Sunday, October 31, 2010

How to Successfully Start a Small Business

Despite the lack of ethnic diversity within the workplaces that are being portrayed, the information presented in this particular video clip is concise and beneficial to those interested in heightening their entrepreneurial sensibilities. There’s more to business than product, customers, and exchange. Staff and subsequent relationships hold equal weight in the process of commercial enterprise.

Friday, October 29, 2010

Campus Pollyeyes

The website for Pagliai's Pizza and Campus Pollyeyes tells the "legend" of the opening of the restaurants in Bowling Green. I'm going to open with a selection from that history:

"...our story begins, in 1967, with a nineteen year old Missouri born pizza maker named George Nicholson. George had spent his early years mastering his trade under the tutelage of the Pagliai's brothers, Salvatori, Armond and Haldo, who had built a chain of pizzerias which stretched across Missouri, Iowa, and Illinois. One day, after having passed through a college town in Northwest Ohio called Bowling Green, Salvatori thought, rightfully so, that this town would be an ideal location for the first (and to this day the only) Pagliai's Pizza in Ohio. When George was given the opportunity to relocate from their location in Iowa City to Bowling Green to open up the pizza house, he jumped at it.

Pagliai's opened for business at 1004 South Main in 1967, across the street from the present location, with George and a handful of employees under him. Cheese pizzas for ninety cents and bottles of pop for a dime caught on... in a big way. In 1969, hot subs and the first salad bar in town were added. In 1976, having outgrown its current location, the business moved across the street to its current location at 945 South Main. In 1978, a second pizzeria was established at 440 East Court Street and named Campus Pollyeyes. The name changed to a more phonetic spelling to avoid confusion."
I included this story because I found it to be interesting, and also because this is the first time I have seen an explanation of why the names of the two restaurants are spelled differently. I've pondered this all my life, and the answer has been waiting in plain sight for who knows how long.

Campus Polleyes, in my opinion, is quite different than its predecessor. Pagliai's has a pizza, soup and salad buffet, and a bunch of Italian recipes on their menu. I had to look to see what else the Campus joint sells, because I've only ordered one thing from them, ever, and that's stuffed breadsticks.

They're kind of pricey, but the stuffed breadsticks are worth it. There's nothing else like them in town. They'll take pretty much anything they have in the restaurant and bake them in some dough with cheese and top it with garlic butter. Six come in a full order, but if it's just you, I'd advise three unless you want leftovers. Three breadsticks has always been considered a full meal by anyone I know.  That whole order will run you around $14, but there's coupons on their website that can bring it down to $11 or $12. I always get chicken and cheese with ranch (you choose a dipping sauce), but there's all kinds of other stuff to get, like steak or roast beef.

I don't visit Campus Pollyeyes in person very often, but it seems like a decent enough place. They have beer on tap (a nice selection, too), and it's close to campus at 440 East Court Street. They also serve pizza, sandwiches, salads, and more. Check out the rest of their menu with these PDF  links to the Carryout and Dine-In menus. Call for delivery at 419-352-9638.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Myles' Style is Thick

Another BG favorite is Myles Pizza Pub on East Wooster Street. Order this when you're really hungry or have a lot of people to feed, because their pizza is massive. The cheese, sauce, crust and toppings are all layered thick. Order a simple pepperoni and they'll pile it several slices high all over your pie, under a mound of cheese of course.

The restaurant is owned by Chip Myles, and it isn't his only BG staple. You can also catch him running an independent Dairy Queen located across the railroad tracks. Both have been around as long as I can remember.

They don't just get by on size and Myles, their pizza is tasty and creative. Look at their specialty pizzas, for instance. Although there are your standard meat and veggie lovers, taco, etc., Myles takes it several steps further. There's Greek lovers, Spice lovers (pepperoni/sausage/salami), Chinese chicken (pineapple/almonds), Tropical (pineapple/shrimp on whole wheat), Wild West (buffalo/mushrooms/bacon) and Breakfast lovers, with eggs and your choice of ham, bacon or sausage. A menu item I found surprisingly funny was a supreme-style pizza with lots of toppings called the "Food Lovers."

Myles Pizza also sells several sizes and styles of salads, subs and more. You'll just have to check this one out for yourself. Unfortunately they don't operate a website, so you'll have to try to look at some of those menu websites or, better yet, visit in person. Delivery is an option if you're hungry and aren't feeling motivated, which is available until 2:30 am for you night owls.
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Sunday, October 24, 2010

Pisanello's: Ever Have It This Good?

I can say with certainty Pisanello's is my favorite pizza place in Bowling Green. I've never been one to save the best for last, so I made it my first stop on the BG pizza trail. Their catchphrase hits it on the head for me: " A pizza never had it so good!"

I checked out Pisanello's website and learned a few new things about the restaurant, even though I've been eating their pizza since before I can remember. It turns out that a guy named Ron Pisanello opened restaurants in Alliance and Kent, Ohio in the late 1950s, who sold the name and recipes in 1964 to a Kent State University student who brought the pizzeria to Bowling Green. There are now more than twenty Pisanello's Pizza locations across Ohio and Michigan. The BG location has probably won as many honors as any other restaurant in town, including Bowling Green's best pizza for 17 years.

Their recipes are both classic and delicious. Their traditional pizza sauce is good, but for a new taste, order the California White pizza with chicken and whatever other toppings you like (I suggest tomatoes). Their dough tastes fresh, and so do their homemade breadsticks. There are also more than ten subs and sandwiches and plenty of sides. I like the tomato bread. I also like to hit up Pisanello's for a fresh salad once in a while as well. There are many kinds but I pick the Chicken Caesar, which comes topped with a mass of cheese and croutons and is plenty for two.

So check out Pisanello's, and don't be afraid to try something a little out of the ordinary, because they offer some pretty good flavors. Also remember to vote in our pizza poll in the right sidebar. Let us know whether you like Pisanello's, a chain pizza place, or one of the other local favorites!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

What's Your Favorite Pie?

Pizza Places constitute a healthy percentage of the rstaurants in Bowling Green, a number of them locally owned. Shoutout to Cheesy in BGeezy. They have a cool slideshow with pretty much every pizza joint in town.

I work for a pizza place in BG myself, and I'm a little dismayed by the local places we've lost over the years. Luca Pizza sold monster oven-fired slices and some decent stuffed breadsticks out of the Woodland Mall food court until they closed shop a few months ago. Several restaurants including a few pizza places like Night Flight and Dinky's went in-and-out of the now-empty location on Mercer and East Wooster. Years ago that same place was the second Pizza Hut. Each of these restaurants had good pizzas on their menus; is it the presence of big pizza chains in BG like Marco's, Papa John's, Pizza Hut or Domino's that cost us some of the other ones? Which do you prefer? Chain or local?

Anyway, this look at local pizza places is my attempt to draw some attention away from the $10 specials of the big guys to what I consider to be some more flavorful choices in Bowling Green. I much prefer the grub from the local places. I'll touch on my favorites this week, which are the same ones in the poll on the right sidebar. Wait for my reviews or make your sleection now between the local choices or the chains. Cheesy inBGeezy also has a pizza poll up, so make sure to stop by and give them your feedback as well.
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A Holistic Approach

Nowadays people tend to rely on pharmacists whenever they become ill.  Natural remedies are not as prevalent in our society as they used to be. 

Asherah's Garden is a local holistic health center ran by Lia Ricci-Sons.  She is a certified Holistic Health Practioner and Holistic Life Coach.  If you're interested in herbs more than potentially harmful chemicals, this place is a great alternative.

What is Holistic healing?  Holistic health is a concept in medical practice where all aspects of people's needs, psychological, physical and social, and mentally are taken into account and seen as a whole.  The holistiic view on treatment is widely accepted in medicine.  Treatment methods include accupuncture, Reiki, and herbology.

There are free workshops every Monday from 7-9pm at 175 N.Main St.  She is also available for appointments. 

I went to a workshop last year and it was real refreshing.  We meditated as a group and Lia definitely knows her stuff.

Here is some schedule information:
  - Monday Nov. 1
• No Workshop
• Herbs for the Cold & Flu- Monday Nov. 8 - Monday
• Defeating Negative Self
- Monday Nov. 22
• No Workshop
- Monday Nov. 29• Crystals

All Saturday workshops are
(covers instruction and materials)
& require an RSVP.
• Immune Booster Syrup
- Saturday Nov. 6
from 5-7p.m.
- RSVP by Oct. 30
• Aromatherapy Bath Salts
- Saturday Nov. 13
from 5-7p.m.
- RSVP by Nov. 6
• All Natural Lip Balm
- Saturday Dec. 4
From 5-7p.m.
- RSVP by Nov. 23
- Monday Dec. 6

• Stress Management for
Happy Holidays
Nov. 15

Friday, October 22, 2010

Long Live the King

I know I do a lot of writing about restaurants, but I love to eat.

Arguably, the greatest 'bang for your buck' spot in Bowling Green can be found at King Buffet.  King is an Asian cuisine eatery and is known for their King's combo.  For $5.99 you can pick five items from a list and a canned drink, fried rice is included.  Although there is a lack of polite customer service, it's hard to deny their affordability and flavor. 

It's the quintessential take out spot.  If it was up to BGSU senior David Clark he'd eat Kings at least four days a week.  "I've been eating Kings since I got up here.  I love the fact that I can eat multiple times throughout the day from one take out order," Clark said. 

The buffet isn't that great because they focus more on cost efficiency than the customer.  They don't refill the empty food pans that often, but participants in a smorgasbord don't do too much complaining.  Less than 30 seconds down the road is Old Time Buffett.  Although I never ate at Old Time Buffett I heard they have a great spread.

All in all, King rightfully deserves a spot on the city's top 10 busiest business list.  One way they could improve their business is by showing some customer appreciation.  Punch out cards for frequent customers or occasional discounts would prove beneficial for them.  Also, they should keep a better eye on those slick college students in there packing a little extra for later though :)

Thursday, October 21, 2010

A Quick Fix

Fast food is usually administered by businesses that have the means to produce for masses.  It is intriguing when a small business attempts to compete within the factory food industry against giants.

Speedy Burrito is up for the challenge.  This small enterprise has a big taste and offers a taste of Mexico in no time. They've been around for less than a year, but their combination of late night hours, fast service and $1 dollar delivery rivals any of their competitors efforts.  The owner, Rick Urista, is a real down to Mars guy.  After he prepared my Acapulco burrito and taco we discussed the marvels of the information age.  He expressed the conveniency of the internet, specifically how he can get an authentic recipe from Mexico instantly.  Rick then went on to counter his point by adding that the human element is often missing in this technologically driven society.  A point on which I agreed.  I came in for food, not a healthy conversation.  But it was great.

For about the same price as Chipotle, you get a more authentic flavor at SB. It's right across the street from Taco Bell.  And I'm sure the consumption of these tacos and burritos will amount to premium gas unlike that of the aforementioned (inside joke).

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Marketplace of Freshness

After watching Food Inc. this past summer, I began to respect independent food producers more than I had ever done before.  Within this fast paced industrialized world we live in, franchises like McDonald's and Taco Bell seem to dominate the food market.  This quick fix-corporate-food phenomena has complicated the American economy and our health simultaneously. Food Inc. also highlights the discouraging  fact that many government employed regulators whom work in agencies such as the FDA, tend to have ties with the same corporations they should be monitoring to ensure healthy practices and safe food.

Think about it for a second.  Our national news is dominant over local news.  Commercials are from nationally recognized entities.  We're tuned into national politics rather than attending town hall meetings.  Lastly, we tend to shop at franchises over locally owned Mom & Pop stores.  There is this national/state vs. local dichotomy present in different aspects of American life. 

But withstanding all the national competition remains an endangered shrine of locality: The Farmer's Market

On Wednesday's from 3-8 on S. Main St. (Between Sam B's and Mesmerized) you can find all types of vendors selling herbs, fruit, veggies, fudge, cookies and more.  After my visit today, I felt refreshed.  I conversed and ate with Willy who owns Willy's Salsa (amazing), Tony who owns Antone's Hummos (tasty), and Bob the fudge man (delicious) about entrepreneurship and Bill O'Reilly, whom they said i'll debate with one day.  I also bought some natural hand sanitizer from Elizabeth, who is a chemist, made from from olives and sage.

It was a breath of fresh air.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Thoughts for Grounds

Grounds for thought may be my favorite business in Bowling Green.  The name of the store alone sets the mood before you even walk in.
Coffee, pastries, comic books and records all do their part towards stimulating your mind.  The subsequent formulation of ground breaking ideas is expected.  Every time I come here I feel like I am in Seattle.  And I’ve never even been to Seattle.  The wooden d├ęcor provides an Earth tone color scheme that creates a much better ambiance than Jerome.
Although different elements add to the atmosphere, books are the seminal piece.  A wide variety of reading material ranging from children’s books to critically acclaimed novels occupies the shelves.  But if you don’t want to read, there is usually some people playing chess or scrabble.  It’s a family affair.
All jokes aside, it’s more intimate than Borders.   And it is much cozier than Nobles and Barnes.  If you need a change in your studying venue, I suggest you come here.
P.S.:   Order a Coffee Amore with whip cream.
Pictured above are the friendly folks who'll make your drinks etc.  I didn't get their names sooo, let's call them Gertrude and Thomas.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Mesmerized on Monday

Mesmerize- 1.  To spellbind; enthrall 2.  To hypnotize
Mesmerize is a head shop located in downtown Bowling Green, Oh.  The store is one year and two months old and is owned by a family who lives in Columbus.  Prior to it being a retail business the location was a small club named Plan B.  Plan B was shut down because alcohol was being sold to minors, and they had no liquor license.  So I guess Mesmerized is Plan C.
In this establishment bottles have been replaced with bongs.  A large portion of this store’s inventory consists of smoking instruments, incense/oils, and clothes.  Attire is mostly emblematized with enigmatic art and figures like Bob Marley.  Mesmerize is the red-headed step-child of Main St.  Surrounding businesses take the safe route by serving coffee, tacos and such.  This store on the other hand prides itself on providing the best smoking pipes in the area.  Mesmerized manager Mike Husaim rates the popular items as:  1. Clothes, 2. Incense, 3. Detoxifying drinks, 4. Pipes (for tobacco of course).
Along with the success of serving the Bowling Green community, people from Toledo and Findlay are also regular consumers of subculture.  The store has also experienced its share of turmoil since the store opened its doors.  It was raided in April on the account of suspicion of illegal activity.  According to Husaim, the raid was a result of another local business being caught practicing some type of undisclosed wrong doing.  But to aid their defense, it is store policy that all customers show their state identification card upon entering.  The most recent problem they have faced is the forced removal of detox drinks from their shelves by Bowling Green authorities. 
Husaim said there is no statute forbidding the sale of such dietary drinks.  He alluded to the fact that they are sold in GNC and outlets such as Wal-Mart, which is a valid point.  After nearly five months of deliberation, Mesmorized has not been found guilty of any crimes and continue to improve as a smoke shop.     

Another interesting tidbit is that they plan on switching the store’s name from Mesmerize real soon.  The change is based upon the notion that the store’s name is exacerbating the relationship between the business and the non-BGSU community.
Manager Mike and I talked about El Presidente’ Obama’s small business aid plans.  Mike is already convinced they have one of the best variety stores in the country, but he expressed with great fervor how “awesome” it would be if the private sector is truly given some allowance to expand their enterprise.  This store adds some diversity to the downtown area.  Give them a break.

7 Businesses in 7 Days

Time for some good old fashion on foot reporting.  With all the intriguing businesses around me, I'm going on a profiling spree this week.  Stay tuned.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Small Biz BG Slideshow

Bowling Green's downtown is comprised of a nice variety of small businesses.  No skyscrapers or colosseums, just a bunch of blue collar families trying to make a few dollars.  Enjoy the slideshow.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Beignets and Thoughts on the Coffee Industry

When I got to New York I had my mouth tuned for one delicacy: beignets.  I wanted to try one of these Nawlins’ (New Orleans) inspired deep fried pastries, hoping this melting pot of a city had someone selling them.  Moreover, I wanted to accompany the flaky texture with a hot cup of Joe.  Unfortunately the beignets are in another borough (Queens).  Contrarily, coffee is everywhere!
I’m not exaggerating when I say there is a Starbucks on every block.  I don’t support the former because of conspiracies that it's an instrument of the Zionist state, but I am indeed a connoisseur of coffeeine.  Peace to the Stovetop Baristas.  Rumor was that they were going to put a Starbucks in Jerome Library, we'll see.
 So far I’ve had two cups of coffee and a vegan espresso (although I’m no vegan).  The latter tasted like a boiled screwdriver.  I drank it though, I don’t waste.
When thinking about the modern coffee industry, its roots lie in the imperialism of the West Indies and Africa, dating back to the 15th century.  The coffee bean, along with bananas, tobacco, and sugar, is arguably the most profitable cash crop in the world.  Leaders like Hugo Chavez refuse to allow outside nations like the U.S. to capitalize off of their homegrown products, which is understandable.
There's nothing better than a local coffee shop.  In Bowling Green its Grounds For Thoughts, when I'm home in Sandusky I go to Ms. Smith's Coffee House.
I feel resentment towards the fact certain nations aren’t compensated for their niche, a niche that we enjoy daily.  I know I’m doing a bit of oversimplifying but the crux is that lop sided business is good capitalism. But good capitalism is harsh. Here I’m talking international business of course.  These international products, like coffee, find a way into our bodies daily and we often don’t realize it.
I’m about to walk the strip and try to locate some coffee, preferably from someone with a non-American accent. 

Sunday, October 10, 2010

The Cookie Jar... And More?

This kinda ties in with something Daniel wrote about earlier, because "The Cookie Jar And More" is one of those places you're kinda surprised is able to stay in business. In no way should this be taken as an insult, I just mean that a cookie delivery business is a very specific sort of shop. It's at 130 East Court St., across from Spots, and definitely offers more than just chocolate chip (although they do that pretty well also). The Cookie Jar opened about three years ago, and is managed by Christy Johnson and Maureen Lanigan.

I've been spoiled most of my life by having some great cooks in my family, including my grandma and my mom. One of the things they really got creative with was desserts, which might be a reason I can appreciate what The Cookie Jar is all about. Cookies freshly made and baked from scratch are their specialty, and they some cookies every day as well as special varieties each day of the month. There's some really creative combinations on the menu for October. They also sell muffins, and do a great job catering their treats for events. The Cookie Jar is closed Monday and Tuesday, but can still deliver on catered orders. The rest of the week they are open until midnight. Call them up at 419-354-8780. Of course, you can also order milk.

Side note: in researching The Cookie Jar, I discovered that they actually hold an annual cookie eating contest: the fastest to eat six of their cookies and drink six pints of milk wins. I've never heard of this but thought it was worth mentioning if you like to see people throw up from eating too much.

Business, The New York way

It's near mid-October, and I'm in the Big Apple enjoying the vibrant, diverse atmosphere that Manhattan has to offer. Yankees memorabilia is everywhere!

As I observe the scene through my small business lens, it's not hard to realize that small businesses are just as important to this city as Wall Street and the New York Stock Exchange. Fortune 50 restaurants like Burger King and McDonald's are the rarity. Instead pizza bars, vegan shops, cafe's and fresh food markets dominate every street.

Everybody is getting their hustle on. As I walked down Broadway through a Japanese-Korean block fair and street vendors of all types, I managed to buy some white sage incense from a serious looking fellow named Santos. It felt good to support the commoner.

It amazes me that all of these businesses can survive amongst each other. I would expect the owners of these places to have this 'crab in a barrel' syndrome. Contrary to my preconception they all seem pretty chill. Everywhere that I've been so far the customer service has been commendable.

The Indian cuisine spot I went to last night was great. The chicken mahknee and merlot was exceptional, so was the friendly host. The Indian spot in Toledo that I go to, you're lucky if you get a smile. Today my friend and I went to Angelina's Pizza Bar. The waiter had a strong Italian accent and didn't know the menu too well, but he made up for it with his authentic smile and genuine care towards us. He said "you're welcome" every time I said "thank you," and I say it a lot. It's the little practices that help a business last.

As I chowed on my buffalo wangs (yes I said wangs) and Trecolori pizza, I chatted with the owner Stu about the super bowl capability of his New York Football Giants whom we were watching. That's all he needed to epitomize the strongly opinionated New Yorker. In other words, he held a one sided conversation with me. But when it was time to leave he looked us in the eyes and thanked us for coming in and was delighted that we enjoyed the grub. Classic managerialism.

BG Ice Cream Scene

Everyone loves ice cream, and Bowling Green is no exception. It's a trend that's been more apparent as more try to follow it, and there's now ice cream shops scattered all over town. Many of them are similar and share a lot of the same menu items, but to me, one stands above the rest.

Myles' Dairy Queen is located right next to the railroad tracks on East Wooster Street. The owner also operates Myles' Pizza, just across the tracks. Both have their own style, and Myles' Dairy Queen's is big. They have all kinds of treats, and a food menu as well. This place is special, though, because it's not one of the "chain" DQs, so there's much more flexibility in the menu.

The most popular item has to be the blizzard, Dairy Queen's staple. But Myles' sizes are way out of whack. Even a medium is a LOT of ice cream, and that's not the biggest one. There's all the signature blizzards offered by the chain stores, like the Girl Scout cookie varieties, and many more as well.

It feels disappointing for me, a BG native, to change gears from Dairy Queen, the clear favorite, to other ice cream places in town, but they do exist. Sundae Station shares its location with the Marathon gas station on West Wooster Street and Wintergarden Road, but the ice cream store is definitely more popular. They have a blizzard "knockoff" they call the Avalance (there's a little bit of creativity, I guess). They don't offer as many toppings as Myles', but there are some special ones (like Buckeyes). There's another very similar place on Haskins and West Poe called Ice Cream Machine (less creative). These businesses, along with the addition of a Cold Stone Creamery to the Tim Horton's on East Wooster, seem to have BG's ice cream scene split into four quadrants, but don't feel boxed in. Venture out and try them all, but definitely don't miss out on Myles' Dairy Queen.
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Monday, October 4, 2010

An Entrepreneur's Story: Mark Cuban

What's not better than a success story to incite the entrepreneur in all of us? This video details the rise of Mark Cuban, owner of the NBA's Dallas Mavericks franchise. He's not the prototypical mega-millionaire decked in Armani suits 24/7.  He usually settles for Levi's and t-shirts. 

In this series he shares business moments throughout his life that molded him into the professional basketball baron that he is today.  Love him, or hate him, you have to admire his work ethic.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Mr. Spots

Everyone loves Spots. I'm not sure how else to say that. Their menu (.pdf link) features some of the best sandwiches and buffalo wings you'll find in Bowling Green, as well as salads and quite a few drinks, juices and sodas. And they deliver beer. Let me repeat that: with proper ID, they deliver beer. Been drinking, need more, and don't live near a store? DON'T DRIVE. Call Spots and let them help you out.

If you're still reading after that, let's get back to the food at Spots. Their Philadelphia style cheesesteak sandwiches are great, and probably the signature menu item. I like the Fire Steak, which has all the meat, cheese, onions and stuff and a bunch of hot sauce. There's other sandwiches, salads and hoagies as well. Get them with a bag of waffle fries. Call 419-353-SPOT, or visit them on East Court Street near downtown.

If you're from the Bowling Green you may or may not know that there is also a Mr. Spots in Ann Arbor, Michigan. Each location has been around for more than twenty years. I don't know how old this is, but here's a tv commercial I've seen from time to time...

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Clazel: Theater to Bar

The video below gives a brief look at the Clazel, a former movie theater on Main Street that was renovated several years ago into a nightclub. I'll do a full length post on the Clazel at a later date, but the video will give you a view of what it looks like now. You can see some of the old architecture and movie theater style left intact, but I assure you the historic building looks much different than it used to. However the video is a promotion created for the Clazel and is accompanied by some loud music, so I'd watch it on mute if I were you.