Wednesday, November 14, 2012

We have discussed previously how retirees will have to adjust their expectations for pensions and continue to work, here is an example of the and franchises will enable many to get into a business. Aivars Lode avantce

We have discussed previously how retirees will have to adjust their expectations for pensions and continue to work, here is an example of the and franchises will enable many to get into a business. Aivars Lode Avantce

After 13 years in the insurance game in Texas, Glen Goode decided he'd had enough of sitting behind a desk all day.
So earlier this year, he chucked home and auto insurance sales — and the Lone Star State — in favor of a mobile Kona Ice truck franchise in Bradenton.
"I was ready for that next career. I wanted a concept that had a low cost of entry, low cost to run it, but high value as far as community involvement and fun," Goode said.
These days, he sells Kona Ice desserts, the Kentucky-based chain known for its "Flavor Wave" do-it-yourself syrup bar, at Manatee County sporting events, practices and community events.
Goode is among the thousands of baby boomers and retirees in Southwest Florida embarking on second careers or pursuing hobbies for profit-owning franchises, where the advantage is often a recognizable brand, a proven business model and expert assistance in running an operation.
Nationwide, the number of franchise agreements signed in the U.S. this year is expected to rise by 1.9 percent. That would reverse three years of declines and represent about 14,000 new careers for the owners, according to data from the trade group International Franchise Association.
For franchisees, owning a Subway or McDonald's restaurant or other chain outlet can be a lucrative venture, albeit one that often requires following corporate directives to the letter.
"Quick-service restaurants, home care services and fitness centers are some of the most popular industries spreading across Florida," said Rick Bisio, a Bradenton-based franchise consultant and the author of "The Educated Franchisee."
Franchising can be a relatively easy way for chains to expand into new markets or solidify existing ones, while reaping entry and other fees that can run into six figures.
Seven-Eleven Inc., for instance, has opened 16 stores in Southwest Florida since 2010, all franchises, said spokeswoman Margaret Chabris. The Dallas-based company anticipates opening another 15 here by the end of 2013, again primarily through franchisees.
"Some franchises do really well because of the senior market," said Meg Schmitz, a franchise consultant with FranChoice, a Minnesota-based service that links businesses with prospective owners and territories.
"Brands target those that are coming to Florida for retirement, but still have some fire in the belly," she said of prospective owners.
But getting a franchise and the rights to a brand name and often a territory can be pricey.
Initial fees typically start around $15,000, though many companies require prospective outlet owners to have at least $50,000 in additional liquidity for marketing, inventory and reserves, Schmitz said.
Moreover, many companies demand annual royalty fees that can add thousands of dollars to a business' expenses.
But the hefty price tags do offer several advantages for entrepreneurs — especially those trying something new.
Typically, franchise fees buy training, equipment, store build-outs and, sometimes, the right to tag on to corporate marketing promotions.
"Franchisers offer a proven system to do business," said Jerry Chautin, a Herald-Tribune business columnist, franchise expert and volunteer business mentor,
Often, however, the proven path comes at the cost of individual freedom.
"But franchising is no place for entrepreneurs who think they can outwit the system or are happier doing things their own way," Chautin added. "To an extent, buying a franchise brand means giving up your independence."
The growth of personal service franchise businesses, such as lawn care and pest control firms, is expected to top other sectors by 6 percent this year, according to the franchise association.
Retail products and services — a wide category that includes gyms and other services — are expected to experience continued growth as well, the result of burgeoning consumer confidence and spending.
Al Roach already is a believer.
In 2004, he was living in Sarasota when he discovered a St. Louis-based gym brand looking to expand. Today, 20 minutes to Fitness has four sites: two in Southwest Florida that Roach opened in Lakewood Ranch and Sarasota, and two in Missouri.
"I think franchise business is one of the most successful models out there," said Roach, whose first direct franchise experience came with 20 Minutes to Fitness, though he had once worked as a lawyer specializing in franchise law.
Roach wants to further expand 20 Minutes to Fitness. The chain hopes to open three or four more locations this year, Roach said.
As with other chains, the price of entry is not cheap. Franchise fees start at $30,000, with a total investment reaching upward of $245,000.
But Roach believes the cost is worth it to prospective owners.
"We offer a duplicable model, everything is provided," he said. "We teach them how to do everything. There isn't an easier concept out there."

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Black Friday hours pushed into Thanksgiving by major retailers

As internet changes continue to rock their world in a negative way, they have to come up with more gimmicks. Aivars Lode

Forget about getting up early or staying up late for Black Friday this year.
Three of the major retailers — Target, Walmart and Toys "R" Us — are starting their Black Friday specials well before the turkey dinner digests.
Target announced Monday it will open at 9 p.m. Thanksgiving — a full three hours earlier than last year's 12:01 a.m. Black Friday start. Then at 4 a.m., Target will roll out a second wave of specials, from a 50-inch Samsung TV for $699 to a Fisher-Price Doodle Pro Classic for $10.
Early birds will get the worm in the form of a $10 Target gift card for spending $50 or more on apparel, accessories or home products before noon Friday.
Walmart will kick off its in-store specials at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving — two hours before last year. The deals will phase in with an electronics sale from 10 to 11 p.m. and weekend deals starting at 5 a.m. Friday.
For the first time, Walmart is guaranteeing the availability of popular sale items, which in the past have sold out quickly, leaving a lot of people out of luck. Anyone inside the store and in line between 10 and 11 p.m. Thanksgiving can buy an LG Blu-ray player for $38, an Emerson 32-inch LCD TV for $148 or an Apple iPad 2 16GB with Wi-Fi and a $75 Walmart gift card for $399.
If any of the items sell out before 11 p.m., Walmart will offer a Guarantee Card that must be bought at the store by midnight and registered online. The product will then be shipped to the store where you purchased it for pickup before Christmas.
Santa's helpers might head to Toys "R" Us. The chain is opening at 8 p.m. Thanksgiving — an hour earlier than last year — with bundles of toys 50 percent off.
This seems pretty good for the shoppers who like to map out their Black Friday deals in advance and don't want to get up in the middle of the night. In theory, having some of the big guys open on Thanksgiving means a larger window for hitting more specialized stores with traditional Black Friday hours.
It might not be so great for the employees, who already endure long hours during Thanksgiving weekend. Earlier hours means less time for family dinners and post-turkey naps on the couch. Imagine having to rush through dinner to work through the night? By the end of your shift, you'll be most thankful for a bed.
Several people have created petitions on the website urging chains to keep their doors shut on Thanksgiving. As of Monday, one petition from a Target employee who wanted to save the holiday from "Thanksgiving creep" had more than 154,000 supporters.
The same petitions emerged last year when many stores pushed up their openings to midnight. Obviously, strong sales trumped the petitions.
In other Black Friday news, USA Today reported Monday that JCPenney will distribute more than 80 million holiday-themed buttons to customers between Black Friday and Christmas Eve. Each has a code that shoppers enter on Penney's website to find out if they've won prizes such as a trip to Disneyland, tickets to The Ellen DeGeneres Show or store merchandise and gift cards.
The buttons aim to attract customers who have been confused and/or unimpressed by Penney's year-old pricing strategy that replaced coupons and sales with everyday low prices. Last week, the department store chain reported a nearly 27 percent drop in third-quarter revenue — the third quarter in a row of big losses.
I hope it works. I shopped at Penney's all the time until it eliminated the $10-off coupons and doorbuster sales. I liked the feeling of getting a deal and, without the frequent reminders about discounts, I kind of forgot about the place.
The buttons sound nice, but I'm not thrilled about having to go online and check for something I probably won't win. I would much prefer a coupon in the paper or the mail.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Winds Drive Growth in Antarctic Sea Ice

The arctic ice is melting the Antarctic ice is growing the commnet at the bottom of the article says everything. We don’t know why. Aivars Lode

Sea ice has been growing in Antarctica, above, as Arctic ice shrinks.
Northward winds are driving the record growth of winter sea ice around Antarctica, which stands in contrast to the extensive melting of the Arctic sea ice in recent years, scientists reported Sunday.
Northward winds are driving the record growth of winter sea ice around Antarctica, which stands in contrast to the extensive melting of the Arctic sea ice in recent years. Robert Lee Hotz has details on Lunch Break. Photo: Getty Images.
Their new research, based on 19 years of daily ice-motion measurements recorded by four satellites of the U.S. Defense Meteorological Satellite Program, highlights how geography, weather and climate patterns are affecting the planet's polar regions in different ways.
Their analysis documented for the first time that long-term changes in the drift of annual sea ice around Antarctica were strongly affected by winds. The area of ocean covered by sea ice grew markedly in regions where the prevailing winds spread out the loosely compacted ice floes, they reported. It shrank in areas where the wind blew the floating ice up against the shore.
The researchers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory in California and the British Antarctic Survey reported their work Sunday in Nature Geoscience.
"We have evidence now that the wind is driving the ice cover," said JPL senior research scientist Ron Kwok, who led the study. "The expansion and contraction of ice around the continent is largely explained by wind forces, which is very different in the Antarctic than in the Arctic."
Broadly speaking, the Earth's polar regions are mirror opposites.
The Arctic Ocean is largely landlocked, surrounded by North America, Greenland and Eurasia, which limits the amount of sea ice there could be no matter which way the wind is blowing. Earlier this year, scientists reported that the extent of summer sea ice in the Arctic was the lowest since 1979, when satellite monitoring there began.
By contrast, Antarctica—the world's coldest and windiest continent—is covered by an ice cap two miles thick and surrounded by the Southern Ocean. The annual growth of sea ice around Antarctica is the largest seasonal event on the planet.
With the onset of the Southern Hemisphere winter in March, the ice expands at 22 square miles a minute. In 1992, the direction of the drifting sea ice changed, with the spread of the ice doubling in some regions, the satellite measurements showed. Earlier this year, Antarctica's sea ice reached a record expanse of 7.49 million square miles, before the spring thaw began.
In a separate study made public last month, climate scientists at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Maryland reported that winter sea ice surrounding Antarctica has been increasing by about 6,600 square miles every year—an area larger than Connecticut—during the same decades that the Arctic summer sea ice has been shrinking.
The researchers didn't identify what was driving wind patterns around Antarctica. Generally, the annual ozone hole over Antarctica has strongly affected wind circulation throughout the Southern Hemisphere, studies have shown. Wind patterns around Antarctica also are linked to larger climate cycles such as El NiƱo.
"The larger connection to global climate change and warming is more difficult to say," Dr. Kwok said. "We don't understand that yet."

The graying of South Florida's work force

Just as happened in Aussie in teh 90's retiress realized they needed to continue to work and fantastic new business's where created. aivars lode

By Donna Gehrke-White and Dana Williams, Sun Sentinel
4:08 a.m. EST, November 12, 2012
At 82, Joseph Mastropierro is planning on working forever.
The former engineer who became an entrepreneur is now trying to open a deli in Dania Beach.
"I want to make good sandwiches and salads," said Mastropierro, who is waiting for the necessary permits to open his deli. "My grandfather had a deli in Italy, and he taught me a lot of things when I was a little boy."
The deli will help him supplement his Social Security check, he added.
He is not alone with wanting to earn extra money. The nest egg is cracked — or maybe was too small to begin with — so more South Florida seniors are marching back to work.
Broward women have almost doubled their rate of working past 65, once the traditional U.S. age of retirement, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Palm Beach women have more than doubled their percentages of working past 65, the Census found, while the rate of men in both counties have jumped too. Now as many as a quarter of South Florida men 65 and older are working or looking for work.
The reason?
Vanishing pensions, not enough savings, the gyrating stock markets, zero interest in bank accounts and Social Security checks that fail to cover all the bills. The average Social Security payment is just over $1,200 a month.
"People who retired are going back to work because they need the extra money," said Edith S. Lederberg, executive director of the Aging and Disability Resource Center of Broward County. "I think it is a growing trend because people are living longer."
Lederberg herself just turned 83 last month and is still working full-time — despite a recent hospital stay. Like many other women of her generation she said she stayed home to raise a family and now relishes working.
"I don't plan to leave as long as I am a positive force in the agency," Ledenberg declared.
Around the nation, more seniors are holding down jobs when even a decade ago they would have been at home or traveling. They range from doctors to Walmart greeters.
The number of Americans 65 and older still employed has jumped 69 percent in just a decade, according to October data from the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.
Just in a year, 8 percent more Americans above 65 were working in October — the largest percentage jump in at least a decade, BLS reported.
An elder workforce has become a signature of some businesses. Publix, for example, has more than 2,000 workers 65 and above in Broward, Palm Beach and Miami-Dade counties, said spokeswoman Kimberly Reynolds. That's almost more than a quarter of the 7,000 Publix employees in Florida who are 65 and above, Reynolds said.
"Those numbers almost double," she said in an e-mail, "when we look at how many associates we employ over the age of 60."
Publix, which won a national award for its hiring of seniors, benefits from its mature work force that "brings experience, a strong work ethic and a positive, friendly attitude to Publix," Reynolds added.
Others have used their later years to concentrate on civic and volunteer work.
Jack Brady, a retired schoolteacher, was first elected to the North Lauderdale City Commission in 1988 while he was still working. Now 70 and a popular re-elected mayor, Brady said he likes concentrating on his city full-time.
He said he runs his city to help others — from saving taxpayers' money to organizing a group of volunteers to clean a yard of an elderly person who can't.
"God helps us, giving the strength to do things for other people," he said.
Still, Boca Raton's Jack Weglinski, who at one time had his own business, said health may force people to cut short their working years and he's glad he saved to retire early.
"I took early Social Security at age 62 and am now 67," he said, "so, even if I die today, at least I got something."
Many younger workers are paying attention to the new reality and think Social Security benefits will be reduced – or even eliminated – by the time they reach retirement age.
That's why Brian Javeline, 47, of Coral Springs is regularly working out of a gym. He wants to stay fit to work well into old age.
"You have to be a realist," said Javeline, who started the contractors' website,
Indeed, he said he doesn't expect to ever quit working
"The word retirement should be retired," he quipped.