Buy Local by Kevin_Foley
I'll Take Marietta Square Over A Mall
January 19, 2012 10:34 AM | 3851 views | 0 0 comments | 43 43 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

view as list
I'll Take Marietta Square Over A Mall
by Kevin_Foley
January 19, 2012 10:29 AM | 1099 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Marietta Square is really a gem. I've traveled the country and lived in many places but I can't think of a city, town or village center I've visited that's quite as lovely as Marietta's. I went to the Phipps Plaza the other day and was struck by the synthetic "shopping experience" mall developers try to create when they build these things. It's all so antiseptic and contrived, designed to put us in the mood to spend our money. I felt like I was in the chemo wing of Kennestone Hospital.
 
Then, my wife and I went to dinner in Marietta the other evening. It was clear and cold, the lights of the little shops and restaurants clustered around the square cheerfully flickering with life and it occurred to me I was looking at the real deal, something no mall developer could ever replicate, a living connection to another time and place. Maybe that's why movie producers love to use Marietta Square as a location in their films. It would be difficult to imitate the natural ambiance and quaintness of this genuine slice of Americana on a sound stage.
 
In the north, everybody's always in a hurry. In the south, I've found the pace slower, more deliberate and certainly it's friendlier and more genteel in these parts. The next time you jump in the car to race to the mall or to eat at some chain joint, slow down before your speed up. Drive over to Marietta Square first and see if you can find what you're looking for there. Sometimes the best things are right in front of us. 
 
comments (0)
view/post comments
no comments yet

Small Business the Better Bet for Restoring the Economy
by Kevin_Foley
December 19, 2011 10:45 AM | 1194 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

The government raced to save huge private banks after their managers took wild risks with other peoples’ money. Billions in taxpayer dollars have been thrown at the problems caused by these people with little or no accountability. Nevertheless, we’re still being asked to trust those who have proven they either can’t be trusted or are incompetent to restore our economy.

Meantime, small business - the real engine of the American economy - has largely been left to fend for itself. The 2002 census counts more than 50 million businesses in the U.S. The vast majority of these have fewer than 1,000 employees, generating trillions in revenues and employing tens of millions American workers. Sadly, most of these small businesses are suffering today because of the irresponsible actions of a relatively small number of Wall Street wise guys.

While many of the entrepreneurs who own and operate small businesses directly support the middle class, little has been seriously proposed to assist them. In fact, the large bank I used to do business with, one that accepted TARP money, is actually exploiting the poor economy to extract extra loan fees from small businesses like mine.

If President Obama and the congress truly want to help the middle class, they will do something significant for small business owners and do it quickly. The Small Business Administration is the place to start. Contrary to popular belief, SBA loans are not easy to obtain, they are not cheap, and they come with miles of red tape.

Congress should direct the SBA to fast track low or no interest credit lines for established small business owners commensurate with their credit history and revenues. These loans would be made to any small business with demonstrated proficiency. The only stipulation on these loans would be that a small business owner must use the money to support other American businesses or to retain or hire American workers.

The SBA already has the offices, bank relationships and personnel in place to administer such a program and monitor the use of these funds. The money would be used by small business owners to acquire or upgrade equipment and services, expand operations, hire workers, maintain payrolls, pay expenses, buy advertising, and so on.

The benefits would be enormous and immediate. A machine shop owner in Georgia could keep her workers on the payroll to help the company retool. A trucking company in California could lease a new American made big rig and hire an American driver. An independent hardware store in Florida could do more advertising in the local newspaper to attract customers. These are all small examples, but multiply them by 20 or 30 million and the economic impact is profound.

Taxpayers would win because most of these loans would be repaid to the treasury. Here’s why: Successful small business people in America, by and large, are far more prudent and responsible than the banking hot shots who created the economic meltdown.

To small business people, money isn’t some abstract figure on a spread sheet. It's their life blood. Most know how to conserve cash and how to spend it wisely. Small business people are generally cautious, knowing that a careless misstep can have catastrophic results. Employees are not numbers, but living, breathing human beings crucial to the small business owner’s success. They understand real reward is the result of hard work, honest dealings and, most of all, accountability. Small business people are woven into the fabric of their local communities, contributing to the greater good by providing employment and benefits while supporting other local businesses. In short, small business is America.

Contrast this outlook with the attitudes we’ve seen on Wall Street and it is clear that small business owners are the better bet for getting our economy back on track.  

comments (0)
view/post comments
no comments yet

Coca-Cola: Hometown Hero
by Kevin_Foley
December 09, 2011 01:31 PM | 1773 views | 1 1 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink

Many folks in Cobb County work for The Coca-Cola Company directly or indirectly, so our local economy is buoyed by what happens on North Avenue in Atlanta. I've had the pleasure of being associated with Coke for some 25 years, handling a variety of PR assignments that have taken me to a half dozen Olympic Games, three soccer World Cups, Final Fours, Super Bowls and places as far flung as Beijing and Cape Town. Coca-Cola always seems to be at the epicenter of places where people are enjoying themselves, and that's made my association with the company all the more special.

On December 8, my firm was fortunate enough to be part of a very special moment at The World of Coca-Cola when company CEO Muhtar Kent hosted the opening of a new exhibit there, where the world's most closely guarded trade secret - the original Coca-Cola formula - was locked away in a specially built vault surrounded by a wonderful interactive experience where you learn the story behind Doc Pemberton's recipe for the world's most popular soft drink. The event capped off the company's 125th anniversary celebration. Governor Nathan Deal, Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reid, Sam Nunn, Martin Luther King III and many other national and state luminaries were in attendance.

I think about other cities I visit and the company's associated with them, but no city and no company are as closely linked as Atlanta and The Coca-Cola Company. As Don McKee suggested in his Friday MDJ editorial, how lucky are we to have Coca-Cola anchoring our business community?

comments (1)
view/post comments
Laura Armstrong
|
December 13, 2011
My stepdad, Bruce Gilbert, worked for Coca-Cola for decades. He married mom when I was 15, and we learned immediately upon moving here that we were never to have Pepsi or another soft drink in our home. He was incredibly loyal to the company, lecturing us in his kind and mostly humorous way (though this was dead-on serious) that Coca-Cola paid for our food, lights and general well-being, as well as our educations (he always credited Coke, but we knew he worked his tail off because he wasn't home any night before 8:30 or 9). After I got married and was among the working poor, I made the mistake of bringing a 2-liter bottle of Diet Pepsi to a family beach gathering (it had been on sale). Oops. He saw it, he took it, he dumped it into the palmetto bush, and I was shamed. Now, all four of my children know that if you drink Pepsi, your ear will turn green and Papa (who passed away six years ago) will look down on you from heaven and cause the glass to tip over on its own. We're a Coke family, and I know there are others like us.

Thanks for reminding me of Bruce today, Kevin. And that corporations are people, people we love.

Buy local this holiday season
by Kevin_Foley
November 23, 2011 01:57 PM | 1258 views | 0 0 comments | 16 16 recommendations | email to a friend | print | permalink
Despite the many millions chain stores and restaurants spend on marketing and advertising along with their ubiquitous locations, there is still room for a local entrepreneur who commits himself or herself to doing something exceptionally well.
 
There is a local place we've found where the owners are all in and pride still matters. It's called Big Shanty Smokehouse on Cherokee Street in Kennesaw. Opened a few years ago by Chic Dillard, his wife Sissy and their daughter Shannon, my wife Susie and I happened to be among their first customers. We've watched this trio labor tirelessly to serve up some of the best barbecue you'll find in Atlanta and maybe even the state.
 
As the holidays approach and you consider spending your money, think about the businesses owned by your friends and neighbors first. Like the Dillard's establishment, many are worthy of your patronage and loyalty. 
comments (0)
view/post comments
no comments yet

*We welcome your comments on the stories and issues of the day and seek to provide a forum for the community to voice opinions. All comments are subject to moderator approval before being made visible on the website but are not edited. The use of profanity, obscene and vulgar language, hate speech, and racial slurs is strictly prohibited. Advertisements, promotions, and spam will also be rejected. Please read our terms of service for full guides