal with a stimulus program that ACTUALLY is working, no one anticipated this short-sighted wall built by Congress. A little homework was all that was needed. The model, in both Germany and China, has stimulated sales in a tough global environment. Did Congress look that far? Or did they simply throw a billion on the wall to see if it would stick? My guess is the latter. This thing is now a political battle out of control.

Now the dilemma of the moment for sales managers is this; will the customers affected hang in or will they get cold feet, give up, and continue to drive their Clunkerr LX’s until the cows come home? People buy on emotion, and motion creates emotion. So anything in a car deal that kills emotion usually is pretty deadly. Resuscitation is never easy. The success comes from momentum. And right now that has dried up with the car deals pending approval.

Time will tell the tale. But of all the stimulus programs that have helped to ensure the trillion dollar deficit, the Cash/Clunker Law had the most promise to help Middle America and support local economies; now, not so much.

The simple formula is to create buyers who create confidence and that builds the incentive to purchase. Down payments of up to $4500, backed by the government, seemed like a no brainer.

Let’s hope some good news come out of this. But for the car business, it’s still out of control.

The auto industry gets kicked in the can one more time; revival again replaced by survival.

We smelled economic recovery… Now we just smell Congress. People are getting more vocal about the mistakes made by our elected officials. Stay tuned. This will be more interesting soon.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Deep Down Idle Thoughts

7-28-09 Apex, NC

For Toyota to drop NUMMI, an assembly plant in CA that was a partnering with GM, they must have serious money issues.

Of course, with the end of 2009 in sight(yep, Christmas is only five months out), this will indeed be the worst car year since 1900.

Has anybody else used their gardens this year as a deer, rabbit, and dog eating station?

With the Martians' landing near a Nigerian oil field, I knew gas would go up for a legitimate reason for a change.

I am not a giant fan of Sarah Palin. I think she is a little rough around the edges. BUT, how about just leaving her personal life out of it. All of these politicians have a closet.

The President is in town tomorrow. And I have no urge to see him. I see him enough (DAILY) on TV.

Terrorists in Willow Springs? Go find a service person and thank him or her for serving. This is too close to home.

I remember 9-11. That was too close to home as well.

Do the little things well and have fun in what you do... You just never know.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

It's Just Around THE CORNER

7-18-09 Apex, NC.

I am on an adventure. I am looking for the best breakfast and the best bar food in the Triangle. Yep. Anything comfort food is in this epicurean category. It does not mean I am eating carbs and fat grams all the time by any stretch, a big plate of house salad and a grilled chicken sandwich or egg whites and whole wheat; they all qualify. But if I am falling off the diet wagon, I am playing hard ball. I'm talking potato skins and hash browns. I'm talking food you remember.

I reviewed Rudy's in Apex (Haddon Hall) not too long ago. Awesome bar food and a nice place to grab a salad or patty melt for lunch. That was my first victim!

Today it's The Corner Tavern & Grill at Maynard/ High House, 1301 NW Maynard in Cary NC. Nestled literally in the corner between Kroger and Pearle Vision, the first thing you notice is the bright, clean atmosphere. Big screen TVs and a wonderful outside eating area give the customer added value. The staff is super friendly. Sarah is a cheerful, high energy server which is a must in this environment. Katherine, the co-owner, came over to make sure all was well. So did Clarence the chef in the kitchen. This kitchen serves everything fresh and hand cuts its steaks. It even fresh grinds the Angus beef for a burger just the way you like it. All of the salad dressings are home-made. And so are the fresh soups.

Appetizers include: Wings, Beer-battered Buffalo Shrimp, and hand battered Fried Oysters. Seven kinds of salads grace the menu, and the sides include items like Red Skin Potato Salad and Sweet Potato Fries. Entrees feature a 14 oz. New York Strip and a 7 oz. portion of Grilled Salmon. Now for the fun part, how about a 10 oz. hand patted Angus Beef Burger served on a Pretzel Roll? I had the BALT; crisp Applewood bacon, fresh sliced Avocado, lettuce and tomato served on whole wheat. It was wonderful.

The kids can get... you guessed it, grilled cheese and Mac and Cheese.

The Corner Tavern and Grill has only been open a few weeks. But you cannot tell. Now, I wish chips and salsa were on the menu. And potato skins would be a nice add. But there is a wonderful and delicious array of food on the menu that is well worth regular visits.

I recommend it with or without reservations :). Next will be a surprise breakfast place. I am hungry already!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Inside Idle Thoughts

Apex, NC 7-15-09

I just realized that I have lived in NC for 10 years. On Tuesday July 13, 1999, we rolled into Apex with our stuff. We soon discovered our new home still had wet hardwood. The builder forgot to tell us. We have been Marriott people since that day.

North Carolina is so fun. Street signs change as you drive as often as the direction does. Have you been on 55 West and noted your compass says south?

Where else can you be where getting lost is an integral part of the commuting experience?

I would like to get lost for 2.5 hours and end up somewhere in Carolina Beach. I like East.

The President took his whole family on a whirlwind; Russia, Italy, Ghana. Wow. I read that the President spent 30 minutes with the Pope, one-on-one. I actually know priests who live near the Vatican. If I want to talk to them I use SKYPE. Do you know how much Skype you can buy if you don't throw in the Secret Service?

I love writing restaurant critiques. I just need to stop doing it for free. I will always do it for food though.

I have not watched the Sotomayor hearings. She is in. What is there to watch?

How come the more the government spends, the more they want to tax. In this economy they have all they can get from us. I wish I could print money, spend it and call it stimulus.

The Administation announced that community colleges will be getting $12 BILLION over 10 years for job placement. I want that plan to succeed. I am in the career services business, but where in the heck is that money coming from?

I am on a diet. It is working. I have too much weight. I can eat anything green and drink anything brown. Brown coffee, what were you thinking?

This country should be on my diet. It has too much debt. And the stimulus is not working. The government eats anything green as well. But the thought makes me want the other brown liquid. People can you say Lager?

I love Ice Road Truckers. How about you?

Geely Holding Group Inc. is a name soon to be remembered. This Chinese automotive group will soon have Detroit office buildings. And there will be others moving to Michigan. HUMMER is undergoing Chinese ownership. I remember when radios and televisions were made in the USA. Zenith comes to mind. Now they are made in China. No doubt the car business is changing with brutal lightening speed. Which is why my company (VTR Consulting LLC) now does non-automotive retail sales training and career services. The car business is just not using vendors for process improvement like they have in the past. Hopefully things will be better in 2010. The business needs stability and strength, not instability and weakness.

We added a new 2009 Ford Edge SEL AWD to the family fleet. 25 mpg on the highway and striking looks; nothing like Detroit sheet metal. Oh yeah. We had a great experience at Pittsboro Ford. Call Rene, the sales manager, and tell him you want the Vogel discount.

The All-Star game last night was pretty exciting. The Tigers played a major role in the win. Granderson and Jackson did well.

How about Nicole Bobek? Involved in a drug ring, she could spend 10 years in jail. She was awesome in the 1998 Winter Olympics. You just have to scratch your head.

When Madoff gets out of Butner in 2159, I am there to see if he will buy me lunch.

He will be ready after 150 years of jail food.

On Tuesday, the first flight of Pet Airways took off in NY. Animals get dinner, playtime and bathroom breaks. Where is my bear suit?

Check me out at www.vtrconsulting.com

Friday, July 10, 2009

Idle Thoughts From the Porch

7-10-09 Apex, NC

Rudy's, the new local tavern on 55, has the most awesome bar food in Apex. In Cary, the new local tavern is The Corner. I have not eaten there yet, but any bar that has hand cut steaks is on my list.

Did I tell you I am on a diet? I am eating anything veggie and a lot of salad. How come food that tastes good has to have a zillion fat grams. My Dad used to say food does not taste good unless it is surrounded by bones. If you don't believe that, you have not had Dallas Fried Chicken in Apex.

I think I am going off my diet.

Speaking of diets, the State of NC needs to be on one. Let's start with the Governor's salary. I do not want to pay anyone who wants to raise my taxes in a recession.

How about the stimulus that is working; gas is going down. It went down 10 cents yesterday, in one day. Wow... That's what I'm talking about.

Hey Late Show people. Leave Sarah Palin and Michael Jackson alone. Nothing funny with either one of them.

The President is on a global trip with the First Family. I am glad I am not paying for that business vacation. I am? When he comes home, can we fix the economy please?

I heard the term Stimulus 2.0. With trillions in the hole, a stimulus stimulus is what we need.

Today I counted these. The Buicks with the ball cap in the back window 3, and the pickups with a NASCAR driver number in the back window 2. The Buicks win by one.

Why are all those Buicks beige?

The Detroit Tigers will go into the All Star break in first place. Take that RED SOX NATION!!!

With little rain lately, will we have politicians doing those conserve water commercials soon? Ouch.

How about Billy Mays still pushing cheap stuff on commercials? It is sad they are still running. Leave him alone too.

General Motors Company came out of bankruptcy today. No longer General Motors Corporation, their focus is on a $40,000 electric car. I hope they call me with my suggestions FAST!

I still like those Buicks that come standard with the baseball caps.

Monday, July 6, 2009

Service is the New Sales

7-6-09 Apex, NC

If you think about it, a fixed operation (service) has to drive every sale for both the dealership and the customer. The days are long gone when the customer left with a vehicle, never came back and we simply didn’t care. We’d just go get another one. With sales way down in the car business, June was considered a sales “success” because numbers were just plain bad instead of horrific; these still are times for the automotive record books. The last time the car business had nowhere to go but up was way back in 1981. And we also know nothing happens until a vehicle is sold, but that second buy, from an owner- based client, is based solely on that experience in the service lane.
I was in Knoxville TN over the weekend and I drove past the GM “ghost town” dealerships; yep, the ones that are done for good. In Knoxville, like in every town, the dealerships that survived this sales tsunami are combining efforts for marketing and advertising and they are working hard to achieve outstanding customer service, during and after the sale. The good stores get it when it comes to service and customer pay.
Service is the key term here. People are holding on to vehicles longer and they are considering pre-owned vehicles as they assess their transportation needs. It is the service and parts departments across the country that keep the business afloat. The service writer and the parts counter person are integral to this success. I take four vehicles in for service at the GM dealership closest to me. I trust them to do the job I need and to do it right. But sometimes they are jammed full of oil changes and rotations and I get lost in the shuffle. When eight people show up at 8 a.m., someone has to wait.
Waiting around when there is disorganization and overbooking is the death wish of any service department. The dealerships are leaner than turkey burgers now and one solitary advisor might be the only one in the lane as the customers line up on a Monday morning. People often get whizzed, and CSI suffers. In service, CSI is now the only raise the employees will ever see. These employees are commissioned –based and pay themselves. So it is a double-edged sword when service breaks down. The customer and the service department both suffer.
I ran across a product for Fixed Operations that works for the customers and the advisors. I endorse it 100% because it works. It is simple, and easy to understand. That is why I want to mention it here. It is called SHOPTRAK and can be assessed at www.shoptrak.net
If an old sales guy like me endorses a product for simplicity, it is something you just have to assess for yourself. Drop SHOPTRAK an e-mail. sales@shoptrak.net
I am into the customer big time. It is the only thing to focus on. I like making a profit and I like saving my customer time and money. And I love SHOPTRAK as a software tool for both ends. It is win-win in today’s market. Let me know what you think.
You can reach me (Jim Vogel) at www.vtrconsulting.com

Thursday, July 2, 2009

From Here To Eternity

7-2-09 Apex, NC

Small business is one tough cookie. Why do over half of us do it? It is a wonder there are no shrinks specific to businesses under 50 employees. They would make a ton of money and have offices in every town. Just kidding. But there are certain ingredients you have to have to be in business and some put us on the counselor's couch; I think the number one quality necessary is persistence. That never giving up thing that is a major part of our psyche drives us to do what we do. I have always been persistent. In the early 50's, I arrived on this planet at 3 pounds, four ounces. Then I lost weight(something I don't do well now). In those days, babies in my shape DIED. I always wondered why I did not.

I went to school and got three college degrees part-time. I worked by day and schooled by night. I never missed a class or an assignment, ever. I teach now at the University of Phoenix. Sadly, assignments are late and people miss class. I just can't understand why people are not persistent no matter the challenge, especially when it involves education.

When I sold cars, and I sold over 600, I always sold with urgency. Until the customer said NO, I sold until the last one left the building.

Even now, I am building my business, retail training and recruiting, one persistent effort at a time. And it is quite a time. Unemployment, credit, foreclosures, and economic uncertainty have zipped up customer wallets and purses like I have never seen. If potential customers would just say no I would be cool with it. But most of the time they tell me maybe later, maybe next month, maybe next quarter.

But I can tell you this. I am among many who struggle today, but in good times all of our efforts will pay off. Beans and SPAM will only be fond memories.

This is America. The Land of the Persistent. Today everything gets a a little better, and it improves one day at a time. Efforts do pay off. From now to forever and from here to eternity, success is derived from the struggles we all face. Success is just around that next corner.

Today will soon be tomorrow, and the tomorrows are what we strive for every moment.

Visit www.vtrconsulting.com

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Idle Thoughts- Believe It Or Not

6-30-09 Apex, NC

It is the end of the month and the end of the quarter. I should be in a dealership helping out but I am not...

Only in the South; Carpenters working on a house, cutting wood outside in the driveway, wearing flip flops.

People are getting the flu. Isn't July like tomorrow?

I got a letter from the IRS this week. And it was a nice helpful letter concerning some tax changes with my business.

The First Lady wore a pair of Lanvin's $588.00 tennis shoes at the Capital Food Bank April 29th.

Although every politician elected in November PROMISED no new taxes, guess what is about to happen?

With all the famous people passing in the last week, I am asking myself who is next?

Have you checked out the snack food aisle lately? The BIG FAMILY SIZE bag of chips is now full of air at a whopping 11 ounces total weight.

I am still surprised there is still a dozen eggs in a dozen eggs.

If it doesn't rain soon, Governor Perdue will be doing drought commercials. I hope Mother Nature spares us soon.

Mrs. Easley will fight her NC State firing. Huh?

The brand new McDonald's in Cary is 100% green. And it cost a ton of green to build it.

Bernie Madoff got 150 years. Is that all?

The NY Times recently raised prices: two bucks for the daily and SIX bucks for the printed Sunday paper. Who said Liberals didn't love capitalism?

Check me out at www.vtrconsulting.com

Monday, June 29, 2009

The New Normal

I just love all the new terms that have found a place in our language. The lexicon is now filled with new terms that in better economic times would never be on the tip of our tongue. Things like “short sell’, “deficit-neutral”, “bubble”, “derivative” and “speculator” to mind. The best one of all to hit the media is what ABC News is calling “The New Normal”. This New Normal is the lifestyle change we have all faced since the total collapse of the economic system back in October, 2008. It was not that long ago that credit was easy, gas was cheap, and people drove SUVs without the guilt trip. That’s not normal anymore.
Interesting that phrases and sayings that were popular in the Great Depression and in earlier tough times have resurfaced with a kind of poetic vengeance.
“A penny saved is a penny earned.”
“Better be on the safe side.”
“You bet your bottom dollar.”

These Great Depression phrases reflect the unemployed in the 1930’s when 25% of our workforce was standing in soup lines. We are nowhere near that situation today. But the times, they are indeed changing. We clip coupons. We group trip, doing several errands at once. We go nowhere on staycations. We pack a brown bag lunch. We now have a garden with tomatoes and cucumbers. We browse the thrift stores and purchase our books on used sites. Many of us are taking on a second income to pay bills. We dry clean less and we take our shoes to be re-heeled. If we buy a car, we look at pre-owned vehicles as well as new. We go to restaurants with less frequency. And when we eat out, it is often out of the pantry.
Times have changed with lightening speed. We are indeed deep into the New Normal. For small and medium businesses, it has made us more focused on customer service. Businesses now “bundle” products and sell these packages at eye-catching prices to attract the wiser and more frugal customer. We constantly sharpen our business plan to attract customers who are not in our typical demographic. We are in a continuous state of re-invention.
But think about this. The New Normal is the best thing to happen to us in decades and with it all of our bad habits are slowly being erased. We in the Triangle were the last region in the country to be pulled into the economic downturn. We will be the first out of it as well. Already we are seeing signs of growth in many sectors.
But one thing is certain. We will be the “More Generation” in the New Normal. We will save more and we will recycle more. We will be more diligent with our habits and practices, and will spend more time with our new business focus and with our families. In these situations, more is the best strategy when all we hear is less. You know what? The New Normal might not be so bad after all.

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Rudy's Pub and Grill

Rudy’s Pub and Grill
6-24-09 Apex, NC
Common sense tells us that things have changed a ton over the past few years in most aspects of our daily lives. One thing that has always been hard to come by in any community is a neighborhood establishment that has awesome bar food and great service. If you couple these critical ingredients with a fun atmosphere to match, you have something BEYOND special. Not every town is blessed with such a place. Well, we are extremely lucky in the Peak City because Apex NC finally has one we can truly brag about. Rudy’s Pub and Grill is that and more.
I’m talking real bar food. I mean REAL BAR FOOD. The delicious appetizers will feed two. The cheeseburgers are juicy. The fresh salads are simply huge. And the wings belong on everyone’s plate. It should be a city ordinance. They are that good. Colonel Harland Sanders has visited just to take notes. Me? I use Rudy’s for business lunches. How about $3.99 mid-day meals served by a top quality staff? At that price you usually get a bag handed to you at the drive through.
And there is more. The margaritas are so good they should be the national drink of North Carolina and the beer specials quench your thirst and don’t squash your wallet.
On the nice days you can sit outside to socialize, and on those not so nice days, you can saddle up to the bar and daydream that you are finally home. One thing is for sure, in good times and in bad, great bar food can be had. Come join me anytime. I am the guy eating wings and sipping on a cold one. Common sense tells me one thing is not going to change. Great food, great fun and great prices are all close by.
I am a member of Rudy’s Nation of Apex. And I am a die-hard fan. I am heading right now to Rudy’s where things never change, they just get better. Happy eating!
919 303 5061 Rudy's is near the Harris Teeter in the Haddon Hall Commons.

Jim Vogel
www.vtrconsulting.com
Apex, NC

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Idle Thoughts Are Back

6-17-09... Apex, NC

I went on a website recently that features a "Customer Experience Manager". Every business should have a person focused on the experience. Common sense.

Virtually every time I gas up and click to a round number, the pump always adds a dang penny. Instead of $22.00 it ends up being $22.01. We don't think about it but man, it adds up to profits big time.

Here is the power of Twitter. In Iran, it is the only conduit to the world after the election.

In baseball, most teams have the daffiest away jerseys. The uniforms look like pajamas. At least the Tigers and Yankees look good home and away.

Now that GM sold Saab, looks like they have no more Saab stories to share.

People are calling me and asking me if this is a good time to buy a car. YES! It also is a great time to buy anything. Notice the price of a 40" T.V.?

The President talks of deficit-neutral policies. I thought we were two trillion in the whole. I do love the term deficit-neutral. I think that is on my credit report.

David Letterman, he is a mess. How can you mess up an apology?

Everybody today in my business is an alleged social media expert. Really now?

Had my first teaching gig at the University of Phoenix last night. It is refreshing to see students who actually want to go to college. Success comes in so many categories.

Yesterday morning it poured so hard that Noah was building an ark on 64.

NC St. is an acronym for no comment; see taxpayer.

Two things no one can take away from you, your education and your purpose in life.

You know your favorite website has made it. You use it as a verb. So Facebook me!

Count your breath, your luck, and your cholesterol.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Weapons of Mess Disruption

Apex, NC 6-14-09.

Here it is, the last two weeks of the first quarter. July is coming fast. Yes I know times are tough. Gas prices are up. Dealerships are more than challenged with day- to- day issues, so many things coming and going. Lost your focus yet? Think about it.

If you are not 100% mentally present at work, completely focused on your job, you will lose buyers. People buy vehicles every day regardless of the economy and they are not at your store for the fresh coffee and neat small talk you provide. If you mess things up and do not focus on their needs, they will leave. The customer’s weapons of mess disruption are two-fold, their feet. If they leave, you only have you to blame. When you stand there and the manager does all the work, and you just hand the customer the keys, you get the number and the full commission, all of it. So when there is mess disruption happening and the customer walks, run to the mirror. It is all yours too. You can only blame yourself when the customer purchases down the street. You simply did not do your job.

So, Meet and Greet with enthusiasm and excitement. Bring your customers inside and help choose the correct vehicle, the one they want and they need. You must have both ingredients. Mentally close them before you do any paperwork or talk numbers. I do not care how long it takes. And ASK for the sale. The customer always appreciates a professional. They probably did not buy their last vehicle from one.

Work hard. Have fun. And stay focused.

Be a salesperson not a fails person. You have just one shot and one opportunity, so keep focused, follow your process, and do your job.

When there is a turn signal, a right turn, and happy customers, you can head back into the showroom with a big smile. Now go get another one!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Be A Career Entrepreneur

Apex, NC... 6-11-09

Everyone has ideas. Our brains work 24-7-365. But getting those ideas to evolve into action that results in success is one tough cookie!

Think out of the box, the car, near the fridge, at your friend's house; it is critical to think out your plan.

A Career Entrepreneur takes ideas, creates action, and makes results. It is up to you. You are the only one who truly gives a dang about your success. You are your own brand. You are the business. Finding opportunities in a challenging economy is critical. If you have an idea, WRITE IT DOWN. I do not care if it is at 3 a.m. A lost idea is useless. You will act on a written idea much faster than one that is rolling around in your skull.

Failure is the avenue for the implementation of ideas. Yep. You have to fail to succeed. What? You are reading it right. I want you to screw up. Success is never easy. My hero is Thomas Edison. Did you know that Edison failed more than you have? He messed up some big stuff. But he was persistent and LEARNED from the error of his ways. If not for Mr. Edison, your quality of life would be way different... Movies would not exist for gosh sakes.

If you are reading this you are in transition. So put that personal business plan together immediately. Be a career entrepreneur even while sleeping, and fail, fail, fail your way to success!

I have.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Do You Believe In Magic?

6-9-09 Apex, NC

Well, when you think about it, some of us believe in magic and some of us don’t. Right now the NBA Finals are under way, and the announcers are discussing what team has had a “magical” season, or what team might be the Cinderella story in 2009. Magical is a very interesting word. But when you think about it, the magic in our career might be in the planning and in the technique.

Opportunities come along every day that could be magical if we just realized they were happening. Being ready every day helps our focus. Is it magical to sell seven cars in a week? Is it magic to be in the right place at the right time? Maybe, just maybe, there might be magic in the ingredients of preparation.

Magic could be as easy as specific technique and situation. Think about it. Come to work and have a plan for the day. Know your inventory, spend 20 minutes every morning assessing what is new, what is hot, and what would be a great solution to a current customer’s transportation problem. Make the most of every prospect. Sometimes a simple turnover (T.O.) will change someone leaving into a customer who ends up buying. Follow up and follow through. Let everyone know that you are there for them. A positive call of thanks to your last customer will go a long way. Work deals in your head, and most importantly on paper. Jotting what went right or wrong in a deal after it is finished is critical. These trends, documented over time, will get you better. The more time you put into this job, the better you will be. When you stop and think about it for a moment, it just might not be magical to be the best in this business, it might be a matter of process and effort. Remember that a successful career can happen, if you do the right things. There is simply only just a little magic in being a pro!

Happy selling! Be a salesperson not a fails person!

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

No End To The Beginning

Detroit, MI... 6-3-09

I am in the midst of a very unsettling work climate here in Southeast Michigan. Being in Detroit this week where there is a very high unemployment rate is very tough. What are the people doing who have lost their jobs? I can tell you this. The successful ones are in continual re-invention.

Let's get positive. The Triangle is in relatively decent shape. People still move to our region every single day. If you are looking for work, you must sharpen your skills. Your resume must be specific and it must be different. If you are working, you must sharpen your skills and you must keep your resume updated.

Yes, it is the same whether you are in a job or if you are looking for one. There is no end to self-improvement, critical thinking and blatant optimism. If you are employed look for greater success everyday. Are you really in your dream job? Remember people in careers today move several times into different work avenues. If you are out of work, put your plan together, define your goals and set objectives. Connect with one person a day. I call it the vitamin rule... ONE A DAY...

Success is never easy but it is indeed possible.

Good luck!

Monday, June 1, 2009

Requiem for a Heavyweight

Flint, MI… 6-01-09
When Dinah Shore sang “See the USA in a Chevrolet”, GM was rolling solidly on all four wheels; over 600,000 were employed globally, and they had a fat 51% market share. Now, GM stock is the price of a newspaper and soon to go away, market share is 21%, and when things shake down, only about 40, 000 people will be GM employees world-wide. Being in the broken heart of the GM bankruptcy this week and being surrounded by a very somber state of Michigan is very tough to take. Today is a day to remember.

Because today the headlines should read, Detroit R.I.P.

Not rest in peace mind you. No. The RIP stands for “Results in Politics.” I drove past and around Buick City today. I spent a couple hours in Flint. I will be in Detroit in the morning and for the rest of the week. I want to be a witness. This is my home. But things are changing with lightening speed. The factories closed by GM will be someone else’s soon. All the car songs will change. It will now be “See the USA in your Hyun-dai!’ Instead of Mustang Sally, we will dance to “Tata Sally”. The Beach Boys classic will shout “she’s real fine my hybrid mine”.

Like a heavyweight champ, Detroit was left hooked. Knocked out cold. The people of the United States will now own 60% of General Motors. Our choice to drive what we want will soon be over. Smaller, more fuel efficient vehicles will be the norm. It is not without coincidence that gasoline is rising at a record pace, again forcing people into considering small vehicles. Here is the sad truth. Americans do not want small cars. They want cars with good gas mileage.

Ford, Honda, Toyota, and all the smaller companies will listen and watch this week. Notice there is no comment from them today. Chrysler and General Motors are in essence, nationalized. It does not make any difference if we agree or not. This is the new reality.

When we go from 16 million to 10 million units sold, very ugly things can and indeed do happen. One thing for sure is the Big Three is changed forever. Detroit, the once Arsenal of Democracy is forever a much smaller shadow of itself. Re-invention must come from within. And it will quickly come from being without. Those working and those retired are just hoping to keep what they have.
The days of Detroit as the Motor City are modified forever.

This is the result of car sales that melted to nothing. And consumer confidence will not improve overnight, unlike the gas prices approaching three dollars AGAIN.

Saturday, May 30, 2009

D-DAY

2-25-09 Apex, NC... SALESPEOPLE... CUSTOMERS...It is the end of the month. For the customer this is a no brainer. The deals get a little edge on them at month-end. And the edge is to the customer. The big problem for salespeople today is getting these customers in and getting them to buy or lease. Today let's focus on getting them in.

"Man, I have NO traffic!" Yep. Hear it all the time. Try the TRIO METHOD...Business cards, a great attitude, and a HUGE SMILE get you customers who are not in your owner/ referral base.

Every time you open your wallet or pocketbook to spend your hard earned money, give the person taking your money a business card, a great attitude and a HUGE smile. It takes 15-30 seconds to tell the person who you are and what you do. Two cards are needed in the Wendy's drive-thru. Remember the second guy that hands you your single and fries is a potential customer as well.

Dig into your social network, from your next door neighbor to your Rabbi or Pastor. If the 400+ people you know out of the work environment do not have your card, then shame on you. Heck, this is the easiest group to work.

Finally, your professional network; people you work with will buy from you if you give them a card and always have the positive attitude, coupled with a huge smile. People in the nearby departments, nearby buildings, and nearby businesses will include you in their buying loop if they know you exist.

Remember card, attitude, and smile. Have a 30 second elevator speech ready and DIG, DIG,DIG. It is not rocket science. I have proved it.

Happy selling!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Virtual Certainty

5-27-09 Apex, NC

Yesterday afternoon, I received a call from a job candidate. This candidate was from out of state and had 12 years of experience. She now found herself on the outside looking in. I get a lot of these referrals; mostly, they come from managers I have done business with in the past. My contacts (connects) know I will listen and help the candidates who call. As I assessed her situation over the phone, I again gave my "you need to become a social media junkie" speech. Use Linkedin, Facebook, Twitter, Inside 919, Word Press, Blogspot, Live Journal, and Jobing to make yourself known out in the Virtual Reality.

Complete the social platform profiles. Be a regular blogger. I call it Soft Personal/ Professional Marketing (SPPM). The key is not the constant e-hammering of how great you are. No. The strategy is the consistent message that you are a good person who is good at something that is needed, and you are looking for honest work. The recruiters and employers will pick up on that message. Your blog should be useful information about what you are an expert at. Remember that an expert by definition is someone who knows more and more about less and less! And fill the blog with key terms that are easily searchable. I do it automatically in every blog I author. Take advantage of the tags at the base of every blog you do.

You simply have to be different and unique. You must to be Dorothy in the Land of Oz. And you need to be focused only on positives. Life is not over when you lose your job. In fact, now is the time to get your bearings and spend time with family; finish that deck or project. Give yourself time to re-establish a commitment to your new beginning. And why not? You deserve it...

Remember that there is a BIG O O in the middle of GOOGLE. So do not put any oh-oh's out there in the Virtual Reality that will kill your job chances. Get a professional photographer to take your picture and have it photo shopped so you look simply marvelous, and put it out in your profiles along the Ning network. YOU MUST HAVE A PICTURE. And not the silly one someone took at the party.

Finally, PLEASE make your resume accomplishments specific. If I see one more "possesses outstanding leadership skills" rather than "led team of six that saved the company $13,000 in establishing recycling processes within the sales department floor", I will cry...

The generalities will drive employers AWAY!

Remember SPPM...

Good luck. Call me if you need me.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Small is Good

5-24-09 Apex, NC

Back in September, I left a very good company and started my own business. I knew it would be a challenge. And I knew it would take a while to grow. I, in essence, am doing the same thing I did for someone else; I train and recruit people. But I quickly realized one thing. Small business is the driver of this economy. In fact about half of the people employed are in small business.

Here are some things about the small business people I have met over the past eight months.

When you start a business, you must expect to starve for about a year because every dime you have and make goes into the business.

Your past lifestyle is a pleasant memory. You might even look at pictures now and then.

When you start a business you go from knowing everyone to knowing no one. It is all you now, from the leads to the lights.

Connections are essential. The more people you meet, the better your business will be.

Be prepared to fail a ton! But every mistake is a great learning tool.

Most small business people worked their behinds off before they started the business. That does not change. Have you ever heard of a lazy small business
owner?

Expect a customer or two NOT to pay you for your hard work. Obviously, some people are ethics-challenged.

High energy and vision are critical. Our true leaders come from the small business ranks.

All small business owners are students of business, from marketing to janitorial.

Everything we do is local. One-on-one is central to success. And we like it like that.

We never have time for lunch. But remember when we worked for others? We didn't then either.

The brick and mortar of America are small business people.

The risk-takers define small business.

The only perk I have experienced is a very personal one. My family is 725 miles away in Detroit. Now, whenever I want to go home I can. My current boss always puts family first and he understands that life is too short. My current boss allows me to grow with no restrictions. And my current boss does not play favorites, politics or games. My current boss loves family and he loves the business. My boss will always be ME.

Remember our troops this weekend... It is a Memorial in every respect.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Ho Ho. Hi Ho! It's Off to Work I Go!

5-20-09 Apex, NC

Sometimes as job seekers, you can get discouraged. And then you make excuses. Man, are you good at those. It's the economy, stocks, banks, the weather, etc. STOP!

Pick yourself up (mentally), dust yourself off and get back to your real job... finding a real job. Call someone today to network with. Do it every day. Sent one resume out, every day. Get business cards, I would use vistaprint, and give a card out to everyone you bump into. The more rocks you turn over, the more creatures you will find. Go to every job fair, business expo, and transition group you can. They are in the paper. Buy one. If you are not eye-ball to eye-ball with people, you will not be successful.

Need strategies? Google them. Take notes and develop a plan from that. Ask the w's, who, what, when, where, why, and how.

Never give up. Opportunity comes from luck, patience, and dedication. Spit-spot your resume. Make it perfect with NO mistakes and make it personal to the job you seek. Put specifics in the thing not generalities. If you are someone with outstanding leadership skills, tell the employer WHY!

I do not mind looking at your resume. But you are cheaper than I am, so first work on it yourself. Take every generality OUT of the resume, and keep it to one page unless you are a teacher, researcher, doctor, or CEO.

Recruiters have candidate ADD (another dang denial). DO NOT be in that pile.

Remember things are half full not half empty. And if you need me, go to my website, www.vtrconsulting.com

Good luck! I am also a tweet away.

Jim (@salestherapist)

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Detroit Idle Thoughts

5-19-09 Apex, NC

Very quietly, every Big Three medical plan has changed. Now there is less coverage and more cost.

RUN don't walk to a Chrysler or General Motors dealership. They are now customer heaven. Work out a good deal that is fair to the store and to you. There have never been better deals.

If you work in or with the auto industry, you are not dreaming. It is a low grade nightmare that is not ending for awhile.

Yes Virginia, there is indeed more Fords running around in areas where there are a lot of imports.

Mr. President, please understand Americans do not want small cars with great gas mileage; they want cars with good gas mileage and cars that are comfortable. The tiny cars you expect us to drive are harder to get into than a Sprint Cup Car, and long distances guarantee pinched nerves and scary moments. Remember Mr. President you cruise I-95 in a bullet-proof stretch Cadillac Limo. What is your MPG?

Toyota announces a new, cheaper Prius; desperate times and desperate measures.

Google The Henry Ford in Dearborn and head there for the day; stay at the Dearborn Inn, the most historic Marriott in the country. And grab a Buddy's Pizza when you are up there. Summer is gorgeous in Southern Michigan.

How about the Red Wings and the Tigers? Good news is rare in this town.

Google American Dream Rally.

Buy American. I check the labels, and the nameplates.

Sunday, May 17, 2009

MESSellaneous Idle Thoughts

Apex, NC 5-17-09

The Apex High Women's Lacrosse Team took home the NC state title after a thrilling 13-12comeback win over Charlotte Catholic yesterday. Great Job!!

I have been thinking that the deflection of incompetence is a growing art form within poor leadership.

Raising gas prices two cents a day, every day, is not good for anyone but big oil. As the economy gets healthier, let it naturally rise based on usage. NO NEED to hurry it up.

Airlines are raising stowed baggage fees again. Why not? Captive audience and easy money make profit.

President Obama and Notre Dame.

Domino's Oven-Baked Sandwiches are just plain yummy.

My beloved Detroit Tigers are in first place. Please pinch me in a non-usable part.

Have you ever had anybody walk out of your life leaving you with all the bills? When dealership tax bases cease to exist; they are coming after us!! And you know who the THEY are.

Former Governor Easley sure has his challenges today. As any good farmer will tell you, you have to dig deep for the richer soil.

GM + Chrysler = 100,000 - X. Whether we want to or not we are solving for X. I cannot even get into the algebraic reality let alone the calculus. But 100,000 fellow Americans still is 100,000. It is the constant not the variable we have to worry about.

On Memorial Day, before you crack open a beer or slice open a bag of hot dogs, get on your knees and pray for our troops, our veterans, and our history of freedom and heroes. There is only one country like the USA.

No one will ever fly into one of our skyscrapers ever again because of our brave men and women in the Armed Forces, the CIA, the Secret Service, and the FBI. Keep them in our prayers. Their business is Freedom and their product is Bravery. Godspeed.

Finally, here is career advice. Find out what you have a wild passion for. Plan honest profit from that passion. And then draw customers to your passion.

But remember changing careers can sometimes be a simple process, BUT it is never an easy one. If someone recruits you and promises you easy money, turn and run... FAST!

Have a great week and happy selling!

Friday, May 15, 2009

40,000

Apex, NC 5-15-09

40,000. Quite a number; stadiums would love that many fans piled up for a game. This number is the population of a good sized town. For example, Northwood University, the largest automotive university in the country, is nestled within the wonderful Mid- Michigan town of Midland. It is the home of Dow Chemical. And it has roughly 40,000 people.

40,000 is a lot. And it is the amount of Chrysler Dealership Employees soon to be out of work. That is about 50 people per store. As a recruiter, I am trying my dangest to help as many as I can. The calls I made this morning were to big box used stores looking for quality people. Keeping people employed is one thing. But these are your brothers, sisters, aunts, uncles, best friends, and neighbors. You know these people by their first name. These are the same people who participate every year in a Toys for Tots program. They are the ones who put uniforms on your kid's soccer team. They sit next to you at church.

They are us.

And we need to help them in any way we can.

You see, it is not about you and me. It is about them. Placing them back into the work environment as quickly as possible is paramount to the United States and to the Automotive Industry.

They have been there for us. When we needed a part or service they were open for us. When we needed a car and could only shop on our day off, they were there.

The business needs our help. Figure out a way and show your support for the brothers and sisters who now need it more than ever.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Slowly Shutting Detroit Down

5-15-09 Apex, NC

As I listened this morning to WWJ Radio 950 in Detroit, I sat stunned and sullen. The radio newscaster was reading the Chrysler Dealership Closing list. It sounded just like a snowstorm hit and a list of school closings were being announced. Here in the Raleigh NC market, we have not heard who will be hit; but in Metro Detroit 15 dealerships are done.

This cannot be happening as my mind races to the past when health and profitability were the ingredients of Detroit. The business has to be saved. American manufacturers have to remain alive to produce American vehicles for the American public.

The car business is a gritty hard working group of blue and white collar individuals. But these closings affect employees in the stores and affects every business within 20 miles of these stores. Government will lose millions in taxes and it has to come from somewhere. it will come from us. It will come from Americans. Japan, South Korea, Germany, Great Britain, China, Italy, and even Russia all benefit from our market. These nations will just watch this taking place. I do not foresee baskets being passed out to save Detroit.

WE MUST ALL STAND IN CAMARADERIE and keep the car business alive. In 1959, the car business died in Cuba. Today Cubans use duct tape and wire to keep their 1950's vehicles rolling. I do not believe that people in this country want to pass their vehicles to their children 25 years from now.

If the actions today do not push you to patriotism, then wait until June 1 and watch General Motors fate.

Those of you who scoff at Detroit going away, think about this. One of seven Americans is directly or indirectly working for the car business. Detroit nameplates produce quality vehicles high on JD Powers and Consumer Reports lists of quality cars, trucks and SUVs.

Detroit does not lead manufacturers in recalls; the Japanese companies do.

You will soon know if all these sad events affect you and your family. My guess is you will know someone affected by this day. My advice is to stock up on duct tape and wire.

Good luck.