I love history and art – not to mention a “feel good” story. Maybe that’s why I enjoyed writing a BizVoice® article last summer about restoration of Elkhart’s historic Lerner Theatre, one of many projects revolving around the city’s new downtown arts and entertainment district.
Renovation of the structure, built in 1924 as a vaudeville palace, was completed in June. It wasn’t transformation of the theatre alone that I found captivating. It was the “story within a story” – The Lerner’s rebirth revitalized Elkhart (helping to boost revenue and morale), one of those hit hardest during the economic downturn.
And the story continues.
Design firm Moody•Nolan and associate architect Cripe Design recently earned a Palladio Award (specifically the Sympathetic Addition Award) for their addition and façade restoration of the theater.
Jim Kienle, director of Moody•Nolan’s Historic Preservation Studio, was quoted in a 2010 BizVoice® story focusing on environmentally friendly preservation efforts involving restoration.
Looking forward to seeing what’s in store “in the next act” for The Lerner and other renovation projects.
Sometimes you just know it’s going to be “one of those days.”
You wake up, pour a fresh cup of coffee, raise it to your lips (that first sip always tastes the best) and … wham! It spills everywhere. Then traffic is unbearable and you’re late to work. Once you arrive, the day only gets worse.
For some people, however, every day is a struggle. Depression hinders their ability to function in the workplace and beyond. It’s an intensely personal condition for employees, but one that can have a profound – and harmful – impact on business’ bottom lines.
According to a compelling Forbes story, depression results in 200 million lost workdays in the United States annually. In addition, 9.5% of the adult population will experience a depressive illness in a given year. Your employees don’t have to suffer in silence. Watch for these symptoms:
Increasing frequency of sick days: Is your employee visiting the doctor more often but refuses to tell you the issue even under confidence? Does s/he seem to suffer from more than physical pains that you cannot see? Sometimes common colds, flu, stomachaches are symptoms of stress.
Loss of motivation: Does your employee look less enthusiastic at work or when completing his usual duties?
Changes in social behavior in the workplace: Those who are sociable withdraw from their friends and colleagues. Those who used to be passive could become aggressive and outspoken all of a sudden.
Incomplete duties or tasks: Depression sometimes results in memory loss. Is your employee forgetting some project deadlines or fails to accomplish assigned duties on time?
Fatigue, tiredness, excessive yawning: Lethargy is one symptom of depression.
Increasing number of absent days for other reasons: Is your colleague taking more leave days than usual with increasing frequency, citing other reasons than sick leave? Or does s/he call in the morning with an excuse they could not arrive at work that day? This could flag a possibility of disinterest in work.
Most of the time, I’m Ms. Positivity. As my dad says, “It’s better to be an optimist who is sometimes wrong than a pessimist who is always right.” That said, I’m feeling a bit surly today and want to share a few things that – put simply – annoy the heck out of me. Here goes:
Schoolyard bullies and the lack of consequences (in many cases) for their cruel behavior
Smiling at a stranger in passing and receiving an empty stare in return (come on people, is it really that hard?)
Arriving at a restaurant that’s nearly empty and – as my stomach growls – watching multiple customers who arrive significantly later being served first
People who assume baristas should automatically know their coffee preferences
Parents who are unduly short-tempered with their kids at the grocery store (children grow up fast; enjoy them while you can!)
Happily plopping down on the couch to watch a show I have “DVRd” and realizing that, because a football or basketball game has gone into overtime, only part of the episode was recorded (Nooooo!)
Rude customers during the holiday season
Coaches who berate young kids for losing games rather than providing a fun, supportive learning environment (way to be a role model)
Buyer’s remorse (did I really need that $15 lunch?)
The phrase, “I could care less.” Repeat after me: “I couldn’t care less.”
What ruffles your feathers? I hate that expression. Just kidding!
Those words have echoed in my mind since I traveled to Wabash in early 2008 for a BizVoice® magazine story about business leader (and local legend) Richard Ford. Ford took me on a heartfelt tour of the city and the endeavors (many revolving around downtown revitalization and the arts) he passionately was steering.
Entrepreneurism is “in Ford’s blood.” His grandfather founded the Ford Meter Box Company – a manufacturer of water meter equipment located in Wabash with clients across the globe – and his great-grandfather was a Civil War surgeon who started a home-based physician’s practice in the area. Pretty cool.
“They want to go back.”
An accompanying BizVoice® story about downtown revitalization efforts featured restoration of the former Red Apple Inn, reborn on March 17, 2010 as Charley Creek Inn (Richard Ford founded the Charley Creek Foundation, which led the project). The historic building – which features elegant guest rooms, event planning accommodations and retail shops – has become a popular destination.
Satisfied customers earned the hotel a 2012 TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. Here’s an excerpt from the announcement:
Charley Creek Inn, a renovated boutique hotel, recently announced that it has received a TripAdvisor® Certificate of Excellence award. The award, which honors hospitality excellence, is given only to establishments that consistently achieve outstanding traveler reviews on TripAdvisor, and is extended to qualifying businesses worldwide. Approximately 10% of accommodations listed on TripAdvisor receive this prestigious award.
To qualify for the Certificate of Excellence, businesses must maintain an overall rating of four or higher, out of a possible five, as reviewed by travelers on TripAdvisor. Additional criteria include the volume of reviews received within the last 12 months.
Congratulations Charley Creek Inn! Something tells me I’ll be seeing you soon.
Screeech! That’s me putting on the breaks as we enter – fast and furiously – the holiday season. Sure, there are presents to buy, goodies to bake and get-togethers to attend. But if I don’t slow down, the “magic” in the air will be overshadowed by lengthy to-do lists and an unflattering transformation into Mr. Ebenezer Scrooge himself.
A recent article from The Huffington Post provides tips on surviving “holiday hype.” One suggestion cautions against comparing past holidays with the current one. It’s good advice.
Growing up, my family always spent Christmas Eve at my grandmother’s house. If I close my eyes, I can almost smell the rigatoni, roast and rolls she made for dinner. Waiting until 8 p.m. to open presents seemed like an eternity! I miss those days and will always cherish them. The good news is that the traditions I’ve started with my own family bring great joy and are just as treasured.
For the most part, I live a somewhat sheltered life. It’s not that I shun television (far from it) or approach life with a “Candy Land” mentality, but I tend to focus on “my” world – the one that revolves around my family, friends and beloved pets. But in the midst of Hurricane Sandy, I’m reminded that “it’s not all about me.”
Sandy has claimed precious lives and caused unimaginable damage on the East Coast. Power outages have left many residents without electricity, a frightening prospect as temperatures begin to drop. Seen through children’s eyes, the storm washed away their long-awaited Halloween celebrations. It sounds trivial compared to the scale of destruction residents are facing, but it’s a sad reality they won’t soon forget.
Remembering my childhood travels through the East Coast on the way to Connecticut to my grandparents’ wooded cabin connects me to the part of the country enduring nature’s wrath. I’ll never forget the breathtaking views, scrumptious food, historic destinations and laughter.
As residents of New Jersey, New York and other states face Hurricane Sandy’s aftermath, there are four words of hope I can offer. They’ve come from my dad, one of the wisest men I know, through the years as my family weathered storms of our own: “We’ll get through this.”
Buried treasure – that’s how I think of childhood relics awaiting rediscovery in crowded garages, sheds and storage units. So, you can imagine my glee when I stumbled upon Travel Channel’s "Toy Hunter," which follows dealer Jordan Hembrough’s journey to uncover rare collectibles.
“It’s the very first Barbie doll!” I exclaimed – following a gasp and my eyes practically jumping out of my head – just seconds after tuning in. Barbie and I go way back. I’ve been a collector since childhood.
The owner sold the doll, which debuted in 1959, for more than $2,000. Then off went Barbie to find a new home at an auction!
Other finds in the episode included "Star Wars" memorabilia, a vintage "Batman" toy car and the cape Christopher Reeves wore in Superman. Did you know he wasn’t the first choice to play the Man of Steel? Others in the running at one time or another were Paul Newman, Robert Redford, Sylvester “Yo, Adrian!” Stallone and Burt Reynolds. Interesting.
The moral of the story: You’re never too old for a trip down memory lane. And … whatever you do, don’t throw your toys away!
I love coupons … in theory, that is. Right now, 15 or 20 clippings are awaiting their escape in a handy little blue case. But despite the best of intentions, they probably won’t see the light of day.
Here’s why: I always forget them in my car when I’m at the grocery store. Why not go back and get them, you ask? Too inconvenient (pathetic, I know). Fair enough, you say. But why not keep the coupons in your purse? I counter, with a raised eyebrow, “Do I really need to add another item to the Great Abyss?”
The May edition of Harvard Business Review reveals that only 1% of all coupons are used – and says that isn’t a bad thing. In fact, businesses can reap more rewards from consumers who pitch the coupons touting the items or services they’re pitching (Get it? My apologies).
Unused coupons still pay off In 2010, U.S. consumers redeemed 3.3 billion coupons, cutting roughly $3.7 billion from purchase prices. That’s a lot, particularly since only about 1% of all coupons are ever used. Conventional wisdom holds that little benefit is seen from the other 99%. But new research suggests that unredeemed coupons are highly valuable. In fact, the coupons that wind up in the trash ultimately deliver greater returns to a company than the coupons that are redeemed.
In an experiment with eight national retailers, consumers who received but did not redeem coupons still typically increased their purchases in the associated stores. In fact, as a group the nonredeemers accounted for 60% of the coupons’ "sales lift" – the additional amount spent on both promoted and unpromoted items.
How do coupons produce a lift among nonredeemers? They increase awareness of a brand or a retailer even when they’re not cashed in. This finding isn’t surprising, but the magnitude of the benefit is.
Coupons can serve as advertisements that attract new customers and inspire gratitude and loyalty among existing ones by delivering important messages about a company. Therefore, as much care should be taken with coupons as with other marketing materials, striving to delight customers, not simply to close a deal.
Been there, done that and now it’s time to have fun!
Retirement is coming early for Baby Boomers, according to a new study challenging the prevailing notion that seniors are postponing their workforce departures.
The MetLife report reveals that among individuals born in 1946 (the year the Baby Boom began), 59% were either partially or fully retired by age 65. Men (born in ’46) continued working, on average, until age 59.7. For women, the milestone was 57.2.
You know the famous “you’re only as old as you feel” expression? Most participants, on average, share that they won’t consider themselves old until they near 80 (age 79 to be exact). How cool is that?
Here’s one of the best findings, in my opinion: 96% of respondents are enjoying retirement at least somewhat.
Hooray! We may not have to keep our noses to the grindstone as long as we initially thought. And it’s encouraging to know that when we do bid our jobs a (hopefully friendly) farewell, the best may be yet to come.
Peek into the windows of my home (that sounds kind of creepy) on a Sunday afternoon and you can find me reading Shakespeare. Out loud. By myself. (Is that weird?) For me, that’s the best way to truly “get into” the plays and experience the prose.
It’s always fascinated me how many common expressions originated or are contained in Shakespeare’s works. The same can be said for Benjamin Franklin. Talk about a jack of all trades! He invented the odometer, the lightning rod and bifocals, just to name a few.
Here are some of my favorite sayings penned (or uttered) by these famous wordsmiths:
Neither a borrower nor a lender be.
All the world’s a stage.
Sweets to the sweet.
The world’s mine oyster.
To thine own self be true.
Uneasy lies the head that wears a crown.
A penny saved is a penny earned.
A place for everything, everything in its place.
Never leave that till tomorrow which you can do today.
The doors of wisdom are never shut.
Remember that time is money.
He that rises late must trot all day.
Hope you enjoyed this little “history lesson.” As Shakespeare said, “Parting is such sweet sorrow!”