“Instead of finding a big ticket location, Sperity listened to my needs and found what I was looking for. I was never waiting on them for anything. They handled both parts of the transaction, which was incredible,” Doug said. “I was able to sit back and let them run with it.”
As you may have noticed, we have Cafe Gutenberg for sale (see the big “Cafe Gutenberg – FOR SALE” in the menu above, or just click here). It’s a little bit of a different situation than normal, since usually these matters are highly confidential and even to find out the name and address of one of our business listings you would have to go through a screening process and commit to a Non-Disclosure Agreement.
In this case, the owners had decided to be upfront with their staff and even agreed to do an interview with Style Weekly about their decision to sell. Unfortunately, the article published didn’t accurately portray how the owners of Cafe Gutenberg feel about Shockoe Bottom or what they said about their reasons for selling the business.
Jason Guard, aka @rvafoodie, has given Chef Jen Mindell a chance to tell her side of the story as to why she and her partner are selling the business and to provide some background on how the past few years have been in Shockoe Bottom. Check out her guest post on Jason’s blog, Caramelized Opinions.
The issue of a residential tenant deciding to get a pet in the middle of a current lease term doesn’t come up nearly as much as you would expect, but every so often it does. In most cases we do require a pet deposit to cover any damages that the pet may do to the property.
Legal technicalities aside, the landlord has a good practical argument for retaining the whole deposit [until the end of the lease]. The increased deposit was intended to provide coverage for any damage the dog might do. The landlord may not know about any such damage until you move out, even though the dog is long gone.
The above quote is from a post on Inman News in a Q&A column that I thought was worth sharing here (click the link to see the rest of the article).
Not only is the post a good primer on the ins-and-outs of security deposits, but also on the general nature of leases and how changes to an existing lease should be handled. This is important information to understand for both landlords and tenants. Basically, lease terms can’t just be changed at the whim of one party (duh!) — while that seems like it should be taken for granted, you would be surprised how often we have to explain that in the normal course of business.
Last Tuesday was “An Evening at Morton’s”, where a select group of individuals involved in Richmond’s restaurant community were brought together to discuss Richmond’s food culture. You can see my write-up and some useful links here.
I wanted to be sure you were aware of a few more resources that are especially useful if you weren’t able to follow along that night:
- All of the participants answered some introductory questions before the panel, and the answers can be found here.
- The live blog and questions from participants online were recorded and can be read in their entirety here.
- Here is the NBC12 coverage of the event, and there is a video on that same page of the coverage. The part of the report focused on the Steak Chat starts about halfway through the video.
I would love to hear what you thought of the discussion, and any insights you may have to share that didn’t get covered that night. There was a lot to cover, and we could have gone on for hours — so there are definitely topics that didn’t get fully discussed.
I’ve followed the ongoing series “An Evening at Morton’s” since it started off the year with a discussion on the Young Professional Business Climate, so I know that this is an exciting group and they have spun off some great discussions already.
Rather than rehash what has been said previously, I encourage you to read what Richmond.com has to say about the format of the evening and how you can participate. (nudge: go here)
[Okay, I lied. I am going to rehash just a little bit.] The masterminds behind the evening pick a topic, get experts together around a table at Morton’s Steakhouse down in Shockoe Slip, have a moderator facilitate the discussion, live blog & live tweet it, take questions and interactions with folks following along at home, record it, and release follow up posts wrapping up what was learned from the evening.
Thus is born #steakchatrva, or the long version, An Evening at Morton’s.
The topic on the table this month is Richmond’s Food Culture, which is a topic that is very near to my heart (and wallet, considering that most of what I do as a Commercial Realtor and Business Broker has to do with restaurants). I had heard of the topic and suggested some folks and angles on the topic to make things interesting. It hadn’t occurred to me that I might be asked to be at the table, so I was honored and excited to get the call.
We have a great panel for tonight’s discussion (taken straight from Richmond.com’s article on the evening):
- Brandon Fox (@bpfox), Richmond Magazine Dining Columnist & RHome Managing Editor
- Andy Howell, Cafe Rustica owner and chef
- Nathan Hughes (@rvabusiness) Bandazian & Holden VP & Sales Manager
- Karri Peifer (@KarriPeifer), Richmond.com food writer & editor
- Randy O’Dell (@Bellytimber), co-owner Bellytimber & Mezzanine
- Heather Sullivan, NBC 12 co-anchor NBC12 News Today & “Restaurant Report“
- Deveron Timberlake, Style Weekly food and drink editor
- Michelle Williams, deLux, Europa, The Hard Shell, Water Grill, The Hill Cafe chef / owner
While there are lots of people that could be included in the discussion, as evidenced by the larger than normal panel this month, there is only but so much space at the table. It is always important to note that while we are representatives of the community, we are not the end-all to the topic and need the rest of the community to step up and participate. We don’t want to lose the other voices that are equally important in the discussion.
So here is how you can participate:
- Follow the conversation on Twitter by clicking here to see everything that is tagged with #steakchatrva, and use the hashtag #steakchat to appear in that stream to participate on Twitter.
- Go to Richmond.com here and scroll down for the input form anytime before the event tonight to set a reminder.
- Watch the live blogging here starting at 6:30pm tonight, October 19th, to see the discussion unfold.
What do you think we should be talking about? Have anything you would like to share? Feel free to leave a comment or two here, if the urge should strike you. Just keep in mind that I won’t be checking the blog once the discussion is underway, so chime in on the other channels listed above to have your voice heard after 6:30pm tonight!
I posted last January about the pending closing of Bogart's at 203 North Lombardy Street. Since then, a new location was chosen and the construction on the new space began.
Check out this update on the status of the build-out at Cary & Granby Streets for the relocation of Bogart's in the Fan — via RVAjazz: "A drive by Bogart's" (a thorough update, too!)
Per the blog posting, the new Bogart's is on track to open "no later than" January 20th. If anyone has information, please share!
Personal Chef To Go is local Richmond business that provides prepared gourmet meals by delivery. PCTG offers a variety of fresh, healthy meal options (see a sample of their current menu here). From their own site:
Pacific Rim. Made from all natural ingredients with no
preservatives or additives. 100% trans fat free.
Always fresh, never frozen, entrees are rush shipped via
Fed-Ex to your doorstep in oven and microwave safe containers
that lock in flavor and guarantee freshness for an entire week!"
But don't take it from them, and don't take it from me — take it from Chris Brogan! See his blog post here.
(Out of full disclosure, PCTG is a client of mine, in that I helped them find their current commercial kitchen space.)
That’s not usually the easiest question to field, but lucky for me I have some recent reference material on hand to help me weed through the many, many wonderful places in Richmond to eat.
The first place to start is Style Weekly‘s most recent issue, with their annual State of the Plate issue. I have read through the issue and it’s worth going through the whole thing, rather than having me point out just an article or two that I would suggest. The magazine not only gives a rundown of the best of the best, but it has a number of other restaurant-related articles that will give any foodie in Richmond a warm fuzzy feeling.
(And Nate’s Taco Truck is featured in one of the side pictures throughout the issue. I had forgotten about this gem that I had the pleasure of running into down at First Fridays a few months ago. Incredible! I highly suggest you take any chance you get to have one of Nate’s tacos.)
On the subject of food and restaurants, there is a new food festival that will highlight local chefs and local foods. "Broad Appetit" will be held on May 18th from noon to 5:00pm on the 100-300 blocks of West Broad Street.
Here are a couple of blurbs from the official press release (which can be found here) that I thought best described the new event in a nutshell:
The first annual Broad Appétit Food Festival will feature Richmond’s
favorite food purveyors, restaurants, chefs, cart vendors and artisans.
The event is free to the public and is designed to feed one’s mind,
soul and body with an eclectic mix of crafts and art, offerings from
twenty of Richmond’s favorite chefs, and a huge kid’s area complete
with original food-related entertainment and cool activities.
Renowned author and food revolution leader, Joel Salatin from Virginia’s own Polyface Farms, Inc. will be on hand to discuss the Polyface founding principle that
the ultimate safe and secure food supply is the one growing in your own
community. Joel was excited to be involved in this inaugural event
stating "celebrating local food and its answers to food fears, this
event applauds relationships between good producers, culinary artists,
and integrity food aficionados."
If you are ready to not only experience some of the area’s most talented and well-known chefs, but also open your food horizons (yummy bugs!), then put this event on your calendar.
Thanks to Richmond Food Collective for the tip on this one!
And one last minute bit of news: Style Weekly’s restaurant critic, Brandon Fox, will be on WRVA 1140-AM, on Doc Thompson’s radio show at 4pm today (Thursday). Sorry for the late notice, but I just saw the news about it a moment ago.
I’m not a residential real estate agent (although I can refer you to several good ones, if you need), so I don’t usually address home purchasing issues on this blog. I do, however, follow many good blogs that focus on residential real estate and every once in a while come across a gem that begs to be shared. Going forward, I’ll be sure to share those postings here when the topic is applicable to the Richmond market.
Here is the first of these postings: "Buying new construction without a Realtor? Read this first!" by Jim Duncan on REALCentralVA.com.
Jim makes a good point that:
One size certainly does not fit all. Certainly, not all new
construction contracts are this odious and one-sided, but buyers (and
Realtors) need to be aware that this type of contract is out there, is
being used and is being signed by Buyers without even a hint of Buyer
Be sure to read Jim’s post. It’s scary that this kind of language is in a contract. Another lesson to take from this is always read before you sign anything and make sure you understand the language that is being used.
Why wait until November, when you can vote now?!
Of course, this election is slightly less important than the *big* election this November (in some people’s eyes, I guess). BUT, I would greatly appreciate it if you would take a moment to go by VARbuzz.com to help support Richmond Business & Commercial News in the 1st ever VARbuzz Blog Brawl.
Note that you have to cast a vote on each of the matched pairs in order to vote for any of them, but take the opportunity to explore some great blogs that you wouldn’t have normally seen. Of course, don’t forget your favorite (this one! of course!).
The newest addition to Mayor Wilder’s team has been pulled from the ranks of local bloggers. Jon Baliles, son of former Governor Baliles, is the author behind the popular Richmond blog, <River City Rapids>.
I have been reading Jon’s blog for a while now, and it’s exciting to see someone so excited about the City getting to be a part of the ongoing development.
On his blog, <RiverCityRapids>, Jon Baliles is attacking the establishment of Richmond City and how it submits so easily to VCU‘s whims. He states, quite correctly, that VCU has been a major economic force for revitalization in the city (so that’s good), but that it is leading to our city leaders essentially handing over the keys to the city and rolling over whenever the city plans may conflict with VCU’s plans.
Jon certainly makes good arguments and I would encourage you to take a look at his recent posts on the subject, especially the most recent, "A Resistance To Reflexively Go Along Part III: VCU". You can come to your own conclusion about whether you think Richmond’s Planning Commission was right or wrong in their decision to stay out of VCU’s way. (and I would be happy to hear your views here in the comments section)
My comments are more to the general topic of leadership, especially as it applies here in Richmond. Jon is right that the most memorable leaders have gone against the grain, and been successful in spite of their setbacks.
I submit, however, that a great leader is often not the most memorable. The best leaders are those who bring people together to pursue a common vision, especially when the different parties are not originally cooperating. Those types of leaders aren’t always remembered explicitly in history books, but they are often the ones that are the most effective in enacting real change.
Being remembered shouldn’t be the point. Making changes to better society and move forward should be.
Merely going against the current doesn’t produce results, as we have seen from recent events. In fact, we have so many "leaders" in Richmond trying to impose their will on public policy that everyone is butting heads and absolutely nothing is being accomplished.
What would make a great leader in Richmond is a combination of:
- a strong vision of what Richmond could be
- a will to lead and serve the public’s interest (rather than one’s own ego)
- the ability to bring people together and coordinate efforts (rather than dividing and conquering)
What do you think? Is there anything you’d like to add to the list?
This is really more of a general maintenance posting, so don’t worry too much about it.
A couple of weeks ground was broken on the new cineplex on Boulevard. There has been a lot of buzz about it, and judging by the hits on some of my prior posts on the development (from 03/14/07, 11/30/06 & 05/18/06), I would say that there is quite a bit of interest from the general public.
The report from River City Rapids has me very excited to see the finished product from Bow Tie Partners. This is a company that gets it! Look over Jon’s post, Movies On The Boulevard: Even Better Than You Think, to see all the details that I haven’t seen anywhere except for on River City Rapids.
There have been a number of responses that I’ve seen online regarding Restaurant Week (last week), so I wanted to provide you all with a short list of where I’ve seen feedback on different experiences:
RBlog: Restaurant Week
UrbanPlanet.com "Dining -Out Scene" thread (scroll down from where this link leads to see a few reviews of different restaurants in Restaurant Week)
In Vino Veritas — blog that reviewed Zeus Gallery’s performance
A beggarly account of empty boxes — blog that reviewed Millie’s performance
River City Rapids — blog that reviewed Zeus Gallery and Amici
Congrats to all of the participants, restaurants and customers! It sounds like it was another successful year for Restaurant Week and the Central Virginia Food Bank!
I don’t know that I would suggest this pricing strategy, but it is interesting. There is a coffee shop (Terra Bite Lounge) in Washington state that has no prices, but instead has a donation box. The theory is that peer pressure, guilt, and common decency will cause the consumers to give appropriately (or more than appropriately).
Here is a link to the Seattle Times article, but I would suggest that you go to the Freakonomics blog where there is an interesting discussion going on in the comments. Apparently there are several other businesses that have tried the same approach in different parts of the world — with different results.
Okay, it’s a cheesy title, but I was trying to come up with something catchy.
If you didn’t catch my meaning from the oh-so-witty title, I’m talking about the Byrd Theatre in Carytown. It is one of the landmarks that always comes up when people are either reminiscing about Richmond or telling newcomers where they should make a point of visiting.
I would like to point out a quote from one of his postings about my favorite event at the Byrd, and quite possibly my favorite event in Richmond each year:
…every spring the VCU French Film Festival takes over the Byrd for three
days. More than 16,000 tickets were sold for the 2003 series, which the
French government formally recognized as the largest French film
festival in the United States.
Seth points out some valuable insights for anyone that sells to a target market of consumers that are making a "once in a lifetime" purchase. (i.e., a DJ for a wedding, or a Realtor that deals primarily with first-time home buyers)
At first, I thought I would be pointing to this mainly for the benefit of other Realtors, obviously with the first thought coming to mind of how I deal with first-time buyers and sellers of businesses and real estate every day. Then I realized that beyond my bubble there are industries that deal with this "naive" type of customer every day, too.
Now "naive" in this sense is not meant to put down anyone, it’s just to acknowledge the experience level of your target market.
Wedding vendors are a great example of this — the wedding process is not something that most people end up going through enough to be experts at it (let’s hope not, at least). It is a crazy time trying to plan it, and even if you have a wedding planner, you still had to pick that person.
Visit Seth’s site and see what he has to say about how to deal with these "naive" consumers. I think his insight was right on track.
I would love to hear how anyone else is dealing with this issue in their own businesses. I submit that this blog is one of the ways that I am addressing it in my business.
Maureen over at MIOAKLANDCOUNTY had a posting ("HELP. I CAN’T FIND YOUR AGENT!")that…well, first of all it was well written, but more importantly it addresses a very important issue: In the age of the internet, do you want to work with a realtor that has a weak internet presence?
If you can’t find any trace of your Realtor on Google, do you
think your agent has a strong plan for marketing your home on the web?
The old ways still work, but the effective present day realtor has to be in touch with the old way of marketing AND be familiar with current technology.
Be careful when you copy/quote content for your blogs! It is a common concern and as well it should be.
Many blogs (including this one) quote content and use stories posted elsewhere as a source for their own content. The main point to keep in mind is to only quote as much as is necessary, and paraphrase when possible. Good blog etiquette tells us to linkback to the source whenever possible.
I definitely run into this issue (being more of a news blog), and have gotten better about it over the course of my blog. If I don’t have any commentary to add to an article, then I try not to post it. I do hope, however, that if anyone feels that I have overstepped my bounds, that they will contact me to say so and I will certainly take care of the offending post.
For an excellent article on the do’s and don’t’s of quoting outside sources: LEADING EDGE LAW: Tips to deal with copyrights of others if you’re blogging
And in case that link ever goes dead, here is the author’s information:
John Farmer is a lawyer with
the Leading-Edge Law Group PLC, which specializes in intellectual
property and e-commerce law. He can be reached at (804) 343-3221 or via
www.leadingedgelaw.com. 2006 Leading-Edge Law Group, PLC.
Ahhh, the complexities of something that you thought might actually be easy. But then, it’s all easy from the outside, right?
I don’t know if I’ve said this here before, but I am not a residential Realtor. I am licensed such that I can act as one, but it’s really not my specialty. For all parties involved (myself included), I would prefer to refer out the business to someone that specializes in it. Commercial real estate and residential real estate are two very different beasties, and I like the commercial side — even if it includes the odd investment single-family home from time to time. It’s just a different mode of thought.
I can do residential representation, and have done it a couple of choice times for choice clients. I actually enjoyed the negotiation part the most, since it’s on a much faster pace than commercial transactions. (not to slight the commercial transactions at all, but I enjoy having the tight time frame for a response as leverage for my client)
This all being said, I still enjoy keeping up on the constant education that is available online and in trade magazines. That way I’m still sharp when the next choice client asks me to help them out on a residential issue. And, I like to pass along the occassional tidbit to you when I come across a gem.
For example: This article on GolfCourseRealty.com, "In the market for a golf-course home? Here’s what to look for", is a keeper. It is very well-thought out, and raises a lot of good points about this process that I wouldn’t have considered — until getting into an evaluation of a house in that situation. Plus, who knows if these issues would have really been considered before a decision was reached? Much better to go into the evaluation of a home with your eyes wide open, rather than trying to learn as you go along.
As reported by Haduken.com, the long-standing Mexican restaurant located on West Cary just west of VCU was demolished today (9/14/06).
As I posted on a comment there:
I represented a client that was in negotiations to buy El Rio Grande
at the beginning of the year. The deal didn’t happen, but I did learn
that Eck Enterprises is rebuilding there, and the plan was to have at
least one more restaurant take it’s place.
They were hoping
to have El Rio Grande stay and intended to help them through the
construction, but I don’t know the outcome any more that what you can
see for yourselves.
Sad to see a landmark like that go away, but sometimes it is time to move on. I have seen the plans from several months ago, and the planned buildings look great! I am excited to see how this stage of redevelopment from Eck Enterprises will come together.
(See also: 2006 Golden Hammer Awards)
Kudos to a weblog that I have just recently come across (thanks to Carnival of Real Estate) on debunking the all-hailed Zillow.com. I have heard a lot of buzz about Zillow, but have never personally checked it out (being a commercial realtor and not nearly as involved in the residential market).
Greg Swann at BloodhoundBlog has done a fantastic analysis of how Zillow.com works…or more properly, how Zillow.com does NOT work. Take a look at the link below to see the thorough discussion of their pricing methodology vs. how Realtors do price comps.
Link: Debunking Zillow.com….
The point is that, whatever it is that Zillow.com might be doing, what it is not doing — what it cannot be doing — is evaluating houses. This simply cannot be done by the methodology Zillow.com has employed.
I will definitley be keeping tabs on his future entries. I suggest you do the same.
(EDIT 12/1/06: corrected misspelling in link to BloodhoudBlog)
I have recently come across an excellent blog written by Peter Siegel, a consultant
in California that deals with a range of small businesses being bought
or sold. When I come across something especially helpful for buyers or
sellers, I will be sure to highlight it here (even if it may be an old
blog on his site).
Of course, I won’t post his entire blog entry here. That would kind of
be cheating on my part, wouldn’t it? I will be sure to give you the
link to the specific blog entry so you can read it in full.
This particular entry has to do with a client of his that moved forward on the due diligence on a deal that was eventually shot down due to the landlord not being willing to renegotiate the lease terms.
I have seen it plenty in the time I have been doing this, as well. Landlords are oftentimes the bottleneck when it comes to the due diligence period. Even if they are willing to work with you (the buyer, seller, or business broker), that doesn’t mean that they will move quickly.
Basically, there is no reason for them to — they already have the space leased. What is the incentive for a landlord to go out of their way to help an owner that is trying to sell their business?
There are some landlords that will move quickly, and some that are more inclined to work with their tenants than others (and conversely, there are some that feel they have no reason to cooperate at all).
When you are buying a business, you need to establish a rapport with the landlord as quickly as possible. If the landlord will not assign the lease, then there is no reason to pursue the deal. The other pieces are equally important, but I would suggest that you start the process with the landlord as soon as you have a signed contract.
***Please, if you are signing a commercial lease, make sure that the lease is assignable. If the landlord wants the authority to approve the assignee (which I would advise landlords to insist), then use the magic words "which consent shall not be unreasonably withheld".
My client is now out over $6,000 in CPA fees for due-diligence and attorney fees for contract reviews, over 120 hours over a three month period, when he should have pressed harder in the begining (one key item on my checklist for financing clients) to check with the landlord about future lease terms!