Cornelia Sieber-Davis stands behind the curbside pickup booth, wearing a brown Lake County Farmers’ Finest t-shirt, her bright eyes framed by her bangs and the white mask covering the rest of her face. It’s Saturday in Kelseyville, and the Farmers’ Market is in full swing. “Many people choose to order online,” she says, bustling to move signs and boxes filled with produce. “And every week we’re getting more and more things to buy on the website. I get the orders and aggregate them all here.” She shuffles a box around and puts something else in it. It’s an adjustment to interesting times that seems to be working. The table is filled with boxes waiting to be picked up. While we’re chatting, a woman wanders over to the booth and pokes at a peach. “These are for curbside pickup,” Cornelia says brightly. “But, you can buy some just over there.” She points across the open area. “They’ve got plenty.” She chats for a while with the woman and shows her some of the olive oil on sale. It’s just one of the many items it’s possible to find at the market. You can find original paintings, jams and jellies, all different kinds of veggies, as well as honey, succulent starts, herbs, fruits, and cookies. It’s a cornucopia of Lake County’s finest.
I was out hiking this morning when a beautiful robin crossed my path. Since I believe all things happen for a reason the encounter got me thinking, so I did a little research. Did you know that “A robin is often considered a sign of happiness, hope and new beginnings? It represents luck, satisfaction, growth and contentment. When you see a robin, it may be a sign that you need to pioneer onward and prepare to learn from your future. This bird represents clarity and rejuvenation.” Seeing this robin is a befitting reminder that we are all pioneers in these strange times of COVID19. We are navigating in uncharted territory, learning to adapt, and trying new ways of being in the world. Let us look forward with hope.
Correctly determining the on-target selling price for your commercial property is what can make the difference between a quick sale and a long, drawn-out process. Your commercial realtor should know the formulas and how to work the numbers that will determine the appropriate market value of your property.
It’s an unusually cool summer afternoon in Big Valley. Outside the Finley Country Market, rose bushes and lavender pop out of planters, framing the red, farmhouse-looking store. Several picnic tables, shaded by umbrellas, stretch across the courtyard. Finley Country Market’s been around twenty-five years and serves as a hub for the small community. They’ve got a good barbecue, offering grilled chicken, burgers, or tri-tip sandwiches depending on the day of the week. And they’re popular; it’s not uncommon for the market to receive twenty-five or thirty pre-orders on Fridays for their tri-tip sandwiches. And each Friday, another wonderful thing happens at the market. There, on the counter next to the register, sit Karen Shippley’s gluten-free muffins. Depending on Karen’s mood, you may find blueberry muffins, carrot cake or German chocolate cupcakes, all luscious and completely gluten-free.
Forward. That word has a nice ring to it! Whether we are ready to move forward with an exciting Interior Design project, or looking forward to this terrible Pandemic finally receding, forward thinking is where we should focus our positivity! We are all on the same page when it comes to revising the way we are doing business (for the duration), and many of us are finding that some of our Pandemic related innovations might just stay in our strategies when it’s all over. (Nothing wrong with looking for some benefits out of all the hassle!)
While you may not know musician Mike Guarniero personally, odds are you’ve seen him play. For years he has been involved in the Lake County music scene and played with over twenty different bands. You might have heard him play with his band, Dr. Groove, which regularly has performed in the county. Or you might have caught his Lake County Music Guide, which posts on Facebook and in The Bloom (when there is live music). Sitting in the courtyard of Pogo’s Pizza in Kelseyville earlier this week with Mike felt as if we were seated with a long-time friend we haven’t seen in a while. You might feel the same if you are a music lover in Lake County; Mike’s friendly personality makes conversation easy.
I always suggest that, no matter what business you’re in or what level you think you’ve achieved, keep going to educational events. The time investment in educational seminars, podcasts, and other ways to learn always reaps rewards for me. Sometimes, as in this case, what is being discussed triggers an idea totally unrelated to the discussion at hand. Okay, so what is the best idea I’ve ever had? In larger companies, you have a board of directors, usually chosen from a list of people who can bring outside vision to your business. By having a different perspective than what you’re used to seeing every day, it can open up new ideas that can help a company flourish and grow. But most small businesses depend on the vision of one or two core people to remain viable. And that’s not enough. Having owned a number of small businesses, I’ve found that the pattern of ownership is usually the same. You come in with some terrific ideas to improve the business and make those things happen. If those ideas are good, they will create new opportunities for the business.
We will always live in moments of uncertainty. I have no idea what the future will bring, not only for me, but for our country. The page, however, refutes uncertainty. It is a white canvas, destined for creation, and within its square space, holds the promise of an affirmation. Even while describing loss, our words are born, again and again and again.
Before I started writing this article, I had second thoughts. What I wanted to write about was personal. I want my friends to think well of me. To say what I wanted to say, I had to unload myself and tell my friends about some of my faults. Exposing my mistakes might lower me in their estimation. On the other hand, if I can’t speak freely to my friends, who can I tell?
Right now, our nation is being challenged. At times it seems like our current crisis can bring so much division that we forget what we have in common. We all want a roof over our heads and food on the table. We all search for happiness. We all want to feel hope. Even so, we are in the midst of racial, health, and political issues that have yet to resolve. Each day seems only to stir the pot more. These in-between moments when everything is uncertain are the most discouraging. It’s hard to stay happy with so much fear, anxiety, and anger happening in our world. On the days our family gets down, we like to play the Thankful Game. We call it a game, but it’s more like an idea. The only rule is to think of things we’re thankful for. No, it doesn’t solve the world’s problems, but it helps us remember the good things we do have while we address the stressful issues happening in our society. Here are five things that we at The Bloom are thankful for, in no particular order: 1. We are thankful that we have the right to gather in peaceful demonstrations. No matter what we believe, we have the right to be heard. 2. We are thankful that as a community, we have looked out for small businesses and supported them when they might have otherwise closed their doors permanently. 3. We are thankful for our essential workers making sure our basic needs are met. 4. We are thankful for countless volunteers who look out for those who are most vulnerable. 5. We are thankful for you, our readers. We realize that the Thankful Game doesn’t change anything, but it does remind us that we still have hope. It shows us that beauty and goodness can speak just as loudly as hate and fear. It shows us that even though the world is in turmoil, we can still find peace. We are surrounded by beautiful things. Let’s not lose sight of that.
It sucks to get a bad review, but a bad review can actually be good for your business. Seriously. There are essentially only two kinds of bad reviews; a customer is completely wrong and is mad about something, or a customer genuinely had a bad experience. Both of these represent an opportunity. One of the best reasons to own your Yelp and TripAdvisor and Google accounts is that these companies notify you when someone writes a review. You can then go and address the review as all review sites give you a chance to respond to reviews in writing.
There’s a lot going on in the world right now so it’s easy to miss important things going on in our own backyards. Our own 2020-2021 School Budgets, for example. Right now, there is a lot of speculation about what the next school year will look like in the COVID-19 era. Parents are worried about their kids having to wear masks all day. Will the kids be able to attend full-time or will they partake in distant learning? And, if they don’t go to school every day, who’s going to watch them and how will parents be able to pay for that? Good questions all. What’s not getting much attention, though, are the budget shortfalls due to COVID-19. We went into COVID-19 with a state budget surplus in California. Now, just a few short months later, we are facing a deficit. There were some great things that were in the original budget, now the state has cut many planned healthcare expansions and slashed funding for schools. The timing could not be worse. The Middletown Unified School District alone is being asked to find ways to cut over one million dollars from an already sparse budget. They are contemplating doing away with bus services for all except Special Ed for an estimated savings of $427,000. They are seriously considering cutting athletics, drama, choir, and band. All of these choices, by the way, would result in loss of jobs. And, there are long term consequences to making these cuts that go well beyond just this year.
Picture this: It’s early evening, late spring. Between the emerald blue sky, popcorn clouds puff into the distance, building in thicker clumps as they bump into the Mayacamas Mountains. Below them sits Clear Lake, flecked with the smallest specks of whitecaps. The mountains rise from the lake in a motley assortment of greens and tans that blend into grey-violet as they back into the distance. “I’ve got a friend who has a place in Lake Geneva,” Craig says, “and she sent me some photos of the view. I said, ‘That’s a great view. Now look at ours.’ And I sent her photos of the view from my deck. ‘Wow,’ was all she said. I mean, the view here is drop-dead gorgeous. All those places have got nothing on Lake County. I feel like we’re on vacation 24/7,” he says, a smile in his voice. “It doesn’t seem like I’m working with a view like this one.” But that’s not entirely true. In fact, Craig has been hard at work, developing a new line of ducks called Good Ducks, which are in fact the only rubber ducks that are 100% made in the USA. “You know, the funny thing is that I own this business one hundred percent,” Craig says. “I never took an investor. I don’t like being told what to do. I knew who I was and what I could do, and it’s a fortuitous thing that it’s turned out this way. Because if I had to report to a board, they probably wouldn’t have let me do this. They would think it was too much risk, too much of an expense. We had to find a whole new way of molding the ducks using food and medical grade materials to make the safest rubber ducks in the world for teething babies. But we’re going to end up selling tens of thousands of them.” He pauses. “And we’ll sell millions of them if we do it right. It’s a better mousetrap, and definitely a safer one from what’s currenty out there.”