Sunday, November 21, 2010

BG=Bar Goers?

The student population of BGSU makes up a substantial portion of Bowling Green. If there's one thing college students have in common, it's a desire to party, and many do it downtown. BG is definitely a bar town. There's a dozen in the area covered by our map in the post below, and more spread across the city.

The place I go most often is probably Uptown/Downtown. This is misleading because I love Downtown but hate Uptown. I've only even gone upstairs a handful of times. I'm not into the dance scene usually present up there. But Downtown is much more laid back, and has a lot of tvs for my sports-watching pleasure. There are also some good weekly specials, including what I consider to be the best one in town. On Thursdays you can get cheap beers and Captain and Cokes, as well as any shot for $2. I think they take some of the top shelf stuff off the table, but it's a great chance to try different stuff for cheap or have a lot of your favorite. A buddy of mine has lost multiple jobs for missing work Friday morning after a night of Irish car bombs.

Another bar I frequent is Nate and Wally's Fish Bowl. There isn't too much that makes it a great place, but it's usually a good spot to get a drink rather than wade through crowds and wait in lines. Other than that, the best part is probably the namesake, a drink called a Fish Bowl. It's usually available in two flavors, and is served in a plastic fish bowl.

These are the bars I usually go to, but head downtown and check them out for yourself. Each has characteristics that makes it different from the others. Need some help? Check out Raising the Bar in BG. It's a blog that won't be updated, but it contains articles written by myself and other journalism students that classify the downtown bars. Cheers!

Friday, November 19, 2010

Downtown BG Bars

Below is a map of the various bars downtown Bowling Green has to offer. There are others in town, but this focuses on the downtown area, which is highlighted in orange. Click on each location to find out more, like contact information, websites and images. I took most of the pictures myself.

View BG Bars in a larger map

Sunday, November 14, 2010

09' National Small Business Awards

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I stumbled upon this earlier today. I didn't even know such an event took place. This is a segment from last years National Small Business Award ceremony. I wonder what this year's ceremony will be like.

A Small Business Narrative

Big D’s Ribs, a small business located in Sandusky, Oh has officially been a business for 18 years.  The owners of this business are Duane and Deborah Kay Williams.  They were married in 1977.  After they married it did not take long for them to realize they both had a knack for conjuring delectable combinations of food. 
Before they met each other, Duane graduated from a small village district in New London, Oh and transitioned into the industrial sector, working at factories.  Deborah graduated from a more urban district in Sandusky, Oh and transitioned to Bluffton College where she earned her degree in Business Administration.
Deborah’s formal education in business provided the couple with a reservoir of practical information for business efficiency.  Duane’s laid back yet attentive charisma contrasted perfectly with his wife’s sharp wit.  They went on to have three sons, and soon introduced their children to the family business. They purchased a booth, handmade out of 2 x 4’s and sold their product outside of grocery stores in Sandusky throughout the 1990’s.
The year is now 2010, and Duane and Deborah both hold jobs in the public sector.  Deborah serves as an elementary school instructor, while Duane works as a custodian.  Big D’s Ribs doesn’t serve food publicly, instead they are private caterers.  Although they have a clientele, their aspiration to live primarily off of their own private enterprise has not been substantiated.   This challenge is due primarily to one obstacle: Land, or the lack thereof.
There is a quote that says, “Luck prefers prepared men,” but luck is often impartial to ones preparation and oft prefers the privileged.
Land, is the uncommon denominator between people like the Williams family and a Berardi’s.  This dichotomy is tied to a political history of biased policy and discrimination which in turn thwarted many people’s opportunities.
With this question as a quasi-case study my question is: why is there so much vacant space around this country that could be occupied by bodies and businesses that are off limits, or purposefully highly priced?

Property Wars (not really)

The students of Bowling Green State University make up a good portion of the size of the city. Although they're not counted as part of the population unless they're permanent residents, students add a significant amount of money from out of town that allows Bowling Green to thrive, and it's no more apparent than in the market for rental properties.

The University prefers all students to make their living arrangements through the institution. Most of those who do so live in dormitories, or fraternity or sorority houses. Many students though, for a number of reasons, wish to live off campus from the beginning. I know I was no different.

BGSU's housing policy requires that students live on campus for their first two years at the University unless they meet one of several qualifications. Anyone can register as a commuting student and claim they will be living at home, as long as the student's parent(s) live within 50 miles of the university. Also, students who are a certain age do not fall under the policy, as well as any who are married. My first year, I intended to register as a commuter from my parents home and find my own place off campus, skirting BG's rule. My plans fell through, but I went through with that my second year.

Almost all the rental properties in Bowling Green are owned and operated by individuals or small businesses. Many people with roots in this community, my parents included, purchase properties to rent to college students or others for supplemental income. However, most are either owned or maintained by one of several rental agencies in town.

This can get confusing, because there's two with the name of Newlove. Newlove Realty and Newlove Rentals have red signs and a location on South Main Street, while John Newlove is on East Wooster and advertises its properties with yellow signs. The companies are ran by two brothers with long standing connections to Bowling Green.

I move around just about every year and have been renting houses or apartments in BG for more than five years, so I have experience with most of the agencies, or know someone who does. I had some problems with red Newlove, and none with yellow Newlove. Red Newlove gave me problems when I moved out, and also some issues with yard maintenance. I no longer rent from either of them.

Some of the other places in town are Greenbriar, Preferred Properties and Mecca. Greenbriar is the only one I haven't rented from, but my friends have, and told me they had significant problems with maintenance, and that the people working in their office were not very helpful. Preferred Properties was average as a landlord, although they typically require parental lease guarantees from students, and give very little wiggle room on due dates. I've rented my current apartment from Mecca for two years, and have few complaints. I have a five day grace period for all payments and a flat fee for my water bill, as well as reasonable rent, which is nice.

Whatever you choose to do for living arrangements, I urge you to take great care when making arrangements with an individual or a company. Remember that you'll have to have a relationship with this person or agency, most likely for a year, or at least nine months. Ask all your questions up front and plan for every eventuality, because there's not much you can do once you sign a contract, and some people can be vicious when it comes to the language. Regardless of who you rent from, one lesson I learned is to take pictures upon move in, it often pays to have proof of those sorts of things.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Seasonal Business Approaching

Nothing can stimulate the American economy quite like holiday shoppers. Chances are you know someone who's gone crazy for a sale. The most glaring example of this is the deals that will come two weeks from now.

Black Friday has become the biggest shopping day of the year. Stores will give you incredible deals, like flatscreen televisions for $300. But to get them, you usually need to jump through some hoops. Bowling Green surely won't have problems as severe as those you'll see in national headlines, but Black Friday's obstacles usually include massive crowds, limited supplies and lines, potentially in abrasive elements. Walmart usually has people wait outside the store until the specials take effect, barring instances when people could pose a threat to themselves by waiting in the weather. Shoppers run on caffeine and adrenaline to attempt to beat each other out for the discount they seek.

Unfortunately (depending on how you look at it), BG's commitment of protecting small businesses interferes with an event like Black Friday. Many businesses that choose to participate, at least fully participate, open very early and offer massive markdowns, neither of which are very conducive to the small business mindset. National chains most likely experience wider profit margins, can afford to lower prices for a short time, have bigger locations that can hold more shoppers inside their doors and more employees to make it work and expand their hours to do so.

Thus, many Black Friday shoppers leave Bowling Green to find the best deals. However, you could definitely check out Meijer and Walmart this year for substantial savings, if you're willing to fight for them (not literally; well, maybe). All kinds of websites (, allow you to sort through the deals that might be exclusive to your area, or look at ones that might appeal to you. If it's not your thing, steer clear. I hope most people have enough of an understanding of Black Friday at this point that they should know if it seems like a good idea or not.
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Sunday, November 7, 2010

Behind the Creations by dawNN

Dawnn (with 2 n’s) Mahulawde is an entrepreneur.

Let it be known that entrepreneurship is a practice that everyone cannot cultivate.  Today, most people opt to work for an established commercial enterprise like Wal-Mart or McDonald’s.   Which is not a bad thing, working in such an institution has its pro’s and con’s.  Camaraderie with co-workers and benefits from collective bargaining are rewards for these foot soldiers of business.  But entrepreneurs have an agency more powerful, comparable to a king or a queen, exercising their will via the concept of manifest destiny in the business world.

Many of these start-up owners, like Dawnn, begin their journey on the fringes of commercial activity, hoping that their idea will excite consumers and fill a void in their respective markets.  Luckily her ideas manifested into interesting products and steady clientele.

After graduating from BGSU, she moved to Manhattan to attend Columbia University’s famed Teachers College. Dawnn now finds herself balancing her formal study in Counseling Psychology with her informal hustle, Creations by dawNN.  She’s landed in the BizNest to discuss entrepreneurship, self-help, and whatever else under the sun.

Q: First off, do you miss Bowling Green?
I do miss Bowling Green. It was such a small town and much easier to do business there.

Q:  Do you miss any stores in BG?
I do miss Asherah’s Garden. It is a holistic shop.

Q:  What constitutes Creations by dawNN?
A:   Jewelry, Mature Love Book, Hair Growth Oil, and now purses.

Q:  What makes your pieces special or worth mentioning?
A:  They are made from inspiration, magic, and love.  Inspiration is the immediate thought that comes to me. “It tells me that I must create this ______”. The magic is what comes when I put the inspiration into action. It is what happens after I bring my inspiration to life, sort of like a baby being born. The love is what I show each of my business ventures when I give them a name. It is what I show when I advertise them to someone.

Q:  How long have you been making jewelry?   
A:  Since my sophomore year of high school.  My cousin taught me how and I kept making it off and on until last year.  Last semester of my senior year, I began selling it around campus.

Q: Would you like to have a company with subordinates or would you rather handle your business on your lonesome?
A:  Right now I would only use help for advertising.  I’ve been advertising through donations of my jewelry.  I donated them to The Charity Fashion Show by Fad Watch.  I’ve also been advertising by donating jewelry to blogs.  But the threat of someone stealing my brand after I teach them overrides me wanting employees.

Q: The book that you’re currently writing, what is it about?
A:  The name of the book is Mature Love.  It’s inspired by my fiancĂ©.  It’s a take on a 21 year old’s conception of love in this age of technology.  I disseminated the thought of Mature Love through Facebook statuses.  I received tons of feedback and the entrepreneur inside of me decided to write a book.  I mentioned that we are in the age of technology because I use FB as a catalyst, and I’m going to publish it in an E-book format.

Q:  Where do you find inspiration for your work?
A:  Unknowingly my father is.  He came here as an immigrant but garnered properties (housing) and is successful.  Although I wasn’t taught how to fix a car, or how to fix a house because of strict gender roles, I still had the desire to learn.  Not to learn those types of things, but to be an entrepreneur just like my father.  He’s a ‘jack of all trades’ and I’m trying to be the woman version.

Q:  You mentioned earlier hat you have a tax identification number but you don’t use it.  Why is that?
A:  Because I don’t want the government in my business, as of yet [laughs].  I consider my creations a lucrative hobby.  A hobby rather because it’s inconsistent.  By inconsistent I mean the irregularity.  I have my weeks when I’m selling items, and I have weeks when I’m not.

Q:  Is the mental health industry a big market?
A:  It's a big market comprised of small businesses.  You can have your own practice, work for a hospital, community organization, professor, etc.  But everyone has to come together to present new findings in order to disseminate mental health information and take it back to their respective work.

If interested in Creations by dawNN check out her previous manifestations of glamour on Facebook.   Or for some words geared towards healthy living from a #citygirl perspective follow her on Twitter: @Dawnwith2ns.