Friday, November 16, 2012

Normandie Cafe Chapter 11

In another display of the fine business reporting one gets here, Paul Toscano took Mezzanine, Inc., which operates the Normandie Cafe in Holladay, into Chapter 11 yesterday (Case No. 12-34490), and there has been NO local coverage.  Great job, people.  If the case gets converted to a Chapter 7 and yet another small business goes dark, do you think our fearless newscritters will bother to notice.  Probably not, and they'd view it as a gain if Olive Garden or Sonny Bryan's moves in.

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Tuesday, November 06, 2012

Crash Goes the Trolley

File this under "I am shocked.  Not."  Trolley Square Associates has defaulted on a stack of loans for about $57 million, and a lender group headed by Bank of America has filed for a receivership.  I would first note that I buy none of B of A's high-toned rhetoric about just wanting to preserve the assets.  If that were true, the creditors would have filed an involuntary bankruptcy and had a judge and trustee who knew something about preserving a going concern.  Over in state court, you'll probably get a judge who doesn't know how to administer a receivership and just lets the creditors run roughshod.

Anyway.  It's not like Trolley has ever been much of a going concern, and it's not like Trolley Square Associates has ever demonstrated it was up to this job.  I've given TSA kudos here for getting special events to the Square and chided the tenants for not taking advantage, but in a real mall, the leases have "special event clauses that allow the landlord to force tenants to be open for such events.  And don't even get me started about places like the candy shop, which locks up a corner location all year for two months of operations.  A normal mall owner wouldn't put up with that, but requires being a chooser not a beggar, and Trolley and its owner are definitely the latter.  Let's face it, anyone who has to borrow from B of A, the gang that couldn't lend straight, is already in trouble.  We'll see how this plays out, but right now my Magic 8-ball says "Blight."

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Monday, November 05, 2012

Worst Practices Entry

Once upon a time, two friends and I decided to start a business.  We had devised some medical software that made a certain piece of medical hardware a lot more useful.  It was a good product, frankly far better than anything else out there.  The problem was that we hadn't a clue how to market it.  We knew we had to sell, though, and that's what we tried to do.  We spent a lot of our scarce resources sending one of us around the country to conventions and trade shows, selling directly to hospitals and labs that bought the hardware.  Too much effort and too much expense for too few sales, and soon we shut down.

The problem is there was a far better solution right under my nose, and it would have made us.  There were only two companies that made the hardware.  If we had licensed our software to them, they could have worried about bundling it along to their customers.  We would have had two customers that would have been doing the heavy sale lifting for us.

Having a product means selling it, but sometimes your customers aren't who you think they are.

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