FIVE TIPS FOR SECURING A LOAN | MOB MARKETING: PR & SOCIAL NETWORKS
CHANGE? YES YOU CAN. THINK LIKE AN ENTREPRENEUR, THRIVE WITH SMART CHOICES. STRANGE’S PRESIDENT & CEO
& OTHER BIZ-SAVVY INSIDERS OFFER POINTERS AND PERSPECTIVE FOR
MY LITTLE CUPCAKE SPARK ENGINEERING CARE ADVANTAGE SMARTER INTERIORS RICHMOND ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT CORPORATION WFOFR MEDIA
WORKMAGAZINE Career Life in the Greater Richmond Region Cultivating Your Economic Evolution
Table of Contents
COVER STORY PAGE 16
From the Partnership ............................................3 ShopTalk ..............................................................4 Momentum ..........................................................10 Innovators ..........................................................23 Arts / Culture ....................................................32 Music & Food ......................................................34 Sports ................................................................36 Shopping ............................................................38 Movers & Shakers................................................39 Partnership News ................................................40 Partnership Investor Profile ................................41 MediaWorks ........................................................42 Travel & Leisure ................................................43 See & Do ............................................................44
‘It was the best of times it was the worst of...’ Oh, forget it! Has the crisis economy tossed you a curveball? Not liking the state of business today? It’s time to focus. President and CEO of Strange’s Florists, Greenhouses, and Garden Centers, Bill Gouldin knows something about growing plants—and growing a business in all types of economic situations. He—along with other entrepreneurial experts—offers ideas and resources to apply to your changing world.
No, you’re not alone. Change is a fact of business and impacts everyone sooner or later. Three Richmond companies demonstrate that the ability to respond positively in the face of shifting market demands, new technology and other unexpected developments is the key to survival. Though their products and services are diverse, their proactive approach brought similar success in satisfied customers and expansion into unforeseen markets.
ShopTalk PAGE 4
WORKMAGAZINE PROFILE PAGE 29
Upbeat about her new position as President/CEO of the association, Nancy Thomas looks to the year ahead as an opportunity to build new relationships and alliances. Thomas assumed her position as president in February. While she may be new to the presidency, she certainly isn’t a stranger to the RMA. She has worked in retail since 1981 and has served on the board of the RMA since 1999, most recently as immediate past chairman.
Dominion to Celebrate 100 Years of Service The business began as the Upper Appomattox Company in 1795 to improve navigation and commercial development on the James River and its tributaries, including canal operation to secure water rights to the river. Today, Dominion is one of the nation’s largest producers of energy, with an energy portfolio of about 26,500 megawatts of generation and 7,800 miles of natural gas transmission pipeline.
Mob Marketing Morphing Your Web Promotions from User-Friendly to User-Generated: Evolving your outreach to your consumers can be effectively generated through social networks. Twitter, Facebook and YouTube are fast becoming the darlings of the PR circuit. Not only will you connect with your customers, it’s also just plain fun.
Vol. 5 / Issue4
Forbes.com Ranks Richmond #4 Best City to Find a Job Union & First Market Banks to Merge UK Machinery Company Opens Operations Southern Design Chooses Chesterfield SmartBox Acquires California Company Hanover County Rated AAA Two Awards Name CarMax ‘Top Place to Work’ Jefferson Hotel Wins Five Stars for Ninth Year The Virginia Business Opportunity Fair Returns University of Richmond & VMSDC to Provide Leadership Training for Minority Executives University of Richmond Continues ‘Best Value’ Streak Bon Secours Richmond Is Nationally Recognized for Advancing Women The Baton Rouge Area Chamber Visits Richmond VCU’s ‘CreateAthon onCampus’ VCU Schools of Medicine & Nursing Move Up in NIH Rankings Michael Rao Named VCU’s Fifth President British Auto Insurer Locating New U.S. Operation in Henrico Hanover’s Tyson’s Foods Creates 180 Jobs Verizon to Hire 60 in Henrico Business First Team Reviews Program Trends – Ramps Up to Assist Existing Business
SPRING2009 business innovation / career strategy / creative living MOMENTUM CONCEPTS • TRENDS • TRAILBLAZERS
CREATIVE WORK SPACE VENTURE RICHMOND
SPECIAL SECTION AFTER PAGE 22
Open for Business: Leila & Mel Bailey̶ Move It Now Leadership: Sharing Wisdom ................Page 10
MIXING BUSINESS WITH PLEASURE TOURING DOWNTOWN’S LOFTS
Caller, Youʼre On the Air: Itʼs Your Job! Dr. David D. Schein says the business radio show oﬀers “something a little diﬀerent, something that is universal.” ..........................................Page 11
3 Guerilla Promos: Increase sales without spending a fortune? Thatʼs exactly what these CEOs did. ..........................................................Page 12 Legal Brief: Is the Obama “Hope” Poster Copyright Infringement? Marketing Maven: Your advice may be your best marketing tool. ....................................Page 13
Trade Secrets: Hit the Ground Running: A Manual for New Leaders by Jason Jennings PLUS: How do I keep my Windows OS running smoothly? ........................................................Page 15
SPARK Engineering Care Advantage Smarter Interiors Richmond Economic Development Corporation WFofR Media 2
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804-355-1035 Dave@palaribooks.com The Greater Richmond Partnership Inc. is a not-for-profit economic development team representing the City of Richmond and the counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico. The Partnership’s office is located at 901 E. Byrd St., Suite 801 Richmond,VA 23219-4070 phone 804-643-3227 or toll-free at 1-800-229-6332 fax 804-343-7167
My Little Cupcake
Ted Randler Publisher/Senior Editor
Senior Writers Christina Couch Donna C. Gregory Department Editors Devorah Ben-David Jan Daniel Paul Spicer
Clutter to Couture: Designers Angela Greene and Ken Kobrick spend their days literally turning trash into treasure.
For Your Desk: Thereʼs a new woman who answers our phones. Iʼm not sure of her name, I call her Sylvia. I ﬁnd her to be unnerving with her oﬃcious greeting and perfect suggestions.
Managing Editor Rebecca Jones
The Loan Zone: Five tips for securing a loan
WebChatter: Itʼs like we dipped into your soul and found the perfect mindless diversions from the stress of your workday. ............Page 14
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Contributing Writers Dana Callahan Gina Cavallo Collins Sheri Doyle Mike Fonseca Chris Gatewood Megan Marconyak Mark Matthews Julie McGuire Joan Tupponce Mike Ward Jennifer Yeager Maggie Diane Yoder Photography Michael Creasy Stephanie Garr Ben Madden Chris Owens Intern Atosa Dabney
WORKMAGAZINE: Career Life in the Greater Richmond Region is a quarterly publication owned and operated by Palari Publishing LLP (The Work Factory, 1113 West Main Street, Richmond, VA, 23220 Toll-free: 866-570-6724) in association with the Greater Richmond Partnership Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part of any text, photograph or illustration without written permission from the publisher is prohibited. General comments, story suggestions and letters to the editor for publication consideration should be directed to Ted Randler at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WORKMAGAZINE is published in the months of JULY, OCTOBER, JANUARY & APRIL 2009 Spring
For the past nineteen issues of this publication, we’ve reported the seemingly endless stream of innovation that has come from the region. We have documented how our local economy has morphed over the years from mainly an agriculture-based state capital to a multi-industry community supporting growth in areas such as finance, logistics, bioscience, advanced materials and specialty chemicals. We have endeavored to track the wealth of new products generated in Greater Richmond along with the growth in the array of local organizations and resources that assist business development.
Throughout this editorial coverage the one concept that is shared in most all of the region’s economic development in the adaptation of new ideas, the refinement of production and the evolution in our workforce to remain competitive is change. It would seem as of late that change has become an integral component in not only our region, but throughout the world. If there has been one thing we have learned regarding success in business it is that—for whatever the circumstance—change in commerce is inevitable and adaptation to the new marketplace is where innovation occurs. We’ve seen that while un-
There is much we can learn from entrepreneurs and how they harness opportunity in a changing economy.
Greg Wingfield President, CEO Greater Richmond Partnership Inc.
expected change isn’t always welcome, depending on how you resolve your circumstance, it can lead to unforeseen success.
What is novel in today’s economy is that usually the inspiration to develop ideas into previously untried business models springs naturally from those with entrepreneurial natures. Entrepreneurs thrive on change. Currently though, economic change has been foisted upon everyone, with several industries undergoing paradigm shifts. For a large number of people in today’s workforce, the sudden adaptation to a new way of earning income is daunting. Many of us wouldn’t dream of starting a business as a possibility.
You need only to walk into any bookstore and peruse the business section to see that numerous volumes have been spent noting the personality traits of successful entrepreneurs. This may lead you to think that there are those who may be more genetically incline toward the risk-and-reward orientation—and perhaps this is true. Whether you consider yourself business-savvy or not, just as we are inspired by those who have talents and accomplishments that we don’t share, there is much we can learn from entrepreneurs and how they harness opportunity in a changing economy.
So we dedicate this issue to the ways and means you can parlay the thinking of those who have successfully ridden the turbulence of economic crisis; of companies that have adapted to evolutions in the marketplace; and of those individuals who have adjusted his or her career path to a better situation. We discovered that while impetus for change may differ, the steps to smart business and career decisions are similar. Tapping into the correct mindset; acknowledging the emotional aspect while not allowing it to overwhelm; and most importantly, accessing the region’s business community and its resources—through research and networking—can assist in an optimum transition.
SmartBox Acquires California Company
Forbes.com Ranks Richmond #4 Best City to Find a Job Richmond, Virginia was recently ranked by Forbes.com among the top 10 cities for hiring in 2009. Reasons cited included the region’s healthy mix of businesses. According to Forbes.com,“The area doesn’t rely on one or two huge companies to employ most of its residents. Public accounting, manufacturing and service remain strong fields, and with the
nation’s capital just three hours away, there are plenty of jobs in government contracting and defense.” The article also noted that the region’s military bases “contribute to a strong showing in government-related jobs.”
Union & First Market Banks to Merge Union Bankshares Corporation and First Market Bank announced the signing of an agreement to merge First Market with Union in an all stock transaction valued at approximately $105.4 million. A privately held banking company with over $1.3 billion in assets, First Market operates 39 branches throughout central Virginia with 31 in the greater Richmond metropolitan area. With the merge, Union will become the largest Virginia based community banking organization with a combined 97 branch locations and total assets of over $3.9 billion. G. William Beale, President and CEO of
Union, continues as CEO of the new entity and David J. Fairchild—currently CEO of First Market—will be President. The Board of Union Bankshares will be expanded by three members to include James E. Ukrop, Steven A. Markel and David J. Fairchild. “We are excited about the opportunity to bring these two strong organizations together. First Market and Union share a common culture of exceptional customer service,” said Beale. “This combination is transformational for our organizations and for banking in Virginia.”
UK Machinery Company Opens Operations A subsidiary of ProSeal Holdings Limited of Cheshire, England, ProSeal America, Inc. opened a Richmond sales facility in February. The company plans to have a full manufacturing base in Richmond within 5 years creating a full range of servicing and engineering jobs. ProSeal America, Inc. manufactures heat‐sealing machinery and tools. ProSeal is currently the United Kingdom’s number one supplier for all major food producers and one of Europe’s largest. Established 10 years ago, the $30 million company employs nearly 100 people in their UK and Australian locations. Gari Wyatt, CEO of ProSeal America, said “We are very excited about expanding into the U.S. market and establishing a presence in the Richmond region. We have existing UK food processor clients already in America to service and we see tremendous opportunity for further growth. Our plan is to replicate our UK model here in the U.S.” Wyatt added, “Several factors played into our decision to locate in Greater Richmond versus other regions, particularly VCU’s School of Engineering and the Greater Richmond Partnership’s ability to connect us to key resources. Their service has been essential to our expansion which has enabled us to move swiftly in launching our presence here.”
Southern Design Chooses Chesterfield Southern Design and Mechanical,Inc., a supplier of products and consulting services to industrial process industries, has located in the BizWorks Enterprise Center on Jefferson Davis Highway. The company supplies pump, seal and valve applications to a variety of industries including chemical processors,power generation, pulp and paper, water and wasterwater, steel
manufacturing,bio-energy and pharmaceutical. They occupy 1,250 square feet in the center and plan to invest $75,000. They currently have 3 employees. BizWorks is a non-profit small business incubator offering office and warehouse space to new businesses and those transitioning from a home office. www.workmagazine.biz
Lowe Henrico County-based SmartBox, recognized by its red, portable-storage units, has acquired San Diego’s Big Box Storage Inc., giving the Richmond area company a larger presence on the West Coast. The acquisition will enable privately owned SmartThe acquisition Box to create up to 20 new jobs in central Virwill add ginia, increasing its franchises local workforce by in California, two-thirds. Founded in 2003, Oregon, Arizona SmartBox will now opand New York. erate in 43 markets nationwide through 26 franchises. The acquisition will add franchises in California, Oregon, Arizona and New York. It will also make it possible for SmartBox to provide long-distance moving services between its markets, which will serve some 65 percent of the U.S. population, according to Michael Lowe, SmartBox president.
Hanover County Rated AAA Standard & Poor’s has rated Hanover County as AAA for general obligation bonds. The county is also rated AAA by Fitch Ratings and AA by Moody’s Investors Service. Standard & Poor's upgraded the county to the triple-A status, the highest rating possible. That lets the county borrow money for construction projects or issue bonds at a lower interest rate. Standard and Poor’s, one of the three major municipal bond ratings agencies in the United States, has upgraded Hanover County to a ‘AAA’ rating, the highest possible. Fitch Ratings has also reaffirmed the ‘AAA’ bond rating it gave Hanover County in 2006. There are only about 24 county governments nationwide that both S&P and Fitch have rated ‘AAA’, and only six counties in Virginia, with Hanover being the smallest. There are about 3,100 counties in the U.S. “This is great news for Hanover taxpayers,” said John E. Gordon Jr., Chairman of the Board of Supervisors.“It means that Hanover County will be able to borrow money at lower interest rates as we continue to finance needed capital improvement projects.” 2009 Spring
Two Awards Name CarMax ‘Top Place to Work’ For the fifth consecutive year, Richmond-based CarMax has been named one of Fortune magazine’s 100 best companies to work for, with a rank of 31. CarMax also received the 2009 Gallup Great Workplace Award, which honors companies that have demonstrated they are among the most productive workforces in the world.This is the second consecutive year CarMax has been honored with this award by the Gallup Organization. “We are honored once again to receive the Gallup Great Workplace Award,” said Tom Folliard, president and chief executive officer of CarMax.“Building a world class company begins with investing in our associates and striving for continuous improvement.” “The winners of this award have established a new standard for engaging people,” said Tom Rath, who leads Gallup’s Workplace and Leadership Consulting practice.“When compared to the millions of workgroups we have studied around the world, the awardees have worked tirelessly to create an environment that values people.” The Gallup Great Workplace Award recognizes the best-performing workforces in the world.Applicants' results are compared across a workplace research database composed of millions of work teams in more than 150 countries. A panel of workplace experts reviews each organization's portfolio to select the winners.
Jefferson Hotel Wins Five Stars for Ninth Year Richmond’s Jefferson Hotel was one of only 44 hotels in North America rated five stars in the 2009 Mobile Travel Guide. “This award is a testament to the outstanding service our talented team provides to our guests,” says Joseph Longo, The Jefferson’s Managing Director. “We will continue to consistently provide one of the best hotel values available.” The Jefferson was built in 1895 and has 262 rooms and suites, 26,000 square feet of function space and is home to TJ’s Restaurant. It is a member of Preferred Hotels and Resorts Worldwide and Historic Hotels of America.
University of Richmond & VMSDC to Provide Leadership Training for Minority Executives The Virginia Minority Supplier Development Council (VMSDC)has designed, along with the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business, an innovative leadership development program exclusively for chief executive officers of certified minority businesses to assist as these business leaders grow their businesses and stave off the effects of the financial markets. Leadership skills, business expansion and customer service will be at the forefront of the offerings. This initiative has secured founding sponsors that include three major Central Virginia-based corporations, Altria Group, Dominion Resources and MeadWestvaco. This spring, after a rigorous application process,VMSDC will select the first 20 executives. In June, the selected executives will arrive on the University of Richmond campus for a three-day intensive session, followed by a second three-day session scheduled for mid-September. “As always we’re committed to education and training,” said Connie Smith,VMSDC chair and who also heads supplier diversity development for the Altria family of companies. “This program will provide the right information at the right time to suppliers that are ready to evolve to the next level.We’re excited to provide this program through the University of Richmond.” Robins School faculty with expertise in strategic management, finance, marketing and
entrepreneurship will collaborate with staff from the school’s Executive Education division to design a curriculum tailored specifically to VMSDC’s membership. “The Robins School is honored to have been chosen for this important work,” said Dean Jorge Haddock.
University of Richmond Continues ‘Best Value’ Streak USA Today/Princeton Review, and SmartMoney have added to Kiplinger’s Personal Finance’s praise of the University of Richmond [see news WORKMAGAZINE winter ’09]—ranking it as one of the nation’s best values in higher education. “Of all the positive attention the University of Richmond receives, recognition of our affordability is especially welcome,” said President Edward L. Ayers. “We are eager for students and their families to discover what a great value we offer, particularly considering our small class size, close interaction with faculty, and personal attention to students.” The USA Today-Princeton Review article included the University of Richmond on its list of 100 “best value” colleges based on 30 statistical criteria of academics, costs and financial aid. To identify “best value,” it also utilized surveys of administrators and students at more than 650 public and private college campuses about professors’ accessibility, class sizes, student-faculty ratios and percent of classes taught by teaching assistants.
The Virginia Business Opportunity Fair Returns Presented by the VirBest selling ginia Minority Supplier Development Council author of (VMSDC), on May 4-5, Without Excuses the Virginia Business and Opportunity Fair will offer two days of busi- national speaker ness opportunities inJoe Watson cluding the annual will provide Diversity Golf Tourney to be held at the Dothe keynote. minion Club. The conference kick-off—the Minority Business the keynote of the conference. The conferEnterprise Input Committee (MBEIC) Recep- ence offers networking, workshops and an aftion—sponsored by Altria will be held at Altria’s ternoon tradeshow with Fortune 500 Research and Technology Center in Richmond. corporations, higher education institutions, Best selling author of Without Excuses federal, state and local government agencies and national speaker Joe Watson will provide and financial institutions. www.workmagazine.biz
Bon Secours Richmond Is Nationally Recognized for Advancing Women Bon Secours Richmond Health System has been cited as one of the top employers in the nation for recruiting, developing and advancing women by the National Association for Female Executives (NAFE). This is the fourth year that NAFE has recognized Bon Secours Richmond in its Top Companies for Executive Women awards program. About eighty-five percent of Bon Secours Richmond’s more than 7,000 employees are women. Bon Secours Richmond is one of only five nonprofits throughout the country to receive this honor, and this year each nonprofit is in the healthcare industry. In addition, NAFE annually names for-profit companies to its list of Top 50 Companies for Executive Women. The health system was recognized as a Top Nonprofit for Female Executives at an awards luncheon on March 18 in New York City along with representatives from the other 54 award-winning organizations. “Our success as a healthcare organization depends every day on decisions made by thousands of women who work throughout Bon Secours Richmond,” said Bonnie Shelor, senior vice president of human resources for Bon Secours Richmond Health System.“This award is the strongest affirmation of the values and the many contributions that women bring to Bon Secours.” In naming Bon Secours Richmond as one of the nation’s leading innovators, NAFE evaluated the organization on having a high percentage of women executives; embracing diversity; developing and supporting toward female advancement; and assisting not only female executives, but all employees, particularly in the development of work-life balance programs. In the nonprofit category, Bon Secours Richmond was found to have the highest percentage of women serving on an organization’s board.
The Baton Rouge Area Chamber Visits Richmond
NAWBO to Celebrate Successful Women in Biz
On March 22 the Baton Rouge Area Chamber (BRAC) along with about 150 Louisiana regional leaders toured the Greater Richmond Region. In addition to neighborhood and downtown development, regional branding and identity efforts, and global commerce opportunities, the BRAC group heard from an executive of shipbuilder Northrop Grumman Corp. about its work-force strategies. The trip served to stimulate ideas and reinvigorate the greater Baton Rouge region’s approach to development. Citing Richmond’s recent accolades as Forbes.com fourth-best city for jobseekers [see related article, page 4], BRAC also chose to tour the region because Greater Richmond has similar economic advantages as Baton Rouge in a stable state government and higher education payrolls. BRAC’s was also interested Greater Richmond’s ability to attract young professionals and members of the creative class.
Richmond National Association of Women Business Owners (NAWBO) will highlight the region’s women-business owners during the June 9, 2009 Enterprising Women of Excellence luncheon and annual meeting at the Jefferson Hotel. Three categories: Woman Entrepreneur of the Year; Rising Star; and NAWBO Member of the Year will be featured. NAWBO is the only dues-based national organization representing the interests of all women entrepreneurs in all types of businesses. Based in McLean, NAWBO has more than 8,000 members in nearly 80 chapters in the U.S. and is represented in 35 countries. The Richmond chapter was founded 1982.
NEWS FROM VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH UNIVERSITY
VCU’s ‘CreateAthon onCampus’ More than 40 students at Virginia Commonwealth University spent 24 consecutive hours completing marketing and advertising projects for free for a dozen area nonprofits beginning on March 12th-13th. This was the second year for CreateAthon onCampus, promoted as “a caffeinated marathon of creative work designed to help nonprofit organizations with little or no resources for advertising and marketing initiatives.” Students began work at VCU on Thursday at 8:30 a.m., laboring through the day and night on their assignments. They presented their completed projects to their clients on Friday morning. Student team leaders helped guide the work
through production, partnering with local vendors to eliminate production costs for the nonprofits. Last year VCU became the first university to launch a CreateAthon program, which has been used by professional advertising agencies around the country. “CreateAthon onCampus last year was an amazing experience for the students,” said Peyton Rowe, associate professor of advertising at VCU and director of the project. “They worked extremely hard, but they also had fun, learned a great deal and their clients were extremely appreciative of their efforts.” Blow-by-blow documentation of the event can be found at the event’s blog http://vcucoc.blogspot.com.
VCU Schools of Medicine & Nursing Move Up in NIH Rankings The Virginia Commonwealth University Schools of Medicine and Nursing have achieved significantly higher rankings in medical research funding over the past year—medicine moved up six positions and nursing into the top 20—according to data recently released by the National Institutes of Health. The NIH data show that the VCU School of Medicine moved from No. 59 in 2007 to No. 53 for 2008, out of 126 ranked schools of www.workmagazine.biz
medicine, and the VCU School of Nursing moved from 23 in 2007, to No. 19, out of 82 ranked schools of nursing—higher than any nursing schools in Virginia. The VCU School of Medicine in 2008 was awarded nearly $63 million from the NIH for medical research, with significant funding in neurosurger y, pharmacology and toxicology, human and molecular genetics, anatomy and internal medicine research. 2009 Spring
British Auto Insurer Locating New U.S. Operation in Henrico Admiral Americas LLC, a subsidiary of British automobile insurer Admiral Group plc, will locate a new U.S. headquarters operation in Henrico County. The company plans to lease 26,000 of pre-existing vacant space and initially create between 40 and 50 new jobs, with a goal of increasing employment at the facility to 200 by the end of 2010. “The Richmond region has so much to offer, including costeffective real estate, high-quality labor force, and a welcoming business environment,” said Andrew Rose,president and CEO of
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Admiral Americas. The Greater Richmond region was selected after a six month competition with cities including Dallas, Chicago and Charlotte. “The Richmond region has a great story to tell: cost‐effective real estate, quality labor force, and a welcoming business environment,” Rose said, “Another differentiating factor among the cities was the Greater Richmond Partnership’s service. They streamlined the process for us. We’re a cost‐efficient business and this free consultative service was invaluable to us.”
Hanover’s Tyson Foods Creates 180 Jobs Tyson Foods Inc. is adding about 180 jobs for a new production line at its plant on U.S. 33 in Hanover County. 50 of the new positions were filled this quarter, the remainder of the production line employees will be phased in over several months to produce food for fast-food and deli customers, according to Gary Mickelson, a spokesman for the company at its headquarters in Springdale, Ark.
Verizon to Hire 60 in Henrico Verizon Communications Inc. plans to fill 60 customer service representatives to handle requests from new and existing customers n its service center on Hungary Springs Road in Henrico County. The Henrico center currently employs 200 full-time worker. Companywide, the communications company employs 224,000.
Michael Rao Named VCU’s Fifth President The Virginia Commonwealth University Board of Visitors has announced that Michael Rao, Ph.D., president of Central Michigan University, will be VCU’s next president and president of the VCU Health System. He also will be a tenured professor in the School of Education. Rao,42, comes to VCU with the experience of three successful presidencies at universities of increasing size and complexity. “Michael Rao’s accomplishments are remarkable,” said VCU Rector Tom Rosenthal. “Members of the board, the Presidential Search Committee and others representing university groups who have met Mike are excited about the energy, enthusiasm and intelligence he will bring to VCU as its fifth president.” Rosenthal said the board’s decision was unanimous and Spring 2009
comes after an extensive process that sought input from the entire university community about VCU’s future and the type of person who should be its next president. A 17member, universitywide presidential search committee used that information as it conducted a national search and forwarded recommendations to the VCU Board of Visitors. “Mike and VCU are about the same age, and they both are just now hitting their strides,” said Ed Bersoff, Ph.D., chair of the Presidential Search Committee and former VCU rector. “Our expectations and standards are high for each of them and I am confident that those expectations and standards are likely to be exceeded.” Rao will succeed 69-yearold President Eugene P. Trani who is leaving in June.
Business First Greater Richmond is a collaborative effort that includes Chesterfield County, Henrico County, Hanover County and the City of Richmond. It is supported by the Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc. and the Greater Richmond Chamber.
Business First Team Reviews Program Trends – Ramps Up to Assist Existing Business The Business First Greater Richmond team has interviewed more than 100 businesses since January 1 and is currently working to support dozens of area companies in a wide variety of areas.The information gathered during initial face-to-face meetings with business owners and CEOs reveals a number of trends that are influencing how we organize our resources to support existing business. As mentioned in the Partnership’s 90 Day Action Plan, we are focusing outreach and resources in two key areas—those companies with a defined growth strategy and businesses at risk who may need assistance in areas such as business planning, process improvement, or financing. Despite the troubling regional economic news, ninety-five percent of Richmond area businesses report a positive attitude toward the community. Even more encouraging is a continued commitment to invest and create new jobs in the region. 21% of the respon-
Working with a network of service providers, partners have interviewed more than 1300 businesses and responded to more than 280 requests for assistance since the program’s inception. dents have plans to expand in the coming eighteen months and one in four intend to add new positions in the coming year, collectively planning to invest more than $12 million and pledging to create more than 400 new jobs in the region.
The goal of the Business First program is to help make those plans a reality for these growing firms and be a catalyst for other area businesses, introducing them to resources to help them take their businesses to the next level. Working with a network of service providers, partners have interviewed more than 1300 businesses and responded to more than 280 requests for assistance since the program’s inception. Assisted firms have invested more than $43 million in the region and created or retained more than 650 jobs. Work continues to connect with even more businesses in the region. Watch in April for more information as we launch an awareness campaign highlighting Business First success stories, partner spotlights and profiles on the volunteers who support our efforts. If you would like to learn more or if your business would like to be interviewed by a Business First partner please contact Sara Dunnigan at email@example.com or 343-6968.
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Open for Business Welcome to my premier article. In each issue, I will be sharing stories of Greater Richmond residents who have started a business of their own. While each of their stories is unique, they all have one thing in common, they share the passion and drive that it takes to open their very own business. In these stories you will learn what motivates them, why they made certain choices, and what their hopes are for the future.
Leila & Mel Bailey - Move It Now
M O M E N T U M : CONCEPTS 10
by Robin Smith
Mel & Leila Bailey were referred to me by a previous client. Mel was being downsized and they had decided that they wanted to investigate business ownership. As we began our discussions, I learned that they were both planning on working in the business. They wanted a business with work flexibility for Leila and growth potential for both of them. When I asked what appealed to them about the food franchise they had previously researched, they explained that they were big fans of the product. I find this to be a fairly common response. As they did more homework, they learned that there were things about the business that were less attractive. (For example, long work hours, high sales volume required, etc.) Since the business required a retail location, the initial investment and the monthly overhead would also be very high. They learned that liking the product did not necessarily mean it was the right business for them to own; perhaps they would be better suited being dedicated customers! In the meantime, we had begun researching other alternatives. I had told them before we started that we were going to be exploring businesses that would help them to achieve their goals. I also tried to prepare them to understand that these would likely be very different from what they had been considering on their own. I find that so often people only look at businesses where they love the product; instead of at businesses where they love the business model. After considering a host of options and learning more about what worked for them and didn’t work for them, we found Move It Now, a residential and commercial moving company. Since it’s a newer franchise, they found that they would have a little more independence and plenty of opportunity for growth. The initial costs and monthly overhead were more in alignment with their needs. Mel & Leila also found through their research that the hours were more reasonable for them. Finally, since they had an interest in a painting company as well, they felt that background would help them with getting the moving business started. They are now well on their way to establishing a business of their own. I will stay in touch with them, as I do with all my clients, and answer any questions they have. And if I ever have to go through a move of my own, I know who to call. [Read more on Smith see page 18] Robin Smith is the owner of The Entrepreneur's Source. Visit her at www.e-sourceva.com.
Organizations that believe that talented people are their greatest resource have various ways to set conditions for their employeesʼ success. One alternative is a formal program for pairing up junior employees with more senior employees, with the expectation that the senior employee will provide guidance, advice, and assistance with matters outside the junior employeeʼs normal chain of command. This is usually referred to as a “mentoring” program. The word “mentor” comes to us from Greek literature. In Homerʼs Odyssey, Mentor was the man into whose care Odysseus placed his son when Odysseus departed for the Trojan War. Mentor was expected to share his wisdom and experience with the son during his fatherʼs absence. Similarly today, a mentor is expected to share his or her experience with the person being mentored (referred to as a protégé or mentoree). There are several ways a formal mentoring program can be of value for an organization: • Distributing knowledge within the organization. There is no way any training program could teach everything a new employee needs to know about the organization. Mentors provide an avenue for disseminating institutional knowledge to new employees as various issues arise. This also reduces the cost of training new employees by placing part of the training requirement on the mentor. • Building relationships within the organization. The mentoring relationship outside the normal chain of command provide the mentoree with the opportunity to learn about the people, programs, and oﬃces outside his or her normal sphere of operations. This creates pre-existing relationships to support future collaborative eﬀorts across business units. • Providing an additional source of feedback. If your mentoring program and personnel evaluation program allow feedback on mentorees as part of the evaluation process, then the mentor becomes another source of feedback for those evaluations. However, the organization must consider this beneﬁt in balance with the possible de-
by Mark Matthews
sire to retain informal conﬁdentiality within the mentoring program, as mentorees might not be as open with their mentors if they know there is no guarantee of conﬁdentiality. • Providing a source for answers to awkward questions the mentoree does not feel comfortable bringing to his or her chain of command. Not everyone feels comfortable bringing the awkward questions to his or her supervisor, and not every supervisor responds appropriately to those questions. A mentor also can provide an additional perspective for the mentoree to consider. Unfortunately, mentoring programs do not always meet these expectations. Although there are a great many reasons why a mentoring program can be ineﬀective, failed programs usually stem from a failure by the organizationʼs leadership to communicate the programʼs mission and importance. The consequences of such a failure to communicate can include the following: • Improperly matching mentors and mentorees. A severe personality clash between mentor and mentoree makes the relationship fruitless. Similarly, a mentor whose time does not allow proper attention to the mentoring relationship can frustrate the programʼs purposes. • Inattention to the mentoring relationship. A mentoring program requires regular meetings to enable the level of interaction necessary for a successful relationship. • Mentor sessions misunderstood by both mentor and mentoree. A mentoring program requires meaningful interaction. Mentoring meetings are not meant to be a monthly gripe session over lunch. It should be a purpose-driven session of listening and discussion between both persons, with the mentor coaching and instructing as necessary. A solid mentoring program will provide new or junior employees with a lifeline to reach out to, and will make them feel included within the organization. A weak or failing mentoring program is worse than no program, because mentorees will feel like outcasts and will get the message that the organization pays mere lip service to its goals.
Mark Matthews is the owner of The Matthews Law Group, P.L.L.C. He has over 15 years of leadership and management experience in both the military and the private sector. Mark is also a Managing Attorney of the Veterans Benefits Clinic at the William & Mary Law School. www.workmagazine.biz
The Loan Zone
Five tips for securing a loan: Think business loans have gone the way of the fanny pack? Not according to these loan experts.
Know Thy Business When it comes to wooing lenders into believing in your cause, the best thing you can bring to the table is a clear vision of their company says Scott Dailey, Assistant District Director for Lender Relations for the Virginia Small Business Association. “Don’t just bring a summary of how much money you need and what you’re going to use it for,” advises Dailey. “You need to clearly explain why you’re going to go into this business, how you plan on making money in this economy, what you’re going to put up as collateral.” While those looking for a start-up loan will need to bring a concise, well-researched business plan, seasoned entrepreneurs looking to expand their companies can pique a lender’s interest by providing a written report that outlines exactly where loaned funds will be used and projections on how long it will take to pay back.
Know Thy Competitors “One thing that’s weak in a lot of the business plans is that [entrepreneurs] haven’t researched their competition,” says Patty Thorne, Senior
Caller, You’re On the Air Advice for Cubicleland Itʼs Your Job! ﬁrst aired in August of 2008 on WLEE, Newstalk 990 AM, and simulcast on the Internet. Program host, Dr. David D. Schein says the business radio show oﬀers “something a little diﬀerent, something that is universal.” Recently extending the reach to satellite radio coverage, Itʼs Your Job! now airs on TalkStarRadio. Through interviews with experts, training sessions, and a variety of other formats for engaging the listener, Schein focuses on topics relevant to both an employer and an em-
2 5 3 Project Finance Manager for the Virginia Small Business Financing Authority. “They really need to make a compelling case as to why someone would change their buying pattern.” In addition to figuring out the best way to run your business, Thorne says entrepreneurs can win lender confidence by researching competing firms and figuring out a concrete way to out-price, out-produce, or out-service the company that was there first.
improve your credit score and the best way to do that is to first pull your credit report and check for errors.” After pulling your report at Freecreditreport.com, entrepreneurs should first check to make sure the report is completely accurate, then work on paying off any judgments that may be dragging the credit score down.
Use Free Resources
Frank Bell, CEO of Bank of Virginia, reminds those looking for loans that not all lenders are the same. “Large institutions do things a little differently than community banks,” says Bell. “Whereas a large institution might just say no, a community bank might be able to get a little more creative. We tend to say ‘we’re having trouble lending to you under these circumstances, but here’s how we can change that.’” Bell recommends hitting up your personal bank first, especially if you’ve been a client for years. “It’s a very relationship-driven business,” Bell explains. “If someone walks in off of the street but they don’t have their checking or savings with us, it’s hard to get excited about that. If they’re a loyal customer, we’re going to make sure we work with them as much as possible.”
Need help? No problem. The Greater Richmond Chamber of Commerce (804-648-1234, www.grcc.com), the Office of Minority Business Development (804-646-5947, www.richmondgov.com/departments/mbd) and the Virginia Department of Business Assistance (866-2488814, www.dba.state.va.us) all offer free or low-cost help for those looking to launch a new business or improve upon an existing one. Those looking for business mentoring can also find free counseling from business veterans through Richmond SCORE (804-771-2400, www.richmondscore.org).
Check Your Credit Score
While you’re creating a thorough business report, Scott Dailey also recommends trying to boost your personal credit score. “If a lender required a credit score of 650 two years ago, now they’re going to require one of 700,” Dailey says. “It helps to ployee. He has even hosted mock debates on his program between managers and a subordinate. Known as the “employment guru,” Schein along with his on-air guests explore issues such as: workplace disputes, pay and beneﬁts, equal employment opportunity, safety, and contracts, as well as more personal issues such as employee attire, poor hygiene, and gender concerns. A corporate attorney, licensed in Virginia and Texas, and a qualiﬁed mediator who holds all ﬁve available mediator certiﬁcations from the Supreme Court of Virginia, Schein completed an ABA training program for dispute mediation for the EEOC, the US Postal Service Advanced Mediation Training for the REDRESS Program, and a World Bank Employment Mediation training. He is also trained in mediation for the AAA regarding automobile “Lemon Law” cases. Twenty-ﬁve years after law school,
Christina Couch is the author of Virginia Colleges 101: The Ultimate Guide for Students of All Ages.
Schein returned to the University of Virginia and earned his Ph.D. in education. For Schein Itʼs Your Job oﬀers him a podium to “understanding the human side of business.” As for the inevitible questions regarding the crisis economy, Schein believes strongly that companies should not “overreact.” If layoffs are necessary, companies should “do everything they can to keep their best employees.” When weighing resources, and how to allocate them effectively in tough financial times, the most important resource consideration, Schein feels, “should be the human resource.” As commutes get longer, you want your driving time to be productive, Scheinʼs Its Your Job may be an option for advice and fun. Julie McGuire is a paralegal, and the fiction editor for The Internet Review of Books. Her essays, articles, and book reviews have appeared in the Christian Science Monitor and other periodicals.
M O M E N T U M
While credit has tightened in the past twelve months, lending to both start-ups and already established small businesses is still in full effect. Here are five tips to help you land a slice of the lending pie.
BY CHRISTINA COUCH
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Clutter to Couture Designer couple keeps fashion eco-friendly You probably won’t find Louis Vuitton scouring landfills for inspiration, but you might find Angela Greene digging through one. The co-owner and one of two designers with Passchal – a Southside-based company that produces high-end handbags from used tractor inner tubes – Greene and her partner Ken Kobrick spend their days literally turning trash into treasure. Available at a handful of local boutiques as well as online at www.passchal.com, Greene and Kobrick’s designs have worked their way into the hands of Hollywood elite including clients Blair Underwood and AnnaLynne McCord of 90210 fame as well as onto the pages of Rolling Stone, Glamour and The Wall Street Journal despite the fact that both designers boast “absolutely no fashion sense or retail experience.” “It was such a fluke that we ended up doing this,” explains Greene. “Back in the late 90’s, I carried a backpack that was made out of inner tubes and everywhere I went people would comment on it. After I met Ken, I just looked at him one day and said ‘We need to do this.’ Then we started calling Firestones and asking to dig through their trash.” After meeting through a personals ad in 1995, Greene, a serial entrepreneur, and Kobrick, a former welder and then kitchen man-
3 Guerilla Promos by Christina Couch
Increase sales without spending a fortune? Thatʼs exactly what these CEOs did. From using free social networking tools to launching low-cost mobile media campaigns, these companies boosted their bottom lines (or someone elseʼs) without blowing the bank. Give It Away Want to make money? Unload your product for free says Ed Lawrence, owner of the Midlothian-based eco-accessories supplier, Calypso Studios. To get his product name out there, Lawrence provided 200 free reusable S.H.O.P. Tote shopping bags as well as 200 jewelry pieces to celebrity gifting lounges at the 2009 Academy Awards. The merchandise, worth about $6,000 if sold in retail stores, wound up in the hands of A-listers including Anne Hathaway and Mario Lopez and won Lawrence a boatload of free radio, television, and print press. The stunt, he says, paid oﬀ only because of the high level of exposure the Academy Awards brings. “It cost us about $2,000 to $3,000 whole-
Kobrick: “I had to cash in my 401k for this, learn how to sew, take out seventeen credit cards and refinance the house three times.” ager, began working together on a product Greene invented to help cancer victims regrow hair. That fell through just as the backpack that started it all came into their lives. “She bought that backpack home and said ‘I bet we could design bags like these,’” recounts Kobrick. “I said ‘That’s nice, I’m going to work’ and when I got back she had five huge inner tubes on the floor of my apartment.” The first Passchal bags were a fashion abomination. Heavy, awkward and smelling of rubbery cleaning agents, it took Kobrick and Greene a full three years to perfect the sevenstep preparation process that turns rubber into pliable material and another few years to secure the stable of manufacturers, hardware stores and sale to do it and it was worth it,” Lawrence says. “It brings credibility, recognition, brand awareness, and helps wholesalers get excited about our product.” Invest in Texts How to reach millions of clients instantaneously? The answer could be in right there in the palm of your hand̶communicating via cell phone. At OTAir Mobile Marketing Solutions, clients from across the globe can personally reach their demographic through cell phone text messaging at any time of day. Jim Washok, OTAir CEO, says, “90 to 95 percent of incoming text messages are read and the majority of them are read within ﬁfteen minutes. People are also more likely to respond to a text message. Studies show that people respond to text messages about 45 percent of the time.” For $150 a month, companies gain the ability to send text message promotions directly to consumers as well as a call-in number that can be added to visual or print ads that allow consumers to text back. While the concept is simple, the impact of being able to reach a target demographic at any time of day www.workmagazine.biz
BY CHRISTINA COUCH suppliers to make the company run smoothly. “In the beginning, the work was just a mess,” says Kobrick. “We had to throw away our couch because we had machines in every part of our house. We had industrial sewing machines in the bedroom…I had to cash in my 401k for this, learn how to sew, take out seventeen credit cards [Greene took out eleven] and refinance the house three times.” Today the work and fiscal risk are beginning to pay off. Smooth, light and featuring subtle accents like hand-polished zippers from Japan, Passchal’s current inner tube-leather hybrid bags are a far cry from the clunky, stinky contraptions that once filled Kobrick’s solo apartment. In its fourth official year of operation, the Passchal line was recently featured at the Access Hollywood lounge at the Golden Globes and will be showcased in Neimann Marcus’ upcoming April rewards catalogue. The city’s most unlikely DIY designers expect to rake in anywhere from half a million to $675,000, all thanks to Greene’s ability to spy potential in other people’s refuse. “All of this is astounding considering that these bags used to be made in our bedroom,” says Kobrick. “At this point, there’s nobody holding up their hand, telling us we can’t do it.” can be astounding says Washok. “One of the Florida branches of Funny Bone comedy clubs had a comic come in lastminute and they only had three hours to promote the show,” says Washok. “They sent messages to their VIP club members and within three hours, they had sold over 90 percent of their seats for that night.” Make Personal Contact Hunter Haglund knows that the best way to bring customers in is to get them excited about who you are and what you do. To generate buzz around his restaurant, Sushi Ninja (204 N Robinson Street), Haglund used the free social networking platform, Twitter, to inform customers not only about upcoming restaurant promotions, but also about what exactly goes into making their sushi. “We wanted to educate and really involve potential customers on what it is we do for a living, what weʼre passionate about,” Haglund says. The tactic has worked. Since launching the Twitter stream a few months ago, Sushi Ninja has generated over 115 online followers, many of which take advantage of the restaurantʼs online-only coupons. 2009 Spring
Is the “Hope” Poster Copyright Infringement? t became an iconic image in a hurry. Los Angeles artist Shepard Fairey started with a photo of Barack Obama. He colored his version in tones of red, white, and blue, with a style like an old propaganda poster. Fairey placed the word “PROGRESS” under it, and then more famously, the word “HOPE.” Associated Press photographer Mannie Garcia took the photograph of Obama at a press conference in 2006. Garcia was quoted recently as saying that if he spoke to Fairey about it, he would tell him “Your poster’s way cool, man.” Way cool or not, the AP did not appreciate that Garcia’s photograph was the basis for Fairey’s poster. The AP believes that Fairey’s copying amounts to infringement of the AP’s copyright. After a series of demands that reportedly began shortly after Obama’s inauguration, the case is now in court. Interestingly, it was Fairey who brought it there, filing an action to determine whether he has a copyright problem, and seeking a judge’s determination that he does not. Fairey has asked the court to find that he
Marketing Maven You’re An Expert and You Didn’t Even Know It (Nor Do Your Prospects...) hether you’ve already started your own business, are considering starting one, looking to market yourself for a new career, marketing your special talent or skill is going to be key to making you stand out from the crowd. The following is an illustration of understanding this concept. A friend of mine is an amazingly talented artist, mostly self-taught. She can work in any medium (paint, clay, fabric, yarn) and create something beautiful. In fact, she decided to paint a jungle mural for her son’s room and the outcome was jaw-dropping. Then she was inspired to paint a mural of a scene from Peter Pan in the hallway leading to her children's room. It resulted in another jaw-dropping creation. We chatted about it one night, trying to figure out how she could get paid for doing what she loves. What I learned from the conversation was she had a low level of confidence in her artistic skills because it came so easily to her, and she assumed most anyone could do what she does. This was a profound concept for me because she appears to be very a self-confident person.
has not infringed any of the exclusive rights the AP has in the photo, and if not that, then to find that his copying is “fair use” under copyright law. (Perhaps to avoid losing on the first question of the AP’s exclusive rights, Fairey’s court papers admit that he used the AP photo as a “visual reference” for his works, but do not say that he “copied” it.) So are you allowed to copy a photo if what you do with it is “way cool”? In the Fairey case, it is shaping up to be a close question. If you ask exactly what fair use is and whether it justifies any particular copying, you will probably get that familiar lawyer’s answer—“it depends.” So here is what it depends on: (1) Whether the copying use is commercial or not; (2) whether the work being copied is purely creative as opposed to more factual; (3) how much of the work is used; and (4) the effect of the use upon the potential market for the work.
By demonstrating your knowledge and giving away some of it for free, you increase your value and your credibility.
Your advice may be your best marketing tool.
Knowledge is Power This revelation about talent and skill can easily be applied to how you can market yourself and your business. For example, say you own a painting company and have a client that has watched one too many episodes of Trading Spaces on TLC. They may think they know what it takes to paint a red dining room, but they don’t understand that you shouldn’t use a neutral base paint if you don’t want to apply seven coats of it, even with a coat of red primer applied to it. This is an expensive and time-consuming lesson to learn that you, the expert, www.workmagazine.biz
BY CHRIS GATEWOOD
Chris Gatewood is a lawyer with the firm of Hirschler Fleischer, P.C., in Richmond. Chris tweets @gatewood5000
The interesting thing about the Fairey case is that while Fairey has said in media reports that he should have at least credited Garcia for taking the photo, Fairey has something to say about all four of the fair use factors. On the commercial question, he sold several thousand posters, but has said that he used the money to give away even more of them for free. The work being copied was a news photo, which may seem to a judge to be more factual than some other works would be. Garcia’s whole photo was not used, as the whole photo also included actor George Clooney, who was beside Obama at the 2006 press conference. Finally, the extent to which the use by Fairey has impacted the AP’s market for the photo is an open question. It is very early in the case, and the parties have yet to develop whatever evidence they can muster for or against the fair use question. But the PROGRESS of this case, we HOPE, will be interesting to watch. (Full disclosure: Columnist Chris Gatewood worked for the Richmond office of the Associated Press as a reporter and editor in the 1990s. He did not take any photos of Barack Obama.)
BY JENNIFER YEAGER
Jennifer Yeager is the Marketing Communications Manager for the Greater Richmond Partnership Inc.
could have told them. People will pay for your expertise because it will save them time and money. (In this example, I am unashamed to admit that I was the person applying seven coats of paint.)
Increased Value It’s a simple example, but think about it in the context of your own business or your resume. You can market your expertise by sharing tidbits of your valuable knowledge either by doing speaking engagements or writing an article, column, newsletter; or updating on Twitter, LinkedIn, Facebook, etc. By demonstrating your knowledge and giving away some of it for free, you increase your value and your credibility. Knowing your target market and the associations they are involved with allows you to focus your marketing energy on those people who will then begin to perceive you as the expert. The end result? More business and opportunities for you. My friend took photos of her mural painting skills to the local schools and was PAID to add fun to their student halls. She also now owns and runs a highly successful craft store. Don’t underestimate or undervalue your knowledge base—what comes easily to you may be your target’s Achilles’ heel. WORKMAGAZINE
M O M E N T U M
Mr. Gatewood’s self-portrait, Obamatized.
M O M E N T U M
BY DAVID SMITHERMAN
It’s like we dipped into your soul and found the perfect mindless diversions from the stress of your workday.
All Dolled Up
Wanna Be in Pictures?
Twitter Twitter Little Star
You already know that the Virginia Film Office works to bring filmed projects like television shows, feature films, videos, documentaries, and commercials to the state. But did you know they also help filmmakers find extras for their projects? That’s where you come in. If you've been looking for some big-break opportunities, check out the VFO's Hotline section (www.film.virginia.org/hotline/Hotline.aspx) for a list of upcoming projects. In no time, you'll be ready for your close-up.
Want to make an avatar of yourself? Of course you do, why wouldn't you? Who doesn't want their own virtual mini-me? Go to www.zwinky.com to do just that. Pick the body style, facial expressions and clothing to suit your taste. Or go radical and maybe create your hidden personae! At any rate, you'll soon have a cartoon version of yourself to keep you amused during those long staff meetings.
Random Acts of Strangeness Want to spice up the office atmosphere? Maybe add some of the quirkiness of the actual TV show The Office to your own? Go to www.area51newmexico.com/work.php, for a list of weird things to do at your office, for no reason whatsoever. For example, carry your keyboard over to your colleague, and Hey Barbara! ask, “do you want to trade?” Or maybe for an hour, refer to Look at me! everyone you speak with as “Barbara.” Sure these things are I’m so crazy! You love it when silly, but couldn’t you see Dwight doing them? I’m Mr. Wacky, don’t cha, Barbie?
But What’s the Question? Smaller Package
We all know that web addresses can be so cumbersome and long that when you paste them in an email, they get hyphenated. Then the recipient has for a list of to figure out if celebrities who that's part of the address. Or someone will send you a web use Twitter. You can sign up link (or worse yet, write it down for you) and it’s so long to follow them that it’s practically indecipherable. Maybe it’s time to put and find out that big web address into a more manageable size. Just go exactly what to www.tinyurl.com. Copy that huge web address and Russell Brand or paste it in the text field provided. In seconds, you are given Dane Cook has to a tiny URL that will not break in an email posting and will say in 140 charnever expire. Now you have no excuses for not visiting acters or less. those jokes sites your relatives send. Check out the live links to WebChatter at www.WORKMAGAZINE.BIZ Ok, so you joined the Twitter bandwagon, and now you want more. How about doing a little cyber star watching? Go to this site:
Looking for answers? The meaning of life? Well, you might not find that here, but then again, who knows? Visit www.answerbag.com to ask questions and share your knowledge with the world. Or you can choose a category and search previously asked questions and read the answers provided. The site claims that you’ll get the best answers and no duplicate questions. Granted it can be overwhelming when all topics are covered, but think how much you could learn about, well, everything!
by Ted Randler
Review by Atosa Dabney
Hit the Ground Running: A Manual for New Leaders by Jason Jennings For all those who have unfortunately spent a lifetime of hitting the ground tripping, staggering or lurching, author Jason Jennings’ new book, Hit the Ground Running: a Manual for New Leaders (Penguin Group USA), offers chapter-and-verse wisdom to help turn stumbles into sprints. In preparation for this book, the CEO reviewed resumes of America’s top thousand publicly-held companies through an intensive vetting process. The result is a compilation of the top 9 front-men who put new ideas into action and lead their companies to being unequivocal forces within their industries. According to the author, “the promise of this book is that you’ll learn the tactics, strategies, values, and guiding principles of the best CEOs,” the idea being to provide the reader with the “front-row seats” necessary to observe not only what success looks like, but more importantly how it was achieved. Told in first-person, Jennings intertwines both the personal and professional experiences of each figure-head from as early on as childhood, with his own. This gives the reader the opportunity to, in a way, bond with figures that appear to be somewhat immortal to “everyday folks” which could be the first step in realizing how attainable that success can be for just about anyone. Described by the author as, “the manifesto for doing things the right way,” Hit the Ground Running is organized in ten chapters, each representing one of ten rules identified by the sages as being key in becoming a successful “New Leader.” Could this soon be THE manual found in the offices and cubicles of current and aspiring leaders? Possibly, especially since the “flip to” ability allows ease of access to on-topic modus operandi which could prove invaluable to business leaders who find themselves in tight spots with a short time to get answers. This intimate presentation of dialogue, story-telling and proven leadership tactics along with the structuring of the book, in the end, provide for not yet another “business howto” bedtime story, but rather the possibility of an enlightening, attention retaining read. www.workmagazine.biz
From: Frustrated User Sent: : Monday, May 11, 2009 4:18 PM To: Fonseca, Mike Subject: Are My Windows Clean? Mike, help! How do I keep my Windows OS running smoothly? From: Mike Fonseca Sent: Monday, May 11, 2009 4:30 PM To: Frustrated User Subject: Re: Are My Windows Clean? Sounds like it is time for some spring cleaning and your computer is no exception. Whether your computer is a few years old or brand new, you may notice that it’s not as fast as it once used to be. This can be due to any number of factors, but it helps to clean up your system every once in awhile. I’m not talking about spraying it with 409, but cleaning out the “junk” that accumulates the more you use your computer. The biggest villain of the software world is Temp files. These files are created when installing programs, creating new documents, etc. Most of these files should have the decency to clean up after themselves, but like a teenage boy they seem to leave junk all over the place. So there is nothing left to do but clean them up yourself. You’re thinking, “I don’t know anything about software, how am I gonna do that?” The easiest way is to go into My Computer and choose the drive you want to clean up. Right click on C:, for example, and choose Properties. Click on the button that says Disk Cleanup. It will spend a couple minutes calculating and then it will suggest what you can cleanup. In most cases you can safely have it delete everything it finds. This will help, but probably didn’t get all your temp files. The next thing to do is run a Search for files and folders and type in “*.tmp”, without the quotation marks. You should be able to safely delete everything it finds. Anything with the extension .tmp is a file you wouldn’t be able to open anyway. Now you will want to check and see if there are any remnants in your Temp folders. What? More Temp files? Well, yes. Typically there is at least one Temp folder in Windows. The first place to check is on the root of C:. In other words, when you open up C: in My Computer, look for a folder called Temp. Delete everything in it, unless you specifically saved something there yourself. The last place to look for a Temp folder is under the Windows folder, also on C:. Once again anything in here can be deleted. Remember to empty out your Recycle Bin. You won’t reclaim the extra space you made until you do this. After all this I would reboot your PC for good measure. So you see, cleaning out the junk isn’t just necessary at you house, but on your PC as well. Mike Fonseca is a Network Engineer with Entec Systems, a computer consulting business based out of Richmond, VA.
M O M E N T U M
For Your Desk
There’s a new woman who answers our phones. I’m not sure of her name, I call her Sylvia. Is that wrong? Not making an effort to learn someone’s name with whom you’re forced to interact by your profession. Childish? Well, it’s just that she’s so removed. It’s a little difficult to cozy up to her. All business with her admin duties of gate-keeping our calls, Sylvia is. I hate the way she mispronounces my name. She does it on purpose. No, really, I think she does. With this snooty accent, she kind of bites off the ‘A’ in Randler and snarls it more into an ENT-sound. I make fun of her. I impersonate her mangling the vowels to relieve stress and because I find her to be unnerving with her officious greeting and perfect suggestions. I’m always immature when I’m intimidated by others. Sylvia of course isn’t childish. On the contrary she is the epitome of office etiquette. She never veers from the script, as she spouts the company protocol: do you wish to speak with so-and-so? Should I put so-and-so in your voicemail? Never a jovial, “Hey there, Ted. So-and-so’s calling you again. Wow, that makes three calls this morning, they must have you on speed dial!” Perhaps she could give a little giggle when I indicate she should put a call right through to voicemail—as if we’re in cahoots on some office folly. But no. Not old Sylvia. She’s all, “Please hold, while I locate Mr. Reentler.” But on the upside, Sylvia—to those from the outside world who call in— is perfect at her duties. She doesn’t get stressed. She doesn’t drop a call—even when an archaic yet still-used fax comes through. I’ve never seen her take a lunch break. She’s never late. And because of this, we put up with her stony, yet professional, demeanor. After all, it’s up to me to correct her regarding how to say my name. Her funny accent aside, I’m the one who has the problem with it when I hear it. Sylvia couldn’t care less. It’s not her vowels being mangled. Now before you get all huffy and tell me to grow up and simply approach her with the correct pronunciation. Let me assure you that I have. But it’s simply not an option with her. Sylvia, or whoever she is, is the automated voice of our RingCentral answering service. It’s an online application that bundles all the typical admin phone duties and then some. Your voicemail appears in a queue much like email and you may save it for however long that you wish. As it is a web app, that means I don’t need my phone to access my messages. Instead, I merely log onto my web page for the roster of recorded calls. The automation even allows me to answer the call on my computer with the aid of a headset and microphone. In essence RingCenteral replaces the need for a receptionist, fax machine, phone log and phone. It will also call out from your contact data. Remember in horror films during high points of tension how the terrified ingenue would stare at the phone as it rang ominously? I find I do that now with my computer screen when Sylvia tells me I have a call—though less in terror and more to see who is calling—well, mostly. One day I hit a button on the web application by mistake and realized that you can hear the voicemail as the caller is making it. I don’t know why, but that seemed a little creepy. Oh wait, got to stop. A call is coming in. Second ring and—bada-bing—she’s got it. Sylvia’s amazing. Now, if only I could get her to practice her vowels.
Gouldin hopes the next generation of businesspeople will see the value of long-range strategy over short-term profits.
ECONOMIC EVOLUTION Article by Rebecca Jones with additional reporting by Mike Ward, a Richmond-based writer, film critic and editor.
‘It was the best of times it was the worst of...’ Oh, forget it! Has the crisis economy tossed you a curveball? Not liking the state of business today? Remember you’re only as successful as your current situation—peaks and valleys occur in everyone’s career—so leave waxing over ‘what could have been’ to literary minds. It’s time to focus. How or why you are where you are now isn’t nearly as vital as what YOU can do to evolve to where you want to be. Uncertainty in life is a constant, change is inevitable. But change can be an invaluable asset for your business experience, if you muscle-up, get creative and harness it as an opportunity...
business is like a plant,” says William J. “Bill” Gouldin. “If it grows too fast, the stem gets thin. But grow it slowly, and the base and root system strengthen. The health of any plant starts before you see any flowers.” As President and CEO of Strange’s Florists, Greenhouses, and Garden Centers, Bill Gouldin knows something about growing plants—and growing a business. Strange’s, which he owns with his brothers Cary and Craig, is one of the largest florists in the U.S. Its metamorphosis from neighborhood flower shop to industry leader is a study in controlled growth. It’s also a study in using economic cycles and seasons to keep a business grounded and make it flourish. The company’s roots go back to the 1930’s, when post office worker Gideon Strange began raising flowers at his home in Highland Park. His hobby developed into a business when Strange acquired the salvage from dismantled Hollywood Cemetery greenhouses rebuilt in his backyard. “Strange’s Florists” first appears in the Richmond directory in 1935.
Gideon Strange died in 1948. William Gouldin Sr. and Frederick Kidd bought the business from Mrs. Strange. The partners ran the greenhouses together until 1960, when Gouldin Sr. became sole proprietor. In 1970, he incorporated Strange’s. Throughout, he also worked as a railroad engineer and his five children grew up working in the business. Bill Gouldin, Jr, the oldest of the five, became Strange’s first fulltime manager in 1971. He began expanding the company while studying business at the University of Richmond. On December 15, 1974, Strange’s opened its florist headquarters at 3313 Mechanicsville Turnpike.
Counter-Intuitive Expansion “Throughout the history of Strange’s, every expansion has taken place during an economic downturn,” says Gouldin of the timing of that store’s opening. “[A slow economy] is a good time for growth because you can acquire longterm assets at suppressed prices.” Gouldin and his brothers assumed ownership of Strange’s in the mid-’70s (“When Cary graduated from Virginia Tech, his present was a greenhouse range—and a lot of work,” says Bill Gouldin.) Today, Cary runs the greenhouse division and Craig is in charge
of the 3313 Mechanicsville Pike location. When expanding, Strange’s favors leasing, with the option to purchase. This is what they did with their Creighton Road greenhouses, which they leased in 1975 and bought in 1976. The following year they leased 1207 East Main Street. In a departure from their usual process, they leased this store for 20 years. Strange’s next growth cycle began in a somewhat improbable place. “I was eating lunch at a new Jack in the Box one day. I didn’t think the food was that good, but the building was perfect,” says Gouldin. “I liked the size (2000 square feet). It was a free-standing, visible, brick and glass building, with terrazzo tiles and refrigeration.” Thus the idea to add the 8010 Midlothian Turnpike and 6710 Hull Street Road locations in 1982 and ’83 was born. Both buildings had originally been Jack in the Box restaurants and were sold at competitive prices when the chain closed. Next came a 32.5 acre property on Midlothian Turnpike at Tuxford in 1991 that Strange’s acquired for a major greenhouse, florist shop, and garden center. “We saw that we needed to clear and fill the property. The first goal is always to imCONTINUED
prove the real estate. Then we watch the market,” says Gouldin. “We’ve brought in 535 thousand cubic yards of soil and are still adding more. That’s a lot of dirt.” With that underway, they turned to the task of expanding the W. Broad Street store in 2003, a project timed to coincide with the opening of Short Pump Town Center and Route 288. Today, Strange’s is one of the top florists in the country and has been ranked as high as 9th by Florist Transworld Delivery (FTD). Gouldin is a graduate of Longwood University and a member of the Corporate Advisory Board of Longwood’s College of Business & Economics and enjoys speaking to future entrepreneurs.
Avoid the Needy & Greedy “I tell students that a lot of what has been taught in business schools is based on leverage: invest the minimum, with an expectation of maximum profits.” Gouldin’s philosophy is different. It is not surprising that a company based on cultivation of the land, sees land—in the form of real estate ownership—as a key to growing a strong business. “A lot of people don’t see the value of ownership; they lease everything. I stress the link between the income statement and the balance sheet. Make profits; give the government its share, then put the balance into the equity line of the business. Now you can buy more assets to be used to attract more sales.” Gouldin hopes the next generation of businesspeople will see the value of long-range strategy over short-term profits. “We’ll probably return to a 1970s lending style—real down payments and real business plans. That means looking for bargains, paying a fair price, buying quality, and de-leveraging.” Despite—or perhaps because of—his long experience, Gouldin is fascinated by the business of business and actively seeks opportunities to learn more. “I just finished a mini-MBA course at University of Richmond and I recommend it highly. I wanted an executive review—a sort of CliffsNotes version of business. Any kind of business review like that is good for all businesspeople,” says Gouldin, who tells students that “your undergraduate education is your foundation. You can build on it, but you can’t live on it.” What should they add to that foundation? Many things, according to Gouldin, who believes that businesspeople have to be generalists who are well-versed in multiple disciplines
Malik: “I always emphasize building a network with other entrepreneurs, especially those that have been in business for a few years.”
by constantly reading and learning. “Many universities train people to work in public corporations, but 70% of jobs are created by closely-held and family businesses,” says Gouldin. And for him, “family business” does not mean a smaller vision. On the contrary; he thinks it is those businesses that are often aligned with something bigger. “You can’t be ‘needy and greedy’ and succeed in the long run. A lot of people think business is only about making money, but it’s not. It’s about commitment to your constituencies: your partners, your customers, your employees, your neighborhood—and the company as an entity. You have to focus on something bigger than yourself.”
Partner With Your Passions Speaking of yourself, just what is it that you want from your career? What are your passions? It’s a basic question that is often left unanswered in lieu of the what you percieve www.workmagazine.biz
as more pressing practical career circumstances like security and advancement even though your actual work may be far from what you want, or worse, something that you don’t enjoy. But oddly enough, doing what makes you happy is the ultimate path to success in business. As managing partner of The Entrepreneur’s Source, business coach Robin Smith guides clients’ first steps into business ownership. Like Gouldin, Smith believes entrepreneurs tend to be people with multiple interests and competencies, one of which is a passion for running a business. “[Successful entrepreneurs] work in the business, doing the day-to-day work . . . but they also work on the business,” says Smith. “They are thinking about marketing, customer retention, operations and how to con2009 Spring
NEW ONLINE OPTIONS On February 6th, the Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc., launched RichmondJobNet.com, a comprehensive career resource site. Developed to support individuals who are in the midst of a career transition and those interested in seeking new career opportunities in the region, the site oﬀers job search tools, career event information, links to more than twodozen area, online job boards, and online social networking. The Partnershipʼs Vice President of Existing Business Services Sara Dunnigan walked WORKMAGAZINE through the process of the siteʼs development and its reception in the business community. WORKMAGAZINE: How did the concept for the site come about? Dunnigan: The idea for RichmondJobNet.com morphed with the times. A year ago, we wanted to develop a resource that would attract job seekers from outside the region. Then there was a surplus locally, so the purpose of the site changed and its mission is to retain the regionʼs talent pool. WORKMAGAZINE: The content comes from multiple sources, correct? Dunnigan: We wanted to leverage networking options, so there are links to job clubs, associations, and meetups. There is a forum on the space where you can ﬁnd out where professionals from most industries are hanging out. WORKMAGAZINE: The site is also tapping into Twitter?
Malik’s class [from left]:
Shani Holmes, Christina LaFemina, Kathleen Richardson, & Bishop G. H. Gohanna
tinuously evolve those things. I tell them to make time every week to look at numbers—and not just dollars, but customers, time efficiency, and so on. Too many people only do this at tax time.” Smith pushes clients to refine their thinking on the front end, sometimes about the most fundamental distinctions. “I would break business ownership into three categories based on how you get started,” says Smith. These range from starting a business from scratch, buying an existing business, and buying a franchise. Smith notes that some people shy away from it because of their misconceptions about franchising and the financial commitment. The actual investment is lower than many people think and it can save you from making lots of costly mistakes.“A nice thing about franchises is that you are getting risk-reduction and infrastructure [a proven business model and marketing support, for example] in exchange for the money
you put up on the front end,” says Smith. She believes that those dollars buy something else, too. “Dollar commitment can make people successful,” says Smith. “Why do home-based businesses fail? Because they can,” she adds. Harpal Malik, Assistant Vice President and Director of Training for the Richmond Economic Development Corporation [see related story on page 27], agrees. Malik teaches Creating Winning Entrepreneurs, REDC’s intensive five-week course for prospective and emergent entrepreneurs. “One central message is, ‘Be aware of the many skills that are needed to make a business work. Self-assess honestly and frequently, and develop the skills in which you are initially weak. Otherwise, down the road, the problems that arise will invariably be in those weak skill areas,’” says Malik. Subcontracting can help, but it’s no substitute for knowledge, says Malik, noting that “blind outsourcing” only puts the entrepre-
Dunnigan: Yes, we now have 450+ followers on Twitter, with the number growing as word gets out. We are using RSS feeds. As soon as a job is posted, we send it out on Twitter. Twitter is great for us because it is two-directional and we can learn a lot about our audience. WORKMAGAZINE: Besides networking what does the site oﬀer? Dunnigan: When you register on RichmondJobNet.com, you get access to Career Concourse, which is developed locally. You get a career assessment, there are search and save options, you can post resumes. We can use the site to promote new businesses that may be hiring. We have 600 new businesses on the Concourse. WORKMAGAZINE: What perspective can you oﬀer from developing this site? Dunnigan: One thing we learned in putting this site together is that there are a lot of jobs in Greater Richmond. The region has lots of small and medium employers. The site is a clearinghouse for people to learn about them. WORKMAGAZINE: But the site isnʼt limited to just job seekers. Dunnigan: There is also a new business startup site enhancement with a comprehensive tutorial for new entrepreneurs.
Smith: “Take the emotion out and see if your idea makes sense. Then plan, have a vision, and take action.” Smith [right] with her client Leila Bailey.
Photos this article: Gouldin (and cover) by Chris Owens; Malik by Walker Allen, Smith by Ben Madden
neur at the mercy of the subcontractor. This is especially common in the financial side of business ownership. “Too often, the first conversation with the accountant goes something like, ‘Oh, beautiful job, Jack. You got us a refund!’” says Malik. “But it is much more effective to communicate from the beginning and ask questions. That way, the accountant can advise along the way and do more for you than gather receipts and enter them into a tax form,” says Malik. Smith urges entrepreneurs to be equally engaged and realistic when outsourcing marketing and PR. “If you plan to get marketing for free, please remember that you get what you pay for. I sometimes hear new business owners say, ‘My cousin’s daughter is a graphic designer,’ or ‘My son’s roommate is a website builder. . .’ Well, you can build a website for a hundred dollars, but it might bring you a hundred dollars worth of business,” says Smith, adding that, “word of mouth is not, in and of itself, a plan; you’ve got to create an entire strategy to get word of mouth to work and its going to require lots of effort, not just sitting back and having customers start talking about you.”
Seek Those in the Know But in the no-free-lunch world of business, there is at least one source of no-cost expertise that Smith and Malik urge people to draw on regularly: other businesspeople. “I always emphasize building a network with other entrepreneurs, especially those that have been in business for a few years,” says Malik. “The networking can be social, but it should not only be social—there should be content as well as contact.” Early in the game, key contacts should be assembled into a board of advisors that includes a legal advisor, a financial advisor experienced in fiscal strategy, and a risk advisor such as a commercial insurance agent. Courses and seminars are excellent for proactive relationship building. So are organizations such as local Chambers of Commerce, the Virginia Economic Development Partnership, and the Small Business Administration (“the granddaddy of them all,” says Malik). Smith also encourages clients not to forget Greater Richmond’s business incubators. “The list is really endless in terms of resources in the region. There is help out there; you just need to look for it,” says Smith.
Put it in Writing The written framework for entrepreneurial strategy and research is the business plan. How do you write one that works? “The key to a real, working business plan is realizing that it’s not a document for someone else. It’s for you and has everything to do with your chance of success. I call it a ‘Heartache Reduction Device’ and ‘Probability Enhancing Tool,’” says Malik. He is leery of software programs and prepackaged templates. “The key is your own research and due diligence. The template in a software package may be for a restaurant that opened in Midtown Manhattan five years ago. It’s not going to be right for a new restaurant in Shockoe Bottom.” The plan should address approriate quantitative data including a detailed list of start-up costs with actual quotes and prices. It should also analyze a working capital requirement that covers projected monthly income and expenses over a period of 12 to 24 months. Independent feedback is crucial; have your business plan evaluated by a seasoned lender and don’t be discouraged by honest critique. Most business plans undergo two or three substantial revisions. Malik sees this kind of strategic commitment as an investment. “The fundamental concept is that, in terms of planning ‘there is no free lunch.’ People still look for it. Believe me, the ads for the Virginia Lottery don’t make my life any easier,” he says with a laugh. “But the truth is that you can pay now or pay later.” But combine an idea with a thoughtful plan and realistic self-assessment, and the rewards are great.
For Better or Worse, You’re Not Alone Worldwide, more than 50 million new businesses launch each year. And while Bureau of Labor Statistics data reveals that self-employment only minutely ticked up to 6.3 percent of the total workforce in January, many suggest that the number of wannabe entrepreneurs greatly increases if, and when, the traditional job market tightens. Caroline Nowery, director of the Women's Business Center for New Visions, New Ventures, helps provide women with the resources to achieve economic success and financial security through entrepreneurship. “Typically we see a 10 percent increase in clients every year,” Nowery said. Nowery's group also partners with www.workmagazine.biz
FastTrac's NewVenture, an national education program created by entrepreneurs for entrepreneurs, for which she is a certified facilitator.
Take Advantage of a Downturn Situation The upshot of all of this is that a greater pool of burgeoning businesspeople will be vying for the same allotment of everything from financing and funding to consumer dollars and media attention. So what can you do to make sure you position yourself for success? “Just assume that it’s going to take you two to three times longer and two to three times the capital to get to where you want to go,” said Shawn Boyer, founder and president of Glen Allen-based SnagAJob.com, an hourly job search website that was named the No. 2 Small Company to Work for in America last year. “That’s generally the principle when starting a new venture and even more so when facing a headwind like we are right now.” But therein lies the silver lining. Boyer says, “there will be fewer companies started and funded and not as many new initiatives undertaken by current companies, thus potentially providing you with even more runway for your idea to get traction.” After Sean McCloskey graduated from the University of Richmond in 2003, he worked gigs as a copier salesman, bartender and even worked on an MTV reality show before founding Worthy Fashion (worthyfashion.com) in 2005. Now the social entrepreneur has a growing online retail business with a micro-lending focus and tiered donation structure; customers choose from 14 charities to direct a percentage of their sale toward upon checkout. McClosky’s advice is reflected in this business model: “Find purpose in what you do and give your work meaning. Not only will this give you personal satisfaction, but it will also create a positive work environment.” Smith points out: “You won’t find the perfect opportunity, just like you never find the perfect house. It’s a matter of finding something that you think can help you achieve your goals, and then working to make it be so. If you wait for the fear to subside, you’ll never do anything because there is always an element of fear simply because you’ve probably never done it before. Take the emotion out and see if your idea makes sense. Then plan, have a vision, and take action. This is as good a time as any for the right idea. And Richmond is a great town for entrepreneurs.” WORKMAGAZINE
Many business leaders know that with change comes opportunity. But three Richmond companies have demonstrated that the ability to respond positively in the face of change is more than just corporate jargon. It is possible—and it is profitable. Each company faced a different circumstance —one saw its customers experiencing new challenges, another anticipated an increasingly competitive environment, and still a third company found itself with a surplus of assets due to an internal strategy shift. All three had a few things in common: their willingness to change resulted in profit, they were guided by their company’s visions and values and they sought input from stakeholders. “It’s vital that companies listen to customers, employees and even critics when they are adjusting their tactics in response to change,” says Jeffery Harrison, of the University of Richmond’s Robins School of Business. “In fact, doing so can help managers spot opportunities they might not otherwise see.” Richmond’s First Market Bank has a substantial non-profit client base. It also has deep roots in community giving, a heritage it shares with partner organization Ukrop’s Super Markets. Last year when First Market bankers saw some non-profit clients facing challenges, they asked how they could help. “They needed specialized customer service plans, and some specific banking products, but they also said they wanted to know more about how to run their non-profits more effectively,” said product manager Rick Arthur. First Market Bank quickly realized it could help fill those needs, and began developing its Non-Profit Partnership Program, which launched in January, said Katie Gilstrap, Senior Vice President, Director of Marketing. The program offers customized services and products, but also has a unique educational component offering workshops through a partnership with the University of Richmond’s Institute on Philanthropy. About 150 participants attended the first sold-out seminar in January. “We are really excited about this. It’s a way for us to help community organizations
in Richmond,” she says. “And we have definitely seen an increase in our nonprofit customer base,” says Gilstrap. “In fact, some folks signed up right after the seminar.” Customers’ changing expectations sparked a more gradual evolution in how local technology services company Entec Systems operates, says president Anthony Ennas. “In the late 1990s there was a huge need for technology services. Anyone who would show up and say they could fix a computer was welcome,” says Ennas. “But today’s more educated customer demands that technology firms budget, forecast and show a return on investment.” Entec Systems, which is built on providing value to the client, met that demand by shifting from a reactive service model to a proactive model. Many technology shops wait until clients break down before making a service call. But Entec System’s staffers anticipate and address potential issues through regular maintenance and system updates. Customer and employee insights helped guide the shift, which mitigates emergencies—keeping clients happy and profits growing, says Ennas. MeadWestvaco found a new way to grow its profits when its need for timber changed. MWV, which owned about three million acres of timber land, needed fewer trees after shifting its business away from paper and board and into packaging. It sold some of the land, but kept the most strategic pieces. “MeadWestvaco has for years been a leader in sustainable forestry, and we have long had partnerships with environmental or-
Article by Dana Callahan
ganizations,” said Kenneth T. Seeger, president of MWV's Community Development and Land Management Group. “With that legacy, and a heavy focus on conservation and sustainability, we are approaching land development.” MWV’s approach has not only resulted in revenue the company can reinvest in its core business, but has also won praise from environmentalists. In fact, the South Carolina Aquarium, which promotes education and conservation, will give MWV an environmental leadership award in April. The award is, in part, due to the company’s efforts to preserve some land it is developing in coastal South Carolina. The University of Richmond’s Harrison says that companies can use change as an opportunity to build trust with their stakeholders if they remain anchored by their values. “Leaders who keep their values intact and communicate openly while they are fine-tuning their tactics can often strengthen important relationships,” he says, “And building relationships is one of the most valuable skills in any industry.”
My Little Cupcake
MAGGIE DIANE YODER
he newest coffee shop in Ashland, My Little Cupcake, has been in business for a little over six months and is developing a steady and largely local clientele. Looking for a change from corporate life, owners Chris and Harriet Owens are undergoing on-the-job training at their new venture. “We wanted to try something that was just us,” says Harriet. The owners of My Little Cupcake say the benefits of having a small business are personalization and creative influence. “Here, you get to see the CEO, Harriet, at the counter,” says Chris. Small businesses often have fewer marketing avenues, especially when starting out. My Little Cupcake gets customers by providing something Starbucks doesn’t offer, a wide Spring 2009
range of fresh baked cupcakes that come in different sizes, flavors, and icings. My Little Cupcake’s owners say they’ve created a community atmosphere where customers won’t be rushed out. Themany comfortable chairs in a local coffee shop, compared to a chain (were most business goes through a drive-through) adds to the welcoming atmosphere. While national chains often emphasize speed and efficiency, My Little Cupcake works to provide their customers a destination and safe haven. At this time, My Little Cupcake is committing to controlled growth, with no immediate plans to open a second store or franchise their cupcakes. “Not only are you dividing your www.workmagazine.biz
customer base between the two stores, and finding new markets, but you also have to divide your individual time between the two stores, and so the chances of the quality of the product dropping is larger,” says Chris. My Little Cupcake’s owners are planning to expand their kitchen and add a larger variety of baked goods to their menu. The timetable for this is dependent on an expansion in their customer base and an increase in capital. In the meantime, My Little Cupcake’s Harriet Owens hopes that her business will inspire others. “I think about other people who have thought about starting something, and hope that maybe they will go ahead and do it for themselves,” she says. WORKMAGAZINE
[Left to right , standing]: Company founders Sean Anderson and Bill Riley with Ferris [seated].
ruce Ferris already knows what your next must-have product will look like—and how it will work. Ferris is project manager and principal of SPARK Engineering. An engineer-led product development firm, SPARK integrates design, engineering, and manufacturing to help clients take inventions from concept to production. Sean Anderson and Bill Riley founded SPARK in 1997 and recruited Ferris in 2001. He and his colleagues take pride in being easy to work with and cost-effective. “We strive to tailor our process around the clients needs, not the other way around,” says Ferris. When Richmond-based Tridium created software that integrates multiple HVAC controls into a single platform that can be manWORKMAGAZINE
aged over the Internet, they turned to SPARK for user-friendly enclosures and hardware that could withstand factory and mechanicalroom conditions. When National Optronics created the 5T, a state-of-the-art lens design and frame tracing system, they needed expertise in industrial and plastic part design. SPARK developed a modern aesthetic and visual design language for the 5T and gave it a small footprint, user-friendly features, and a cost-effective DFM&A (design for manufacturing and assembly). About half of SPARK’s clients are from the industrial and medical sectors. SPARK is also a sponsor of the Virginia Biosciences Development Center. But that doesn’t mean all of their projects are big. www.workmagazine.biz
SPARK produced Barbara Bennett’s Mineral Case, a sleek organizer and travel case for mineral make up jars. And inventor Mike Bucci hired SPARK to implement his Painter’s Pyramid, a set of plastic triangles that allow you to paint all sides of an object without waiting for the paint to dry. Ferris sees brainstorming and faceto-face collaboration as key to SPARK’s effectiveness. “We can’t be the company we want to be by just talking to clients on the phone. Sometimes the best ideas grow out of the wacky ones. A simple gesture gives you a clue about the shape or function of the client’s product. Ideas build on each other, but you have to be in the same room for that to happen.” 2009 Spring
INNOVATORS Care Advantage
verything I Know about Business I Learned from Nursing. That’s one working title for the business memoir that Deborah Johnston, RN would like to write. It’s also what sets her company apart. “The fact that I’m a nurse allows me to look at things from a field perspective,” says Johnston, who is founder and CEO of home health staffing agency Care Advantage. “I understand the needs of the patients and the nurses.” Seeing those needs go unmet was what inspired Johnston in the first place. As a hospital nurse, she saw patients being released sooner and sicker and wondered what was happening to them when they got home. Later, as a marketing professional for a home healthcare firm, she was dismayed by the lack of regard that the industry sometimes has for temporary healthcare workers. “It shaped the way I did business from the very beginning, especially with employees. It made me kinder.” Johnston’s people-centered approach produces results. Care Advantage has 3 offices in Richmond and offices in Colonial Heights, Charlottesville, Newport News, Staunton, Emporia, and Franklin. Most of Care Advantage’s corporate team has been with company since its founding. “I could go out and build the best office space, but the key to everything is who is running the show,” says Johnston, who annually recognizes the most productive offices with trips – this past year to New York and Cancun. Their range of services is growing, too. In addition to 24-hour RN, LPN, and CNA’s, physical therapy, and occupational therapy, Care Advantage also places private-duty nurses with clients in hospitals and other institutions. All About Care is the company’s Medicare Certified program specializing in skilled care home needs. Along the way, Johnston has had many honors, including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year for Virginia Award. In recognition of her gift to establish the Deborah J. Johnston Chair of Nursing at J. Sargeant Reynolds Community College, she was named Richmond’s (Spring of Giving) Philanthropist of the Year in 2008. “I wanted to give back, because this field has been very good to me” says Johnston.
reg Campbell and Randy Alderson have a mission: to furnish your office without taxing the ecosystem. Campbell and Alderson are the principals of Smarter Interiors, a full-service commercial interiors firm with an eye for design and commitment to environmental sustainability. In the ’80s, Campbell and Alderson worked for competing furniture companies. They became colleagues in the 1990s at Open Plan Systems, a furniture-industry pioneer specializing in remodeling and remanufacturing Herman Miller workstations (Campbell was a founding principal of Open Plan). Campbell left in 2000 to start Smarter Interiors, and Alderson joined the company as Campbell’s partner in 2002. What makes Smarter Interiors different? According to Campbell, it’s the fact that the owners are also sales reps and, thus, regularly engaged with customers and their priorities. In assessing priorities, Alderson urges clients to think carefully about budget and corporate culture. Furnishing Owens & Minor’s new 160,000 foot Richmond headquarters was an exercise in the latter. O&M's employees voted for their favorite workstation and Smarter Interiors with Allsteel Reach won. Throughout, Smarter Interiors worked closely with Evolve Architecture and O&M to craft solutions that facilitate Owens & Minor’s teamworkbased culture. Reach workstations allow colleagues to communicate without leaving their desks. Conference rooms were equipped with user-friendly Get Set conference tables that can nest or be rolled away, depending on the purpose and meeting style of the participants. Smarter Interiors continues to furnish O&M distribution facilities throughout the U.S. They have options for tighter budgets, as well. Years of experience showed Campbell and Alderson that the panel or cubicle office systems of the 1970s were durable. “They didn’t wear out, they just ‘uglied’ out,” says Campbell. To keep outdated workstations out of landfills—and clients’ jobs under-budget—Smarter Interiors also offers a wide range of recycled workstations finished to order in hundreds of colors, fabrics, finishes, sizes and shapes. At the heart of Smarter Interiors’ approach is collaboration and precision. “I see us as sort of a SWAT team. We’re not the largest company, but everybody here is cross-trained and hands-on and on top of their game.” 26
[Left to right]
Greg Campbell and Randy Anderson
Richmond Economic Development Corporation
tephen J. Schley is the in the business of helping businesses succeed. As President and CEO of Richmond Economic Development Corporation, Schley presides over what he calls a “one-stop shop” that has provided financing to 671 small businesses. This support has aggregated in excess of $26 million and created or retained more than 4,688 jobs. REDC also provides entrepreneurial training and technical assistance to startups and newlyformed companies. “I was attracted to [REDC’s] mission of fostering the formation and expansion of small and disadvantaged businesses,” says Schley, who was President and Managing Director of NationsBank [now Bank of America] Small Business Investment Company (SBIC) prior to joining REDC in 1998.
REDC is a licensed financial intermediary of the U.S. Small Business Administration’s (SBA) microenterprise development loan program. Under Schley’s leadership, REDC received seed capital for its Business Enterprise Zone Loan (BEZL) pool in 2003. Through BEZL, REDC provides as much as $250,000 in financing (up from a previous cap of $100,000) for developing owner-occupied commercial or mixed-use properties. That same year, REDC became the underwriter for the City of Richmond’s Neighborhoods in Bloom (NIB) revolving loan fund, which provides up to $50,000 to small businesses for acquiring commercial buildings, machinery and equipment and working capital in designated NIB areas. REDC has seen significant expansion of
services in the last 5 years. In July 2006, REDC received its license to operate as a 504 Certified Development Company, which allows them to lend up $4 million to manufacturers and lesser amounts to other types of businesses. Schley has worked with many entrepreneurs over the years. He believes that the successful ones have at least two things in common: a strategic plan that they can articulate and execute, and the ability to attract capital for long-term success. Schley and his colleagues strive to help their clients do both, by offering a dynamic range of financial products, services, and training. “Although, a shooting star is a wonder to behold, it is better in our opinion to be a star that remains high in the sky and casts a steady and consistent glow,” says Schley.
[Left to right]
Steve Thompson & Matt Smyers
ow do you get your message across a crowded mediascape? At WFofR Media the answer is to buy locally—on a regional and national basis. WFofR was originally co-founded in 1980 by Jim Willis, who directed advertising for A.H. Robins, a Richmond-based company with national brands that required national media. He took that national expertise, which employed a different approach to media buying and started WFofR with Barbara Felton. “We have been able to retain this core competency, which is most effective for regional and national companies. [WFofR] has been successful in staying in our historical ‘niche,’ the ability to provide effective, low cost media that is more relevant and significant to advertisers concerned about covering multiple markets,”
says President and COO Steve Thompson. In the early days, the company worked primarily in television. Today WFofR is a full service media company purchasing all mediums. Thompson cites audience fragmentation as the biggest shift in media in the last 30 years and thinks WFofR succeeds because of its flexibility and sensitivity to media changes. Matt Smyers is President of WFofR Online. He recently spearheaded WFofR’s work with CRT/tanaka to implement an online component in the hugely successful rebranding of Longwood University. More recently, WFofR Online worked with McCain Foods USA to place topical online ads that capitalized on another McCain who was often in the news during the 2008 Presidential election. The pace of change online is a source of inspiration to Smyers. www.workmagazine.biz
“The client I haven’t met yet is the thing that gets me excited,” says Smyers. “This business shifts every 6 months, and I find that very exciting.” Smyers and Thompson urge companies to focus on measurable deliverables in their media campaigns. “Media support can be much more efficient and affordable than you expected if you think strategically and consider some non-traditional venues,” says Thompson. Smyers agrees. “Be smart about your media dollars. ’Spend and hope’ is not a strategy. You have to understand your company’s core message and have defined benchmarks. Do that, and every day is a new challenge, but one that you can meet.” 2009 Spring
BY JOAN TUPPONCE
Nancy Thomas smiles as she strides into her office at the Retail Merchants Association. Upbeat about her new position as President/CEO of the association, Thomas looks to the year ahead as an opportunity to build new relationships and alliances.
“A really big goal is that we need to educate our consumers to buy local and shop local,” she says. “We want to keep the shopping dollars here in our region. Those are the people we need to support.” Thomas assumed her position as president in February. While she may be new to the presidency, she certainly isn’t a stranger to the RMA. She has worked in retail since 1981 and has served on the board of the RMA since 1999, most recently as immediate past chairman. Tall and lanky, Thomas initially came to Richmond to attend Virginia Commonwealth University on a volleyball scholarship. “We had a pretty good team in the day,” she says with a wide grin. “It was a great experience.” After graduating from VCU with a business degree and a concentration in human resources, Thomas started working as a temp for Kelly Girls. One of her first assignments was with This End Up furniture, founded by Stewart and Libby Brown. She considers herself fortunate for landing an assignment with a company that was interested in hiring a young staff. “It was a tremendous growth period for This End Up,” she says. “We had a lot of responsibility. We worked hard and we played hard. It was a real CONTINUED
rags-to-riches success story.” Thomas credits that period in her life with giving her the essentials she needed to apply for her current position. “The Browns gave us a lot of life lessons,” she explains. “They set out to grow us professionally and personally and they did just that.” Thomas started in the position of receptionist and “did a little bit of everything.” By the end of her 12-year tenure with the company she had worked her way up to director of training. At the time, the company had more than 200 stores, coast to coast. “We had a huge training facility in our home office,” explains Doug McElhinney, who served as president of This End Up. “People
came from all over the country and trained.” McElhinney saw Thomas as a real asset to the company. “She’s hard working and has natural leadership ability,” he says. “Nancy is one of the most likeable and affable people you will ever meet. I don’t think there is a person that doesn’t like Nancy Thomas.” Thomas’ job as director of training kept her out of the office 70 percent of the time. When she was pregnant with her first child in 1992, Libby Brown approached her about opening another retail venture, The Arcade on Grove. “Timing is everything,” Thomas says. “It was an opportunity to stay home and start a new company from the ground up.” Thomas and Brown opened the Arcade in
1993. Thomas became sole owner of the company in 1996 and eventually closed it in 2006. “I was ready to move on,” she explains. A couple of months later, Thomas and ASID-trained designer Betsy Moore teamed up to open the design firm, Turn Key Interiors. Many of their customers, at the time, were buying and building second homes. Before opening the company, Thomas and Moore had both helped with the design of the Brown’s home in the Bahamas. “We were in tune with dealing with far away places, getting stuff there and dealing in a turnkey fashion,” Thomas says. “We did everything, from furniture to window treatments.” Turn Key worked on several large proj-
ects, including a home in Costa Rica. “We did the entire house, from soup to nuts,” Thomas says. “We also oversaw the construction of some projects. I worked with operations, business and logistics. Betsy did the design work.” Thomas has been transitioning out Turn Key since accepting her position with the RMA. “It’s been very emotional for me because I really liked Turn Key,” she says. “Betsy and I are friends as well as business partners.” Albeit a difficult decision, Thomas is content with her choice to join the staff of the RMA. Sarah Paxton, owner of LaDifference, remembers when she first met Thomas back in 1999 when Paxton joined the RMA board. “Nancy came up and made me feel at home,” she says.
ciation’s interim president, working on a volunteer basis. She began thinking about applying for the position on a permanent basis after being approached by several people in the retail industry who saw it as a good fit. “My husband and I agreed it was a nice opportunity so I threw my name in the hat,” she says. “When opportunity knocks you go with it.” Pat Patrick, owner of Patrick Chevrolet and a past board member of the RMA, says that Thomas earned her stripes coming up through the RMA organization. “She was the first woman to chair RMA,” he says. “She knew what she was doing and people liked her vision.” He sees Thomas as a high-energy person that will slip into her presidential role with
Thomas believes that everyone should work in retail at least once in their lives. “It develops you as a person,” she says. “It forces you to deal with situations that you might not deal with otherwise.” Paxton believes that Thomas’ experience in retail in addition to her RMA board experience made her the perfect candidate for president of the Association. “She brings her history with the organization with her,” Paxton says. “Nancy understands small retailers, their perspectives and challenges. She has worn all the different hats that small retailers wear.” Thomas has never been one to shrink from hard work and responsibility, she adds. “She wants the RMA to be the experts in retail. She has a great background in human resources and she will help take the staff of the RMA to the next level.” When RMA President Bill Baxter resigned in June 2008, Thomas stepped in as the asso-
ease. “She’s always talking about the direction of the association and she has a value system that most of us can easily buy into,” he says. One of Thomas’ new initiatives was to create an open house event for the Association’s members. “We never had anything like that before. All the staff was engaged and having fun meeting people,” Patrick says. “That’s the type of professional newness Nancy will bring to the association.” Thomas knows that there will be changes facing the organization as well as future challenges such as retaining current members and engaging new members. “In this ever changing economy and world, we can’t do the same thing we’ve been doing,” she says. “We need to be change agents. We want to help our
members and show them how they can run their businesses more efficiently.” Thomas believes in providing value to association members. The organization does that in the form of seminars and programs such as First Friday forums, a series that presents topics and speakers of interest, and Smart Marketing To Make Money, an executive dialogue series moderated by Tom Blue. The RMA also presents SCORE, a mini workshop series for small businesses. “We ask our members what they need and we are there to put that in place for you,” Thomas says. The RMA’s new mentoring program called the Retail Authority Mentoring Roundtable gives members the chance to interact with board members who have volunteered their time in a roundtable format. “It’s an unbelievable opportunity for a one-on-one meeting and exchange of business cards,” Thomas says. “People are looking for that voice of experience to help navigate them through the ever-changing economy.” The association also holds an annual Retail Marketing Expo in August with up to 100 exhibitors. “It’s free to our members,” Thomas says. “We have free seminars all day long as well as a keynote speaker.” An extrovert by nature, Thomas is a diehard fan of the retail industry. “I enjoy being in a different situation every day,” she says. “I like to roll up my sleeves and get involved.” She believes that everyone should work in retail at least once in their lives. “It develops you as a person,” she says. “It forces you to deal with situations that you might not deal with otherwise.” Whether she’s working in a store or heading an association, Thomas stays busy. When’s she is not at work or spending time with her family, she serves as a Eucharist minister at St. Bridget Catholic Church and volunteers for Meals on Wheels. “I try and spread myself into different areas,” she says. “A lot of people think I don’t take down time for myself, but I do.” Much of that downtime is spent at her Varina home where she enjoys container gardening and baking. “I don’t cook,” she says with a laugh. “I bake.” Right now, Thomas is spending a great deal of time planning for her future at the RMA. “There’s so much I want to dive into here,” she says. “I am constantly thinking about what our members need and making sure we do put value in the decal of the Retail Merchants Association.”
A R T S
INTEGRATING CONTEMPORARY The Henrico Center ISSUES IN ART: for the Humanities BY
GINA CAVALLO COLLINS
“In my opinion, an artist cannot help but be influenced by the C culture they live in. Art is not created in a vacuum. Film, literature, U political events, other artists work all influence an artist’s vision.” L T I U R E Mary E. Holland, The Thomas C. Gordon, Jr. Director of the Studio School,Virginia Museum of Fine Arts
n the Hopi culture, like most Native Ameri- 12th graders use contemporary Chinese art can cultures, there is no translatable word and political history to explore censorship for “art.” It is not viewed as an entity unto it- and the role of the artist as truth-teller. self, but, rather, an inherent part of every aspect There is a lot of student-led discussion and of life. Art is found in the food, the materials it is truly a team environment.” Working their way through early modern used around the house, religious worship, and a multitude of other informal expressions of history, the Americas, and into modernity and global cultures, students at the Center are the creative spirit. Western cultures had, for many centuries, eventually able to better understand what so a less segregated view of art as well. In the many are baffled by: contemporary and abRenaissance, art taught the lessons of the stract art. “We give them the tools to underchurch to those who could not read them. stand contemporary art and culture,” says Furniture was crafted with an artist’s hand Sisisky, “and the ability to discuss the issues.” The orientation of the students’ mindsets rather than mass-produced. to the real world can be seen in anIn the modern age, and cerother topic covered in their senior tainly today, art is often viewed year: Hurricane Katrina. They disas a separate product. With cuss the concepts of place and some exceptions, most artists home and the role of the artist in are unknown to the public at the reflection on such a tragedy, large. And the public at large is the process of healing, and the generally less artistically inchallenges of inexpressible feelclined or at least less likely to inings and loss. It is within the scope corporate art within its everyday of a topic so fresh in our minds life. But it’s that everyday life that art helps us navigate the comthat is often an artist’s most proplex paths of humanity. lific source for inspiration. Ninth grade student art. Many artists work within the The Henrico Center for the aura of their cultural environment. Humanities, a specialty center based at Hermitage High School, is a unique Some incorporate that environment in a very program that addresses topics of art and cul- direct way while others inference it in subtle ture within a larger context. Within a rigorous innuendos that may not be recognizable to college-preparatory program, the instructors at the viewer at all. Melissa Martinez, a sculptor from the Center immerse art within a sea of interdisciplinary subjects. The students learn about Phoenix, Arizona, explains,“I am consciously a painting within its context of creation, in- and subconsciously affected by literature, film, cluding literature, history, philosophy, theater, political events, larger social issues, music, film, religious and folk traditions of the time. theater. I remember when I discovered John By doing this, the students learn to see art as a Cage and Merce Cunningham in college. I part of culture, as an integral part of life, rather thought they were absolute geniuses.” Yet there are other artists who try to work than an isolated activity. “Each grade level focuses on a differ- without cultural influences. “I make it a point ent area and context,” says the Center’s di- not to let my contemporary surroundings dicrector, Clare Sisisky. “For example, 9th tate what I paint,” says former Richmond artist, graders study Egyptian art within the larger Steven Walker. “For years my work focused theme of myth and the global tradition. The only on current events and after a while the
Sisisky: “We give them the tools to understand contemporary art and culture.” work was unsatisfying. I wanted to create an escape from life's hustle and bustle, if for nothing but my own piece of mind.” But despite those conscious efforts and the fact that most of Walker’s impressionistic landscapes do seem to be from another time and place, what he creates is a direct discussion with his time and place. He grew up in the technological and pop culture-obsessed late 20th century. And it is that very thing that he is reacting against. Every time he hangs a painting in a gallery, he raises the viewer’s awareness of his or her own frenzied environment as reflected in our need to visit a quieter, more peaceful, idealized locale. The curriculum at the Henrico Center for the Humanities allows students to explore how artists such as these maneuver through modern life to create works that speak to their cultural experience. Its broad, interdisciplinary approach nurtures future creative minds to include art within their own life context.
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M U S I C & F O O D
AND THE WARRIORZ
“...my guitar is a vehicle taking you on a journey...” Mike Gales
ll it took for Mike Gales was a thirty second interview with George Clinton to land a decade of touring with the Parliament Funkadelic All Stars. “It was crazy, ” reminisced Gales of playing in a regional hotel in 1997 where George Clinton’s P-Funk All Stars were staying. “That night I’m playing a bar gig in Richmond and the next thing I know I’m upstairs auditioning for George Clinton!” Gales says that Clinton listened to him briefly “like thirty seconds briefly,” and then left. Thinking “Oh well, that’s that,” Gales was ready to head out when the P-Funk tour manager stopped him and started going over the band’s itinerary with him, instructing him to meet them in the morning, he was going on tour. “Dazed,” Gales says, “I went home, packed a bag, grabbed guitars and left a note for my wife.” With him being a new father, his wife, Alisa was not at all impressed or in belief that he was performing with Clinton.“Until she saw the bank account and realized I was where I said I was,” Gales says and laughs. After years of touring with Clinton and the P-Funk All Stars, Gales decided it was time to come back to the region. “I’ve been writing
Being on the road and performing worldwide with Clinton gave Gales the tools he needed to be a savvy musician in all aspects.
Gales performs with Bider and Lawyer. music for over twenty years and knew it was time to see what I could do myself.” Being on the road and performing worldwide with Clinton gave Gales the tools he needed to be a savvy musician in all aspects.
“I learned so much,” says Gales,“I got an education on dealing with people.” Honing his talent afforded him the opportunity to form the Warriorz. With Gales on guitar, Chris Lawyer on bass, Steve Bider on drums and Enrique Rodriguez on percussion they are as electric as Hendrix and as colorful as the Godfather of Funk’s hair. The Warriorz have a sound that is infinite, an infectious fusion of jazz, rock and blues fortified with funk. “I try to capture spontaneity, that free feeling,” Gales says. “It’s all original, it has to be, I seem to Gales-ize everything I play.” Knowing he made the right move by establishing the Warriorz is evident. “Water finds its own level, I’ve found mine, it’s what I can equate this to.” With his cd, Feel the Funk and the release of his second, Live Sushi, Gales finds solace and success back in the region with Alisa, daughters Bria and Myka, writing, playing his music and touring. “Making people move, get them jamming” is the ultimate high energy performance goal of the Warriorz,” Gales says.“We take the chance to put it out there giving people an opportunity to like us.”
Brick House Diner
Show your appreciation by sending ﬂowers from Strange’s. It’s the perfect gift for new business or a job well done. It’s a smart business decision because, when you order online, you save with no wire services fees (up to a $13.95 value) for ﬂowers sent anywhere in the US and Canada. A smile is just a click away online at www.stranges.com. BY
In July this mecca of mastication in Midlothian celebrates five years of serving
distinctive cuisine. In 2004 brothers Nick, Vic, Bill and John Routsis,
3313 Mechanicsville Pk., near Laburnum Avenue.
opened the diner naming it from its obvious appearance.
hen we decided to locate here we just started calling it the brick house diner—referring to the building—and it stuck,” says Nick Routsis. Steaks, seafood and poultry headline this family collaborated menu. Signature dishes include the Brick House Diner One N Only Romanian Steak, a marinated flank steak, and Smothered Chicken with mushrooms, bacon, ranch dressing, cheddar and mozza-rella cheeses. Offering homemade soups, sauces, marinades and dressings keeps the diner busy. “We have the freshest ingredients, we trim and grind our meat and cut our own potatoes for fries,” says Routsis. Mainstays are not the only menu items with a personal touch—the Kataifi, a delicate pastry of syrup, walnuts, phyllo, vanilla custard and whipped cream—is made exclusively by Agape Skartsiounis, Godmother to Nick. “She is the only one who can really make it. I’ve tried, but we leave it to her,” says Routsis, smiling. Skartsiounis also makes the featured entrees on Tuesdays for Greek Night. Featuring Greek cuisine such as Moussaka, the diner offers the region an opportunity to experience authentic Greek cuisine beyond the Mediterranean and Souvlaki gyros on the menu. “We are a very family-friendly dining experience,” Routsis says proudly. “We—my family and staff—know what we need to have a great experience at a restaurant; great food and service, and we want that for all of customers here.” Offering daily specials, open for breakfast, lunch and dinner Monday thru Saturday, 7am -9pm, brunch and all day breakfast on Sundays, 7am-2pm, the Brick House Diner is lo-cated at 13520 Midlothian Turnpike.
West End 360-2800
12111 W. Broad St. between Rt. 288 & Short Pump Town Ctr.
Bon Air 321-0460
8010 Midlothian at Buford Rd.
11704 Midlothian Pk., one block west of Huguenot
Hull Street Road 321-0470 6710 Hull Street at Chippenham
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S P O R T S
HANOVER INLINE HOCKEY Grab your helmet and pads Hanoverians, it’s time suit up. This picturesque locale, once known for its rolling horse country, has a new favorite pastime—and it’s on skates. by PAUL SPICER thletes from Hanover and beyond have been quietly rolling into Ashland Skateland for pick-up games of inline hockey, otherwise known as roller hockey, for a little over a year. In fact, a typical Wednesday evening draws a cadre of hockey enthusiasts ranging from 25 to 55 years of age. “I typically spend ten to twelve hours a day working in a fast paced, high stress job,” explains Don Koszelak, an executive at Qimonda
who turns to the rink come midweek. “At 9 pm on Wednesdays, I get to go and sweat for a few hours playing my favorite sport…we spend the last hour of the day winding down over a cold one rehashing the game and complaining about the first part of the day.” Koszelak and other local skate fans represent a sport that has existed professionally only since 1993. Taking its cues from the International Roller Sports Federation and the www.workmagazine.biz
International Ice Hockey Federation, the objective is to score by driving a puck into the opponent’s goal net at the opposite side of an inline hockey rink. “Checking is not allowed so players can get a little fancier with the puck,” explains Darryl Talman, an IT Director by day who morphs into chief organizer of hockey pickup games by night. “You don’t have to worry about someone coming up and cleaning your clock.” 2009 Spring
S P O R T S
“It’s truly a sport that you can pick up at any age. We have guys who grew up playing hockey and then we have guys who started playing later in life.”
Talman manages an email list of inline hockey enthusiasts, alerting them to upcoming games and post event festivities. “We have guys of all ages and from all types of professions….they get to put on their hockey gear and just blow off some steam,” he says and grins. “It’s just good clean hockey…we don’t even keep score. Sure, if someone scores a goal there might be a little trash talking, but you don’t leave that evening with an appreciation of who won or lost, it’s about getting out there and doing something you like.” Starting out as the parent of a child Spring 2009
with a hankering for inline hockey, Talman was first convinced to coach a local traveling team for youth. He didn’t suit up and start playing the sport himself until he was 41 years old. “It’s truly a sport that you can pick up at any age. We have guys who grew up playing hockey and then we have guys who started playing later in life. The first few times you fall may hurt, but then after that it’s not so bad.” Seeding the younger generation with future roller fans, Talman also finds time to coach the Central Virginia Youth Roller Hockey League (CVYRHL), a feisty grouping www.workmagazine.biz
of the area’s up and coming hockey players. Teaming with the Hanover County Parks and Recreation Department, the youth league regularly hosts events such as the Roller Hockey Classic to support the Richmond Hockey Fights Cancer fund. For adults looking for a chance to take a crack at the puck, seasoned roller hockey players and newbies alike can pay $60 for twelve weeks of pickup games with Talman and crew. Armed with a light or dark jersey, inline hockey players of all levels can participate in the Wednesday night romp.
S H O P P I N G
FEATHERS & FLOWERS When Mandy Greenan launched Tigerlilly, a line of inventive hair jewelry for brides, in 2002, it was a web-based business. She was looking for hair accessories for her own wedding, couldn’t find anything just right and decided to craft something herself. After some dabbling in tiara designs, she decided to turn her hobby into a business selling unique, upscale bridal accessories.
oday, Tigerlilly has expanded into a company that offers both jewelry and hair accessories for brides, as well as fashion-forward pieces that can be worn for cocktail events and every day. In order to build more of a retail presence in Richmond,Greenan decided to open a store at 321 Brook Road. The new space features cheerful teal walls, modern lantern lights, and of course, racks of tiaras and jewelry. Styles range from vintage-inspired feather-adorned tiaras to smaller, more everyday-appropriate hair combs resembling gold grape leaves bedazzled with Swarovski crystals. In addition to providing a spot for ladies to try on in person by appointment, the store also provides a spot for meetings for the numerous custom designs that are created for brides. All Tigerlilly designs are created right here in Richmond by Greenan and VCU graduate Andi Marriman. “We’re really excited about getting involved in
Richmond,” PR director Catrina Gunter says. “Mandy’s been involved in big cities, but we haven’t really shown Richmond who we are...We all have big hopes for this place.” www.workmagazine.biz
MEGAN MARCONYAK In today’s economy, we could all stand to spend a little less on gas and get more use out of our cars. Chelsea Lahmers, owner of Scoot Richmond (217 W. 7th St., 230-1000), thinks investing in a scooter is an easy way to do both of these things: “If you’re doing half your miles on a scooter, your car will last twice as long,” she says. “If you use your scooter for getting around town and use your car for bigger trips, it also helps you use less resources.” No matter your preference, Scoot Richmond has the style for you. Don’t be intimidated about heading in: “95 percent of our customers are first-time scooter buyers and first-time two-wheeler buyers,” Lahmers says. Styles range from the Geniune Buddy 50 that gets up to 100 miles to the gallon, comes with a small enough engine that it doesn’t require a motorcycle license and has a built-in cell phone charger, to the more manly Sym Fiddle II 125 that goes fast and has lots of storage. Lahmers hopes more people will try scooters: “It’s just a great, affordable, ecological way of getting around.”
M O V E R S New at RMCVB The Richmond Metropolitan Convention and Visitors Bureau (RMCVB) is now fishing for travelers through its new Richmond Region Visitor Center at Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World in Hanover County. The center opened inside the store off Interstate 95 in February. It will serve as a place for visitors to ask questions, get directions, make hotel reservations and obtain information about the historic Richmond region. RMCVB employees will staff the center on weekends, and the organization’s “Who Knew” DVD about the region will play continuously on a television monitor. The center was designed and built by Bass Pro Shops Outdoor World and incorporates the store’s décor. The entire store is a tribute to the diversity of Virginia’s landscape, history and culture. It is part museum, art gallery, antique store, aquarium, and education, conservation and entertainment center, featuring more than 3,500 local artifacts, antiques, mounts and more. The RMCVB has also launched a new Web site to simplify travel planning for visitors to the region. It replaces the bureau’s previous site, visit.richmond.com. “VisitRichmondVa.com is a great resource not just for visitors, but for everyone who lives and works in the Richmond region,” said Jack Berry, RMCVB president and CEO. “Visitors and residents alike will gain from the site’s interactive tools. Area businesses such as hotels, restaurants and attractions will benefit from exposure to potential visitors.”
COURTESY OF BRIGHTROOM
Mark your calendars Read on, small business owners. Service Corps of Retired Executives (SCORE) of Richmond and the Retail Merchants Association have introduced a new mini-workshop series just for you, providing access to experienced professionals with no sales pitches involved! On Wednesday, May 20, attorney Marty Rowan from the Law Office of Marcia A. Rowan will
S H A K E R S
discuss “Legal Issues and Tools for Businesses in the Recession.” Talking points will include identifying legal risks during an economic downturn, managAnne Parker, a mother of four from Miding receivables and debt lothian, won the $2,500 prize in the collection and more. Then AT&T Dash for the Cash by crossing the on Wednesday, July 22, the finish ahead of the elite runners in the topic will be “Small BusiUkrop’s Monument Ave. 10K—though ness Marketing & Advertiswith the benefit of a 2.6-mile head start. ing,” presented by Bruce Goldman, owner of Bright Orange Advertising. This detailed workshop will help small business owners develop a marketing plan to bring in big sales with little money. The series will continue in September and November with workshops on how to turn a business around during a recession and how to retain existing customers. All workshops will be held at the Retail Merchants Association office, 5101 Monument Avenue, Richmond, from 8:30-10:30 a.m. Cost is $39 per session for members and Duathletes running to Richmond $49 for non-members. Register Registrations for the 2009 USAT Duathlon online at www.retailmerchants. National Championships on April 26 have com or contact Len East, 662-5500 eclipsed last year’s and are expected to set all-time records. or firstname.lastname@example.org. “This is looking like a breakIt’s a catch-22. You need money to advertise, but you need out event,” says USA Triathlon’s to advertise to make money. The national events director Jeff Dyrek. Retail Merchants Association is “We think this will grow into the addressing this quandary through largest duathlon ever organized its “Smart Marketing to Make in the United States.” “The Sports Backers, the Money” executive dialogue series. Moderated by Tom Blue, an entre- USAT, the USAT Mid-Atlantic Repreneur, writer, marketing innova- gion and the Richmond Triathlon tor and speaker, the series shares Club have worked hard on this, valuable advice during once-a- and it is paying off with a national month lunchtime sessions response that will put duathlon through November. Topics will in- on the map for on-road and offclude how to reduce your mar- road athletes. We are especially keting budget without damaging delighted at the number of outbusiness, reallocating marketing of-town competitors who will dollars in a down economy and be visiting Richmond during how to identify marketing waste these challenging economic through results tracking. Cost is times,” says Jon Lugbill, Sports Backers $79 per session for association executive director. Last year, 450 duathletes members and $99 for nonmembers. Register online at from around the country comwww.retailmerchants.com or con- peted in the USAT Duathlon Natact Len East, 662-5500 or len@re- tional Championships as pros, age group athletes, sport racers, tailmerchants.com.
DONNA C. GREGORY juniors and youth racers. The National Duathlon Festival, which is organized by the Sports Backers, will be in held in Richmond through next year.
Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k Breaks Entries Record More good news from Sports Backers arrived in the tally of participants for the March 28th Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10K. With the final two-day burst of walk-in entries at the Anthem Health and Fitness Expo that brought the total number of participants to 32,745, the event shattered its previous total entry record of 31,158 set last year. “We estimate that one out of every 30 people who lives here in the Richmond region has signed up to run or walk in our 10th anniversary Ukrop’s Monument Avenue 10k,” said Lugbill. “And with thousands upon thousands more gathering along the course to cheer them on, it is truly a celebration of health and fitness.” Entries for the First Market Mile Kids Run had a total of 1,832 entries, just shy of last year’s record of 1,891.
VCU’s volunteer efforts recognized Virginia Commonwealth University has been named to the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll by the Corporation for National and Community Service. The honor roll was launched in 2006 and is the highest federal recognition colleges and universities can achieve for servicelearning and civic engagement. This is the third consecutive year VCU has been listed on the Honor Roll. VCU students contributed an estimated 282,993 hours of community service in 2007-08 through service-learning classes, service projects of student organizations and individual volunteering.
P A R T N E R S H I P
Recently Assisted Companies
Funding Business Growth in Greater Richmond The Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc. is the region’s lead non-profit economic development organization that is funded 50 percent from private organizations in the region and 50 percent from the represented public entities: the City of Richmond, and Counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico. The ultimate mission of the partnership is to attract new and expanding businesses and to retain and grow the businesses that already call Greater Richmond home. The campaign funds the Partnership regional economic development programs for the next five years, beginning July 1, 2009 through June 30, 2014. Phase one of its private-sector fundraising campaign closed at the end of January reaching 74% of its $9 million goal. A total of $6,619,814 has been raised from over 100 investors thus far. Phase two of the campaign is planned to commence in late 2009 or early 2010 which will return to the nearly 70 pending potential investors who represent an additional $3 million. The raised funds will be
A total of $6,619,814 has been raised from over 100 investors thus far. matched by the Partnership’s four local government partners, the City of Richmond, and Counties of Chesterfield, Hanover and Henrico for a total budget of $18 million. “We are grateful to all of the organizations that have already made a pledge, with 55% committing to $150,000 or more and another 49% committing up to $25,000,” said Campaign General Co-Chair Robert S. Ukrop, board member of the Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc. and president and CEO of Ukrop’s Super Markets. He continued,“Not coincidentally, our strongest business support came in spring and summer 2008 during the ‘quiet phase’ of the campaign.” “While phase one of the campaign has closed, 74% of goal is not enough. Like many organizations and groups, the Partnership will have a difficult year coming up and we need all of the pending investors to consider committing sooner rather than later, ” says Gregory H.Wingfield, CEO and president of the Greater Richmond Partnership. Wingfield added,“Not only are we thinking about the next five years, but we have a private sector funding gap of nearly $200,000 to fill between now and July 1st in order to successfully continue our cutting-edge economic development work.”
Gail Letts, Campaign General Co-Chair and President and CEO of SunTrust Bank, added, “Many organizations recognize the importance of investing in the region’s economic development activity. We understand it’s a matter of deferring their decision about the amount they are willing to invest until economic conditions show signs of improvement. But now is the time to be investing in economic development to create the jobs that are needed along with the capital investment for the region.”
The Greater Richmond Partnership, Inc. welcomes the following exciting companies to the region:
Sabra Dipping Co. A food manufacturer located its state-of-the-art plant in Chesterfield County. The plant will make the award-winning Sabra branded dips and spreads, including the country’s best-selling Sabra hummus and vegetable dips. Current projections estimate 260 new jobs will result from the facility, beginning in mid 2010.
ProSeal America, Inc.
A manufacturer of heat-sealing machinery and toolThe 2009-2014 five-year programs will: empha- ing, ProSeal is currently the United Kingdom’s numsize the region’s strengths and growth poten- ber one supplier for all major food producers and one tial targeting key industry clusters for new of Europe’s largest. Established just 10 years ago, business attraction and regional marketing; the $30 million company employs nearly 100 people support and assist existing businesses in the in their UK and Australian locations. region identifying both at-risk and high growth Admiral Americas businesses; focus on the region’s workforce by (located in Henrico County) helping connect laid off workers with jobs created from existing and new businesses; and as- A direct-to-consumer auto insurer and sist a greater number of start-up firms and subsidiary of United Kingdom’s third largest insurer, located its operations in Henrico encourage innovation. Specific goals for the next five years County. The company plans to employ 40-50 people include: by the end of the third quarter 2009, with projections • New business attraction and of 200 jobs by the end of its second year. regional marketing measured by the creation of 8,500 new jobs generating $391 million in payroll; encourage $1.5 billion in new capJuly 1, 2004 Through March 9, 2009 ital investment; assist 125 new and % of expanding domestic firms, inFive-Year Goals Achieved Goals 2004-2007 Achieved cluding 25 new foreign-affiliated GRP firms to the region; and place 50 10,000 new primary jobs 5,653 57% positive media messages about the region in national and/or in$1.5 billion $1,871,297,274 125% capital investment ternational publications. 25 new foreign-affiliated • Retain and expand local 21 84% companies business by supporting the cre125 domestic companies* 56 45% ation of 7,500 new jobs and encourage more than $250 million in 50 media messages 74 148% new investment by existing firms. GRCC • Develop the workforce by 500 existing companies filling the need for a trained and provided with 588 117% available workforce for existing expansion assistance and new companies to meet their Counsel 2,500 2,591 103% small businesses competitive needs. • Grow small businesses by Training for 12,000 14,381 119% business owners successfully sustaining and growInformation for ing the region’s significant small 40,582 123% 33,000 business owners business sector with the creation Retain 1,500 jobs** 1,696 115% of 1,250 new jobs and $35 million in new capital investment. Create 1,250 jobs** 1,117 89% • Make progress in the pressNotes: *A company may be counted more than once if it has multiple projing area of infrastructure investects in several localities.**Data collected from semi-annual surveys covment required to retain and grow ering Jan-June and Jul-Dec. GRCC Training and Information goals were the regional business base. increased for the final two years of the period.
A 5 Year Program
Goals and Results
I N V E S T O R
P R O F I L E
Dominion to Celebrate 100 Years of Service The business began as the Upper Appomattox Company in 1795 to improve navigation and commercial development on the James River and its tributaries, including canal operation to secure water rights to the river. Today, Dominion is one of the nation’s largest producers of energy, with an energy portfolio of about 26,500 megawatts of generation and 7,800 miles of natural gas transmission pipeline. very month many in the region Innovation get a utility bill and probably For some companies, helping don’t usually think about the with community programs and more than 17,000 people employed growing the economic developat Dominion full-time, or that the ment of the region would be company has the nation’s largest unenough, but Dominion continues derground natural gas storage facilto work to find ways to improve ity, with over 975 billion cubic feet of day-to-day living and the conserstorage space or that they serve over vation of our planet. 5.3 million residents in 12 states. “One of the most exciting new Dominion Energy, the comtechnology applications we are inpany's electric power production troducing is so-called ‘smart meters’ and natural gas transportation and that enable two-way electronic comstorage unit, includes two busimunications between Dominion and nesses: Dominion Generation and its customers,” Evans says. “These Dominion Transmission. Dominion devices will allow customers to see Generation, based in Richmond, where their energy dollars are being manages the firm's regulated generspent and zero in on cost-saving ating stations. measures, which will be good for Also headquartered in Richtheir pocketbooks and ultimately mond, Dominion is a $42.3 billion good for the environment through company. Its impact on the area is improved energy efficiency.” tremendous, not only because of the services they offer, but also due Growth in New Tech & Jobs to their efforts at community outOn the horizon, Dominion will focus reach as Dominion stays dedicated on clean energy development along to making the region a better place with its associated job growth in the through its various programs and Dominion: a century of innovation. region. This complements the Partinvolvement with regional, civic nership’s efforts to attract clean-tech and nonprofit entities. ence programs through the study of energy and alternative energy companies to Greater As a multi billion-dollar company, they and the environment. Richmond—two industries that should have believe not only in growing their business, significant expansion in the future. but in making sure the communities they Shared Vision This year as Dominion looks towards the serve are thriving. To date, they’ve provided On the economic development front, Dominover $25 million to different organizations ion has been a longtime investor in the Greater next decade for new growth, adapting its business and technologies to help consumners rethrough their foundation. The company pro- Richmond Partnership, Inc. It is “Dominion’s overall economic devel- duce utility costs and increase its efforts to motes a corporate culture that encourages their employees to volunteer with local phil- opment mission is to support state, regional produce environmentally-friendly energy, the and local efforts to attract jobs and capital incompany also looks back, celebrating its oneanthropic and community organizations in vestment,” says Jim Evans a Dominion Comhundredth year providing electrical services to their neighborhoods. munications Office Fellow. “From a business, Local schools also are supported in the perspective, we value the region’s educated Virginia. As the Upper Appomattox Company form of education grants from Dominion and productive workforce, its moderate cost of in 1795, their mission was to develop the and the Dominion Foundation that provide living, its excellent transportation system with James River region. Looking at where they are elementary and secondary educators with manageable traffic congestion and its diverse in 2009, Dominion hasn’t strayed far from their roots and dedication to that original idea. the tools they need to revitalize math and sci- economic base.”
M E D I A W O R K S
Mob Marketing Effectively Morphing Your Web Promotions from User-Friendly to User-Generated estled deep inside Westpark Shopping Center, Matt Lake strategically lines up a shipment of his newest find—an offbeat petite noir, a Lebanese blend with a decidedly French appeal. Lake’s digs have become a tippler’s lair, a gathering ground for wine and beer fans who converge both online and offline to share their love for their drink of choice. “We like to place interesting wines at low prices right up front,” Lake says, pointing to a display of shiny bottles placed on old wooden crates. Lake, the owner of Wine & Beer Westpark, has created an online-offline ecosystem, a feat that still challenges most merchants striving to stay current in today’s prickly business environment. Using social media—an umbrella term for various activities that integrate technology and social interaction—he has created an online forum for customers to become friends, receive discounts, and to learn about the winemaking process. Most importantly, however, he uses sites such as Facebook and YouTube to listen, tap into, and learn from his customers. The result—increased foot traffic and face-to-face conversations that play out on the black-and-white checkered floor of his offline storefront. Lake treats his online and offline interactions much the same way as he lays out his wine shop—with transparency and buckets of fun placed front and center. “What I appreciate about social media is that you can’t hide,” he grins, “You get to let the mob discuss your brand.”
Make It Useful, Make It Actionable Shortly after purchasing Wine & Beer Westpark in 2005, the ever sprawling West End had just begun to spill into Short Pump. Suddenly, Matt Lake’s hot spot for the best elixirs in town was surrounded by six or more other outlets, including some big box retailers offering similar goods. “I don’t care who you are,” he says, “If you have six satellites orbiting around you, all of a sudden the sun gets a little dimmer.” One thing that larger retailers could not match, however, was Lake’s charm, and his personal knowledge of the 700 wine and 400 beer labels that sat on his shelf. Lacking the resources of the larger corporate marketing teams, he turned to social media—a free and more personal vehicle that was capable of impacting and measuring the pulse of the community.
Lake, just as many other Greater Richmond businesses of late, quickly learned that unlike traditional media campaigns with a set beginning and end, tools like Facebook and Twitter, can result in visible and more durable relationships between customer and brand— often taking on a life of their own. By encouraging his customers to have an equal voice on the social networks that he created, Lake was able to steer clear of the push-and-tell approach by many marketers and simply allow customers to participate in the conversation. Wine & Beer Westpark customers who opt-in receive weekly email updates, spiked with good humor and wit, and are encouraged to view and comment on YouTube videos created by Lake, all featuring tidbits from winemakers chatting informally about their craft —noticeably absent are wine reps with silver tongues. On Facebook he uses a similar bent; “fans” of Lake’s shop leave comments about their favorite bottles and are treated to “Flash Coupons,” exclusive notification of pending sales and discounts if you stop into the store on a certain date and reference the Facebook offer.
Make ‘Fun’ a Brand Anchor Not just reserved for small business owners, social media is equally effective for larger businesses throughout Greater Richmond who are looking to drive word-of-mouthbased evangelism. Similar to Matt Lake, AnnMarie Grohs, sales and marketing manager at Morton's The Steakhouse in Richmond, regularly uses her personal Twitter account to tweet about kitchen escapades and fun facts that most customers don’t have an opportunity to witness from the other side of the swinging door. While Morton’s has created an official presence on Facebook and Twitter to maintain one central voice, Grohs is still allowed to jazz up the company’s reach by issuing her own quirky and local brand of updates on her personal Twitter account. “I post about my day inside and outside of work,” explains Grohs. “I often talk about what’s going on in the restaurant, like how many single cut filets were sold that month or what’s the difference between béarnaise and hollandaise sauce.” Realizing that social media is about what www.workmagazine.biz
your community of supporters can do to help build your brand, Grohs offers a unique spot for carnivores to follow along, create and participate in the conversations circulating on the web. As a result, the post-purchase conversations that patrons create can become just as much a part of the company’s message as its tagline and formal ad campaigns. Proving that fun can be a brand anchor, Grohs is not afraid to lace her tweets with the random and whacky. “I like to write about something funny that happened in the kitchen that night…like last night when my chef brought in his kid’s synthesizer keyboard to prove to the pastry guys that he really could play.”
Make It Balanced With over 200 videos currently posted on YouTube, the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation, which boasts 148,000 members, has tapped into the viral nature of social media too—offering everything from Chef John Maxwell using Virginia produce to make a tasty apple pie to information about fireplace and chimney safety. By taking a topic as universal as apple pie, for example, the savvy organization was able to quickly generate a buzz far past Virginia by using popular recipe keywords to attract a crowd, while subtly embedding local produce as the key ingredient to make their point. As a result, the Virginia Farm Bureau Federation was able to make its video both informational and viral while at the same time delivering an effective pitch for Virginia produce. “Just as with any branding or marketing tool it’s not something that an organization needs to be afraid of, it’s just another way to share your message with the public,” explains Keith Langley, advertising and marketing supervisor at the Virginia Farm Bureau. “The only true investment at this point has been time and we have seen that our site visitors from social media stay on the site approximately 30% longer than average and as much as a 40% less bounce rate.” When not populating their social networks with videos, the organization, which operates a non-profit (Virginia Farm Bureau Federation) and a for profit (Farm Bureau Insurance), also uses other sites such as LinkedIn and Twitter, to create a presence on the internet that expands far passed its traditional standalone websites. BY PAUL SPICER 2009 Spring
T R A V E L & L E I S U R E The Enchanting Linden Row Inn: A Romantic Urban Oasis
was sitting in the garden courtyard at the Linden Row Inn, enjoying my morning coffee and David H. Jones’ latest Civil War novel, Two Brothers: One North,One South. As I began reading,I realized I was facing the Greek Revival-style row house described in his book. It was here that, on April 3, 1863, the reigning belles of wartime Richmond were dancing the night away in Mrs. Pegram’s Parlour. If walls could talk in what’s now room 220…But even before 1847, when the seven row houses that make up the central part of the Linden Row Inn were built, the beautiful garden was a magnet for lovers. “The Linden Row Inn A boutique hotel, is a series of 19th-century houses that were built on listed on the top of an ‘enchanted garNational Registry den’ where Poe, and his of Historic Places, childhood sweetheart Linden Row Sarah Elmira Royster, met and fell in love,” said Harry has 70 Lee Poe, author of Edgar Victorian-inspired Allan Poe, an illustrated biguest rooms. ography about his distant cousin’s life.“Poe, who just celebrated his 200th birthday, makes reference to the ‘enchanted garden’ in his famous poem,‘To Helen.’” Now a boutique hotel listed on the National Registry of Historic Places, Linden Row has 70 Victorian-inspired guest rooms. The more intimate and airy Garden Rooms are located in one of the original carriage house buildings and wrap around the famous Garden Terrace. The gemstone-colored Main House rooms have 12-foot ceilings and access to a sweeping verandah where guests can enjoy the fresh morning air or sip a glass of wine while looking at the moon. But it’s the elegantly-appointed Parlour Suite Rooms that are named after prominent Richmonders. Its largest (and most magnificent) suite is the recently restored Mary Wingfield Scott Parlour (Room 208), which made its celebrated debut in March 2009. “The Linden Row Inn has a total of seven, spacious Parlor Suites and they are the most special rooms on the property because of their
unique history,” says Vishal Savani, director of Linden Row Inn.“Our Pegram Parlour is a favorite with honeymooners and history buffs looking for a unique local experience in Richmond.” The inn’s namesake, the Linden tree, has always been a part of the garden and is called the “tree of lovers” in German folklore. Its heartshaped leaves often flicker in the gentle springtime breeze, as bridal luncheon guests at the Linden Row Inn enjoy a sumptuous meal catered by nearby Chez Foushee. Local and business travelers also recognize Linden Row Inn’s charming signature red façade. Located at the corner of First and Franklin Streets, near Richmond’s financial district, it’s an easy 15 minutes drive from Richmond International Airport. The convenience of valet parking makes arrival and check-in a breeze. “We offer a free, in-town shuttle service that takes our guests within a two-mile radius of the hotel, which covers most of downtown Richmond,” says Savani. The inn provides complimentary continental breakfast, faxes and copies. “We also have free wireless Internet throughout the hotel and all our guests get access to the
Linden Row Inn 100 East Franklin Street Richmond, Virginia 23219 Phone: 1-804-225-5841 www.lindenrowinn.com
IF YOU GO:
Celebrate with Poe’s 200th Segway of Richmond and the historic Linden Row Inn have partnered to offer guests an exclusive Edgar Allan Poe Bicentennial Package. It is valid through December 31, 2009 and includes the following: Two-night stay in one of the Linden Row Inn’s Main House rooms (rate includes valet parking and Continental breakfast) YMCA, which has a better variety of equipment than most hotel gyms.” During the business week, you’ll see people gathering in the Parlour Lounge before heading out to lunch or dinner. It’s a comfortable place and, like all the hotel rooms, is filled with antiques and Empire and Victorian reproductions. Many are on loan from the Historic Richmond Foundation, while the mix of modern art on the walls is from 1708 Gallery, a centerpiece of the nearby Broad Street gallery district. “We actually pride ourselves in being a historic property because our intimate inn is able to make guests feel like they’re being welcomed into someone’s home,” said Savani, who believe the customer always comes first. “And that includes our business clients, who rent out some of our spacious Parlour Suites for meetings up to 30 people.” Whatever the reason or season, the Linden Row Inn is a place to love.That’s because it offers an authentic Richmond experience—with a side of romance.
T wo passes to a special Edgar Allan Poe-themed Segway Tour of Downtown Richmond (segwayofrichmond.biz) Two passes to the Poe Museum (poemuseum.org) Two passes to tour St. John’s Church (historicstjohnschurch.org), an Edgar Allan Poe Tote Bag with Poe memorabilia The full package price is $369 plus tax, based on double occupancy. Reservations may be made by visiting www.lindenrowinn.com and clicking on “Check Availability” or by calling Linden Row Inn Reservations at (800) 348-7424.
Devorah Ben-David is a freelance writer based in Richmond, Va. Her travel articles are featured in publications across North America, Europe, Australia, and in the Caribbean.
S APRIL E 19 E
Spring Ba-da-Bing The BOSS of All Art Shows! Don’t Forget About It!
& D O
Bada-BOOM! The 2009 Spring Bada-Bing is here! Join the Richmond Craft Mafia for the 4th installment of the largest indie craft show in the Region. Held at Plant Zero, for a little chaching bring home some Bada-Bing from artistʼs and designerʼs original creations. Free SWAG bags to the first 200 customers. Sunday, 11am-4pm, Plant Zero, 523.7174, www.springbadabing.com.
A Day on Doswell More Than Corn Dogs and Coasters!
Thereʼs more to Doswell than a theme park! Visit historic homes, an antebellum church (complete with Civil War history etched into its walls); see miniature gardens, model and real trains, and more. Shop at Squashapenny Junction Antiques and The Bank. Boxed lunches available. Reservations required. Sponsored by the Ashland Garden Club for Historic Garden Week in Virginia. Saturday,10am5pm, www.VAGardenweek.org.
Ettrick’s Celtic Festival Kicks and Kilts!
See and hear the St. Andrews Legion Pipes and Drums, vintage fire trucks, cars, Native Americans, Civil War and WWII re-enactors, civic groups and historical displays. Piping performances and other musical entertainment. No pink hearts, yellow moons or orange stars here, just lots of green clovers, a doggie parade and a knobby knees contest! Magically audacious! Saturday, 10am-5pm, Matoaca Middle School grounds, 526.8367.
Mother’s Day Concert at Lewis Ginter M Is For Moments, Memories and Music
Thereʼs more to Motherʼs Day than just a card! Enjoy a free concert in the Garden, capture your memories with a complimentary family photo. Brunch is available in the Robins Tea House, the Garden Café or a la carte in the Garden. Tea House Brunch Reservations re-quired. Sunday concert 1-4pm, Sunday, 10am-3pm. Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, 262.988, www.lewisginter.org.
Extraordinary Labors: Trades of Early Virginia 1611-1622 Heigh-Ho, Heigh-Ho...
See the English working class coopers, carpenters, tailors, blacksmiths, shipwrights and artisans re-creating the work of 1611-1622 Virginia courtesy of Sir Thomas Dale. Gain insight on being a tradesman when a blackberry grew on bush and web developers were spiders. Think youʼve got what it takes? Lend your hand as an apprentice. Saturday, 10am-5pm, Henricus Historical Park, 748.1613 www.henricus.org.
ZZ Top A Haw, Haw, Haw, A Haw Give ʻem all your lovinʼ! Those boys with beards are back sporting cheap sunglasses and spinning guitars. Accessories are everything for a sharp dressed man. Theyʼre bad, theyʼre nationwide... A haw, haw, haw. Thursday, gate time 6pm, Innsbrook After Hours snagajob.com Pavilion, 794.6700, www.insbrookafterhours.com.
7th Annual Richmond Vegetarian Festival Go Leafy Green! Vegetarians and non-vegetarians alike unite with crafts, T-shirts, non-stop music, cooking demos, speakers, and delicious vegetarian foods. Vegetarian, animal rescue and environmental non-profit organizations will be represented. Donations welcome. Saturday, 12-6pm Bryan Park, Azalea Gardens 672. 1457 www.veggiefest.org.
Father’s Day at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden Father is Dad-tastic!
Father's Day with a flourish can be found in the Garden! Enjoy entertainment and garden-related activities including a concert. Grr, grr, grr classic cars, motorcycles and food. A day that screams “Dad, you so deserve this. Can I have the keys now?” Sunday,1-4pm, Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden, 262.9887 www.lewisginter.org.
Indy Car Series
26-27 and USAC Open Wheel Weekend Wind In Your Hair, Bugs In Your Teeth The ninth annual SunTrust Indy Challenge means drivers hitting speeds of more than 170 mph at the shortest track on the circuit. The James River Grounds 100 USAC Silver Crown Series race, precede the SunTrust Indy Challenge. Start your Friday motorʼs running with IndyCar Series Pole Qualifying and the USAC National Sprint Car Series race. Friday, Saturday, 10am-10pm, RIR, 888.472.2849 www.rir.com. 2009 Spring
Your premier resource for active living options in Greater Richmond. Sports Backers Quarterly is published 6 times a year including the special editions of the March Ukrop始s Monument Avenue10k and the November SunTrust Richmond Marathon issues. Available online, by subscription or at retail and business locations throughout the the region.
“This is not only a but a
great place to live,
good place to do business.” — Stephen R. Scherger President of Beverage, Media & Entertainment and Folding Carton operations, MWV
“Richmond, in and of itself, is perfectly located for us.” — Shannon Walls Plant Manager, East Coast Division Aspen Products, Inc.
Speaking of Richmond... “Folks are recognizing ... and saying
“I think the community really
‘Wow, there’s something big going on here!”
lends itself well to the small, independent companies.”
— Robert T. Skunda
— Melissa Ball
President, CEO and Executive Director Virginia Biotechnology Research Park
Where America’s Business Began.
President Ball Office Products
See what other area business and industry leaders are saying about Greater Richmond, Virginia, at SpeakingofRichmond.com or call 1-800-229-6332 to find out how your business can join the discussion.