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On The Bricks Archives

 

Monthly Archives: April 2014

April 29, 2014

Attending Rotary last week was a lesson in hilarity. Bob Burgess gave the 17th Reading of the Ode to the Barbecue. “It’s not easy being Barbecue Bob,” he said as solemn as can be. “I’m to be commended.” That you are, Bob!

With over 1,800 people served at the annual Rotary Barbecue on the Friday of Pioneer Days (this week), generally in less than an hour and a half, it is a sight to behold. And the organizer of the shindig is Barbecue Bob. And he does it with a straight face and sarcasm that makes us all laugh.

I love being a Guymon Rotarian.

I love Pioneer Days.

There are so many things happening this week … take a look for Thursday:

  • Chicken and Noodle Supper at the Pentecostal Church, 1009 N Ellison; and
  • Meet the Rodeo Queens lunch at Epic Touch, Northridge Shopping Center.

On Friday:

  • Miss Guymon Pioneer Days Rodeo Pageant Breakfast at Ambassador;
  • Kid’s Clown Contest at Big R Standard Supply at 10:30;
  • Spikes and Spurs Golf Tournament at 11:00;
  • Rotary BBQ at 11:30 at Texas County Activity Center;
  • Mutton Bustin’ at 6:45 at the Arena; and
  • Rodeo at 7:30 and it’s Tough Enough to Wear Pink night.

On Saturday:

  • Old Timer’s Breakfast by Seaboard at Fairgrounds, 5:30;
  • 5K Run / Walk behind Activity Center, 7:00 am;
  • Pancake Eating Contest and Entertainment, 7:30 at Commercial Building;
  • Mercantile Arts and Crafts Show at Activity Center, 10 am to 7 pm;
  • Parade at 10:30 am;
  • Lunch for Seniors, Potluck at No Man’s Land Center 15th and East St.;
  • Lunch for Veterans at the American Legion;
  • Mutton Bustin’ at 1:15 at arena;
  • Rodeo at 2 pm;
  • Tractor Pull on south side of fairgrounds, 2:30 – 5 pm;
  • Mutton Bustin’ at 6:45 pm;
  • Pioneer Day Dance at Senior Citizens at 7 pm; and
  • Rodeo at 7:30 pm.

On Sunday:

  • Cowboy Church at the arena, 10 am;
  • Mercantile Arts and Crafts at Activity Center, 11 am – 5 pm;
  • Mutton Bustin’ at 1:15 at rodeo arena;
  • Rodeo at 2 pm; and
  • Boats and Trains at Sunset Lake from 2 pm til dark.

Have a great time celebrating our Pioneer Heritage this week! And when you see one of the hundreds of Pioneer Day and Chamber volunteers that make this happen, you give them a pat on the back. They deserve it. Few communities have such a wonderful celebration as this and those volunteers deserve our thanks.

See you on the bricks!

April 28, 2014

Recently on a website entitled “I Own Downtown” was an article that I found enlightening at times and entertaining at other times. “This is Why Merchants are So Angry, Grumpy, and Irritable” was the title of the article posted by Ben Muldrow.

It was posted in 2013 and I don’t know where the author was from, so his cost quotes might be different here, but the whole concept is really good, I thought.

“The average downtown retail space in America is about 2,000 square feet. The average downtown rent in America is about $16.40 per square feet. That means that the normal downtown retailer is paying about $32,800 a year in rent.

“So, without standard market up of 50%, the retailer needs to sell $65,600 worth of product just to break even. For rent. Alone.

“Okay, a little more math. Let’s get slightly more complicated now. Did I mention my mom taught math in high school?

“Ok, back to class.

“You need lights and heat. Average monthly bill of $674.09 x 12 = $8,089.08. Need to sell another $16,178.16.

“Insurance is $1,458.00.

“Phone, fax, internet is $218 x 12 = $2616.

“Security is $54.18 x 12 = a$650.16.

“Window Washer is $12 x 24 = $288.

“Cash register tape, shopping bags, toilet paper, etc. is $28.68 x 12 = $344.16.

“Total is $5,356.32.

“Need to sell another $10,712.64.

“Grand total of $92,490.80 simply to exist.

“WAIT!!! So, if you process credit cards, it will cost you an additional $2,034.79 to process all those payments.

“96,560.40.

“But people should make money, even a little money, right? So let’s add in the average starting salary for a teacher in the lowest paying state in the union, Montana.

“$26,734.

“That brings it to $150,028.40.

“At this rate a downtown business needs to sell $577.03 every single day that it is open. Every single day, simply to be compensated the same as America’s lowest paid teachers. And this is all in a perfect vacuum. This assumes that every product you buy, you sell. There are no sales. Nothing is shoplifted. Nothing is scratched, dented, rotten, or ruined. Yet, we wonder why those merchants are so grumpy. We wonder why when we walk in their store, they always seem to expect us to do something for them. We have to make a change. The time is now for the rebirth of the Merchant Class. We need to elevate the role of local business owners. Elevate the independent thinkers, and the creative risk takers. Empower the future to own downtown, and make a good living doing it.”

So often we don’t consider others, we only consider the outcome we wish for ourselves.

The answer to putting on your event is not to have the businesses give you the money to do it.

The answer to going to your conference, class, contest is not for the business owners to pay for you to go.

The answer to your banquet, awards, dinner is not to have the local businesses owners donated and give so it costs you nothing.

The answer to your community event is not to get businesses to sponsor so that you have lots of money to give to someone else … if they wanted to give to cure stupidity or whatever other cause, they could give to that. Only ask for help on the help you need, not to pad your budget.

The answer to you having a fund raiser is not to compete with the very business owners that you have asked for your school events, your school trips, your school scoreboard, your school awards.

The answer to saving $5 on your concession stand cost is not to purchase 100 miles away rather than at the very businesses who have supported your endeavors.

The answer to your program is not to assume the businessman wants to pay for it so that the participants don’t have to.

The answer is what do you think the businessman needs to want to be a partner with you? How can you work it so that you’re both being helped?

We need to wake up and realize having a grocery store in town is important. Important enough to support them by purchasing from they so that they can stay in business.

We need to wake up and realize that ordering online does not bring in for the Kid’s Inc. youth program, the Chamber of Commerce, the local sales tax that pays for your running water, your roads, and keeps your toilets flushing.

Let’s appreciate what we have and utilize what we have. We don’t want to lose it.

As Kevin Ngo said, “If you don’t make the time to work on creating the life you want, you’re eventually going to be forced to spend a LOT of time dealing with a life you don’t want.”

And as we’re working to make our community stronger, remember “Be an encourager. The world has plenty of critics already,” said Dave Willis.

See you on the bricks!

April 19, 2014

I am in the midst of an Earthquake Survival Leadership Course. What is the chance that I would be sitting next to someone from San Francisco? How cool is that?

When starting I wondered if I would survive. I did survive, but I certainly as far from the best. What did we learn? Here’s a fact stated that I think matters every single day, “Panic causes people to react, not act.” And we don’t make good decisions when we are reacting. We need to work on acting and being ready for things so we don’t react. Think it through and stand your course.

In the survival training the teams all worked well together. In fact, I thought it was totally fun. We ranged in age from 54 to 16 years! Three were outstanding in their individual scores. And, funny enough, each was on a different team. The three were a 36 year old female, 21 year old female, and 22 year old male. None of them grew up here. I think that shows we need to be glad we’re getting new folks in!

The training took place on Good Friday of Holy Week.

I talked to someone the day before who is a spiritual person, yet does not profess to be a Christian. I wonder if he has his kids go to Easter egg hunts.

Is an Easter egg hunt purely social or does it have spiritual significance to most?

Easter matters to me, but I do realize that it doesn’t to everyone. Even some who would check the “Christian” box don’t really think on the Easter story when they have the family over for dinner and hunt eggs.

When you think about Easter and Holy Week what’s your first thought? I have to admit that having the family dinner is what I cherish the most. I love any reason to gather my kids and grandkids around the table.

I also like the Friday Fish Fry at the Catholic Church. This is on a social level for me, but it’s great fun.

I love the happy Easter story. Being told someone died for you. You … that’s wow. Hearing someone raised from the dead. That’s also wow. And if you don’t believe those things, the Easter dinner is wow if you go to someone’s house who is a good cook … or they’re good company.

Hope your Easter weekend was wonderful, whether you enjoyed the dinner, the coloring of eggs, the story, or the egg salad sandwiches.

See you on the bricks!

April 7, 2014

An exceptional employee is not always an exceptional business manager or owner. A study from The Hay Group lists traits that separate business leaders from others:

  • Confidence. Exceptional business leaders reject failure as an option. Best of all, their “do or die” attitudes prove contagious and boost organizational performance.
  • Integrity. Most exceptional business leaders are unwilling to set aside their principles for financial gain. They also work to foster a business environment where people are not castigated for occasional mistakes or for criticizing the status quo. These leaders stress the importance of rewarding employees whose work and ideas produce bottom line improvements.
  • Initiative. Exceptional leaders understand the need to monitor the marketplace in a search for opportunities to expand their businesses. They note that change and growth are keys to success, and focus their attention on innovation that will matter over the long term instead of fly – by – night novelties. According to the report, “Successful entrepreneurs can spot the hot issue and always see a new idea through to fruition. Their ability to turn what are often simple ideas into profits is usually based on their own personal or business experiences.”
  • Selling. Successful business leaders operate with a passion and can convey their unbridled enthusiasm to potential clients. Their ability to communicate ideas with drive and commitment represents an essential part of their sales arsenal.
  • Commitment and capacity for hard work. True business leaders understand success requires commitment. As a result, they pour their energy into every endeavor – often to the detriment of their personal lives.
  • Drive and determination. Excellent leaders are willing to sacrifice all (sadly this includes friends and family) to achieve success in business. They are also more willing to take risks and facilitate decision making or defuse organizational politics.
  • Decisiveness. Business leaders constantly evaluate their organization’s performance and take steps to correct personnel issues, address inefficiencies, and correct shortcomings. The goal is to eliminate complacency and create a challenging work environment.
  • Influence: Great business leaders can inspire people to follow their lead and take initiative in the workplace. Moreover, those who perform well, help improve the bottom line, and show loyalty and support are always rewarded.

I believe what I found interesting is that in no place did this study reveal that a great business leader does not have a huge ego, a higher IQ, nor drive a fancier car. Nor do they dictate to their employees, always making sure they understand who is the boss and who will never be the boss.

I’ve had several bosses that were exceptional. They found out what I did well and found ways for those things to be worked into the daily grind more. They learned what I didn’t do well and helped me get better at them. They met me with a smile in the mornings and I always felt like I mattered to them as a person.

Don’t know about you, but I found several things on this list that I find myself needing to work on. You know, too, it isn’t just about being a boss in a business … it’s also ways to be as a parent and as a friend.

We can always do better.

See you on the bricks!

April 1, 2014

There is this liquid soap that I have at my bathroom sink. In the mornings I wash my hands and that soap smells soooooo good. It just starts my day off with a grin. It’s a real tropical flowery smell. My dad is visiting. I wonder if he likes the smell as well as I do. He really isn’t very flowery.

Talking about smelling … whew. I have overwatered a plant of mine here in the office and today I noticed. So I poured out the standing water. Poor plant was flooded. Oh my gosh, it was that sour, nasty smell that you can’t get out of your nostrils. When I finally quit smelling it, my hand went in front of my nose and phew. All over again. Need my smelly soap here!

And with thoughts on smelly. Have you ever thought about how smelly people must have been when Guymon first was settled? Not only do we have really hot summers, but they had way too many clothes, and not near enough water or easy water, anyway. It must have been rank. But maybe if everyone was it wasn’t so obvious?

Those western movies never quite give you the truth on that count, does it?

What is your favorite western movie?

True Grit is a good one, no doubt. Did you know that it takes place in Oklahoma? There are some really fantastic books written by Oklahoma authors and / or that take place in Oklahoma.

I recently read, “True Grit is an ideal Oklahoma read. Much of the action takes place in Indian Territory, specifically the Choctaw Nation. The quest for justice, the adventure in a lawless frontier, and the unique and compelling characters come together to make this novel a classic of American Literature.” It is a book for all ages.

Take a moment and read a little more about Oklahoma. Go check out True Grit from the library, order it for your Kindle, or do whatever it is you do for a book. We should learn more about our fascinating state! Or if you’re from Texas, you should learn more about your fascinating neighbor!

And reading a western is a good idea to get ready for the upcoming OPSU Rodeo! Yes, that happens this month, April 25 and 26. There is an OPSU Rodeo Round – Up (Reunion) for past rodeo team members and supporters that you need to be sure to attend. That is on the 26th at noon in Bob’s Cowboy Bar. For $10 you’ll get lunch and some of the best company you ever heard! Come and join everyone.

For those who are always wanting to learn more about taking photos and the stuff that goes along with it, there is an Intro to Adobe Lightroom class on April 14 from 7 to 9 pm in the Guymon Public Library. This class is being presented by the Main Street Shutterbugs and instructor is Shutterbug Stanley Harper. The class covers the capabilities of Lightroom and how to implement it into your photography workflow.

There is to be several practical exercises for attendees. You’re encouraged to bring a laptop and Adobe Lightroom program with three RAW format images to take part in the practicum.

The Bugs stress that anyone is welcome to attend and if you’re planning to come, be a little early because the library closes at 7 pm and you’ll want to come in before the doors are locked. This is a free class.

Hope your world is smelling fine.

See you on the bricks!