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Posted by: In: Our Clients, Tips and Tricks 20 Sep 2013 0 comments
The point that I would like to emphasis about this article is that an online store is a great way to augment your brick and mortar business. It gives your customers the ability to shop your merchandise 24 hours a day – 7 days a week. And it also broadens your customer base from the confines of your neighborhood to the entire world. I know the ins and outs of running an online business and would be happy to work with you in finding the same success for business!

The following article was written by Bryce Gray and published in the Lake County Leader.

521f8ef919066.imagePOLSON – Before last year, Polson resident Michael Brandt had never found a four-leaf clover. That all changed when an ordinary trip out into the yard took a fateful twist, and Brandt and his girlfriend, Ali Bronsdon, discovered one four-leaf specimen… and then another… and then another…

In what was either a stroke of fantastic fortune or a fluke of frontyard ecology, a half-hour search that day yielded a staggering haul of 180 four-leaf clovers. With some creativity and clever marketing (not to mention an ever-growing collection of clovers), Brandt was soon inspired to launch the website realfourleafclover.com and has been seeing green ever since.

Little more than a year later, Brandt’s start-up has helped him become a veritable kingpin of the “surprisingly lucrative” online clover business, netting over $2,000 in sales and attracting customers from all over the United States and Canada.

Brandt says that originally he had no intentions of climbing towards the top of the four-leaf clover industry. But after amassing a stash of clovers that would turn a leprechaun green with envy, Brandt says that his “entrepreneurial nature” quickly got the best of him.

“When I got 200 of them, I wanted to be competitive in the clover business. So I found who my competitors were and honed my search engine optimization,” says Brandt, who runs a website development company called Striped Rhino as his day job.

Soon, Brandt had ensured that realfourleafclover.com was one of the top Google search results for prospective customers before sitting back and watching the orders come pouring in.

Brandt has been impressed not only by the sheer volume of orders, but also by the size of some of the orders received. Single clover-hungry shoppers have placed orders of $90 and $120, and, earlier this month, someone requested 200 clovers, which slightly exceeded the site’s current inventory.

While the money from his foray into the clover business has been a pleasant surprise, Brandt says that he has benefited from the side project in other ways.

“I’m a website developer and have clients with stores and I wanted to figure out how it works. With this business I’ve been able to figure out the nuances of running an online store. It just so happens that it turned out to be fairly profitable.”

Brandt has also crafted the website into a good corporate citizen, making a donation of 10 clovers and $100 to the charitable Wings for Wishes fundraiser held last weekend.

In addition to “naturally grown” four-leaf clovers, Brandt’s yard has even borne a number of rare five-leaf clovers, which are available on the site for a premium. However, Brandt says “there’s no market for them,” as they have not sold as well as their quaternary counterparts.

The meteoric rise of the start-up has not gone unnoticed by the industry’s power players. Brandt was recently approached by a “purchasing agent” from South Korea offering to become an offshore middleman for four-leaf clovers at a reasonable rate. Brandt turned down the supplier’s proposal, but not after receiving a free sample of “really high quality” Korean clovers in the mail.

With more than $600 in sales over the past month alone, business is booming as summer draws to a close, although leaner days loom in the company’s immediate future. Brandt says that the inevitable onslaught of winter will put an end to the harvest and temporarily deplete his inventory.

But come spring, the yard will be lush with a new generation of clovers waiting to be paired with another wave of customers.

Posted by: In: Tips and Tricks 21 Jun 2013 0 comments

The Ironman Coeur d’Alene is this weekend, Sunday, June 23, 2013. Spectators and racers can feel free to use this map in preparation and for cheering purposes. It was created based on low resolution maps on the official website, so I do not guarantee its accuracy, though it should be pretty close.


View Ironman Coeur d’Alene Map in a larger map

Posted by: In: Our Clients 21 Jun 2013 0 comments

logoStriped Rhino is pleased to hear the news that our client, Mission Valley Aquatics, has officially secured $6 million in financing from Montana CDC. The new market tax credits received by Mission Valley Aquatics allowed the organization to complete construction of the multimillion dollar facility and open its doors to happy swimmers in the community.

“New Markets Tax Credits (NMTC) were established by Congress in 2000 to encourage the investment of private capital in designated low-income communities in order to create jobs, generate economic activity and improve the quality of services in low-income communities and to low-income persons. NMTCs attract investment capital to low-income communities by permitting individual and corporate investors to receive a tax credit against their federal income tax return in exchange for making qualified equity investments in specialized financial institutions called Community Development Entities (CDEs). In turn, CDEs provide below-market financing to transformative development projects in low-income communities across the country.”

It was based on the hard work of both Project and Facility Directors that the Montana CDC determined that the loan was well-suited for the needs of the town’s residents.

In an article posted on MontanaCDC.org, both Senator Max Baucus and Senator Jon Tester say that the investment is “a smart investment into Montana” and “a smart way to improve access to care and raise the quality of life for folks in Polson.”

Congratulations on successfully accomplishing what you have been working on for so long!

Read the full article below:


Just in time for summer, Montana CDC and U.S. Bank have secured $6 million in permanent financing to support the Mission Valley Aquatics community health facility. Founded in 2002, Mission Valley Aquatics is a Lake County based not-for-profit created to build and operate an aquatic facility providing swimming and therapy programs to people of all ages and abilities in and around Polson. The center includes an 8-lane, 25-yard swimming pool, and is the only available facility for the surrounding rural community.

“Supporting more than 40 jobs in Polson while building healthy community infrastructure is a win-win,” said Senator Max Baucus, who helped make New Markets Tax Credits available to rural areas as Chairman of the Senate’s tax-writing committee. “This is a smart investment into Montana jobs while bolstering an important economic corridor for Indian Country and the entire Flathead community.”

Over the past ten years, Mission Valley Aquatics created a design that is well-suited for the needs of the town’s residents, gathered letters of support from community members, and raised more than $4.6 million in funding from private donors and lenders. The New Markets Tax Credit financing from U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation, the community development subsidiary of U.S. Bank, and Montana Community Development Corporation provides a critical piece of the project and allowed the facility to open for the summer season. Harnessing the power of NMTCs, Montana CDC raised U.S. Bank’s investment and leveraged funding from private donors and lenders to provide patient, low-cost capital to Mission Valley Aquatics.

Senator Jon Tester is also a long-time supporter of the New Markets Tax Credit program. “The New Market Tax Credit has helped dozens of Montana communities grow and create jobs,” Tester said. “Investing in this Mission Valley Aquatics facility, with its strong community support, is a smart way to improve access to care and raise the quality of life for folks in Polson.”

“We’re committed to fostering community development across the country and are pleased to partner with Montana CDC to help foster economic growth of Montana,” said Matt Philpott, director of New Markets, Historic, and Renewable Energy Tax Credit Investments for U.S. Bancorp Community Development Corporation. “We applaud Sen. Baucus and Tester for their support of this financing tool for such worthy projects.”

This is Montana CDC’s first New Markets Tax Credit (NMTC) project in Polson and the first to be built with a not-for- profit organization. Dave Glaser, President of Montana CDC, recognizes the importance of using New Markets financing to support community-based facilities. “Mission Valley Aquatics was a natural fit for New Markets, as the organization receives a stable source of financing, the community receives a health facility with long-term viability, and U.S. Bank receives an opportunity to provide capital to Montana.” Since 2009, Montana CDC has provided nearly $123 million in NMTC financing to projects throughout Montana and Idaho.

Like all New Markets Tax Credit projects, there are significant community impacts associated with the facility. Mission Valley Aquatics will provide access to fitness and aquatic rehabilitation services in a rural area, and create jobs in a rural community. The facility will maintain three permanent full-time positions and create 40 permanent part-time positions.

“We are grateful to have received New Market Tax Credit financing,” Tana Seeley, MVA Project Director, said. “It has enabled us to complete construction and open our doors to the public. We are already seeing the positive energy the aquatic center brings to our community.”

Montana CDC received its first allocation of NMTCs in 2009, and since that time, the financing has spurred projects totaling $123 million across Montana and Idaho.

Posted by: In: Cool Code, Tips and Tricks 12 Mar 2013 0 comments

What does it take to own, operate, and maintain a website? With a WordPress based website, maybe not as much as you think.

The latest version of WordPress, 3.5.1, is not only more secure, it also allows users to easily update pages, and add new blog posts, and maintain e-commerce products more easily than ever. This process is as easy as writing an email, or updating a word document. Simply select the item you want to edit, view the document in the visual mode, and edit away. There is no dealing with computer code, what you see is what you get! When you are finished with your updates publish the document and it is live for the world to see. Adding pictures and video to your pages for visual appeal is simple too.


Afraid of writing over and being unable to recover important information? WordPress has that all figured out as well with its built in Revisions Section. Any saved content is automatically added to the database. Revisions of old material can be restored from any point with the click of a mouse. No need to worry.

After the initial set up, and with a minimal amount out practice and instruction you can be running your own website without the hassle and expense of relying on a webmaster.

Posted by: In: Smart Phone 05 Mar 2013 0 comments

Looking to make a switch from Android to iPhone? Or are you just curious? Lifehacker has a great article with everything you need to know. The article covers everything from the basics (finding your way around the iOS) to finding alternative to the programs you have grown to love on Android.

Read the post here

Posted by: In: Uncategorized 05 Mar 2013 0 comments

The current value for 1 Bitcoin (the internet based currency) is $37.80. It has been a roller coaster of a ride, but we may be getting to a point now where wild swings in value are a thing of the past.

About a year ago the term Bitcoin first came into mainstream news. Each one was valued at about $10. But then public interest peaked and in just a few days their value shot up to just over $30. But then the bubble burst and the value quickly plummeted to just a few dollars per coin. It was a pretty humiliating entrance into the main stream for the currency. And at this point the critics and media discounted Bitcoin and turned their interest to other things.

I have been watching the value however. I have an app installed right on the home screen of my phone. Pretty much every time I turn my phone on I see the value. And guess what. Bitcoins are now trading at an all time high.

Big name companies are starting to adopt Bitcoins as currency. It has just been reported that the domain registrar Namecheap is now accepting payment via Bitcoin. Namecheap is definitely not the biggest registrar around, but its a step forward.

Please keep in mind, I am not gloating because I know that when I wake up tomorrow and turn on my phone that value on the screen could show that the currency has plummeted yet again.

Posted by: In: Space 05 Mar 2013 0 comments

For the third time the Dragon Capsule, product of private company SpaceX, has docked successfully with the International Space Station. The mission launched on Friday and was scheduled to dock with the ISS just a day later, but due to an anomaly with its engines, it did not make it to the rendezvous until Sunday.

With the dismantling of the Orbiter program, NASA is now turning to private companies for scheduled deliveries of payloads, and will continue to rely on them through at least the year 2020. Two other companies, Boeing and Sierra Nevada Corp., have contracts for ferrying crews and supplies to the space station, however their vehicles are still in testing and certification stages.

Currently, the only way for a human to get to space is on the Russian Soyuz rocket.

Posted by: In: Cool Code 05 Mar 2013 0 comments

Sometimes a website is short, shorter than the height of your monitor. On pages like this the default is that a scroll bar is not display. However, if you then click to a page on the same website that happens to be taller than the available width on your monitor, a scroll bar will appear on the right side. This can cause the page to shift about 20 pixels to the left. It is just mildly unpleasant, but there is an easy fix. Simple apply the scroll bar to ALL pages, even the short ones. You wont notice that it is there when its not needed, and it solve the problem of the website jumping around.

html {
overflow-y: scroll;
}

StripedRhino

In order to correct the issue, and make the page static, give all pages a scroll bar, whether they need it or not.

Posted by: In: Smart Phone 04 Mar 2013 0 comments

Looking to make a switch from iPhone to Android? Or are you just curious? Lifehacker has a great article with everything you need to know. The article covers everything from the basics (finding your way around the Android OS) to finding alternative to the programs you have grown to love on the iPhone.

Read the post here