Archive for February, 2010

Why am I working today?

Monday, February 15th, 2010

The office is closed. Everyone has the day off so why am I here?

Really?

Really?

Oh right, because the boss always works. Even when I’m sleeping, I’m working. Seriously, I have Axxess dreams all the time. I know it’s sad but it’s true.

There’s always something that needs to get done- not just at Axxess, but for all businesses and for all people. Many complain that there just isn’t enough time in the day. Sometimes it feels that way, but I think that making the extra effort to get the most important things done is what contributes to one’s success. The key here is doing the important things, and letting the rest go.

When I lie awake at night it’s not that I’m stressing, rather I’m planning…and making sure all the details are covered. At least that’s how I’d like to think of it. And on days like today, I definitely take time off to enjoy. But I like to do so after I take care of a little business.

So now that I’ve done my work today making sure there are plenty of good discounts out there for you Santa Barbarians…I’ll sign off and go have some fun. You should too.

School Budget cuts

Friday, February 12th, 2010

This week the school board announced more budget cuts – about $6 million more that needs to come from an already thin $119 million dollar budget. There’s no easy answer here and without getting political – I think we can agree that we all lose.

The Governer throwing a cat at it.

The Governer throwing a cat at it.

Axxess has been a community leader in School fund-raising for the past six years or so. In that time, I’ve really gotten familiar with our school system and it’s districts, teachers, PTA members, parents and kids. A few years back, while my friends would be at happy hour I would be at the district board meetings on Anacapa Street waiting for my sixty seconds to talk during public comment – in which I’d explain that I had a fund-raising idea for schools. I’d sit through these meetings that often went for two or three hours just for the chance to talk to a principal or parent who would give me their ear afterwords. Those were long nights and I remember them well. The mood was often serious if not somber, and I imagine that these recent meetings must be rather depressing given the imminent challenges.

Cutting out jobs is not fun or fair, nor is cutting programs or closing schools. My fund-raising efforts at Axxess have shown me how hard our school teachers, employees and administrators work. I work with many of the maintenance guys at these schools – all of which bust their tails and have a lot of pride in their school. Equally hard working are the librarians, the office staff, and the list goes on…so I would not want to be the person to decide which jobs get cut.

I’ve also been made aware of all sorts of school programs that exist.  I now know what a G.A.T. E. Program is (I wasn’t familiar previously because I wasn’t quite the student to be part of G.A.T.E!) , and I know what the Virtual Enterprise Program is within the high schools and how valuable it is.

I personally know many of the school board members and superintendents and I know how much each of them cares about our schools and our students. The decisions they’re facing today must be extremely difficult and it would no doubt suck to be in their shoes.

As our community gets through the process I know that it is something we will get through, and I’m proud that Axxess contributes at such a level that makes a difference each year.

Axxess Adds Merchants Weekly!

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

Winter is always a little rough for local businesses but that’ll soon change as the sun remains out and April 15th gets put behind us. And even though this is a slow time for our businesses  – Axxess continues to add more clients each week. In fact, over the past year we’ve added nearly 100 new participants!

Each week we keep you informed by sending updates to your email. We don’t sell your information nor would we ever spam you so if you’re not subscribed you’re missing out! Click here to sign up for those updates on our home page.

How does Axxess thrive while others perish? 1) By not taking ourselves too seriously (see photo)

Sorry..this is the best I could come up with this AM!

Sorry..this is the best I could come up with this AM!

and 2) Stay tuned…

Introducing Mr. Scott Maio (again)

Saturday, February 6th, 2010

Scott Maio is the 2009 Carpinteria Ambassador of the Year – you already knew this because I wrote about it a few days ago.

But now, I found his photo and I know he’s going to be embarrassed but I’m sharing it anyway.

scottMaioScott is an east coast transplant that’s been in Santa Barbara for over ten years. He’s been a main man at Axxess for almost three years now. He plays the guitar, enjoys walks on the beach (just kidding!)  and is always smiling just like in this photo.

More than one reader

Friday, February 5th, 2010

I’m thrilled to let you all know that apparently I have now have more than one person who routinely reads my blog! I know, because two people told me that one of my recent posts was a little harsh and after re-reading it – I agree. So I apologize. I definitely don’t want to offend anyone nor do I want to use my blog as a venue to complain or rant. I’d much rather keep it focused on the  positive, and if I do talk about a local issue I’ll try to be a little more sensitive.

At the same time I hope to keep it interesting and sometimes you gotta stir the pot a little.

Probably 1 of my 3 Blog Followers

Probably 1 of my 3 Blog Followers

So a big “Thank You” to my two readers for keeping me in check.

By the way – The best spots to be social and watch the big game this weekend are (in no particular order):

SB Brewing Company, Madisson’s, Hollister Brewing Company, Downtown Brewing Company, and the good ole Brew House.

Although, with a 3 month old baby I doubt I’ll leave the house. Go Saints! I mean Go Colts!

Axxess Exec named Carpinteria Ambassador of the Year!

Thursday, February 4th, 2010

Scott Maio, one of Axxess’ key team members was named The Carpinteria Chamber of Commerce Ambassador of the Year for 2009. I think he was humbled and a bit surprised to be bestowed this honor.

If you’re not involved much in the local business  scene you may not know that our local chambers of commerce have volunteer ambassadors that serve as a liaison between the Chamber and its members. The ambassadors assist the chamber in a multitude of ways including facilitating events and mixers. Scott is infamous for his enthusiasm and his bar-tending skills that he displays at such events, not to mention the countless hours he has happily put in working with the Chamber.

Scott joined Axxess in 2007 and is responsible for getting the majority of the merchants you see in the Axxess Book.

Congratulations Scott, it seems both the Carpinteria Chamber and Axxess are well represented by you!

(Unfortunately, I didn’t have a photo of Scott to include but click  here and you’ll see him on the right.)

Fat & Happy

Tuesday, February 2nd, 2010
A busy day for a Local Landlord

Fat & Happy

Rumor has it that the Melting Pot closed it’s doors last week due to a disagreement over the lease. You can read the full story in the Daily Sound or The Independent – but in a nutshell, according to the owner the landlord pulled a fast one at the last minute. This is just one of many local stories that on the surface doesn’t make our commercial landlords look very good.

The Melting Pot is not yet part of Axxess and the SB addition is a franchised location of the restaurant.  As you know I’m not much of a fan of chain restaurants or corporate America – but franchises are different because they’re usually owned and managed by someone local. So while such a place may not have the mom and pop feel, it still may be a mom and pop. Know what I mean?

According to what I heard, the franchisee sold the restaurant and the  new owner is now being locked out by the landlord because the landlord is attempting to increase the rent pretty drastically. You would think that a space like this right downtown, with a tenant like the Melting Pot is probably bringing in at least $15,000 / month in rent. That sounds like a lot of money to me and if I was the landlord I’d be pretty happy about getting such rent. So why the need to raise it? Costs and overhead have not increased in proportion, so my guess is that some landlords have just gotten flat out greedy.

I get pretty bent out of shape over this topic because I hear a lot about it. Often I stop in to talk with a client who unfortunately just fell victim to an unjustified rent increase.  I had a client in Goleta that was in our Automotive Section. He’d been in business for over 18 years in the same location and had been in Axxess for about 4 years. His rent was about $12k per month and the landlord doubled it. It’s unbelievable. I guess legally he had no grounds to fight it. He’s now out of business, the lot has been empty ever since and Axxess has lost a client. The poor guy was forced into semi-early retirement after putting years of hard work into his business and unfortunately I see it all the time.

On the other hand there are dozens of fair and ethical commercial landlords – like mine, who I’d like to applaud for being humane and profitable at the same time. Greedy landlords take note – it can be done!