A Few Words from Jim – September 2023

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Here we go again.

Kroger and Albertsons announced plans to merge and that they will divest 49 locations in Oregon. They have not announced which ones. We have an Albertsons and Safeway in Ashland. Surely one of them will be one on the chopping block…Again.

A few years ago, Safeway and Albertsons merged and the government required divestiture. So Safeway closed. Haggen, A Washington based west coast regional food chain bought all 146 stores from Albertsons via the FTC demand and with Albertsons blessing and then promptly went bankrupt. Some might say “That’s one way to kill your competition.” What’s ironic? Albertsons quickly re-opened the Safeway after Haggen closed. So now we again have both a Safeway and an Albertsons in our small town. I find it funny how the government helped “protect” us from a monopoly only to help strengthen one. Another irony, I just Googled about Haggen and guess who owns them now. Yup, Albertsons. 

Who’s next in this space? The co-op has been wanting to grow for years from their current location. Maybe they can take over the abandoned store instead of building a new one. They had a chance before. Will they pull the trigger this time? 

Read the interesting Oregon take on page 23, I never thought about the pharmacy side of it. 

After going Public in September 2021, (yes I drank the koolaid, or was it the “Annihilator “ and bought some IPO stock in full disclosure), Dutch Bros is announcing the issue of even more stock to raise more capital to help them survive their critical cash shortage. Page 24.

Back in 1995-96 or so, I created “Thinkubator” in Ashland. I set aside 10% of our 10,000 SQFT office to lease out space monthly “SmartSuites” or hourly and provide all the technology you needed to run your business. You just had to show up and bring your energy and grow your business. It was way ahead of its time and I ran it until it outgrew our company and we moved out. You can still see artifacts at  http://thinkubator.com/

CoWorking is what all the cool kids call it now and it’s an important component in the innovation ecosystem. 

There is a cool take on it by SOU professor Precious Yamaguchi, Ph.D. on page 6. She and her husband ran one for a while in Ashland. In fact all 3 coworking spaces in Ashland have recently closed. I don’t get into why in this issue, but I am thinking about it. 

Trever’s Hivve in Grants Pass seems to be doing well. It expanded and the event space combined with coworking seems to be working well. His story is here

I’m co-chairing the 26th annual Oregon Connections conference in Ashland this year. Senator Ron Wyden is our keynote speaker. I’m excited about it. Page 9 will tell you all about it. Or go to https://oregonconnections.info/


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