Category Archives: Business news

The Finances of Being Funny: Three Stooges Revival

three-stooges-516165_960_720Get ready for some crazy fun, because the Three Stooges are soon going to be back in action. That’s right. Independent producers will soon be launching a Three Stooges action comedy that will include Sean Hayes (Larry), Chris Diamantopoulos (Moe) and Will Sasso (Curly). The three have already proven themselves when they starred in Fox’s 2012 movie “The Three Stooges” which was produced, directed and written by the Farrelly Brothers.

Certainly, the three stooges have been wildly popular with fans and those creating the newest movie expect to have a wide-reaching and enthusiastic audience as well. The new version will be produced with C3, Grand Peaks and the Exchange. C3, the owners of the Three Stooges brand, will run the film’s licensing, merchandising and promotional materials. Executive producers will include Jeff Bowler, Earl Benjamin, Robert Benjamin and O’Shea. Cameron Fay will be writing the script.

As Benjamin explained about the current undertaking, “With Sean, Chris and Will back as our Stooges and Cameron writing, this next film will be a truly unique blend of fast paced action with the hilarious mayhem of the Three Stooges.”

This is certainly a business venture worth watching – and a film that people will flock to see.

Food Waste Gets Value

As a way of transforming food that would be wasted into a valuable commodity, Sacramento-based Valley Vision and CropMobster have teamed up with their new venture.  Valley Vision is a non-profit organization set up over two decades ago in order to “improve people’s lives.” CropMobster is a web location dedicated to the exchange of various agricultural merchandise, including food.

Together – Valley Vision and CropMobster – are making food waste into a valuable commodity.  As well, people can post job opportunities, events and ways to donate.  There is no fee for using the site.  Bay Area communities can all benefit from the non-profit side of this venture that can also ultimately become, a profitable site (helping people move up in the employment world).

Sacramento’s Successful Business Women

business-womenSeventeen impressive women in Sacramento are being honored by The Business Journal for the outstandingly notable contributions they have made to their firms, professions and communities. These women have made their mark in many industries such as: communications, construction, health, finances, public policy and technology.

This year, the awards ceremony – a luncheon – is to be held at Sacramento’s Hyatt Regency at June 17.  It is the 21st such annual event, which has – over these years – honored 112 women.

A Growing State…A Growing Area Code

landlineYes, that’s right. Sacramento has gotten so big that the 916 area code will no longer suffice. By the end of 2018, a new area code will be put into place by the California Public Utilities Commission in order to “provide more prefixes and new telephone numbers to 916 customers.”

Customers will still be able to keep their current numbers (including area codes) and people throughout the El Dorado, Solano, Sutter, Yolo, Placer, and Sacramento counties will be given these additional codes. The process is set to go ahead very smoothly as it will be a step-by-step slow one.

Fiscal Caution Urged

fiscal-cautionIn his State of the State address earlier this month, Governor Jerry Brown urged “fiscal caution.” It is important that legislators make attempts to boost the state’s “rainy day fund,” especially since there are many infrastructure repairs that need to be made. That, he said, is more important than engaging in new programs right now.

This issue is not limited to Sacramento. According to the recent The Menino Survey of Mayors questioning 89 mayors nationwide, many are worried about their “cities’ aging infrastructure and they’d like more state and federal support.”

Nonetheless, it seems that Sacramento’s infrastructure is hardly the worst in the country. Indeed, since Anpac Bio-Medical has chosen to move its headquarters in the state’s capital. According to a recent article in PR Newswire:

“Sacramento is home to one of the world’s most diverse and cutting-edge life science communities, and is a magnet for innovative and life-changing technologies. The region has long been California’s best kept secret when it comes to healthcare discoveries. UC Davis is one of the top universities in the United States for innovation and research, with over $2 billion in economic impact.”

However, Governor Brown remains prudent. He is insistent on “focus[ing] on how we pay for the commitments we have already made,” via a “very progressive but volatile tax structure,” given the volatility of the global economy.

Enhancing the Capital’s Business Environment

blackboardSacramento’s candidates for the position of Mayor were presented with a list of “things to do” in an effort to enhance the city’s business environment. This list was compiled by an ad-hoc group of business leaders from the region. Included in this are details of how the city should reform its finances, culture and procedures.

However, it was recognized by this group of business leaders that Sacramento has got a good reputation for already providing a positive business environment. The quality of life there is good and there have already been some economic improvements. However, the statement concluded that: “Sacramento falls short on leveraging these and other assets to make our city a desirable place to conduct business.”

Three of the goals of the document are: a) the appointment of private business leaders to a council of economic advisors; b) move over to a budget cycle of two years; c) engage in the use of “external contracts to implement cost savings and improve public services.” As well, increasing tourism and deal with homelessness are major items that have to be addressed.

Sacramento Metro Chamber, in conjunction with the Downtown Sacramento Partnership and Region Business (the new advocacy group) drafted the six page document.

Java Mama in Folsom Closing Shop

Photo by Thomas Hawk
Photo by Thomas Hawk

Java Mama Folsom, a coffee shop which also has play areas for children, is closing down in February. The store opened in January 2014 confirmed the decision on its Facebook page. Java Mama’s last day of business will be on February 26.

Owner Rachel Cabalse explained on Facebook that she has to close in the face of an increase in her rent.

“I have worked harder and longer hours as an attempt towards making Java Mama profitable, or quite honestly just merely staying in business. With my savings being just enough to cover a tank of gas, I have to admit that what I’m doing isn’t working,” she said.

Java Mama utilizes 1,750 square feet of space in the Broadstone Marketplace in Folsom. Within that space is a coffee shop with play areas for children, but the store is designed to be more than just a child-friendly coffee shop.

There are other Java Mama shops, although the store is not a franchise. Owners purchase licensing rights to the name and business plan. There was another Java Mama shop in San Diego when the Folsom branch opened, but it closed. According to the Java Mama web-site there are still stores operating in Baton Rouge, Louisiana; and Fort Wayne, Indiana. There is a third shop in planning in Washington, DC.

Rates Rising at USPS

6870971111_eb3eb93d51_z
Photo courtesy Chase Elliott Clark

As soon as January 17 United States Postal Service customers can expect to see price hikes for at least two services: Priority Mail service and Priority Mail Express.

Small businesses will be the most effected by the 9.8 percent rise which covers commercial packages. The USPS joins other popular delivery services such as FedEx and UPS in raising prices. Last month those private companies raised their rates by 4.9 percent.

The faster Priority Mail Express will go up in price by an average of 14.4 percent. First class stamps will remain at the current 49 cents each. The USPS said that the changes in pricing is essential to keep the agency competitive.

“Unlike other shipping companies, the Postal Service is not implementing any new dimensional weight charges with this pricing proposal, continuing its commitment to deliver an excellent value for customers,” Katina Fields, a spokesperson for USPS.

“The Postal Service adjusts its shipping prices annually just like other shipping companies,” added Fields. “Unlike other shippers, the Postal Service doesn’t add surcharges for fuel, residential delivery or Saturday delivery. The new prices represent the first price increase in more than three years for commercial Priority Mail.”

Plastic Bag Ban Goes Into Effect January 1st

As of Friday, January 1st, shoppers will no longer be given free of charge either plastic or paper bags for their purchases. Plastic is completely banned, while customers can still purchase either paper bags or reusable plastic bags for 10 cents a pop. Sacramento is now one of over 145 counties and cities throughout California where plastic bags are illegal for free distribution.

The ban applies to pharmacies, convenience stores and groceries. It is designed to stem the flow of junky plastic bags into landfills, lining streets as trash, and polluting waterways. Consumers will have to bring their own bags shopping, or else buy bags for 10 cents each.

One consumer took the ban in stride:

“A lot of store trips are spontaneous,” said 65 year-old Bob Maurer of Natomas. He came to the store without any bags, and was forced to purchase a few to get his groceries to his car. “It means you have to keep a bag in your car all the time. But 10 cents isn’t that much. If it’s good for the environment, it’s a small price to pay.”