There is more carbon dioxide in the atmosphere than at any time in the last 400,000 years.
“That’s not in dispute,” says Dr. Jay O’Laughlin. “What is in dispute is the role of carbon dioxide emissions in affecting global warming.”
No, the good doctor isn’t going to go there. He has better things to do than step gingerly between an SUV and a Prius speeding toward a head-on collision in the ongoing global warming dispute. But he will say this:
“I think we can all agree that there are better places to store carbon dioxide than in the atmosphere.”
O’Laughlin should know.
He can see the forest for the trees.
Dr. Jay O’Laughlin is a professor of forestry and policy sciences, and since 1989, he’s been director of the Policy Analysis Group in the College of Natural Resources for the University of Idaho.
In 2010, O’Laughlin received the prestigious national SAF Award in Forest Science, which recognizes individual research leading to the advancement of forestry.
As Idaho forestry experts go, particularly when it comes to the symbiotic relationships between trees and mankind, perhaps none stands taller than O’Laughlin. His works and manifold publications focus on public land management policies, endangered species
conservation, sustainable forest management, risk analysis, water quality best management practices, and the focal point of our story today, air quality and prescribed fire emissions policies.
Remember that trees are basically 50 percent carbon, and imagine, then, the impact of carbon-belching forest fires on the atmosphere. No, don’t imagine: Consider a few of O’Laughlin’s facts.
• Each year between 2002 and 2006, forest fires in the lower 48 states emitted an average of 59 million metric tonnes of carbon as carbon dioxide, and 2 million metric tonnes as particulate matter. A metric tonne is equal to 1,000 kilograms; a kilogram weighs 2.2 pounds.
• In an average year in Idaho, carbon dioxide emissions from wildfires are the equivalent of 3.6 million cars.
• In 2006 — a bad year for Idaho forest fires — Idaho wildfire emissions were the equivalent of 6.4 million cars.
One more fact that might let you exhale:
• Because of tree growth, Idaho’s forests will offset 88 percent of all fossil fuel combustion emissions in the state in an average year.
If you added up all those numbers and concluded that healthy forests in Idaho are a good thing, Dr. O’Laughlin will give you an A and you may continue reading this story.
Forests are better off today than they were, say, 20 or 30 years ago because environmentalists, scientists and the timber industry aren’t fighting like they used to, O’Laughlin says. He estimates that eight diverse groups are piloting projects statewide that could further bring disparate interests to many of the same conclusions and practices.
“The idea of forest health is much more widely accepted now,” he said, adding something an environmentalist told him: “‘Stumps are OK but not if you can stand on them.’ The idea is, it’s OK to trim small-diameter trees.”
Further: “Active forest management can improve the situation out there on the lands. We can’t stop all forest fires, but we can reduce the size and intensity of some of them.”
Small-growth trees, shrubs and other renewable energy sources, called woody biomass, are part of the problem, O’Laughlin says. When they form dense undergrowth they become “ladder fuels” that propel fires on the ground up toward the crowns of trees. And that’s the crown of forest fire disaster.
But the woody biomass is also part of the solution, according to O’Laughlin.
“We need active management to trim those forests and reduce those ladder fuels,” he said, openly disagreeing with people who believe Mother Nature should be the sole manager of forestlands.
So what does active forest management look like? Three things, O’Laughlin said, with the added big bonus of reduced carbon emissions in the atmosphere.
1. Active management improves the forest conditions and makes them more resilient to fires. Yes, fires will still happen but with active management, they won’t be as big or as severe.
2. Active management creates valuable renewable energy resources — woody biomass. From an economic perspective as well as environmental, generating and using more biomass makes sense, he says. Fossil fuels, powering vehicles and many manufacturing plants, are dirty and expensive. By comparison, biomass is abundant, cheap and, properly managed, much more clean. O’Laughlin says 2 percent of U.S. energy today comes from the combustion of wood; Idaho taxpayers save about $2 million a year because UI heats the campus by burning sawmill residue.
3. Active management creates jobs: “It puts people to work,” O’Laughlin says. Those are powerful words anytime, but considering today’s economy, it’s particularly pertinent.
O’Laughlin calls those three points “triple win,” helping virtually everybody — and everything.
Recipes for success
Las Palmitas in downtown Coeur d’Alene and Casa de Oro with its high visibility on U.S. 95? Both bit the big, bad burrito.
Post Falls mainstay Hot Rod Cafe went away.
The beat goes on in the restaurant biz. Or is that the beatings?
Between appetite-killing economic downturns and, in North Idaho’s case, the cold abandonment of sorely needed visitors during the winter months, folks have bid farewell to some of their favorite eating establishments.
But spring is here and with it comes optimism — and perhaps a little more wisdom for those who have survived in an industry wholly dependent upon the unpredictable gastronomic urges of humans with disposable income and growling tummies.
How did they do it? What do they know that perhaps their competitors forgot? Is the mortality rate really that much higher for restaurants than other businesses? And how many of Jimmy’s amazing pecan rolls can a guy eat before a camera-weilding Morgan Spurlock chows down on Supersize Me, the Sequel?
Let’s take the easy question first.
Three. That’s our best guess at how many pecan rolls from Jimmy’s Down the Street a guy could consume in one sitting before film and ambulance crews came crashing through the door.
Next, research suggests that restaurants don’t necessarily face a fate more grim than do most other new businesses, despite what American Express claimed in a TV commercial nine years ago: “90 percent of restaurants fail in the first year of operation.” That “fact” and a buck or so can buy you a side of frijoles.
According to a May 17, 2011, Wall Street Journal story, the federal government gave out more guaranteed loans — by far — to full-service restaurants in the first decade of the 21st century than to any other industry. The second greatest beneficiary? Limited-service restaurants. The article suggests that restaurants get the biggest slices of the pie because there are so darn many of them. But back to that basic premise of an astronomical failure rate: Is it true?
“To be sure, plenty of restaurants shutter every year,” the article says. “But research seems to indicate that the number of closings isn’t stratospheric. Establishments in the leisure and hospitality sector have survival rates that are on par with other industries, according to a 2005 study from the Bureau of Labor Statistics.”
And of the 1,128 industries receiving SBA loans between Oct. 1, 2000, and Sept. 30, 2010, only 4.4 percent of full-service restaurant SBA loans were written off as a loss. By comparison, women’s clothing stores were written off at a 12 percent rate.
But those are just appetizers. Let’s get to the main meal.
What you want is a stool.
What you don’t want is a fool.
That’s how Jerald J. Jaeger, president and co-owner of Hagadone Hospitality Inc., summarizes the most important do’s and don’ts of surviving in the restaurant business.
“You need three fundamental things: Great food. Great service. Great value,” said Jaeger, who has managed 10 or more restaurants consecutively since 1971. “But you have to have all three. If you don’t, it’s like having one or two legs of a three-legged stool, and you’re going to fall over.”
Jaeger, managing director of 10 restaurants under Western Frontiers Inc. starting in 1971 and a dozen as head of Hagadone Hospitality today, said some people foolishly get into the restaurant business for the wrong reasons.
“‘I love food so I’m going to open a restaurant,’ or ‘my wife is a great cook so I’m going to open a restaurant’ are not good reasons to open a restaurant,” he said. When he’s asked the right way to go about it, Jaeger emphasizes the need to put in lots of time and effort, just as any good business plan requires.
One word of warning: Jaeger said restaurants are busiest when most people are at leisure.
“If you’re not willing to work weekends, holidays and on special occasions, it’s probably not the right business for you,” he said.
Hagadone Hospitality’s restaurants thrive, he said, because those three basics applied to all 12 restaurants meet the demands of locals and visitors alike. Acknowledging that “America travels on its stomach,” Jaeger said, “We’re blessed that, while visitors are very important to us, we have a strong local following. That’s part of the 12-month program” that sees HH restaurants through the much slower visitor months of October through April.
“These past couple, three years though have been a challenge for everybody,” he said. “Nobody could just do business as usual.”
Responding to the challenges, Hagadone Hospitality made important changes like adding a prime rib special at Cedars Floating Restaurant, an all-you-can-eat Sushi offering at Bonsai Bistro, and completely revamping Tito Macaroni’s with a new chef, new menu and extensive wine offering.
Michael DePasquale is grateful for a lot of things.
The high price of gas is not one of them.
Since his November 1998 opening of the popular Michael D’s Eatery near Sherman Avenue on Lakeshore Drive, Michael has risen with the tide of good times and suffered along with other local businesses — not just restaurants — during the bad times. But he’s always banked on one truth.
“It’s all about trust,” he said. “Trusting our loyal customers.”
Like others, great food and great service are keys to success, Michael believes. But he also says there is no way to guarantee survival in the dog-eat-dog world of restaurants. “There is no magic formula. There’s no one thing that does it,” he said.
When he’s looking at a glass half full, Michael says businesses all benefit from each others’ success. He give the Coeur d’Alene Resort big kudos, again not just for restaurants but for many other businesses that benefit from its magnetic ability to attract people with money to spend.
“When the Resort is full, the trickle-down effect is real and it’s community-wide,” he said. “I’m thankful for that.”
And when the Resort — sorry, the glass — is half empty?
“When the town is slow, we’re all hurting. We all share customer base. A common denominator is we all need local support.”
What’s making Michael uncomfortable lately is what gripes us all.
“I’m no genius, but if gas is an extra $20 a month, $50 a month, people have less money to spend on other things, like eating out,” he said. And the high price of gas creates an unsavory trickle-down effect itself, he added.
“People in general think restaurant owners purchase goods much cheaper than they can,” he said. But largely because of higher gas prices, he said, “We’re paying as much for our food as you are in the grocery store. I think that’s a big surprise to a lot of people.”
Jimmy’s Down the Street is, well, just down the street from Michael D’s. Both do breakfast and lunch with gusto but leave dinner up to others to provide. For Jimmy — that’s Jim Purtee — business could hardly be better. He reports that since he opened 30 months ago, sales have doubled.
“Three things,” he said, invoking Jaeger’s stool rule with only slightly different legs.
“Being involved with your customers out in the service area,” Jimmy said, is No. 1. He said customers “like to invite you to sit down and have a cup of coffee and talk with them.”
They like to see the owner, chat with him or her, feel like they have access to the boss. The antithesis to Rule No. 1? “If your head is buried under an exhaust hood in the kitchen,” he warned, customers will stay away in droves.
Jimmy also said of the restaurant business that it’s, well, a business. And owners with poor business brains lead to Rule No. 2.
“You must have a thorough understanding of food, paper and labor costs,” he said. “That’s two thirds of it. If you can’t manage those, you’ll have a hard time staying in business very long.”
Jimmy got his start in 1965 as a fry cook at a restaurant in San Jose, Calif. You might have heard of it: It’s called McDonald’s. Since then, he’s opened his own restaurants in Kansas, Texas and throughout the South. That enduring passion probably has something to do with a breakfast and lunch place doubling its business in two and a half tough years — and for Rule No. 3.
“You need to enjoy the business,” he said. “If it’s a drudgery, you need to get out.”
Chris Mueller got out.
He loved the business so he got out of one of Jerry Jaeger’s prized places and started his own.
After three years, Chris left Beverly’s as manager of the seventh floor Coeur d’Alene Resort icon and created Bistro on Spruce, bucking the odds by converting an old Chevy dealership into a nice restaurant well off the beaten tourist path. And his timing could not have been worse.
“I opened on Nov. 1, 2007,” he said, “the eve of economic doom.”
But you’ve survived and things have gone well lately, right?
“It’s Year 5 and we just work on fear and adrenaline,” he said.
That’s Chris. Customers love his self-deprecating style and his sense of humor, but he’ll tell you that he built a restaurant like he’d want to visit, and that’s why the “Open” sign is still facing out.
“I’d want to find the little mom and pop places, the quaint little place that has a real chef making real food,” he said. “The grassroots mom and pop businesses get it. People are more and more passionate about food and wine. They want to see it, feel it and taste it.”
The Food Channel has helped grow the nation’s appetite for better food and wine, he said. And so have the social media offerings that welcome customer reviews, particularly for travelers seeking a nice place to enjoy a meal and a bottle of wine. Chris said he’s amazed at how often guests tell him they found Bistro on Spruce by using Yelp or other similar services. But he also knows what he doesn’t want: Groupon users.
“There is a segment of the population that goes out to be miserable,” he said, adding that Groupon attracts some of them.
“They go out because they bought a cheap gift certificate and they have to use it,” he said. “That is not my business model.”
Asked to share other secrets for restaurant horror stories, Chris said some unfortunate souls fail because of “landlord issues,” but like Jaeger, he said more common is people getting into the business for all the wrong reasons. And one big killer is thinking it’s going to be easy.
“You open the doors, you cook the food, you take the money. Done,” he said of those who underestimate what it takes to survive, let alone succeed. Much of it, he said, comes down to basics like personnel and maintenance — wisdom passed along to him when he managed Luna on Spokane’s South Hill for eight years prior to joining Beverly’s. And of course, he has his own solution.
“I don’t expect to get rich. I just want to be happy,” he said. The key? “Hire people who are smarter than you and let ‘em work.”
This issue of North Idaho Business Journal is brought to you by the word “survival.”
Whether we’re talking about trees, businesses or human beings, that’s what we’re all after — to survive. And if you work hard and earn a little luck? Maybe you can even thrive.
We couldn’t help but be impressed by the men we interviewed who willingly entered the maelstrom known as the restaurant business — particularly in a town that depends so heavily on visitors and the unappetizing but most assured prospects of occasional economic slumps. These guys might operate somewhat differently, cater to slightly different tastes, but they all have one distinct feature in common: They understand how dependent they are upon local customers like you, and they’re grateful for your business.
We branched out from the restaurant biz to take something of an ecological tour through a topic near and dear to many a North Idaho heart: trees. You already knew that harvesting them, as Brad Corkill and his team at Whiteman Lumber have for years, is a sound economic practice. But were you aware that thinning forests of dangerous “ladder fuels” aids not only man’s survival, but the forests’ as well? One of the ways it helps man is by reducing the volume of carbon dioxide that’s released into the atmosphere when the inevitable forest fire blows up. University of Idaho forestry expert Dr. Jay O’Laughlin converts the notion of environmental friendliness to economic fortune. All that woody junk that forest managers clean up can provide valuable, inexpensive energy for millions of Americans.
Going green, then, is an underlying theme of this issue, not just because it seems like the right thing to do but because it also can save you money. “Green” equals big business — good business that might even help you thrive.
It’s been almost 40 years, and Everson’s Jewelry has undergone a major remodel-redecorate at 310 Sherman Ave. The work included all new painting, lighting, carpeting, flooring, signage, rearranging and a sit-down “engagement center” for custom designing and ordering.
These folks have a wealth of experience in their field. Brothers Ken and Clair Everson started the business in 1946 at 109 N. Fourth St. and moved to 301 Sherman (now Wells Fargo) in 1966 and to the present site in 1973. Ken’s sons Gary and Bill now run the store with their sons Jim and Brent assisting.
The remodel will be celebrated this coming weekend with a precious metal dealer offering premium prices for old jewelry, coins and quality metal items and enticements of refreshments and jewelry cleaner. Regular hours are 8:30 a.m. to 5:30 weekdays and 8:30 to 5 Saturdays. Phone 664-5093. Check www.eversonsjewelry.com and Facebook.
Cafe Rio opens Wednesday
Mexican food made from scratch daily is the specialty of Cafe Rio opening Wednesday at 560 W. Kathleen Ave. in the northeast corner of the Fred Meyer complex.
The restaurant offers dine-in and take-out with ordering at the counter. The company started in 1997 and has 46 restaurants in Western states and its headquarters in Salt Lake City.
The Coeur d’Alene place will have 60 to 70 employees. Hours are 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. Monday through Thursday and 10:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. on weekends. Check www.caferio.com.
Daisy J’s moves in Plaza Shops
Daisy J’s has moved from the northwest corner location in the Plaza Shops to an interior space next to Mary Janes Farm Store. Jennifer Rea’s five-year-old store offers home furnishings and decor, kitchenware, candles, bath and body potions and gifts.
Hours are 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sundays and Mondays. Phone 765-3300. Checkwww.daisyjs.com.
Watch this space for news of Figpickles Toy Emporium moving to the former Daisy J’s space.
Ulta coming to Border’s space
Details will be forthcoming, but a makeup and fragrance store called Ulta will be moving in June into the large space that formerly was Border’s Books in the northwest corner of Highway 95 and Wilbur Avenue.
Starting in 1990, Ulta has 450 stores in 43 states. Its headquarters is fittingly in Romeoville, Ill. Check www.ulta.com.
Hang on for these tidbits:
• Watch in the next few weeks for details on at least four new restaurants.
• And a new realty office will be coming to downtown.
• A couple of fixes on items from last week: The correct website for Taryn Thompson Photography is taryntphotography.com. And the local phone number for Sweetwater Bakery is 262-4249. Although the company is primarily wholesale, Tom and Sandy Vas Dias say retail orders may be phoned in.
• Tony’s on the Lake reopens this Friday with a remodeled kitchen, new deck, lighting and fireplace and a rebuilt dock. The bar opens at 4 p.m. and dinners at 5 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday. Phone 667-9885. Check www.tonysonthelake.com. The D’Alessandro family has had the Italian restaurant for nine years.
• Giraffiti is vandalism spray-painted very high.
• Style note: Except for post office addresses, never abbreviate Alaska, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Maine, Ohio, Texas and Utah.
• Contact Nils Rosdahl at email@example.com.
COEUR d’ALENE - The door swings open at Franklin’s, and a man walks in.
Before he sits down, Evelyn Bevacqua tosses out a welcome.
“Hi Rick. How you doing?”
He nods and takes seat in a booth near the front door. Bevacqua, without asking, places an order for this guest.
Tea, tomatoes, potatoes.
“People come in, we know their names, we know what they want,” she said. “I don’t even have to ask what they want.”
Bevacqua is co-owner of the small diner at 501 N. Fourth. She bought it about a year and half ago with a “silent partner.” She’s the face of the operation, the one who arrives at 6:30 a.m., who greets guests, who at times handles the cooking, the waiting on tables and the dishwashing – sometimes all at once.
She knows the stories of her customers, too.
“What’s that show, ‘Cheers?’” she asks. “It’s kind of like that. But it’s not a bar.”
There is an easy, running banter between Bevacqua and the breakfast crowd. There’s back-and-forth kidding. It’s a laughing, happy place, she says. It’s not where you come for serious conversation. You won’t find heated political debates here about health care, presidential candidates and ultrasounds.
Bevacqua loves friendly chatter with customers, finding out what’s happening in their lives – at least so she has some ammunition for some good-natured teasing.
“I just like to give them a bad time, and they give it back,” she said. “That’s what they want.”
Like Henry Lane.
The Coeur d’Alene man visits a few times a week, usually for potatoes and gravy. He likes the camaraderie, the good people, the good fun.
“It’s like ‘Cheers.’ They know your name,” he said.
He referred to Franklin’s as a “nice little hometown restaurant.” And Bevacqua, he said, “is a straight shooter.
“We’re just customers, but she invited us to stay at her father’s house in Switzerland,” he said, smiling.
Franklin’s has been around for 30 years after being started in 1981 by Larry and Pauline Anderson. Larry, who passed away Feb. 14, 2011, at the age of 67, was known for his love of old cars, his culinary skills and for ribbing visitors.
Bevacqua didn’t change much when she came in. Some new paint, a little shuffling, expanded hours. There are new pictures, too, of Bevacqua’s family, her parents in Switzerland, her grandfather, and son Mitch, a three-sport, star athlete at Lake City High School.
The first dollar she earned at Franklin’s on Sept. 3, 2010, is proudly framed and displayed.
But otherwise, it’s the same menu, the same recipes, many of the same pictures of Anderson and classic cars, and the same amicable atmosphere.
“This place is not a fancy place,” she said. “The food is simple, but it’s good, it’s homemade.”
Lunch and dinner favorites include Philly cheesesteak for $6.95, pepper steak for $7.95, and the cheeseburger for $6.50.
Breakfast offerings include eggs benedict for $7.95, a Denver omelet at $7.50 and the burrito at $6.95.
There’s beer and wine, too, and the bottomless coffee runs $1.50. Half-orders and splits are just fine, Bevacqua said.
But no fries. Orders come with potato chips and a pickle.
“I’m glad I do not have a fryer. I don’t even want one,” she said, chuckling.
Bevacqua has a varied business background.
She has worked in advertising. She has owned coffee and hot dog stands. She was at a title company when she was laid off a few years back, and began looking for opportunities again in the restaurant field.
Franklin’s, a few blocks from the heart of downtown, was the right fit.
Bevacqua, who also works a second job in sales, oversees a staff of five part-timers. Most days, there’s a cook and a waitress. Some days, it’s just a one-woman operation.
Franklin’s serves between 75-100 a day and business is growing. Sales were up 60 percent in January and February, compared to the same two months last year. More college students are stopping in for an affordable meal in a cozy environment.
She believes word is getting out about the eatery’s service, food and expanded hours, 7-8 Monday through Friday, and 8-3 Saturday and Sunday. Drivers who used to pass by are now stopping in. Nearby residents are walking a few blocks for “something a little different.”
“I’m very hopeful,” she said.
Thanks to people like Jack Tibbitts.
The Coeur d’Alene man has been coming to Franklin’s for more than 20 years.
“I have no other place to go,” he said, laughing.
“Sometimes, it’s hard to get service around here,” he added with a smile.
Seriously, though, he keeps coming back for one big reason.
“It’s like home here.”
POST FALLS – Jeffery Sayer smells opportunity in the air for Idaho.
As in the aviation industry.
Sayer, appointed director of the Idaho Department of Commerce last fall, said he’s confident that “emerging clusters” such as the aviation, research, biotechnology and recreation technology sectors will help pull the state out of the recession.
“(Aviation) is one of my favorites,” Sayer told 110 people attending Tuesday’s Post Falls Chamber of Commerce lunch at Red Lion Templin’s Hotel. “We have a sector that most of us are unaware of.”
Sayer applauded North Idaho for already taking off on aerospace, having been a thrust behind recently-formed Idaho Aerospace Alliance.
Aviation tours and meetings, including at Empire Airlines in Hayden on Monday and at the alliance’s meeting this morning in Post Falls, are part of Sayer’s trip through North Idaho this week.
Sayer described the recreation technology industry as “anything under a Cabela’s roof.”
He said CNN recently called him after it learned Idaho was among the nation’s leaders in manufacturing to climb out of tough times.
Prior to becoming commerce director, Sayer had no state government experience, but spent 20 years building, leading and expanding companies. He had been a managing partner of Novayx Group, a business consultancy, and previously was president and chief financial officer for Mountain View Hospital in Idaho Falls.
“We at the Department of Commerce have set a new standard – run at the speed of business,” he said. “Everything we’re doing is geared toward that goal. We’re doing everything we can to make sure that you as a business owner are successful.”
Sayer said that, as much as the agency wants to focus on attracting new business and on exports, protecting and retaining existing ones is the top priority.
“Our fastest source for new jobs will come from growing our existing companies,” he said.
He said the long-term foundation will be made by creating a low-cost environment for firms, workforce development and upgrading infrastructure.
Sayer said the state will need to think of it as “one big small town” and come together as “Team Idaho” to reach new heights.
“We can lead the nation if we want to,” he said.
Sayer said the Legislature’s recent passage of the $5 million Idaho Global Entrepreneurial Mission (IGEM) will strengthen the research partnership between the Idaho National Laboratory, the Center for Advanced Energy Studies, the University of Idaho, Boise State University and Idaho State University.
“IGEM will be a platform to get into the marketplace,” he said.
Sayer said the film industry has been looked at as a possible avenue for Idaho, but there are challenges.
“The film industry wants 30 percent of the production costs returned in tax credits,” he said. “Some believe it can be really successful here, but the underneath economics of it is really tough.”
MADISON, Wis. - Apple’s latest iPad drew the customary lines of die-hard fans looking to be first and entrepreneurs looking to make a quick profit.
Many buyers lined up for hours, and in some cases overnight, as the tablet computer went on sale in the U.S. and nine other countries. They did so even though Apple started accepting online orders a week ago.
The new model comes with a faster processor, a much sharper screen and an improved camera, though the changes aren’t as big as the upgrade from the original model to the iPad 2.
As with the previous models, prices start at $499 in the U.S.
“I don’t think it’s worth the price but I guess I’m a victim of society,” Athena May, 21, said in Paris.
Dan Krolikowski, 34, was first in line at a Madison, Wis., mall. He arrived 14 hours before the store’s opening and was buying an extra one to sell on the “gray market.”
“Last year I sold one on eBay and made over $500 in profit,” Krolikowski said, leaning back in a reclining lawn chair he brought. “I’m hoping to do that again this year.”
Those who ordered iPads online started getting them delivered Friday. However, Apple now says there’s a two- to three-week shipping delay for online orders. There’s also demand in countries where the new iPad isn’t available yet.
In Hong Kong, a steady stream of buyers picked up their new devices at preset times at the city’s sole Apple store after entering an online lottery.
The system, which required buyers to have local ID cards, helped thwart visitors from mainland China, Apple’s fastest growing market. A release date in China has not yet been announced. Apple will begin selling the iPad in 25 additional countries next Friday, mostly in Europe.
At the flagship Apple Store on New York’s Fifth Avenue, the composition of the line, and the way many customers were paying for two iPads each with wads of cash, suggested that many of the tablets were destined to be resold abroad.
The gadget also drew entrepreneurs of a dubious nature. In Orlando, Fla., authorities arrested a Best Buy employee and a former worker early Thursday on accusations they schemed to rob a store at gunpoint and steal more than $1 million in iPads and other Apple products, according to the Orlando Sentinel.
About 450 people lined up outside Apple’s Ginza store in downtown Tokyo. Some had spent the night sleeping outside the store.
Dipak Varsani, 21, got in line in London at 1 a.m. Thursday local time and said he was drawn by the new device’s better screen.
“You’ve got clearer movies and clearer games,” he said. “I use it as a multimedia device.”
Despite competition from cheaper tablet computers such as Amazon.com Inc.’s Kindle Fire, the iPad remains the most popular tablet computer. Apple Inc. has sold more than 55 million iPads since its debut in 2010.
Apple says the iPad is propelling us into a “post-PC era,” with computers that work very differently from the traditional laptops and desktops.
Two years after the debut of the first iPad, the device’s launch has become the second-biggest “gadget event” of the year, after the annual iPhone release. In Atlanta, one kid in line carried a sign that read “Happy iDay!”
Many said they lined up for the atmosphere, rather than ordering online.
“Sure, it’s a marketing ploy, but I still love the experience,” said Pam Johnson, 58, a Portage, Wis., writer who traveled about an hour to the Madison store. “You have great conversations. You learn a lot. You don’t get that when you just sit at home and wait for it to be delivered to your doorstep.”
COEUR d’ALENE – A shareholder has filed a lawsuit in 1st District Court in Coeur d’Alene on behalf of Hecla Mining Co. against senior officers of the company and members of its board of directors.
The lawsuit says the officers and board members did “substantial harm” to the Coeur d’Alene-based company by issuing materially false and misleading statements about Hecla’s operations, projected silver production and financial results. It also accuses them of wasting corporate assets and unjustly enriching themselves.
The lawsuit, filed Friday, names Jeff Murguia as the plaintiff shareholder. His attorney, Marc Henzel, in Merion Station, Pa., declined to comment on Tuesday.
James Sabala, Hecla’s senior vice president and chief financial officer, said several of these lawsuits have been filed as expected on the coattails of a larger suit.
Last month, Hecla shareholders sued the company in U.S. District Court in Idaho for stock losses.
The Murguia suit said statements made by company officers in public statements caused the company’s stock price to trade at “artificially inflated prices,” reaching a high of $11.34 a share on Dec. 29, 2010.
Then Hecla had a rough year last year with three major accidents at the Lucky Friday silver mine in Mullan. The mine is closed while Hecla cleans the main access shaft at Lucky Friday to remove accumulated sand and cement from the walls of the shaft for safety reasons. It’s not expected to re-open until next year.
The closure prompted Hecla to reduce its estimated silver production for 2012 from more than 9 million ounces to about 7 million ounces, all from its remaining Green’s Creek mine operation in Alaska.
Hecla’s share price dropped after the closure of Lucky Friday.
The lawsuit said Hecla officers allowed the company to “conceal harsh truths from the investing public.”
It said the company lacked a sufficient basis for overly optimistic and positive statements made publicly.
Officers should have disclosed the company wasn’t in safety compliance with regulations at Lucky Friday, the suit said. And the company allowed the sand and gravel material to build up in the shaft, creating a safety hazard.
The material leaked from pipes running along the walls of the shaft, hardened to the walls, and chunks could break off and fall and injure miners or equipment. Federal regulators want the material cleaned before the shaft is re-opened.
The lawsuit criticized a December announcement by Hecla that production could resume in February, which turned out to be overly optimistic. Shortly after the announcement, Hecla revealed it would be a year before production resumed.
Lucky Friday has been shuttered since mid-December, when a rock burst injured seven miners. Two miners died in two other unrelated accidents in 2011 at the mine.
Federal inspectors said company safety failures led to the death of one of the miners.
Among other officers, the lawsuit names Hecla CEO and President Phil Baker, Sabala, and George Nethercutt, who is chairman of the compensation committee and a member of the corporate governance committee.
The suit said Baker reaped nearly $2 million in insider-trading proceeds, by selling 246,000 shares of his Hecla stock at “artificially inflated prices” in a transaction in November 2010.
It said Sabala reaped nearly $1.1 million in similar proceeds, selling more than 124,000 shares of Hecla stock in transactions in November 2010 and March 2011.
POST FALLS - Twyla Petersen and Stevie Reynolds graduated from rival Rathdrum Prairie high schools and they’re a generation apart, but they make great business partners.
The two recently opened Flirt Salon at 306 N. Spokane St., Unit J, in Post Falls after meeting each other at the Paul Mitchell school in Spokane Valley.
“We like to tease each other (around Prairie Pig time),” Petersen said.
Reynolds, 21, graduated from Post Falls High and Petersen, 38, from Lakeland, so they wear their schools’ colors during the sports events pitting both schools.
Most of their clientele are alumni from the schools, Petersen said.
“The community has been really good to us,” she said.
Petersen said Reynolds and her have different strengths, which makes for a strong business combination. The two hope to fill two more stations this spring.
Flirt’s focus is on hair – they offer cuts and colors to women, men and children – and makeup.
“We want everyone to feel flirty when they leave here and ready to take on their day,” Petersen said.
She said the two try to create a relaxed atmosphere in which customers don’t feel rushed out the door.
“Some come in 10 to 15 minutes early just to visit,” she said. “It’s like a second home.”
Haircuts cost $10 for kids, $15 for men and $20 for women. Colors range from $40 to $80.
“We know the economy has taken a toll on everyone,” Petersen said, referring to the reasonable prices. “If people have to cut back on their luxury expenses, that’s us. Stevie has said, ‘Beauty doesn’t have to cost a fortune.’”
Petersen said the business has tried to give back to the community by supporting fundraisers.
“We learned at Paul Mitchell that it’s not just about working and making a paycheck,” she said. “It’s also about making a difference in the community.”
Flirt is open Tuesday through Saturday and closed on Sundays and Mondays. Walk-ins are accepted every day.
For more information or to make an appointment, call 262-8125.
RATHDRUM – People hold on to a love for the classics, Robert Farrell has noticed, and not just with books and cars.
Video games, too.
“The older generation, they like to be able to play the older games they grew up with, that normally they can’t find,” Farrell said.
Well, the older generation of video game players, at least.
That’s why the products in Farrell’s new Rathdrum business, Video Game Entertainment, include not only the flashy new game consoles seen on effervescent commercials, but every other game system that has been produced since Nintendo became a household name.
That includes Sega, Atari, Super Nintendo, Nintendo 64 and the original Nintendo.
And all the games that go with them. Like racing games, for instance, and the entire chronicle of Mario’s escapades.
“Parents like to have the cartridge games and the PS2 (PlayStation 2) games, because they originally bought (the older systems) for their older children and then pass them on to their younger children,” Farrell said. “Being able to find games for that is impossible, so having this around for them is quite a relief.”
Customers can buy, sell or trade products at Farrell’s business at 15580 N. Vera St., which opened on Feb. 15.
The store also repairs old game systems, Farrell said.
The entrepreneur, who had to shut down his original video game store in Newport, Wash., after his twins were born, chose to reopen it in his town of residence.
He admitted it’s a bold venture, opening a new business in the midst of a dour economy.
Farrell sees it as an investment that will hopefully send his six kids – all currently under 8 years old – to college, he said. He works another job at Center Partners in the morning, which is helping fund his enterprise.
“It isn’t something that I’m going to get rich at,” he conceded of his video game store. “This is something that is going to provide a decent livelihood that I can control, so as long as they keep making systems and making games, I will always be in business.”
Farrell doesn’t have much time for video games himself, he said. But he tries to play maybe an hour or so a day as quality time with his family.
His customers say they are drawn to video games for the graphics, the music and the story lines the games offer, he noted.
“Their minds are so busy all the time, they need something that is constantly stimulating them,” he said.
Older consoles at Video Game Entertainment start around $50, he said. Newer systems like the Wii and PlayStation 3 range roughly from $160 to $300.
Games start at $1.99 and go up from there, depending on their age and rarity.
The store is open from 2-7 p.m. on Mondays through Thursdays; from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Fridays and Saturdays; and from noon to 7 p.m. on Sundays.
Farrell hopes that if the store is successful, he can open a chain of stores across the county, he added.
“It’s a really good opportunity for us to support our community,” he said.