Monthly Archives: April 2009

50 Things TO DO Before You Turn 50 in West Michigan

  1. Attend a real memorable, intimate  concert
  2. Attend a real memorable big concert
  3. Throw a really cool party
  4. Buy a new grill
  5. Canoe the mighty Kalamazoo
  6. Enter the Hot Dog Hall of Fame
  7. Conquer the Fifth-Third Burger
  8. Get the band back together
  9. Volunteer
  10. Become the next Wolfman
  11. Sing
  12. Go perch fishing
  13. Become a citizen journalist
  14. Make a film
  15. Spend the day in Milwaukee
  16. Be catered to
  17. Smoke a stogie
  18. Learn to cook
  19. Start a business
  20. Record a CD
  21. Turkey hunting with Rod Benson
  22. Learn to play the guitar
  23. Become a home brewer
  24. Fly fish with Glen
  25. Run a long ways
  26. Do something good
  27. Buy a new bike
  28. Learn something new about coffee
  29. Hobnob at a film festival
  30. Birdwatching for raptors
  31. Get a dog
  32. Throw a really big party
  33. Catch some rays
  34. Ride your bike a long way
  35. Watch a sunset
  36. Write a book
  37. Golf, golf, and more golf
  38. Become a master gardener
  39. Chill
  40. Make the world a better place
  41. Barbecue with the best
  42. Buy some beef
  43. Go on a Mission
  44. Go to a favorite restaurant
  45. Las Vegas junket
  46. Chicago junket
  47. Detroit Tiger junket
  48. Begin training
  49. Do something cheesy
  50. Find a steal


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Need reliable, hard working, driven employees?

During a class visit at Rylee’s Ace Hardware in Grand Rapids, MI, I had learned some great techniques on getting good employees through Matthew Jamrog.

There are 3 steps in getting great employess:

Know how to interview – “10% of employees will cause 90% of your headaches”

  • 1st – have a set of core questions to ask during every interview
    • Examples: Biggest Accomplishment? Best second chance given? Why do you want to work here?
  • 2nd – Ask questions that have follow- up questions
    • Examples: Why was that your favorite job? What about made that accomplishment so important to you?

Feeling of Importance = Motivated Employees

  • give them responsibilities –
  • let them know when they do a great job! –

Let them know when they fall short of expectations BEFORE the problem gets worse

  • “I noticed you were a little late today. Is everything ok? Is there something I can do to help?”
  • Everyone wants to make their boss happy –
  • if you make your employees feel important, give them a sense of belonging, appreciated and like they are accomplishing something = generates loyalty!

In simple terms abide by the golden rule “treat others they way you want to be treated!”

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Killer Mantra

“You walk in our door with a problem and walk out with a solution”.

That pretty much sums up Rylee’s Ace Hardware.

Guy Kawasaki would of been proud with it’s simplicity.


Our entrepreneurship class had the privilege of spending a couple of hours with their VP of Operations, Matt Jamrog and learning about several facets of operating a very successful business, in a very competitive industry over a long period of time.  The Rylee’s story is incredible and any long time Grand Rapids resident probably has been a Rylee’s customer at some point in their life.  Equally cool is the fact that they are so successful, that they are expanding…and staying local.  Moving to a new site, just east of their present location, Rylee’s will almost triple in size and offer the same quality of products and services for their loyal customers and for the new generation of city residents who are chosing to make the many Grand Rapids neighborhood’s home.

Truth is Stranger Than Fiction.

Of everything that Matt discussed with our class, this stuck in my mind.

“You walk in our door with a problem and walk out with a solution”.

That very night my class was meeting with Matt, my 12 year old son, Jack,  was working (unsuccessfully) on his third version of a homemade slingshot and was in need of a “giant rubber band” (this is spring break, and obviously he had too much time on his hands). After failing to braid/wrap/twist multiple regular rubber bands together for a workable slingshot, he decided to call Lowes. “Do you have any big rubber bands?” Can you imagine calling Lowes and asking someone for “giant rubber bands”? I dare you.

That night, Jack told me his story about his futile search for giant rubber bands and I said, “man, you should of called of me.  I was just at the place you could of found them.  Rylee’s Hardware.  The have everything!”

“Right Dad. Sure.  Lowes doesn’t have them.  No one does.”

So I told him the story.  “You walk in the doors with a problem……….”

He still didn’t believe me. Even Friday morning, when I was driving him south on Diamond Ave, “where are you taking me??? I don’t think this place will have what I need”

Ye of Little Faith

We walked in the door, and were immediatley greeted with a “how can I assist you?”.

“We need giant rubber bands. For a homemade slingshot.”

Without pausing a beat “Aisle 10, someone will be there to assist you”


This was the ultimate win-win scenario Problem solved quickly, no suburban sprawl/driving/parking and most importantly,  Dad is right again.

“You walk in our door with a problem and walk out with a solution”.

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$20 Tuesdays at Restaurant Bloom

For those of you who have never tried Restaurant Bloom, you are missing out on a culinary gem.  When you walk down Monroe Center in Grand Rapids, you may have looked into the window of the former Cafe Solace window and thought, “Wow, that place looks like it would be expensive.”  But on Tuesdays, you get a three course taste of culinary at its best for a mere $20.  

My friend Kimberly and I went today for an early dinner and here is what we had…

Deviled Eggs

A Trio of Deviled Eggs: Classic, Smoked Paprika, and Scallion. (The scallion was my favorite!)


Roasted bass, braised cabbage, potato, and lemon vinaigrette. (The braised cabbage was amazing!)

Panna Cotta

“Hard boiled egg” panna cotta (Vanilla Panna Cotta with what I think was a frozen apricot mousse center) with toasted coconut and apricot.  The crunch of the toasted coconut, the chew of the dried apricot, the creamyness of the panna cotta and the cold of the apricot mousse all mixed in your mouth for an incredible bite. That was my dessert. Kimberly’s dessert was…

carrot cake

Carrot Cake with a Sweet Pea Ice Cream and Cream Cheese Icing.  The Sweet Pea ice cream really tastes like peas!  You would never have thought to pair it with the carrot cake, but it mixes with the cake and the icing and really balances out the denseness and adds its own layer of flavor.

Everything was amazing, the food, the experience over all, it was a nice escape from the real world.  I left completely stuffed and in a happy daze.  I would highly recommend you try it.  Every week the menu is different and you can sign up to receive the new menu by email.

Visit their website by clicking here.

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