August 15, 2011 |
Wearing a T-shirt with the laid-back message "Poop Happens" and a wrist tattoo made of paw prints and a heart, Amy Parsons seems the picture of whimsy - until she details her lows as a small-business owner. Those include losing her family's four-bedroom Cape Cod in East Whiteland Township to foreclosure 2 1/2 years ago and the 20 percent drop in business experienced by the dog-day-care portion of her multifaceted Canine Creature Comforts in Malvern. The latter came about a year after the recession hit. Parsons started losing customers as layoffs wiped out their income - and thus the need for someone to watch their pets.
August 11, 2011 |
HARRISBURG - The state's ill-fated venture into wine vending machines might never have been uncorked if the Liquor Control Board had listened to its own evaluation panel's warnings in 2008. So say copies of documents distributed Wednesday by state House Majority Leader Mike Turzai, who is pushing to privatize the liquor board. According to the records handed out by Turzai's office, an LCB evaluation committee recommended in July 2008 that the board not enter into a contract with Conshohocken-based Simple Brands, the company proposing to supply the wine kiosks.
August 8, 2011 |
Mohamed Ali Niang will skip his Aug. 26 graduation from Temple University. The budding entrepreneur, 23, will be busy trying to lift a West African country out of abject poverty and to save lives. In the process, Niang said, he hopes the rice-processing and rice-distribution business he traveled to Mali this weekend to start will make him "a rock star. " But not in a pile-of-money, limousines-and-swooning-young-women kind of way. Niang said he would consider himself rich if Malians stop dying from malnutrition, a condition said to claim one child every 10 minutes in the beleaguered country of more than 14 million people, where his parents were born.
August 7, 2011 |
The eyes simply couldn't ignore Ameet Shah's toes. They were just so unexpected in the all-business, nothing-out-of-place office of Anthony DiFabio, chief executive officer of Robins' Nest Inc., a Glassboro nonprofit organization that helps troubled children and their families in South Jersey. And they were so obvious. Shah was wearing flip-flops - odd attire for a company executive such as himself, and yet his year-round footwear choice unless a client objects. DiFabio wasn't objecting - he was too busy raving about the services Robins' Nest is getting from Conigent, the Haddonfield-based technology-consulting company Shah formed in 2007.
July 25, 2011 |
THE NEW, redesigned Daily News that makes its debut today is not the only newspaper in town that's looking a little different to Philadelphians. For reasons that aren't quite clear, the U.S. edition of the China Daily , which calls itself the "largest national English language newspaper of China," recently began targeting the Rittenhouse section of Center City to boost subscriptions. Rolled-up copies of the paper, some dry and yellowed from the heat, were found in recent days on front stoops along Pine and Lombard streets and nearby side streets.
June 7, 2011 |
Can you miss something you never really had? The Associated Press reported over the weekend that South Korean electric-vehicle maker CT&T Co. Ltd. won't be building final-assembly operations in Philadelphia and Pittsburgh. Had the manufacturer of the e-Zone two-seater followed through on its intentions and set up in Philadelphia, it could have meant up to 200 jobs. (I wrote about CT&T's plans in September 2009 after its representatives had met with Mayor Nutter .) But Pennsylvania is far from the only state to see red when promised green jobs did not materialize.
May 24, 2011
C RYSTAL WYATT had been dating her boyfriend nine months when she got a call at 2:30 a.m. from the police with the news that he'd been arrested. That began a long odyssey through the criminal-justice system that included her making 3 1/2-hour trips to Rockview State Correctional Institution to see him until they broke up after two years. They reunited after his release from prison, but that was short-lived because he wound up being reincarcerated. A lot of women would have become bitter, but this Overbrook resident was inspired to start her own business, a transportation service called Ride and Rebuild that would take loved ones to visit inmates at prison facilities around the state.
May 16, 2011 |
You know what's harder than starting a small business? Starting a green small business. Try finding financing when the premise of what you are all about - being green, or sustainable - isn't entirely understood by banks or investors, and there's no long track record on which to base success projections. Add to that the ordinary technical challenges of any start-up: Developing a business plan. Getting the word out about products and services. Surviving. Good news: Help is on the way. It's not a record-setting cash gift from a deep-pocketed philanthropist like Raymond G. Perelman.
May 2, 2011 |
Let me confess up front that the 13th Wharton Business Plan Competition had me squirming at times as the business students gave their pitches. Flipables wants to sell low-cost, disposable flip-flops to gyms to help reduce the chances of picking up foot fungus, athlete's foot, or worse from the shower floor. Cyrano Nasal Sciences L.L.C. views shots of botulinum toxin in a patient's nasal passages as a once-a-season treatment for allergies. And Boss Medical has designed a medical device for surgeons to better "harvest" bone graft material from a patient's pelvis for use in spinal-fusion surgery.
January 25, 2011 |
Batteries may have drained Roy Abbate's savings, but they recharged his career and his life, too. "There's no age limit to when you can learn something new," says Abbate, who was over 50 and unemployed when he sank his entire 401(k) into a Batteries Plus store in Mount Laurel. "I had about $500,000. It was everything," he recalls. "I was scared. But my kids were grown, and I thought, 'If it doesn't pan out, the only person I would hurt is myself.' " Two-and-a-half years later, the affable Cherry Hill resident is charged up and ready to go, just like everything else on the sales floor of his Route 73 store.