Observer 9/18/2015 : Page 1

Saugatuck Township Reaches Out-Of-Court Settlement With Fleming Bros. Page 3 Douglas City Councils Reconsiders Changes To Accessory Building Ordinance; Sent Back To PC Page 3 Presorted Standard U.S. Postage Paid Saugatuck MI Permit No. 30 CURRENT RESIDENT THE LOCAL OBSERVER WE BRING YOU THE NEWS SERVING September 18, 2015 Vol. 13 No. 36 FREE SAUGATUCK * DOUGLAS * SAUGATUCK TOWNSHIP * LAKETOWN TOWNSHIP * FENNVILLE * GLENN * GANGES TOWNSHIP * HAMILTON * HOLLAND * SOUTH HAVEN Final “BUSINESS FIRST” Column Jim Petzing President Saugatuck-Douglas Area Business Association (SDABA) This will be my final BUSINESS FIRST column. Thank you, Mike Gallagher, for giving me the forum to express my views, concerns, and ideas about the busi-ness climate here in Saugatuck-Douglas. As many of you know, I’m a candidate for Douglas City Council. Since the election is quickly approaching (November 3), I have decided to step down as president of SDABA and focus on my campaign. I informed the SDABA Board of my plans in early August, at our monthly meeting, and officially resigned last week at the September meeting (effective October 1). It has been an honor and privilege to lead the organization over the past 16 months, but it’s time for someone else to step up and take over the reins. We’ve accomplished a lot and Elizabeth Burns, our Marketing & Member Services Manager, deserves much of the credit. She has done an outstanding job for us during her 19-month tenure. Her passion is contagious and she truly tries to make a difference. I wish more people were like her. Our board needs more peo-ple like her. We are looking for folks who want to put in the time and energy necessary to make a mark. If that’s you, please contact Elizabeth (elizabeth@saugatuckdouglas.com). We’d love to hear from you! I’d like to give a shout out to all of my loyal readers and fans over the past five months. Your ongoing support via emails, letters, phone calls, and one-on-one conversation has been very much appreciated. You had my back while I put myself out there. I had the courage to attach my name to every-thing I wrote, while others in this community have hid behind anony-mous silliness. My purpose all along was to identify issues and opportunities affecting our members’ businesses, especially those that folks have been thinking and talking about privately “behind closed doors", but afraid to express publicly. I hope I represented you well. To my “haters”, you can party on the street now. I know the truth has been tough for you to han-dle, but you don’t have to listen to it anymore…at least not in this col-umn. Whether you want to believe it our not, our business community is at risk. I’ve presented my case over and over again in this column. It doesn’t need a complete re-hashing. However, I beg to differ with Felicia Fairchild, executive direc-tor of the Saugatuck-Douglas Convention & Visitors Bureau, and our respective city councils, who think “business has never been better!” Saugatuck may have had more traffic this summer than ever before, but it wasn’t the right demo-graphic and they weren’t spending significant dollars in many of our stores. As for Douglas, on most weekdays we could have installed a "slip and slide" down the middle of Center Street and no one would have noticed. After six years, there is still large commercial space (Center Street Bistro) downtown sitting unoccu-pied. Haworth and Kalico Kitchen on Blue Star Highway continue to be eyesores. And, the Douglas Professional Building (Wiley & Blue Star) is mostly vacant. It has become crystal clear to me that our beautiful Saugatuck-Douglas is severely under-leveraged. There is so much upside potential for us to become a 365-day, year-round community, but ongoing complacency and resting on our lau-rels as a 100-day-a-year tourist desti-nation has taken precedent. Factor in bad weather (cold and rainy June and cool August days at 57 degrees), and we really only have an 80-day season. A recent article by Evan Soltas of VoxMedia, titled “Americans are taking fewer vacations than they use to”, states that nine million Americans took a week off in July 1976, the peak month each year for summer travel. Yet in July 2014, just seven million did...a 22% decrease. But keep in mind that 60 million more Americans have jobs today than in 1976, which adds up to a HUGE decline in the share of workers taking vacations. In fact, about 80 percent of workers used to take an annual week-long vacation— and now just 56 percent do. So, I ask you, with this trend staring us in the face, are we going to continue to put all of our eggs in the risky tourism basket and have a blind eye to reality? I certainly hope NOT! We won’t survive. We must have a vision and strategic plan for future growth, otherwise our businesses will not be able to sustain themselves over the long term. I hope that through my past 18 columns, I’ve shed some light on this critical issue and that the people “in power” take notice and do some-thing about it. Just remember that the def-inition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting bigger, better results, and convincing oneself along the way that everything is okay...when it isn’t. Come on now, we’re so much better than this! It’s time to get a grip before it’s too late. Local Observer Making It Easier To Advertise, Get Terrific Ad Rates In an ongoing effort to make it easier for advertisers to find out more about our low rates, special discount ad package deals and more from our various print, email & text advertising businesses, the parent company of The Local Observer -Perspective Media Corp. -will now provide a 24/7 telephone number so you can immediately reach one of our operators so we may serve you better and more quickly. All you have to do is call (269) 244-3744 -and our operators will quickly link you to the person who is best able to answer all your advertising questions. We can immediately email, text or fax you all our advertising rate sheets, answer your questions and give you the best advertising deals in all of West Michigan. CALL: (269) 244-3744

Final “Business First” Column

Jim Petzing <br /> <br /> President <br /> <br /> Saugatuck-Douglas Area Business Association (SDABA)<br /> <br /> This will be my final BUSINESS FIRST column. Thank you, Mike Gallagher, for giving me the forum to express my views, concerns, and ideas about the business climate here in Saugatuck- Douglas.<br /> <br /> As many of you know, I’m a candidate for Douglas City Council. Since the election is quickly approaching (November 3), I have decided to step down as president of SDABA and focus on my campaign.<br /> <br /> I informed the SDABA Board of my plans in early August, at our monthly meeting, and officially resigned last week at the September meeting (effective October 1).<br /> <br /> It has been an honor and privilege to lead the organization over the past 16 months, but it’s time for someone else to step up and take over the reins.<br /> <br /> We’ve accomplished a lot and Elizabeth Burns, our Marketing &amp; Member Services Manager, deserves much of the credit. She has done an outstanding job for us during her 19-month tenure.<br /> <br /> Her passion is contagious and she truly tries to make a difference. I wish more people were like her.<br /> <br /> Our board needs more people like her. We are looking for folks who want to put in the time and energy necessary to make a mark. If that’s you, please contact Elizabeth (elizabeth@saugatuckdouglas.com). We’d love to hear from you!<br /> <br /> I’d like to give a shout out to all of my loyal readers and fans over the past five months. Your ongoing support via emails, letters, phone calls, and one-on-one conversation has been very much appreciated.<br /> <br /> You had my back while I put myself out there. I had the courage to attach my name to everything I wrote, while others in this community have hid behind anonymous silliness.<br /> <br /> My purpose all along was to identify issues and opportunities affecting our members’ businesses, especially those that folks have been thinking and talking about privately “behind closed doors&quot;, but afraid to express publicly. I hope I represented you well.<br /> <br /> To my “haters”, you can party on the street now. I know the truth has been tough for you to handle, but you don’t have to listen to it anymore…at least not in this column.<br /> <br /> Whether you want to believe it our not, our business community is at risk. I’ve presented my case over and over again in this column. It doesn’t need a complete re-hashing.<br /> <br /> However, I beg to differ with Felicia Fairchild, executive director of the Saugatuck-Douglas Convention &amp; Visitors Bureau, and our respective city councils, who think “business has never been better!” <br /> <br /> Saugatuck may have had more traffic this summer than ever before, but it wasn’t the right demographic and they weren’t spending significant dollars in many of our stores.<br /> <br /> As for Douglas, on most weekdays we could have installed a &quot;slip and slide&quot; down the middle of Center Street and no one would have noticed.<br /> <br /> After six years, there is still large commercial space (Center Street Bistro) downtown sitting unoccupied. Haworth and Kalico Kitchen on Blue Star Highway continue to be eyesores. And, the Douglas Professional Building (Wiley &amp; Blue Star) is mostly vacant.<br /> <br /> It has become crystal clear to me that our beautiful Saugatuck- Douglas is severely under-leveraged.<br /> <br /> There is so much upside potential for us to become a 365-day, year-round community, but ongoing complacency and resting on our laurels as a 100-day-a-year tourist destination has taken precedent.<br /> <br /> Factor in bad weather (cold and rainy June and cool August days at 57 degrees), and we really only have an 80-day season.<br /> <br /> A recent article by Evan Soltas of VoxMedia, titled “Americans are taking fewer vacations than they use to”, states that nine million Americans took a week off in July 1976, the peak month each year for summer travel. Yet in July 2014, just seven million did...a 22% decrease.<br /> <br /> But keep in mind that 60 million more Americans have jobs today than in 1976, which adds up to a HUGE decline in the share of workers taking vacations. In fact, about 80 percent of workers used to take an annual week-long vacation— and now just 56 percent do.<br /> <br /> So, I ask you, with this trend staring us in the face, are we going to continue to put all of our eggs in the risky tourism basket and have a blind eye to reality? I certainly hope NOT! We won’t survive. We must have a vision and strategic plan for future growth, otherwise our businesses will not be able to sustain themselves over the long term.<br /> <br /> I hope that through my past 18 columns, I’ve shed some light on this critical issue and that the people “in power” take notice and do something about it.<br /> <br /> Just remember that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting bigger, better results, and convincing oneself along the way that everything is okay...when it isn’t.<br /> <br /> Come on now, we’re so much better than this!<br /> <br /> It’s time to get a grip before it’s too late.<br />

Read the full article at http://digital.zoompubs.com/article/Final+%E2%80%9CBusiness+First%E2%80%9D+Column/2271615/273023/article.html.

Local Observer Making It Easier To Advertise, Get Terrific Ad Rates

In an ongoing effort to make it easier for advertisers to find out more about our low rates, special discount ad package deals and more from our various print, email &amp; text advertising businesses, the parent company of The Local Observer - Perspective Media Corp. - will now provide a 24/7 telephone number so you can immediately reach one of our operators so we may serve you better and more quickly.<br /> <br /> All you have to do is call (269) 244-3744 - and our operators will quickly link you to the person who is best able to answer all your advertising questions. We can immediately email, text or fax you all our advertising rate sheets, answer your questions and give you the best advertising deals in all of West Michigan.<br /> <br /> CALL: (269) 244-3744<br />

Read the full article at http://digital.zoompubs.com/article/Local+Observer+Making+It+Easier+To+Advertise%2C+Get+Terrific+Ad+Rates/2271616/273023/article.html.

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