Friday, August 29, 2008

YOU Can Help Michigan's Economy

Several of us who live and work in Michigan simply refuse to participate in the so-called one state recession. Here is a fantastic idea, first floated by Detroit's Hour Magazine, confirmed by the Michigan Agritourist Department, and more recently circulating around via email. Think and act! Instead of moaning about how bad things are in Michigan economically, this is an opportunity to make things better.

'If we all spent $10 per week on Michigan products, more than $36 Million would be pumped into the state's economy - EVERY WEEK!'

How powerful is that? The idea is to consciously shift at least $10 of your weekly grocery budget to products that are from Michigan companies. Take this a step further by making your purchases at grocery stores which are also Michigan owned. There are several of these: Spartan stores are a cooperative; this means that if you buy a Michigan made product from a Spartan affiliated store, you get a 'triple-dip'. The product is made in Michigan, the store is independently owned by a Michigan family, and Spartan Stores headquarters is located in Grand Rapids. Other independent stores include Randazzo's and Westborn markets. Meijer is located in Grand Rapids, and also counts as a 'double-dip.'
The website Buy Michigan Now has more great information.

Here is just a partial list of Michigan products, brands, and company locations to get you started:

Flatout Bread - Saline, MI
Kellogg's Cereal - Battle Creek
Reny-picot Cheese - Benton Harbor
Yotta Bar granola bars - Warren
Morley's Chocolates - Sterling Heights
American Spoon condiments - Petoskey
Keebler cookies - Battle Creek
Baremans Dairy - Holland
Melody Farms Dairy - Livonia
Nature's Select snacks - Owosso
Cole's Garlic Bread - Grand Rapids
Basha Hommus - Ferndale
Kowalski Hot dogs - Hamtramck
Old Orchard Juice - Sparta
Weight Watchers Muffins/ snacks - Jackson
Koegel's Lunch Meats - Flint
Jiffy Mix Muffins, etc. - Chelsea
Eden's Natural Foods - Clinton Twp.
Faygo soda pop - Detroit
Aunt Mid's produce - Detroit
Better Made snacks - Detroit
Absopure water - Plymouth
St. Julian wines - Paw Paw

Monday, August 25, 2008

Rules for a Perfect Day

I consider Tom Hopkins to be one of the worlds greatest motivational speakers. I had the opportunity to see him in person more than 20 years ago, and his speech that day has stuck with me until this day. His rules, strategies, and success plans are as true and relevant today as they were 20 years ago. He published a simple sheet with his rules for a Perfect Day, which I am happy to share with you today. I hope these rules will help you as much as they have helped me. Make it a great day!

I always live in the delight and reaity of being alive. My past is forever gone, my future -- an uncertainty, so I will be happy and thankful for each moment.

I never allow negative input into my mind . . . happiness is a choice and I choose to be happy.

I am thankful to God for my health, my loved ones, my business, and my country. I am also thankful for any pain in crisis that helps me grow because God has said: "Be thankful in all things."

I always take care of my body, realizing the importance of the words "moderation" and "balance" knowing that as I bring my flesh under control how much easier it will be to control my will and my actions.

I treat everyone the way I would like to be treated. I strive to have them like themselves better when they're with me.

I always avoid gossip, jealousy and negative thinking. Most people don't think about what they think about. I always make a conscious effort to hold loving and beautiful thoughts in my mind.

I always write down my priorities, thinking of my loved ones and my responsibilities. I may not get everything done, but I do the most productive thing possible at every given moment.

I always strive to humble myself before others, controlling my ego and making other people feel important.

I continually invest time in study, learning how to better serve my fellow man. I know my growth in all areas is in direct proportion to the service I give to others.

I never take rejection personally. I am first and foremost in the people business and thus, realize they can only reject my proposal, not me. I keep on keepin' on.

I consistently invest time in prayer, asking God to let others see the light of His shining love through me.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

The Michael Phelps - Ann Arbor Connection

Michael Phelps called Ann Arbor home for the past four years leading up to his incredible accomplishments in Bejing. The fact that he trained here is pretty neat in and of itself, but deeper than that, the fact that he trained here was indicative of the stimulating vitality of Ann Arbor that makes this town such a great place to live and work.

Here's what I'm trying to explain. I came to Ann Arbor ten years ago to join a company (Borders) that was born in Ann Arbor, and at the time was going through it's greatest growth period in it's history. That was just one piece of Ann Arbor. The town is dominated by the University of Michigan, and the accomplishments of it's staff, students, and alumni are too numerous to mention. This sense of accomplishment, achievement, and striving to be the "Leaders and the best" permeates through the town, and gets into your blood. After being in Chicago for forty years, Ann Arbor has gotten into my blood. It is encouraging, uplifting, and inspirational to live in a place where you can watch others grow to their best potential.

I have had multiple opportunities to relocate to other areas of the country, and to even return to Chicago. I have chosen to stay in the area despite the struggling economy and housing market, and despite all the doomsayers who feel that Michigan is a dead, rust-belt state.

The Ann Arbor and Michigan that I have come to know is a vibrant area, populated by people who know adversity, deal with adversity, and overcome adversity to maximize their potential, and become the best that they can be. It is epitomized by Phelps and other world class athletes like Tom Brady, Kara Lynn Joyce, Alison Gregorka, and others. While they all have an unquestionable commitment inside themselves, it cannot be denied that a part of their successes come from the Ann Arbor environment.

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Ann Arbor July 2008 Condo Sales Report

Ann Arbor Condominium sales in July 2008 were down by more than 18% compared to July 2007. Year to date, Condo sales, in units are down by 4.3%, and median sales price is down by 9.4%, or 1.34% per month.

Here are the latest statistics from the Ann Arbor Board of Realtors. These numbers are for Condominiums. Please see earlier post for Single Family Home sales statistics.

Condo Listings in July 2007: 219
Condo Listings in July 2008: 154
Decrease: 30%

Condo Listings Y.T.D. 2007: 1,839
Condo Listings Y.T.D. 2008: 1,308
Decrease: 29%

Condo Sales July 2007: 79
Condo Sales July 2008: 65
Decrease: 18.8%

Condo Sales Y.T.D. 2007: 397
Condo Sales Y.T.D. 2008: 380
Decrease: 4.3%

Condo Avg. Days on Market July 2007: 81
Condo Avg. Days on Market July 2008: 101

Condo Avg. Days on Market Y.T.D. 2007: 87
Condo Avg. Days on Market Y.T.D. 2008: 95

Condo Median Sales Price July 2007: $159,900
Condo Median Sales Price July 2008: $160,000

Condo Median Sales Price Y.T.D. 2007: $159,900
Condo Median Sales Price Y.T.D. 2008: $145,000
Decrease: 9.4%

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Ann Arbor July 2008 Home Sales Statistics

July 2008 Ann Arbor area market statistics continue to show a significant drop in inventory over 2007. Down over 23% year to date. Sales, in number of residential (Single Family Home) units, are up slightly at plus 2% over July 2007. Average sales price continues to drop by 1.34% per month

Here are the latest statistics from the Ann Arbor Board of Realtors. These numbers are for Single Family Homes (SFH) Residential, and do not include condominiums:

SFH Listings in July 2007: 1,008
SFH Listings in July 2008: 791
Decrease: 21%

SFH Listings Y.T.D. 2007: 7,414
SFH Listings Y.T.D. 2008: 5,715
Decrease: 23%

SFH Sales July 2007: 342
SFH Sales July 2008: 349
Increase: 2%

SFH Sales Y.T.D. 2007: 1,730
SFH Sales Y.T.D. 2008: 1,794
Increase: 0.4%

SFH Avg. Days on Market July 2007: 64
SFH Avg. Days on Market July 2008: 79

SFH Avg. Days on Market Y.T.D. 2007: 97
SFH Avg. Days on Market Y.T.D. 2008: 84

SFH Avg. Sales Price July 2007: $264,404
SFH Avg. Sales Price July 2008: $236,209
Decrease: 10.7%

SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2007: $248,715
SFH Avg. Sales Price Y.T.D. 2008: $225,447
Decrease: 9.4%

Sunday, August 3, 2008

Meeting Online Connections Offline

I love meeting new people, both online and offline. The famous motivational speaker Charlie 'Tremendous' Jones has a mantra: "The only difference between where you are now, and where you'll be next year, are the books you read and the people you meet." He has said it for more than 50 years and has influenced hundreds of thousands of people with that single sentence. Me included.

There are a 'Tremendous' number of social and professional networking websites to meet and interact with some very nice and interesting people. Sometimes, you have to create the opportunity to meet folks in person, who you have met online. That brings me to this Thursday at Banfield's Westside Grill, at the corner of Jackson & Zeeb roads in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Offline, I have a Professional Development, Mentoring and Referral Group called A2 Biz Insights. It is a really dynamic group of local business leaders who have made a commitment to help each other in business and in the community. We meet regularly to help each other grow professionally, and we also meet regularly on a social basis.

Online, I have met and connected with literally hundreds of people on: LinkedIn, Facebook, Twitter, Plurk, Pownce, Xing, ECademy, Naymz, BizNik, Plaxo, MeetUp, Motor City Connect, and a few others I have lost track of.

Back to Thursday. I and a few of my networking friends are hosting a "Speed Networking" Happy Hour at Banfield's, starting at 6PM. This event will be a combination of A2 Biz Insights members and their friends, as well as a Networking Group, and other folks invited from other networking sites. Everyone who comes will receive a printed Dance Card, and are encouraged to meet and engage with everyone else in attendance to get their contact and business information, in anticipation of continuing a business relationship after the event. It is a low pressure, fun, casual environment to meet other local, energetic professionals who want to grow their businesses.

If you're reading this, and would like to join us, please call me at (734) 678-9032 to let me know you are coming. Guests are welcome. There is no cost, nothing to join, and nothing to do but meet new folks and have an enjoyable evening. You can even watch the Tigers and Lions on the Big Screen TV.

I hope to see you Thursday!