Jacques Pepin

I became interested in food (and cooking) several years ago. While there are many celebrity chefs….Jacques Pepin stands out as one of the elite in the culinary business.

PBS had a recent special on Mr. Pepin. What was most interesting was his ability to reinvent himself through his culinary career….especially after a serious automobile accident.

Businesses (and individuals) must be able to reinvent themselves when faced with major challenges. Kodak and Polaroid to some extent have done that….IBM is an ongoing process. Jacques Pepin is a fine example of reinvention.

From Tom Peters: Be distinct or be extinct.

Memorial Day 2017

Lt. General E.F. O’Connor (1922-2016)

Lt. General O’Connor recently passed away. In 1962-3….it was Col. O’Connor at Ballistic Systems Division, Norton AFB, CA

“During World War II, O’Connor served in the European Theater of Operation as a pilot in Italy with the 459th Bombardment Group, Fifteenth Air Force. In March 1962, O’Connor was assigned to the Air Force Systems Command and went to Norton Air Force Base, California as deputy director of the Ballistic Systems Division.  Lt. Gen O’Connor was awarded the Distinguished Service Medal, in 1969 for his contributions to the Apollo 11 lunar landing.”

My boss (Lt. Col. Frank Smith) at the time and Col. O’Connor were good friends….so as a young Lt. I was invited over to Col. Smiths several times and got to know Col. O’Connor on a more personal level (as well as could be for a very junior officer). One of the few photos from my time at BSD….getting promoted to 1st Lt. and Col. O’Connor pinning the bars on.

Not only was Col. O’Connor an outstanding leader….he was also a part of The Great Generation as  a B-24 Pilot in WW ll.

Bad Location?

Basic Business Management

From Mlive:

“A bad location coupled with increased competition were the biggest factors in the failure of Dutch Girl Brewery, according to the company’s attorney.”

Location is important….though Dutch Girl was only a mile or so outside the Spring Lake village limits and was surrounded by other businesses.

Our business was located in the north end of town and on a major road….however most retail activity centered on the southern end of Muskegon. Part of our brand was” Drive out a ways and see how it pays”.  Rather simple….but effective. It was a key part of our marketing strategy and compensated for not having the perfect location. While a good location is necessary….basic business management is also necessary.



Why does an organization / business exist?

The following article from….in response to the recent United Airlines missteps is an excellent answer:

“The sad fact is that it would be fair to say that United is a generic, bureaucratic, tired company. A sort of DMV in the sky. No real culture. No real strategy. No real expectations for employees or customers. All of which is a shame.”

I would think the airline mergers have created companies such as United. It’s time for United and probably other companies to ask Why they exist and What is their purpose. Unfortunately many folks have no choice but to fly United. Cultural change is a challenge and will take some time. If a business isn’t willing to change….customers will find other options.

Repeat Business

Basic But Not Easy

One of the fundamentals of any business is repeat business. Here’s how from Tom Peters:

K = R = P 

Kindness = Repeat business = Profit 

We spent a significant amount on marketing/advertising….the purpose to get customers in the front door. The cost per customer could be fairly large. 

For a repeat customer the marketing cost would be minimal. It’s just good business to build a business around repeat customers. After all if a customer returns….they are your best customers. Treat them (and every customer) with kindness.


Bed in a Box

From jsonline:—box-trend/101343412/

“Across the United States, a few internet-based startups and their scores of imitators have shaken up the bedding world.”

“Aided by machines – some of them made in Wisconsin – that can squish a king-sized mattress pancake-flat and roll it up like a sleeping bag, the bed-in-a-box business has emerged as yet another challenger to traditional retail.”

Competition will always exist in one form or another. In our  business it would have been another local business. The internet has changed all of that.

We were very good at selling bedding and had good suppliers so we were confident in the product. Selling online is somewhat different as the customer can’t touch the product….yet a market segment is comfortable with buying unseen on the internet.

While it may be  a challenge to compete in a changing market….innovation may be expanding the entire market….the key strategy is how to take advantage of that larger market.


The 10 Best

Recently Mlive conducted a search for the best sub sandwiches in Michigan:

The winner was Alcamo’s Market in Dearborn, MI.

What are the business lessons learned from the sub competition besides being a great sandwich?:

  • They are family businesses
  • Many have been in business for decades
  • All provide an excellent product at a fair price

and (as all the others) at Ventimiglia Italian Foods “We don’t cut corners. We do things the right way,” the owners said.

Sound business lessons from a local sub shop

Note: #4 was Fatty Lumpkins in Muskegon!