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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.