Shutting Down

Business Model

Firewurst ext_

Firewurst, a local restaurant startup is shutting down after 3 years:

While some restaurant (and other businesses) are poorly conceived….planned and operated…..Firewurst was not. It seemed they were well managed….and had good reviews. Perhaps they left their original location too soon….or  focused too quickly on franchising. Or as they said maybe it was not the right product.

Either way….not every business concept is successful….markets change….or the market is simply not there.

Better Coffee

The American Press


From mlive:

Of course there are innumerable ways to improve on a product….none more so than coffee makers. Will The American Press be the next Aeropress? Will it make better coffee….will it be easier to clean/use? More importantly is it $89 better than the Aeropress at $27?

A significant difference is that The American Press uses a steel mesh filter whereas the Aeropress uses a paper filter…. will that compensate for the price differential? It all remains to be seen as the product is not yet on the market.

Perhaps in 6-9 months….market response will determine the success of The American Press. My best guess….a $49 price would be more attractive.



Doing Business

  • Name*
    First Last
  • Phone
  • Email*
  • Question or Comments*

Over the past year, I’ve noticed businesses….mostly small, but some larger have a minimal contact tab/link on their website. It seems almost like they really don’t want anyone to contact them or even know them as a business.

The above contact form is from a specialized drilling company in California. No telephone number….no names to contact….no physical address.

The whole focus of any business is the customer….and making it easy for the customer to conduct business….this company, apparently, doesn’t want to do this.


Business School -2015

Ross School of Business – U of M

LON HORWEDEL,THE ANN ARBOR NEWS Exterior view of the new University of Michigan Ross School of Business, seen from the corner of Hill and Tappan on UM's Central Campus, Wednesday afternoon, January 21st.

The school of business is vastly different from my time spent there in the 1960s, Today there are 3400 students in the school….perhaps 500 when I attended. The business school has significantly expanded due in part to contributions from Stephen Ross (a 1962 classmate….though I probably did not know him at that time).

The U of M School of Business is always ranked high….I was fortunate to be a graduate.

I would not recognize the facility today….it has almost no resemblance to the building of 1962. What I do recognize is something that has not changed. The law library in the next block over from the business school and where I spent most of my study time.

Law School UofM

While it  is important to expand and have modern facilties….somethings need to stay the same.

Business Strategy

Grow Locally

Hometown_HoldoutsForbes is starting a series on food businesses that are unique to a specific area (hometown) and why they are satisfied in staying where they are (holdout).

Zingerman’s in Ann Arbor, MI is one of those Hometown Holdouts….though started as a corner deli….it has branched out into other areas….yet staying local in Ann Arbor.

From the Forbes article:

Hometown Holdouts have drawn the line at becoming the next Nobu or Shake Shack, available in almost every major world city. Why are they reluctant to grow too big:

Family. Many want to keep things under control, for personal reasons, like the ability to spend time with their kids and spouses — and involve them in the business.

Manageability. Not everyone has what it takes to oversee an empire. Hometown Holdouts want their places to be a manageable size, especially now that it’s gotten hard to find qualified cooks and wait staff.

Quality. These eagle-eyed proprietors are constantly monitoring the quality of everything they serve, with the ingredients often coming from purveyors whom they’ve helped get on their feet.

Community. Hometown Holdouts are a key part of their communities, benefiting from their customers’ loyalty and giving back to the places where they’ve put down roots. Many of these entrepreneurs aren’t from the places they’re based, but they found cities that they wanted to call home.

Visibility. In another time, Hometown Holdouts would be known primarily in their locations. But the Web, television, radio and social media, as well as the explosion in food related travel, allow people to find them.

$.75 Jem

Jiffy Mix


Small product….great company.

Chelsea Milling Co.(Jiffy Mix) recently announced a $35M expansion:

Key points from the article –

  • Howdy Holmes is the 4th generation owner of the $130M company
  • A box of Jiffy Mix is about $.75 in the grocery store
  • Expansion into institutional and food service markets
  • In house printing of all packaging and mills its own flour
  • Minimal advertising budget
  • Smart workforce management

Chelsea would be (or is a) great business case study.


Business Value


While looking though some old photos I came across a photo of Ray and myself. We had known each other from high school….and when I returned to Muskegon…. discovered we were both in the home furnishings business.

At that time, there were many competitors in that business segment….three large and the rest of us medium size….competing it seems for each others business. 

While we were competitors….Ray and I….along with several other businesses developed a cordial relationship. If one of us needed a table….frame….or carpet padding to complete an order….we provided it….and than returned the same or  bought it at cost.

During our time in business….perhaps we didn’t realize it…..yet these relationships were a key business value. We did it because were willing to help each other.

That was good business and also the right thing to do.