Tomorrow is the anniversary of the Knights of Columbus founding (the first charter was given in Connecticut in 1882-a chapter of them owned my Inn from about 1930 until 1990), National Mom & Pop Business Owners Day (can’t get much smaller business than that) and coincidentally, the anti-Christ to small business Sam Walton’s birth anniversary (1918), Karen Ann Quinlan was born tomorrow in 1954, even after being taken off the ventilator, she survived another decade in a coma. Also, in 1848, a huge ice blockage stop all water from flowing over all three falls up at Niagara until April 1. Must have been pretty impressive to see.
West Phily Dective Joseph Murray has been pioneering social media. For the past two years, he’s used his Twitter account @thefuzz9143 to send out Tweets about activities in the neighborhood he patrols. The locals love it. This third generation police officer has about 700 followers. He says “My goal was for people to actually know me-a detective they could pick up th phone and call”. His Tweets add a little color to the sterility of your normal police reports. He not only reports on issues in the neighborhood, he also incorporates advice like this Tweet “We caught the shot gun robber. Still try and use caution when pumping gas. Don’t watch those annoying TV’s” He’s so far ahead of the rest of the force, that his supervisors asked him to stop Tweeting until they formed department wide rules for all the officers. When he agreed to stop Tweeting, his followers didn’t know why, figured it was bureaucracy and started an on-line petition “I want my Fuzz9143”. 9143 is his badge number, by the way. He’s back to Tweeting and building bridges between the police force and the residents they serve.
Speaking of Philly, someone on their election board has asked for clarification from our illustrious leaders. They passed a bill requiring voters to produce a valid ID. Besides driver’s licenses and other PennDot photo ID’s, one of the items acceptable by this bill is college ID’s with a valid expiration date. No one in Harrisburg must be a graduate from Penn State (our largest college) because Penn State ID’s don’t have an expiration date and never have.
He’s something way cool for you small businesses or small business wanta bees. Many, maybe most, small businesses don’t have the capital or the credit to get them off the ground. Also, for those of you with some extra bucks and either don’t have the minimum required to start an investment portfolio, or don’t want to do that “wall street thing”, there’s on-line sites to match you up. You can invest in a particular idea, or even narrow it down to your hometown. Some examples of these “crowd funded websites” are Kickstarter, Peerbackers and IndieGoGo. According to Jerry Ross, executive director of the National Entrepreneur Center in Orlando, FL, ninety-tree percent of the businesses in Florida have ten employees or less. He says that’s true for the whole country. [For any of my loyal followers, you’ve heard that from me several times]. Currently there are twenty-one projects in Pittsburgh using Kickstart to either start or expand their business. The different sites have different rules. They all seem to run some sort of thing like you need to explain who you are and what you need the money for. You then put out how much you are looking for. When you place the amount of capital you are looking for, you have 30 days to raise it, if you don’t make it on Kickstarter, the offer is closed down and you get nothing (you can re-file). Peerbackers gives you the amount you raised after the thirty days. I may not be accurate here, but I’m pretty close to the ideas. Some examples of Kickstarter in Pittsburgh: the BurgBees in Homewood in May 2010 wanted to raise $3,500 and they achieved $3,695 with 66 backers. Conflict Kitchen in East Liberty wanted to raise $4,00 in September, 2010 and their 129 supporters raised $4,178. GoPano, Pittsburgh maker of a lens you snap on you iPhone to make a 360 degree panoramic video sought $20,000 to get off the ground last May and ended up raising $169,209 with their 2,685 backers. Pretty impressive. Another restaurant, this one in Oakland, Legume Bistro wanted to raise $8,000 last June. With their 89 backers they raised $17,195.
I had a guest this past winter that loved the place. Penny’s an artist and took a ton of pictures. She painted my Parlor from one of her pictures and sent me the image. I in-tern sent it to Giclee Factory, very nice people to deal with to be reproduced on canvass. That good friend of mine that owns The Stone Manse outside Harrisburg had given me this very cool frame and the image fit right inside, even didn’t have to get it re matted. See:
Doesn’t that look great?
Well, that’s if for this chapter, be well,