web analytics

Archive | Business

Brides-to-be: use best practices with bankrupt retailers

 

Michigan Attorney General Bill Schuette called attention to best practices to be used by Michigan consumers, in this case brides-to-be, when protecting themselves from bankrupt retailers. This notice results from the nationwide shutdown of bridal gown retailer, Alfred Angelo, which has left brides across Michigan wondering if they’ll be without a dress and without a refund on their wedding day.

“When businesses announce bankruptcies overnight, employees and consumers alike are left with frustration, fear, and uncertainty,” said Schuette. “The best thing to do is to take the necessary steps to limit your financial loss, protect your privacy, and reach a solution.”

Concerned customers can visit the Better Business Bureau’s report on Alfred Angelo’s closure at http://bbb.org/h/jubg where updates will be posted as more information becomes available. If you wish to be contacted regarding your order status once information is available, you can send an email to: alfredangelo@mjstrustee.com.

In the meantime, Schuette warned Michigan residents to beware of online donations and crowdfunding pages. When unfortunate events occur, it attracts potential scammers who are looking to take advantage of the situation. Beware of anyone who claims they can help you retrieve your dress from a store for a fee, or any crowdfunding pages looking to raise money for a dress they lost. Only communicate with a designated bankruptcy trustee.

Business Sudden Closure Consumer Tips

Additional best practices are listed in the Attorney General’s Business Sudden Closure Consumer Alert, and include steps to take to protect yourself when any business suddenly closes. (Go to Michigan.gov/ag and click on consumer alerts under resources, then shopping for products and services, then sudden business closures.) Most important, consumers need to act quickly to protect their rights and to help the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division investigate, and hopefully resolve, disputes that arise when a business suddenly closes.  Specific steps include:

The First Step: Limit Your Financial Loss

When faced with the sudden closure of a business, consumers who made purchases but have not received all of the goods or services they contracted for should immediately determine their method of payment and act accordingly:

  • If you paid with a credit card, contact your credit card company to dispute the charges and have all related charges removed from your bill.  You should be able to find information regarding how to dispute charges on your monthly statements.
  • If you paid by check, contact your bank to determine if you can stop any payment.
  • If you arranged for long-term financing, contact the financing company and dispute any payment for goods or services that have not been delivered.
  • If you arranged for some form of automatic payment plan, contact your bank or credit union to immediately stop any future withdrawals from your account.

The Second Step:  File a Complaint If a Business Closes And They Fail to Deliver Goods or Services

If a business unexpectedly closes, and they fail to deliver goods or services, you should file a complaint as soon as possible to help minimize any potential loss and maximize the Consumer Protection Division›s ability to intervene.  The Consumer Protection Division will try to recover as much as possible for consumers before a business files for bankruptcy.

  • Call the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division at 1-877-765-8388, and file an online Consumer Complaint using our website: michigan.gov/ag
  • If a business is located out of state, also file a complaint with that state’s Attorney General.
  • Gather receipts, invoices, or bills that show what items were ordered, what you paid, and when delivery was promised.
  • Document all transactions in order to assist investigators and to support any possible legal claims.
  • Keep any phone records or any notes that indicate which company employees you spoke with and when those conversations occurred.
  • Try to contact the company’s headquarters or “customer service” line or use their website to lodge a formal complaint with the company.

Protecting Your Privacy: A Business Closure and Your Personal Information

Even if a business suddenly closes, that business is still required to protect your personal financial information.

Complaints

Consumers may file a complaint with the Attorney General’s Consumer Protection Division:

Consumer Protection Division

P.O. Box 30213, Lansing, MI 48909

517-373-1140, Fax: 517-241-3771

Toll free: 877-765-8388

Online Complaint Form

https://secure.ag.state.mi.us/complaints/consumer.aspx

Posted in Business, NewsComments (0)

CSBrewery Shoppe

Cedar Springs Brewing Company is now using the retail space next door at 81 N. Main St. that was vacated by Coldbreak Brewing to sell a variety of brewing and wine-making equipment and other supplies.

You can also find a variety of Cedar Springs Brewing Company merchandise at the location.

Coldbreak Brewing, who was renting the space from the CS Brewing Company, decided to return their focus to manufacturing their equipment and no longer need the space.

The CSBrewery Shoppe also plans to offer classes in brewing beer, and in making wine, cider, and mead.

Stop in and see them today! Hours are 12:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.

Posted in Business, FeaturedComments (0)

Wireless Zone backpack giveaway

Cedar Springs Wireless Zone, 4021 17 Mile Rd, is working to alleviate the rising costs of school supplies by giving away 200 backpacks to school children this Sunday, July 23, from 1-4 p.m. The giveaway is part of the annual School Rocks Backpack Giveaway in partnership with The Cellular Connection (TCC) and Culture of Good.

According to Renee Doren, general manager at Wireless Zone, an authorized Verizon retailer, the canvas backpacks will come in six colors, and will come with notebooks, pencils, rulers, a pencil box, and glue sticks.

Both the parent and child must be present to claim the backpack.

On hand at the event will be Cedar Springs Fire Department, Solon Fire Department, and the Kent County Sheriff Department. There will also be pop, popcorn, sidewalk chalk, and bubbles.

“It will be three hours of fun,” remarked Doren. “We expect a huge turn out and are so excited to give back to our community!”

This is the first year that Wireless Zone has participated in the event. TCC, who bought the Wireless Zone franchise last year, gave away 235,000 backpacks last year in a nationwide event.

For more info, call 696-2395.

Posted in Business, FeaturedComments (0)

En Gedi accepted into KidCents program

En Gedi, a free, non-profit after-school youth center for students in 6-8th grades, has been accepted as a qualifying participant in Rite Aid’s KidCents Program. Rite Aid also donated $5,000 to kick off their support.

“Rite Aid has long been committed to helping communities live well,” explained assistant store manager Melinda Silliman.

Sharlene Kent, long time Rite Aid employee and Cedar Springs resident, has worked for about two years to identify a worthy non-profit organization to partner with Rite Aid on this program.

Kent said, “I am thrilled Pastor Craig Owens, En Gedi Youth Center Executive Director, applied and was accepted for this program. The Rite Aid Foundation’s mission centers around children’s health and well-being, having donated over $80 million to help kids. I felt En Gedi would align with Rite Aid’s mission. Now, our Cedar Springs area children will be recipients of funds from the Rite Aid Foundation.”

Rite Aid will continue to donate to En Gedi as their customers round up to the nearest dollar through KidCents.

En Gedi, a Christ-centered organization, serves an average of 65 students per day with approximately 120 individual students participating throughout the school year. Special high school and community events are also hosted to align with the En Gedi mission of strengthening the community through the building up of families.

All funding for En Gedi is provided through corporate and personal donations primarily at the annual Fund Raising Auction each spring.

“The KidsCents Program will be a wonderful opportunity for local residents to donate by simply saying “Round Up for En Gedi” when checking out by using their Wellness + Card at any Rite Aid store,” shared Owens. “This donation is greatly appreciated and will significantly help continue the efforts of the En Gedi team.”

For details on En Gedi visit the website of www.EnGediYouthCenter.com or Facebook. To learn how you can participate with the KidsCents Program just ask Sharlene Kent or any Rite Aid staff member.

Posted in BusinessComments (0)

New FTC Website helps small businesses avoid scams/cyber attacks

 

Attacks can be especially devastating to small businesses; Agency provides information on how they can protect themselves

At the direction of Acting Chairman Maureen Ohlhausen, the Federal Trade Commission has launched a new website–ftc.gov/SmallBusiness–with articles, videos, and other information aimed at helping small business owners avoid scams and protect their computers and networks from cyberattacks and other threats.

“Small businesses are critical to our economic strength, building America’s future, and helping the United States compete in today’s global marketplace,” Acting Chairman Ohlhausen said. “This innovative new website is a one-stop shop where small businesses can find information to protect themselves from scammers and hackers, as well as resources they can use if they are hit with a cyberattack.”

According to the U.S.Small Business Administration (SBA), there are more than 28 million small businesses nationwide, employing nearly 57 million people. Scammers frequently target small businesses with deceptive tactics designed to get them to pay for supplies they didn’t order, donate to fake charities or trick them into giving access to their network or downloading malware that can corrupt their business’s computers.

Cyberattacks can be particularly devastating to small businesses, and many of them lack the resources that larger companies have to devote to cybersecurity. Symantec Corp.’s 2016 Internet Security Threat Report indicates the percentage of spear-phishing attacks targeting small business rose dramatically from 18 percent to 43 percent between 2011 and 2015.

The FTC’s new web page offers specific information to help small businesses protect their networks and their customer data. This includes a new Small Business Computer Security Basics guide, which shares computer security basics to help companies protect their files and devices, train employees to think twice before sharing the business’s account information, and keep their wireless network protected, as well as how to respond to a data breach. It also has information on other cyber threats such as ransomware and phishing schemes targeting small businesses. The FTC is continuing to work with the SBA on additional ways to help small businesses.

The Federal Trade Commission works to promote competition, and protect and educate consumers. You can learn more about consumer topics and file a consumer complaint online or by calling 1-877-FTC-HELP (382-4357). Like the FTC on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, read our blogs and subscribe to press releases (www.ftc.gov/stay-connected) for the latest FTC news and resources.

Posted in BusinessComments (0)

Car center celebrates with car show

The Car Center celebrated its first year of business in the Cedar Springs area with a grand reopening car show at their location on 13399 White Creek Avenue. There were lots of door prizes—a variety of antique, late model, and sports cars and free food and drinks. Car Center Cedar Springs—offering collision services—is the newest location of Car Center in Greenville, which  provides both collision and mechanical.

Posted in Business, FeaturedComments (0)

Ryanne Donahue State Farm Agency

 

Are you looking for a new place to get your insurance? Check out Ryanne Donahue State Farm Agency, located at 60 N. Main Street. Owner Ryanne Donahue said they offer Insurance and Financial services to help people protect what is important to them, prepare for the unexpected, and plan for the future!

What makes them unique from other insurance agencies? Ryanne and the agency team believe in a “good old days” approach to business. “In the world of 15-minute insurance quotes, we want to take the time to get to know the people we serve,” she explained. “We try to always remember that people need their insurance agent most when something bad or scary has happened, we don’t want to be a stranger in those times we want to be a trusted friend.”

Ryanne and her employees are all local residents from Cedar Springs, to Kent City, to Sand Lake. “We know the community and have the same worries, goals, dreams, and fears as our clients. We offer a wide range of services to help cover every day risks, all backed by State Farm!” she said.

Ryanne said they plan to be at 60 N. Main for many years. “Our goal is to have a conversation with every person we come across, to make sure they are getting the best value and protection that their insurance policies can offer. We want to make sure that when something scary happens, our clients can hear us say ‘I am sorry that happened, but we can help!’”

They are open from 8 am to 5 pm on Monday, Wednesday, and Friday, and 9 am to 6 pm on Tuesday and Thursday. You can check them out at ryannedonahueinsurance.com or give them a call at 616-696-1329.

Posted in BusinessComments (0)

Beers from CS Brewing earn gold medals

BUS-CS-Brewing

BUS-CS-Brewing-LA-Gold-MedalTwo beers from Cedar Springs Brewing Company won gold medals at the 2017 Los Angeles International Beer Competition, held the last week in April, in Los Angeles, California.

Küsterer Heller Weissbier was the recipient of the Gold medal in the “South German Style Hefeweizen” category, and Küsterer Weizenbock was the recipient of the Gold medal in the “South German Style Wheat Ale” category.

The beer competition drew entries from as far Croatia, Vietnam, Quebec and British Columbia. Entries were received from 29 US states, including Michigan, California, Arizona, Nevada, Texas, Wisconsin, New York, Arkansas, Oregon, Idaho, Washington DC and Hawaii.

Entries were up 30 percent from last year, not surprisingly, according to competition organizers, with the craft beer industry booming. Beers submitted into 95 divisions. Many styles and price ranges were represented. Beers were tasted over four days by a 100-member panel comprised of BJCP certified judges, brew masters and beer industry officials.

This year, judges handed out 88 Gold medals, 89 Silver and 81 Bronze, as well as 35 honorable mentions.

But these aren’t the first beers from CS Brewing to win awards. Last year, their Küsterer Original Weissbier was awarded the Bronze Medal at the 2016 Great American Beer Festival in the German-Style Wheat Ale category.

“We are humbled and overjoyed to have won with several of our Bavarian-style wheat beers against outstanding international competition, including the world-famous Weihenstephaner Hefeweizen,” stated owner David Ringler. “We are passionate about this style, along with Bavarian brewing traditions, and we continue to create a brewing destination in Cedar Springs as a small part of Beer City, USA.”

Cedar Springs brewing staff includes: Benevolent Overlord of Brewing, Matt Peterson; Fräulein Brewster, Manda Geiger; Director of Happiness, David Ringler; and Kellertyp, Sam Waite.

A complete list of winners can be found at www.labeercomp.com.

Posted in Business, FeaturedComments (0)

Parks Place Bratdogz

 

BUS-Bratdogz-verticalCedar Springs now has its own brat and hot dog specialty restaurant. Parks Place Bratdogz recently opened at 32 S. Main (where the Alpha Omega Coffe Shop used to be). Owners James and Suzanne Parks said they offer 12 flavors of specialty brats from Ebels (Little Town Jerky) from Falmouth, Michigan, and a variety of hot dogs as well.

They have 40 different toppings to choose from—from the normal ketchup, chili, and cheese, to gourmet toppings such as cherry pie filling, hot fudge, banana slices, and crushed Doritos. They also offer several sides and drinks to complement your brat or hot dog.

“With all the choices we offer for brat flavors and toppings we are not your typical hot dog shop,” said the Parks.

And it’s also affordable.

“We offer reasonable prices and friendly service,” said the Parks, “and most of the products we serve are locally or Michigan-made.” They said they know their distributors, who are local companies, and they also pride themselves on fair pricing.

Currently the shop offers both dine in and take out, but they hope to add delivery soon, and to also expand their product line to include even more brat flavors and toppings.

You can check them out on Tuesday through Saturday from 12 p.m. to 8 p.m. They sometimes stay open later if busy. For more info call them at (616) 439-3220.

Posted in BusinessComments (0)

Business owners: keep this Crisis Control Summary in your files: 

 

lessons from United Airlines

Los Angeles, CA. United Airlines has scared potential passengers and created a multi-layered lesson on what not to do in a crisis situation so it doesn’t become a PR crisis. Keep this information handy. Every company has a crisis from time to time; here’s what you need to know and share with your executive team.  A single PR crisis can put your company out of business, or, at the very least, get you and your team replaced.

Try to resolve it with something that comes easily to you, but your customer values.
Whatever business you are in, you get your goods or services wholesale (free flights, even on a standby basis). Try to resolve the problem by offering something that has a high perceived value but is not so dear to you that it creates a large loss. The customer is ‘not’ always right, but the customer can write something about you on Yelp and, as it hurts you more to respond, they will ‘seem’ right to the public, who will only read one side of it all.

Avoid calling the police (of any kind) for a non-criminal incident.
Once you try to make the police force your own, and they step in with people who are trained to control others, you will have alienated your client past the point of no return. Worse yet, if the person flails and touches a police officer, he or she now gets a criminal record thanks to you and believe me, you will pay dearly for that.  As stupid goes, this is the most stupid move a company can use against a client when the company is not at threat. A disagreement is never resolved when one party is fully armed and the other is under threat.

Show them who the management really is, and demonstrate compassion for the situation.
If your story makes it to social media, the first response from the CEO should be an instant public apology. The public needs to think of him or her as a nice, warm, empathetic individual who just had the bad luck of hiring someone who had no common sense. Mistakes happen. The public forgives you. If, on the other hand the CEO makes a bad impression or supports his or her staff, regardless of their stupidity, then people will fear the company and avoid it all costs. Do you understand?

Do not anger a customer and then accuse him or her with being belligerent.
This is a common tactic used by the police to arrest persons. Lawyers use it at trial all the time. You say something inflammatory, the person reacts, and you try to show the jury how unreasonable they are. This is dangerous behavior. Unless you have the powers of arrest, you shouldn’t do something to further anger your customer. If you have an angry customer, you should do everything you can to get them to a reasonable states. The easiest way to do so: Offer something up front, then dine or have drinks with him or her in a casual manner and work out the rest. Using this system you may create the most loyal customer (who refers you business) when you are finished. People understand errors occur: it’s how you handle them.

If you can’t say anthing empathetic keep your mouth shut.
A client/customer may upset you.  They are in a heated state due to what happened. Don’t get offended. Many of them don’t even mean what they say in the heat of the moment. If you don’t internalize the person’s comments, start looking at the situation from their point of view. The easiest way to do it is not to think of them, but to think of one of your parents, your spouse, or your best friend having gone through this and how would you respond? Now do this with your client.

Be careful with your words and positioning of your firm. 
It’s easy to say and do what you want when you have a golden parachute. However, a corporation’s reputation is largely based on the philosophies of the CEO when it comes to customer service. Remember the corporation took care of you and your family when you were looking for a career or opportunity. Now, it needs ‘you’. Do everything with all the integrity the company deserves, even if you have to bite your lip in doing so.

Make contact with the aggrieved party asap.
Call the person, arrange a personal contact and work things out. Do not let it get to the media or to a lawyer’s office. Let the person hear from you and know that you care. The difference it will make is phenomenal. It does not matter that you are on vacation when it takes place or may be sleeping. You are better off losing a night’s sleep than months of sleep in the future while your and you company’s reputation are in the balance. Don’t only contact the party, make this up to them. For example, in the United Airlines’ case, I would have put Dr Dao on a private jet asap, with a limousine waiting at the other end. The scenario would have turned out very differently.

Work it out before it becomes a lawsuit.
If a situation is so out of control that a lawyer has been hired or litigation is threatened, resolve it immediately. Negotiate and work out a settlement or understanding of some sort. Keep it confidential if you have to, or be generous and go public with it. This is especially the case if you are in the wrong. In today’s world of Yelp and social media, one event can put a small company out of business. The worst thing that can happen in this case is what happened with United Airlines: the lawyer was having free national airtime to say what he wanted.

If a lawyer has been hired, you did not follow the rules above very well. Once the legal game is in play, it will only serve to infuriate the customer more and the legal game is all about sides. At this point, hope the party has a reasonable lawyer as you can no longer directly communicate with the party. Litigation is one of the worst diseases a company can catch, avoid it at all costs unless you’re the plaintiff.

We hope your next crisis is averted rapidly and wish you the best!

Steven Riznyk is the CEO and senior litigator of San Diego Biz Law, a crisis negotiator, and business strategist who is hired to analyze and resolve complex and crisis issues worldwide. He can be reached at 619-793-4827.  

Posted in BusinessComments (0)