Go big or go home
We’re pleased to announce that we now have a 12 Kilowatt DC Solar Photovoltaic (PV) Tracker System from Solaflect Energy in Norwich Vermont. Solar Trackers follow the sun, allowing our solar panels to generate 40% more power than fixed installations. This system should provide all of Trillium’s power needs for the next 30+ years, offset 39 tons of carbon emissions, and save us over $275 per month. Besides the economic advantages of adopting renewable energy, there is the environmental aspect.
Vermont’s climate looks more and more like that of our neighbors to the south. Over the last 50 years, our summers are 2.3, and our winters 5.2 degrees warmer. It may not feel like that during a frigid cold snap, but our winter mean temp has risen from 18 to 23 degrees in the last 5 decades. Lilacs bloom 17 days earlier and there are 40 fewer days of ice in local ponds each winter.
By directly tracking the sun all day, the Tracker captures approximately 40% more solar energy than solar panels mounted on a fixed surface – like a rooftop or fixed panels on the ground – which miss a good deal of morning and afternoon sun, particularly on long summer days. A Tracker uses fewer solar panels to generate the same amount of electricity as panels on a roof – e.g., 16 solar panels on a Tracker is the equivalent of at least 23 and as many as 30 panels on a roof.
The ability to shed snow quickly is also an important feature here in New England, as rooftop solar loses 12%-15% of its production per year from snow cover. A Tracker is pitched steeply all winter as it is pointed right at the sun – which is low in the sky through its winter trajectory – so snow slides off quickly. The Tracker also “sleeps” vertical at night, meaning gravity takes care of any remaining snow.
Happy holidays from our family to yours!
And hey 2020, don’t let the door hit you on the way out…
Our partner Reid Greenberg posted this way back in 2010 but I think in these dark times it is still very good advice.
1. Be smart and thrifty, but don’t panic. This, too, shall pass.
Economies go through cycles of expansion and contraction. It’s what we all learned in college economics courses (back then, of course, we weren’t really paying attention). The trouble is, while academics can pontificate on the cyclical economy, real business people have to live through difficult economic events. We love the expansionary times, but the contractions can be painful. If you’re smart, you’ve managed your balance sheet well and can ride out a period of slow or no growth. If not, you may have to make some cuts. Just be careful to trim fat and avoid cutting muscle as much as possible.
2. Marketing is muscle, not fat. Be careful about cutting it.
Just as the savviest investors view down markets as a time to buy when everybody else is selling, the savviest marketers know recessions are a great time to pick up market share. They understand that by maintaining their budgets (or even increasing them) they may not come out ahead during the down times, but they can pick up market share that will pay off in the long run. Marketing dollars in a recession are like oxygen on Mt. Everest—the less there is in the surrounding environment, the more valuable the amount you possess becomes. Cutting your marketing spending is a sure way to give ground to competitors who may be more aggressive during the downturn.
3. Don’t lose focus by chasing business you wouldn’t normally want.
When clients and customers get nervous about the economy, they cut back their spending. For you that could mean fewer transactions, smaller purchases, or possibly both. But if you try to broaden your core product or service appeal to please a wider audience, chances are you’ll make your best customers even less satisfied, giving them one more reason to stay home or spend less. There’s a reason you don’t pursue certain types of customers when times are good, and that reason probably hasn’t changed. Do your best to stick to your knitting and enhance the value you provide to your best customers. They may decide to make their cutbacks in areas other than yours.
4. Don’t discount.
It’s easy to rationalize discounting during a downturn, for your company’s sake (“it helps to drive business”) as well as for the sake of your customers (“they’re struggling and need the help”). But whether times are good or bad, discounting your price discounts your product (BusinessWeek.com, 4/14/08) in the eyes of your customers. There was a time in the 1990s when McDonald’s (MCD) and Burger King (BKC) put their Big Macs and Whoppers on sale so often that they trained their customers never to pay full price. That created a margin problem from which it took them years to recover. If you need to make your products more affordable (to generate volume, goodwill, or both), do so carefully and deliberately. But lower the price instead of offering a discount.
5. Don’t neglect the elephant in the room.
We live in a 24-hour information cycle. When news breaks, people know it, and economic news breaks every day. You don’t have to be an economist to know the business environment isn’t in the best shape right now, and the point is brought home to your people in a personal way every time they go to the grocery store or fill up their gas tanks. Even if your company’s revenues have held up, your employees know there’s trouble afoot and they’re nervous. Make sure they know you’re on top of things and have a plan.
There’s no telling what lies ahead over the next several months. We may pull out of our economic rut more quickly than anticipated, or we may be in for a prolonged rough ride. But clients and customers will still need to eat. They still need transportation. They still seek entertainment, clothing, vacations, chain saws, pet food, perfume, office supplies, computer servers, tractors, and machinery. As the market tightens up, the best positioned players will survive and thrive. Avoid the mistakes above and you’re more likely to be one of them.
To most observers, the closure of two movie screening rooms that shared a block near Times Square with a strip club and a souvenir boutique might seem like just another symptom of a changing neighborhood. But for film critics in New York, the shuttering of Magno Review 1 and 2, which will show their last movies today after 31 years in operation, is significant.
David Friedman, the executive vice president of Magno Sound Inc., who runs the company with his brother, Bob Friedman, the president, attributed the closure primarily to the cost of rent; Magno is not renewing its lease, effective July 1.
– New York Times, June 27 2018
I’m sorry to hear of the end of Magno’s Sound & Video’s glory days. 729 7th Ave. was a phenomenal place to work back in the 1980’s, when Magno filled most of the floors of the old United Artists headquarters, founded by Charlie Chaplin, Douglas Fairbanks, Mary Pickford, and D.W. Griffith back in the early 1920’s. I don’t actually know all the details of Magno’s early years, but after U.A. moved out, Ralph Friedman and his business partner Larry Roemer moved in, originally doing sound engineering and expanding rapidly from there. Larry was the director of my favorite childhood Christmas cartoon, “Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer”, and Ralph was the sound engineer. I had the honor of working briefly with both Ralph and Larry. I started there as Chyron operator and graphic artist in 1988, a few months after Steve and I moved to Manhattan from NC. I worked in the Video Department on the 4th floor, where the celebrated “Mary Pickford Room” was located. It was one of the only rooms that still had its 1920’s style dark wood paneling, and it was gorgeous!
I spent five years there, working on projects ranging from major motion picture releases to political ads to adding foreign language end credits on tv shows; transcribing prescribing information legalese into a 10 minute scroll for pharmaceutical product launches; working on several PBS series, including several with Bill Moyers; and Ben Stiller’s original MTV comedy show named – you guessed it – “The Ben Stiller Show” in 1989. Every day was different and exciting! One of my favorite projects was working on the PBS documentary about the cast recording for the 1992 Broadway hit Guys and Dolls, the one with Peter Gallager, Nathan Lane, Faith Prince, and Josie de Guzman. Talk about catchy tunes – I still have them stuck in my head today, and I don’t mind one bit. (I just discovered it on Amazon Prime, by the way. It’s still as fun as it was back then.)
We edited everything to 2 inch tape in those days, but were pioneers in digital editing with the first Avid non-linear editing system in NYC. Talk about the wave of the future! Who would’ve thought that everybody would eventually edit video right on their own office computers!
Of course, those days in the Times Square neighborhood were pretty sketchy, not at all like the Disney-fied version it is today. I had my pocket picked at least once or twice as I walked past all the adult movie theaters lining the way to Port Authority Bus Terminal, where I took the bus back home, but all in all, it was a great experience and I got to work with so many great people there.
Best of luck to those who are still with the company in its new location.
“We Love The Arts!”
Cedar Hill hosted a fantastic new craft fair in September, a fundraiser for the “We Love the Arts!” Program at Cedar Hill. This is dear to my heart, because my mom is a resident and benefits greatly from this program. We are so lucky to have the dedicated staff and volunteers, as well as all the resident artists who contributed!
Melissa Snyder Photography had a table and we had had a great day, meeting other crafters and artists, and old and new friends alike!
We have a major announcement – after nine years of peacefully co-existing, Trillium Digital and Barleywine Graphics are officially merged into one single company – Trillium Digital Marketing. We’ve actually been operating this way for years but have had separate websites and business cards all this time, and since we’ve been rebuilding the website(s) from scratch all autumn this seemed like the perfect opportunity to make it official! The major difference is the lack of the original Trillium team members who have gone off to bigger and better things (congratulations to Steve and Reid and thanks for everything!). It’s going to be emotionally difficult to give up the Barleywine Graphics name after 18 years but it’s finally time for it to retire. If you’re up for a little light reading check out my TL/DR Not-so-short History of Barleywine post. I got a new scanner last summer and was able to scan a ton of photos from our earliest days as an herb farm and serious nostalgia set in…
You also might notice the refresh of our Trillium logo to match our fresh new website, and as part of the website merger, I’ve combined much of the content from both of the old sites and now have a long history of blog posts going way back to the beginning of blogging!
And equally big news – I’m excited to announce my new Photography business, Melissa Snyder Photography! After taking photos of the beauty that surrounds me for over 20 years, I finally decided to officially share them with the world. Head on over to my new site to check it out.
Rest in Peace, Barleywine Graphics!
We want to be the first the congratulate Mary Louise Sayles and Patricia Horn and the rest of the Cedar Hill Continuing Care Community for 30 years in the business of helping seniors spend the twilight years in grace and dignity. From humble beginnings in a run-down Victorian Mansion to the flower-filled sprawling campus it is today, they have worked tirelessly over these past 30 years to make this facility the gold standard it is today. Trillium is honored to be a part of the marketing team here.
Congratulations to the entire team, and here’s to 30 more and beyond!