Invest In Your Neighborhood

Shop Nev Co543

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28 Responses to Invest In Your Neighborhood

  1. Chris Peterson says:

    Excellent! And shop locally owned stores and restaurants to assure your money STAYS local, thereby supporting the local economy.

    • GregPZaller says:

      “Shop Local” is simply a version of scarcity mentality and is anti competitive, contributing to a sense of entitlement in our local stores instead of the entrepreneurial urge to offer the best service. Should all of the tourist and visitors that come to Nevada County stay put and shop local too? We are all connected. There is plenty of specialness this area has to offer or could offer, and I suggest we build on that.

      • Chris Peterson says:

        I see your point; that Sam Walton’s kids are entrepreneurs who just happen to own as much wealth as 40% of Americans, they offer way better service, and sending all your money to their headquarters in Arkansas is cool because we’re all “connected.” A hearty capitalistic koombyah to you on that one, brother.
        Not to mention the tax breaks local, state and federal governments give them for the privilege of coming to an area and choking off your neighbor’s business, buying goods made exclusively from offshore manufacturers, and the billions a year we spend as taxpayers to support their low wage workers.

        But, you’re right; what fool would rather support their own community, whenever possible, rather than all that?

        Talk about mental scarcity.

        • Chris Peterson says:

          Sorry about the knee-jerk reaction to your comments, Greg. You’re spot-on about the tourists. I mean, how many times have we all heard the oft repeated complaint: “I thought you said there was a Hooters here,” or, “I’m not buying anything in the Utopian Stone because everybody knows every kiss begins with K,” or, “I saw a McDonalds over that last hill. Let’s go see if a Gold Country Big Mac tastes the same as the one down the street from our house.”

        • GregPZaller says:

          Steve’s make my point better.

          You make a good point, Chris, about not shopping Roseville. At least Amazon is paying sales tax.

          I have a hard time understanding what the future will look like and what to do to influence it positively. I put my effort into improving education as a safe bet.


      • Larry Polk says:

        “Shop Local” is also grammatically incorrect. We shop locally. “Local” is not a commodity.

    • stevefrisch says:

      Actually the whole “Think Local First” movement being turned into “Shop Local” is derivative. When I worked on this issue in the mid 2000’s and worked with people doing it across the country, I quickly discovered that think local is about 6-7 components that are necessary.

      1. Encouraging entrepreneurship to incubate local businesses.
      2. Creating local capital sources to encourage local investment.
      3. Market research to identify potential new products/markets.
      4. Supply chain management to maximize B2B sales.
      5. Local preference contracting to ensure employment of local people and increase the circulation of capital locally.
      6. Promotion to clearly/realistically articulate benefits.
      7. Shopping local to realize market benefits.

      The people who are really making this work around the country in places like Bellingham, Wash; the Berkshires; Santa Cruz, Ca.; Washington D.C; are doing all of these things.

      When I tried to work on this in the mid-2000’s people wanted the ‘quick fix’; they wanted to able to focus on shopping local and were content with only realizing a momentary benefit. It does not work that way, largely because you then get diverted to individual business benefit instead of collectively growing markets.

      One final observation, the mantra is “Think Local First” not think local only; there will be many needs that cannot be satisfied locally, and localism is only one part of a more comprehensive strategy.

      For example, local is not a substitute for expanding markets for export products, which also bring a great deal of benefit into a local economy.

      Too many people, particularly in the business community, get fixated on the idea that this is ‘the’ strategy, and then get critiqued because it only satisfies part of the local economic development need, or, as evidenced by all the grousing over “what if I can’t get what I need” or “I don’t like my local retailer” or “the prices are too high”, they promote localism and fail to improve customer service.

      If you don’t want to shop local first you don’t have to–its a free country–but do something to improve the local economy because we all have a stake.

      • Chris Peterson says:

        That all makes sense from a governance point of view, but I can guarantee you that the average person hasn’t a clue, nor any desire, to think in those terms.

        The first, and main, objective is to get people to shop in their own communities as much as possible. That initially includes those operations that funnel the money out of the community because, at least they are employing local workers, adding something to the community’s economy.

        Is it somewhat exclusionary? Yeah, but it isn’t anti-growth, as some claim. Build a better mouse trap and the world will beat a path to your door. YOUR door; not China’s, not Bangladesh’s, and not Arkansas.

        And I notice your points don’t include education. You’ll never attract today’s golden enterprise to your area, or hold the ones that spring up, without having the educated base they need to create their product. It’s one of the main considerations in locating an up-and-coming operation.

        Anyway, no need to over-think it; simply buy from your neighbor whenever possible.

        • stevefrisch says:

          Thanks for your response Chris, but I think you are missing the entire point. Think Local First is and should be about creating a value chain that benefits local communities. That may seem governance oriented, but it is not just a consumer strategy it is an economic development strategy, otherwise it is just marketing fluff.

          But I do think you have perfectly illustrated the problem; “Yeah, too complicated, too much work, so Shop Local my friends” and it means nothing.

          • Chris Peterson says:

            Your focal points on growing local markets by targeting key areas is spot on, Steve, and I understand each and every one. I’m simply saying that you have to boil that down to a message that the average shopper has the time and instant comprehension to digest.

            I remember being a member of a multi-million dollar government panel, (30 strong), that was tasked with looking at the drug problem of the early 90’s in Nevada County. We had PhD’s, politicians, captains of industry, law enforcement, psychologists, etc.; each one espousing their particular dissection of the issue in their particular professional language. It was a colossal waste of time in that, after all those hours of pontificating, it was finally agreed that a continuation of “Just Say No” bumper stickers was the best avenue to recovery.

            So, my advice is to turn your list upside-down, (#7 being #1), start with the basics, and build from there. It’s not that people are too lazy to heed your message; quite the opposite, they are too busy.

  2. But what if your neighborhood’s Higgins Corner, an area with limited choice, indifferent service, and high prices? It’s not always easy being local.

    • Chris Peterson says:

      You’re the one paying to keep the doors open; tell ’em what you think! What have you got to lose, other than a drive you have to make anyway.

      I had to explain the concept of making more, by selling cheaper to a larger customer base, to my local grocer. Seems she’d never thought of that, ie., you make more money off selling an item to 20 people for a 10 cent markup than you do by selling only 2 at a 50 cent markup. For most small businesses it’s a Catch 22: they have to sell at a higher price to make up for the loss of business caused by their higher price.

  3. rlcrabb says:

    I don’t think anyone (except the most rabid leftists) expects that you can be 100% local. I make sacrifices in my purchases as much as I can, but there are always instances where the internet or the valley is the only viable option.

  4. Greg Goodknight says:

    Buying your cheese at that quaint shop down the street and not down the hill is not going to make up for what used to be the Grass Valley Group’s manufacturing moving to Canada. Going, going… gone. The end of an era and, I suspect, more bad news for the accountants for the City and the County of Nevada.

    Fewer smart folks will be making really expensive stuff that the rest of the world would send money into Nevada County to buy. The FUE may not get this, but making and selling each other nicely decorated gift baskets doesn’t bring in the wealth to send back out to buy cars, food, iPhones and computers from China, chemotherapy drugs or artificial hips. It’s nice to support the middlemen on Main Street but the real wealth is brought into the county by making stuff on the Back Streets that people outside the county need. A local car dealership (remember those?) doesn’t bring wealth into the county, it just allows the local politicos to grab a handful of the money flowing out to Detroit, Dusseldorf or Tokyo so the folks there can buy their iPhones, and besides, someone has to pay into the county employee pension fund.

    When I first moved to Nevada County, the Grass Valley Group had over 2000 employees in this county, but they had overexpanded. It began to shrink. This is continuing (they’ll be down to a single building soon), and that hardworking miner panning for gold isn’t finding many nuggets nowadays.

    I wonder, will any Birney Benches be available for sale with the Providence Mine Road facility being closed?

    • You have the FUE all wrong. He’s into eco-tourism and zip lines. We can never have enough low-paying service jobs.

      • stevefrisch says:

        No matter what we do to create middle class and highly skilled jobs the service sector is going to continue to be an important part of our economy. Because of that it needs to be healthy as a base industry. Does that mean we should focus all of our attention on it, of course not. But, I am constantly amazed at the “either” “or” midst of economic development. It is not service or skills, it is service and skills. Both are important.

        • Chris Peterson says:

          The flaw in that argument is the distinction you make between “middle class and highly skilled jobs” and “the service sector.” Back when our economy was growing healthfully, service jobs WERE middle class jobs. Some still are; your local Safeway, for instance, is union and pays it’s workers a living wage. Without the union; those are minimum wage jobs that are below the poverty line.

          So yeah, “highly skilled jobs” should pay more; but service jobs are where the majority work, and as long as we continue to allow big box operations to pay poverty level wages, we have to expect this capitalistic feudal system to grow.

          Reagan killed the unions, Clinton killed the manufacturing base, and we all have allowed labor, which Lincoln rightly explained as being worth OVER that of capital, to be stagnant for going on forty years. It’s not as if there’s less money being generated; it’s that capital is no longer sharing equally with labor, hence the record setting growth of one at the expense of the latter.

          • stevefrisch says:

            Chris, this is why I think some of our attention should be focused on making service sector jobs into middle class jobs again. Its one reason I strongly support unions, because by increasing wages for union workers they raise wages for non-union workers at the same time. There are a number of people who think that improving wages in the service sector is a key to economic prosperity and development in the US.

            I agree with you that the balance between ‘labor’, ‘capital’ and ‘resources’, the three underpinning of a capitalist economy that economists from Adam Smith, to Henry George, to JK Gailbreth, to Milton Friedman have all agreed on, is broken in the US today.

          • Chris Peterson says:

            I think the minimum wage should be tied to the poverty line, so that whatever job you do, if you did it for forty hours per week, you’re making a buck more than poverty. Make it like a COLA. Easy-cheesy. No more needless debate.

          • stevefrisch says:

            I would argue Chris that the federal minimum wage, which is $7.25 per hour, and aggregates to $15,080 per year for an individual working 2080 hrs per year. or what we define as “full time”, and is actually above the federally defined “poverty line” of $11, 945, is insufficient to actually lift a person out of ‘poverty’.

            Even in California, where the minimum wage is currently $8.00 per hour or $16,640 per year, is insufficient once one takes into account the real cost of living.

            That is a substantial part of our problem, the very definition we use for poverty is insufficient for a modern industrialized society.

            Layer on top of that definition of poverty the fact that almost no minimum wage workers work full time, that even two average part time minimum wage earners (30 hrs per week) fall below the poverty line if they are supporting two children.

            Our current federal poverty line does not take into account what is necessary to create social mobility; the ability to access education and workforce development, the ability to accrue savings and build wealth, the ability to own property, etc.

            What we have created is a federal poverty line that does not accurately reflect real poverty in our society, and artificially associates minimum wage with maintaining people above a poverty line that is fundamentally inaccurate.

            To really begin to change this equation we need a federal poverty line that is adjusted for annually for inflation, regional variations, and different inflating costs for basic needs like health care, education, housing, food prices, and transportation.

            Poverty calculations and minimum wage needs to be raised simultaneously.

            We also need a mechanism for calculating the real costs and benefits of ‘labor’. When a small business calculates labor cost they usually calculate wages and direct benefits like UI and perhaps even health insurance as costs. What they do not calculate is costs and benefits from recruitment, training, productivity, added value from retention, or added market share from loyalty. There is no easy mechanism for calculating these values.

            We are going to have to get a lot smarter about understanding the value that labor adds, particularly in a service based economy, where value is less tied to direct sales on widgets (products).

          • Chris Peterson says:

            “Poverty calculations and minimum wage needs to be raised simultaneously.”
            An excellent point that my comment was missing.

            I believe the first thing that must be done is to get the equation of “money equals speech” out of our lives. When money talks, the whole country suffers. Cutting off the bribes to our representatives would force them to compete for the admiration of their constituents, rather than the tit-for-tat contributions from businesses. It would change the whole dialogue and shift the priorities from maintaining the status quo to a future that seeks opportunities of growth for all citizens.
            And those misguided individuals, the 20% who fall for the propaganda that feeding the rich is our only salvation, will return to sanity when they see the benefits of oiling ALL the wheels of our economy.

            Those who innovate and own businesses will still be community leaders and considered rich; they will simply make 20 or 30% more than their workers, rather than 700 times more. Capitalism is an important piece of the puzzle, but it serves none but itself in it’s current form of unbridled greed.

    • Michael Anderson says:

      Greg, thanks for the trip down memory lane. I hadn’t heard the term “birney bench” for at least a decade. Back in the early 2000s when the final GVG buildings at the Bitney Springs plant were vacated, there were a few for sale out of Building 4 but my guess is they are all gone by now, especially since the manufacturing/test group at Building N3 on Providence Mine Rd. in Nevada City was liquidated in late 2012.

      Greg wrote: “…but the real wealth is brought into the county by making stuff on the Back Streets that people outside the county need.” Agreed, but unfortunately as far as Nevada County is concerned, “is” is now “was.” We will continue to host niche and boutique manufacturing facilities in Nevada County, but nothing on the scale of GVG. Never. Again.

      The good news is twofold. Manufacturing is now done in countries that are building sustainable middle classes, just like the USA did after WWII, and Nevada County is now a solid home for some of the finest video engineers in the entire world. GVG engineers who were either laid off or left of their own volition are now working in places like Ensemble Designs, Telestream, AJA Video, PACE, and a host of other smaller high tech companies.

      The good news is that Nevada County’s high tech community is relatively healthy and vibrant, and is actually poised to become even more so as new developments unfold. Stay tuned.

      • Chris Peterson says:

        Never? Again? That’s a serious prediction that flies in the face of Nevada County’s history.

        Growing up on Bitney Springs Road, I remember traveling down to Echart’s minnow farm, where it was my job to shoot frogs and milk the cow, and after crossing the one lane bridge, up the hill past the Smith ranch, the Personeni’s, and the Adam’s, and between Kohler’s ponds and the Phelp’s on the left and the Pugh’s on the right, there was nothing.

        Almost overnight, there appeared a putting green on the hillside, which seemed very strangely out of place, out in the pines by itself. Dr. Hare, a LOCAL, was building what later became the county’s main employer, including some of my family, and many, many friends.

        Not long after; Jim Hebb and George (?), both LOCALS, started Eigen at the old Litton building, and eventually moved to their new building on Gold Flat Road, employing many locals, including my wife.

        With our storied past of the gold rush, the mills, the tech, and the tourism, it seems rather odd to predict that Nevada County will “Never. Again.” see a new, unthought-of enterprise take hold in the community. That’s not only defeatist, it’s just plain wrong.

        • rlcrabb says:

          That would be George Foster, who suggested I try to sell my comics to The Union twenty years ago.

        • Michael Anderson says:

          Chris, I was only talking about heavy manufacturing. We have innovation blossoming very nicely in Nevada County at the moment. And I suspect we always will, as you suggest.

        • Greg Goodknight says:

          “Almost overnight, there appeared a putting green on the hillside, which seemed very strangely out of place, out in the pines by itself. Dr. Hare, a LOCAL, was building what later became the county‚Äôs main employer, including some of my family, and many, many friends.”

          No, by the stories I’ve heard, Hare was not a local. He moved here after Charlie Litton Sr. moved here with Litton Engineering Labs into the uncommissionable Grass Valley Hospital, and convinced his friend to make the move. The Bitney Springs site was bought up with the cover it was to be a chicken ranch.. We used what had apparently once been Hare’s apartment in the Litton building for workspace on occasion (we had two offices on the same floor for continuous use) before USR moved out of there into the building on Crown Point Circle circa ’94, with Birney’s nVision in the back.

          The funniest thing that happened to us in the Litton Building was, one day, then (?) County Supervisor Jim Weir was helping SR Jones in the LAFCO office get online with a modem… and was having problems. Seeing our hallway door open, and noticing a couple guys at their computers, Jim (who I had not met but knew him from The Union photos, not to mention the little go-kart he’d ride in local parades) peeked in and asked, “Do you guys have any modems?”, not having a clue (our offices were unmarked) we were the prime developers of modem technology for the #1 modem company, US Robotics. Poor Jim, I couldn’t help but belly laugh and his response was a pained and indignant, “Did I say something funny?”.

          We helped out, and I think he figured out it was funny.

          Eigen is another niche company that had its day and is now essentially gone.

          Whether the manufacturing is light, medium or “heavy”, without it there can’t be much of a product pipe going from Nevada County to the rest of the world and a real wealth pipe coming back.

          • Chris Peterson says:

            My bad; he wasn’t a local, he was simply living here when he built the site.

            And I never met anyone who thought it was a chicken ranch. My parents, and many others, held community meetings on traffic impacts and the like. So no, it wasn’t a secret.

            My Dad, who had worked at Bell Labs and was at Wolf Mtn. at the time, found their products “amusing,” and he enjoyed speaking with some of the engineers when I’d bring them over after one of our softball games. Not a pretentious one in the lot. Good times.

          • Greg Goodknight says:

            Assuming the story I was told is correct, I suspect the chicken ranch cover story was dropped after they bought the land, before they began the permit process. The claim I heard was they didn’t want to let on it was for industrial use and find sellers expecting top dollar.

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