Thursday, January 29, 2009

Nemo’s Update

1-We have had a great week, with a number of out of state participants in seminars at the Pikes Peak Work Force Center and at Premiere Global. That translates to HUGE lunch hours. We also had orders for 30 breakfast burritos by seminar hosts, my company RK Mechanical had a training seminar in the studio on Tuesday, the Photography Meetup Group had a Photoshop seminar in the studio today, etc, etc…. Every event we schedule in the studio/conference room not only helps to boost sales, but it is a marketing machine. When someone comes into our shop because of an event, that is one more thoroughly impressed and satisfied customer walking out the door to help spread the word about Nemo’s!

2-We are planning a movie night in the studio for the kids and their friends. The projector shows movies at 7 feet high x 12.5 feet wide on the studio wall. While the kids are watching a movie, us parents are going to have a game night or something like that out in the cafĂ©. Looks to be a good time…

3-We would like to thank the 70-80 people who took an interest in our advertised Barista position. We met many wonderful people through the interviewing process. All of you were keepers… If we were a Barista Adoption Agency, we would have taken all of you. Unfortunately, we were interviewing for either one full time position, or two part time positions. Based upon having flexibility in the schedule and to avoid issues if someone is sick or on vacation, we chose to hire two part time individuals. It was very difficult to narrow the field down to just two, out of so many outstanding applicants. We would like to welcome Sarah and Carl to our team. Not only do they both have coffee experience, they have dynamic personalities with a dedication to the customer service experience. We have a great product, so our main focus when hiring is to look for ENERGY, dynamic personalities, SMILES, and an easy interaction. If you interviewed and were not chosen this time, we will keep your application on file. All of you were great!

4-I met with a supplemental insurance company last week. They do not offer full medical coverage, but they do offer accident insurance, hospitalization coverage, vision, dental, short and long term disability, and a wide range of other options. As an employer, we can offer this coverage to our staff, pre-tax. I need to set up a staff meeting and determine if it is something they want to implement…

5-I received payment for three video projects, so I have the cash in hand to buy the Canon 5D MkII... however, my gut feeling is telling me to hang onto it... I'm going to throw it in the bank and sit still for a few months. This is not easy to do, but I'm sticking with it.

6-I saw in the news that Starbucks is closing 300 more stores, 200 of them domestic, and it will result in approx 6700 layoffs. One item mentioned in the article is that they are going to stop brewing decaf coffee every hour on the hour. We figured that out in about two days... It is not fun to dump shuttle after shuttle of decaf coffee down the drain. After awhile, you see dollar signs in the sink instead of coffee. We now make decaf Americano's for our non-caffiene friends. Americano's taste better than brewed coffee anyway, and it saves us lots of money. Starbucks indicated that this move will save them $400 Million dollars a year. I think we are saving just a little less than that... LOL

Gotta run,
Take care and God bless…

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Starbucks "Cuts the Cheese"

I was reading an article about pending Starbucks layoffs, and I couldn't help myself after reading this paragraph:

Initially, Schultz said he was eliminating heated breakfast sandwiches because their smell overwhelmed the aroma of coffee. Then, Starbucks decided to keep the sandwiches because it found a way to minimize the smell (by subtracting a piece of cheese).

I thought "WOW, this will make a great opportunity for a blog entry title!"

Starbucks sales continue to slide, and they are laying off lots of corporate staff, and regional/district managers. I just wonder how far they will slide before they concentrate on what is really important, which is getting their product quality back to where it was in 1995. Maybe they have grown so big that they have no chance of doing so. They are also facing a new foe with McDonald's opening espresso bars. McDonalds has also opted for the "crummy drink generators," otherwise known as Super Automatics. Shops who are dedicated to making great coffee have very little to fear, but I imagine Starbucks will take another hit on sales. If you can get an equally crummy latte, along with some of those sweet Micky D's french fries, why on earth would you ever go to Starbucks again??? And, yes, I am serious about the french fries. They are my favorite...

As for Nemo's, we will continue to grind and tamp fresh espresso, and time our shots for the optimal espresso flavor and quality. Sorry, we don't serve french fries, though.

Take care,

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Wanting to market photography more...

I've been getting steady photography and video work, and I really enjoy doing it. I was taken out of action with the broken collar bone for awhile, but I'm able to shoot again without too much pain. I've been shooting two Canon 20D bodies for weddings, one with a 24-70 L and one with a 70-200 L. I held out on upgrading bodies through the releases of the 30D, 40D and 50D. I seriously considered a 5D, but heard a 5D MkII would release 'soon'. I think I have waited for about 18 months, and the MkII is now a reality, although no one has any in stock.

So... I've been waiting for this, and now it is here. Do I get it, or not? It is an amazing camera, and would be a huge asset to have for future work. The body is around $2700, so it is a big investment. I just billed for three video projects, and that income is $2600. My gut instinct tells me to save that for now. I have two more video projects coming soon, with more to follow. I'm struggling with that need/want problem. I can get by right now without it, but it really would be an improvement, especially for large 20" x 30" prints. It is 21 megapixels vs. 8.1 megapixels. There would be absolutely no comparison in image quality between the 20D and the 5D MkII. The image quality is unbelievable in low light, when shooting at high ISO ratings. My 20D creates nearly unusable images in the same situations (which occur frequently at wedding receptions, and sometimes the ceremony too).

I've pretty much made up my mind to get one, but I won't do it unless I can pay cash for it. I think I'll wait for a few more video projects... It took me most of my life to become financially responsible. I can't waver on that now...

Nemo's had really great days for the last two days in a row. We have posted sales that are 65% higher than sales on the same days in 2008. Woo Hoo... Keep it coming!

Gotta run...
Now, here is a little thing I put together really fast... What do you think of this?

Wednesday, January 21, 2009


I mentioned recently that Tracy and I are very happy with our staff at Nemo’s right now. Well, Matt is interested in moving back to Hawaii, and gave his notice early this week. Tracy and I have been reviewing applications and have five interviews tonight. We have some really great applicants, but their availability does not line up with our needs. We have other great applicants as well, but our favorites from the bunch are not going to work. It has taken a couple of years to learn, but there are subtle hints in applications and resumes that help us to weed out potential candidates. One thing to look at is job history. If an application looks stellar, but their job history shows they do not remain in positions for more than 3-6 months that is a huge red flag. This means they are flighty and fickle with regard to their employment desires (which is not uncommon in teens and early twenty-somethings), or they are not good employees and get cut loose often. If we ask individuals why they left their last several positions, and they say they were treated poorly by ‘bad management’ at every single place they have ever worked, there might be a problem with their attitude, work ethic, attendance, etc… Sure, there is bad management out there, but it should not be the reason for leaving five jobs in a row, after two months at each place. A more subtle version of this is if people leave a job because they do not get enough hours. Well, we know as business owners that you give the bulk of your schedule hours to your best assets. Less valuable employees get fewer hours. People you want to get rid of get single digit hours until they decide to quit. Learning how to hire well is very important for your business success. Another trap to avoid is to hire and keep nice people who are not optimal employees. It is very hard to cut someone loose when they are very nice. Sometimes it is impossible to know what kind of employee they will be until you see them in action. It can damage your business, though, to keep an ineffective employee just because they are pleasant and nice people.

I’ve been out of my sling for nearly a week. I’m usually in a great deal of pain by the end of the day, but I can see improvements day by day of range of motion in my shoulder. I have tried hard not to favor my left arm/shoulder, which results in discomfort. Better to use it and feel the pain than to favor it forever. The doctor was concerned that it might break again without the sling, but so far so good. …three more weeks until my next date with the x-ray machine.

Gotta run…
Hope everyone is well. If you are on Facebook, look up Nemo’s Coffee. We would love to be your friend!


Thursday, January 15, 2009

Quick Update

I would love to summarize 2008 and set some goals, hopes, and desires for 2009, but I don't have enough time right now to do it well, so I am going to hold off...

Quick rundown for us, though:

1 - We continue to operate right around the break even thresh hold, but without paying ourselves. We'd love to put some money in Tracy's pocket this year...
2 - January is typically a slow month for retail, and especially for discretional food/beverage spending. People are typically tight on money after the Christmas season, and people start their healthy, lose-weight resolutions in January. They usually fall off the wagon by sometime in February. We are seeing sales growth in Jan09 of about 15% compared to Jan08. That is good...
3 - I went to the orthopedic surgeon today for follow up x-rays on my clavicle break. The good news is that my injury has improved enough that he did not schedule me for surgery. The bad news is it has not healed as it should, and he is giving me four more weeks before he makes a decision. If the bone density is not good by then, it is surgery to re-break the bone and install a metal plate to hold it together. Then I get to start this miserable process all over again. However, my arm has been in a sling for 2 1/2 months. He does not want my shoulder to remain immobilized, so the sling is gone! I have to start physical therapy next week to regain range of motion in my shoulder, but no strength conditioning, as my clavicle will break with very little stress due to the lack of bone density at the break location. He figures that if it is out of the sling and breaks again, then he can go in and fix it. If it doesn't break and continues to heal, then so be it. I'm just hoping that if I do have surgery, I can get one of those red Terminator eyes to go with the new bionic shoulder... Maybe he can fix some of my personality defects while he's at it!
4 - The kids are all doing well, as is Tracy.
5 - Work is miserable, due to the extremely heavy workload right now. I'm looking forward to six weeks from now when I'm past this difficult and stressful time.
6 - Oh yeah... I also want to mention that Tracy and I are incredibly happy with our staff at Nemo's right now. It has taken a year and a half for us to make mistakes, learn from them, and finally dial our staff in the way we want it to be. Everyone we have right now is absolutely wonderful. Great people... Stop in and say hello to whoever is working. We are sure you will like them all.

Gotta run...
Hope everyone is well.