Smart thinking

first_imgBolton-based Greenhalgh’s, a long-established family craft business, has successfully kept to the principles it was founded upon, while embracing the needs of the 21st century consumer. Its ability to change with the times, as well as provide high-quality products and service were key reasons why it won The Craft Business Award, sponsored by Rank Hovis, at the Baking Industry Awards last year.”The inspiration and driving force behind Greenhalgh’s, which built it into the business is it today, was its founder Allan Smart, who sadly died in 2003,” says Sandra Ogden, head of retail operations. “He saw what was needed to produce the very best and he made it happen.”The company is now run by his wife Kathleen Smart and children David Smart, production director, and Anne Busby, HR director, together with key senior executives. Ogden says the bakery has a large number of long-serving staff. She herself has been working for Greenhalgh’s for more than 20 years and is responsible for its estate of shops and staff. Ogden says the staff are very proud and passionate about the bakery’s reputation and welcomed the chance for the bakery to be benchmarked against its competitors in the Awards. “We showcased our products and how passionate we were, and I think that’s what the judges recognised. We also highlighted our ability to adapt to changing market conditions, as well as the continued family involvement in the firm.”She explains that the business is also very self-sufficient. “We have our own art studio, with a full-time graphic designer and a printer who produce materials for our window displays, point-of-sale materials and labels. We also have our own garage, which services all our vehicles.”Ogden says the win has bought a range of benefits, from improving customer perceptions, public relations, recruitment and staff morale. “The competition was stiff, so we were very proud to have won it.”As part of Ogden’s role she promotes team spirit and motivation and has a tremendous amount of passion for the business and its products. Ogden adds: “Greenhalgh’s is a very solid company, but we must never be complacent. Training is paramount to everything we do.”Staff have on-the-job training, and the company has an on-site training centre at its head office in Lostock. It also operates an apprenticeship scheme. Retail staff are encouraged to up-sell, for example by offering a roll with soup, which Ogden says is very successful for them. She explains that she recently had a call from a mystery shopper who felt compelled to ring and tell them how good the service and products had been in the shop. The business also offers regular incentives to staff, and rewards for hitting sales targets. These include everything from a day at the races, to a week’s paid holiday.Future developmentFuture growth will come from the opening of new shops as well as the growth of its wholesale business, she says. “It is difficult when you’re faced with double-digit price increases, and we try to make economies where possible, but we would never threaten the company’s image, by using inferior ingredients,” emphasises Ogden. “We put our prices up in January this year, and we will review them again in October, which is what we normally do, so we’re not doing anything differently.”Ogden acknowledges that there is competition in the marketplace, but says, “We never let it bother us. We’ve got wonderful products, and we’re particular about the calibre of staff we have, as you have to have the best service as well. As long as you have those things, the customers will keep coming back.” The set-up The business currently has 59 shops, and a significant wholesale business around a 55/45 retail/wholesale split supplying virtually all the major supermarkets, including Tesco, Morrisons, Sainsbury’s, Asda, The Co-op and Spar, and the foodservice sector through 3663, Brakes, Bako NW, BHS and Roadchef. It has a £25m turnover and approximately 975 employees 400 in the bakery and 575 on the retail side Popular products The bakery has many shops in the Bolton and Wigan area “the heartland of pies and pasties” and as far north as Cumbria. Its potato and meat pie is its top seller, with potato cakes, egg custards and scones among the most popular items. Ogden says healthy eating trends have not hindered the business at all, although it has been working to reduce salt in response to current market trends, and offers a range of multiseed and low-GI breads, for example. However, she says, you’ll never change the mentality of the workmen who want a pie for their lunch. Although traditional products remain very popular with its customers, Greenhalgh’s product development work is ongoing, and is key to the continuing success of the business, explains Ogden. “We’ve got some new filled paninis and low-GI sandwich rolls coming in, as well as some savoury muffins, salads and new sandwiches for summers.” On winning the award “Winning the award is not just a nicety, it is a prestigious accolade, which gives the firm a higher profile in the industry, and with our customer base. Our business philosophy is to do better today than yesterday. To market ourselves and our skills, creating a quality product and the correct atmosphere for it to be retailed in, is the ethos of our business. We have to do things better than the supermarkets; the customers know the difference, and there will always be a discerning market.” David Smart, production director, Greenhalgh’s Social media Greenhalgh’s has moved with the times and has embraced social media as a way to improve its profile, and increase its presence online. It has a Facebook page, a Twitter account, and a blog, and Ogden says the firm is currently developing its website to enable web ordering. Its website is already award-winning, she adds, after being voted ninth out of 500 retail websites, for compliance with regulations, functionality and speed. The bakery also raises it profile in the local community by doing presentations in schools and for local interest groups such as the WI and Age Concern. It also supports local charities and worthy causes.Comment from the sponsor “We chose Greenhalgh’s after much consideration as the other two finalists were also so “crafty”. We were impressed with the fact that craft skills are at the heart of what Greenhalgh’s do despite their great scale. Often, when businesses scale up, there is a compromise on quality in order to make the business efficient. Not so in this Bolton legend! Also they have an unerring need to innovate and this is also not typical of a large business and is great to see. So for managing scale, pace and quality there was no-one better than last year’s winner.”Sara Reid, marketing manager, Rank Hovislast_img read more

The Outdoor Ballot: Which midterm elections matter most?

first_imgMost people don’t associate the outdoors with politics and government policy. Around Washington, D.C., and state capitals, many take to the woods with the explicit goal of forgetting about politics for a while.Yet the outdoor environment and recreation there is inextricably linked to what happens in the halls of Congress and other political arenas. Whether it’s ownership of public lands or the quality of our environment, funding for land management agencies or the trade and tax policies affecting gear manufacturers, what happens in the outdoors is dramatically affected by elected lawmakers.With America more politically polarized than any time in the last 50 years, November’s congressional midterm elections carry higher-than-usual stakes. Beyond the issues that vary by district and state, voters will decide who controls both the Senate and House of Representatives. That will, in turn, determine the broader shape of politics in the country, including its wildlands.Although outdoors issues aren’t considered as divisive as cultural wedges such as guns and abortion, they have their constituencies. The League of Conservation Voters and the Outdoor Industry Association both issue lawmaker scorecards rating representatives on their votes on legislation affecting the environment and outdoors.Advocacy groups don’t limit their involvement to scoring lawmakers. The Sierra Club, according to the Center for Responsive Politics, has contributed $60,516 in the 2018 cycle so far. The Outdoor Industry has contributed $28,296. And the League of Conservation Voters already has spent $2.4 million, mostly on candidates.Some of this activity is a matter of course for Washington politics. Yet there’s also no doubt that Donald Trump’s 2016 election, Republicans winning majorities in both congressional chambers, and the decisive shift in policy and lawmaking since then has energized conservation and public lands advocates.In April 2017, Trump ordered a review of all 27 national monuments created since 1996. In December, he signed an executive order to shrink Utah’s Bears Ears National Monument by 85 percent. Political maneuvering in Utah around public lands, including calls to sell federal lands to the state, led the Outdoor Industry Association to move its Outdoor Retailer show from Salt Lake City, where it had run for two decades, to Denver, Colorado.The same dynamic played into the OIA’s decision to release and publicize its congressional scorecard.“The monuments review galvanized this industry and made it operate in an entirely different way,” said Alex Boian, the OIA’s political director. “Some of the brands got more vocal about the policies and their disappointment with what was happening. During the comment period on the monument review, more than 3 million Americans registered comments, and the majority said to leave the monuments intact. We really saw the American people stand up for public lands.”The OIA started planning its 2018 theme #VoteTheOutdoors last fall. The organization’s goals are different than some other groups in that it prioritizes not just conservation and public lands measures but also tax and trade policy, which matter to its members who manufacture outdoor gear. Boian said the organization is endorsing roughly 20 candidates and ballot measures, mostly in western states, but it is publicizing its congressional scorecard for a national audience to build momentum for the 2020 elections.“We really think the outdoor industry, the outdoor recreation economy, and protection of public land will be voting issues in the election this fall,” Boian said. “If we can prove that and help foster that in these races, then going into 2020 it’s going to be even stronger.”Most observers see an easier path for Democrats to win a majority in the House than in the Senate this fall. To win a House majority, Democrats need to net 23 seats—the same number of Republicans that hold seats representing districts won in 2016 by Hillary Clinton. Instead of focusing just on those districts, however, Democrats have broadened the field to target other congressional seats, even in areas where Trump won decisively.In the Senate, Republicans hold 51 seats to the Democrats’ 47, with two independents caucusing with Democrats. The path to a Senate majority is narrower but demographically harder, with fewer paths to victory.With both chambers potentially up for grabs, here are six key races to watch in Blue Ridge Outdoors country this fall.U.S. Senate:West VirginiaThe Mountain State has tilted increasingly Republican since 2000, when four of five of its seats on Capitol Hill were held by Democrats. That may have culminated last year, when Donald Trump defeated Hillary Clinton by 42 points, the most in state history and second only in the country to Wyoming. That’s put all eyes on Joe Manchin, the only Democrat still standing in West Virginia’s congressional delegation.Attorney General Patrick Morrisey emerged victorious from a tough primary fight in which he defeated 3rd District Congressman Evan Jenkins (more on that district below) and former Massey Energy coal baron Don Blankenship, who somehow won nearly 20 percent of the vote despite decades of environmental atrocities, miners’ deaths, and a criminal conviction for conspiring to skirt mine safety rules.Morrisey is running as a Trump Republican, but he may have trouble painting Manchin as a Clinton Democrat. Manchin has long branded himself as a centrist. His first campaign for the Senate included an ad in which Manchin used a gun to shoot a bill to reduce air pollution by instituting a cap-and-trade system. Since Trump’s election, Manchin has played the role of swing voter, occasionally breaking with Democrats to support the president’s cabinet appointments but sticking with his party on healthcare and other issues.TennesseeIncumbent U.S. Sen. Bob Corker was among those to receive an F on the Outdoor Industry Association’s scorecard, but he is retiring. With his seat open, former governor Phil Bredesen won the Democratic nomination and will face Republican nominee Marsha Blackburn, a 16-year congresswoman.Tennessee leans Republican as a matter of course. The GOP holds seven of the state’s 9 House seats, and Democrats haven’t held either of its U.S. Senate seats since the mid-’90s. Trump won it by 26 points, so Democrats have a difficult slog ahead. However, pre-primary polling showed Bredesen with a lead over Blackburn, which gives Democrats some hope. The winner will represent a state with a thriving tourism industry that includes its share of Great Smoky Mountains National Park, which drew 11 million visitors in 2017, making it America’s most popular national park.House of Representatives:Kentucky’s 6th District  KY-6 includes parts of Appalachian Kentucky but also the metro area around Lexington. It’s flipped back and forth between parties since the late ’70s, and since 2013 has been represented by Republican Andy Barr. He blew out his 2016 opponent, but this year faces a very different political atmosphere and opponent. Amy McGrath, a charismatic former fighter pilot, defeated Lexington Mayor Jim Gray in a May primary, largely by building a national fundraising network on the strength of her campaign ads. McGrath functions as the ideal 2018 Democratic candidate, both as a veteran and as one of a record-breaking number of women to run for office.Pennsylvania’s 17th DistrictEarlier this year, federal courts rejected Pennsylvania’s congressional districts and drew their own, with the result that incumbents Keith Rothfus, a Republican, and Conor Lamb, a Democrat, now live in the same western Pennsylvania district. Rothfus won election in 2012, narrowly defeating a Democratic incumbent after narrowly losing in 2010 to a different Democratic incumbent. Now he faces Conor Lamb, a Marine and former federal prosecutor who won a special election to Congress earlier this year. Lamb represents one model for success among several that Democrats are pursuing this fall: a scrappy, pro-labor veteran with enough independence from the national party that voters feel confident he or she will fight for them.Virginia’s 5th DistrictThe 5th once was a rural Southside Virginia seat dominated by tobacco and textile manufacturing, but economic decline and gerrymandering have stretched it north to the point that Charlottesville has become its center. Until this spring, it appeared that it would be defended by freshman Congressman Tom Garrett, a Republican. In May, however, Politico published a story in which former aides alleged he verbally abused them, and later that week, Garrett announced he was an alcoholic and would retire. Republicans subsequently nominated distillery owner Denver Riggleman, who faces journalist and filmmaker Leslie Cockburn. Republicans have accused Cockburn of anti-Semitism in a 1991 book she wrote; Democrats have accused Riggleman of an interest in, um, Bigfoot erotica. Buckle up, this is going to be a weird one.West Virginia’s 3rd DistrictTrump won this southern West Virginia district by 50 points in 2016, but WV-3 was actually held by Democrats up until 2014, when former Democrat Evan Jenkins switched parties to defeat longtime incumbent Nick Rahall. With Jenkins leaving to unsuccessfully run for the Senate, the 2018 campaign for his open seat has become one of the most closely watched House races in America. That’s due almost entirely to Richard Ojeda, a charismatic Democratic state senator who advocates for legalized marijuana, openly supported Trump in 2016, was brutally assaulted days before he defeated an entrenched incumbent in a primary that year, and became a hero of the 2018 teacher’s strike. He’s running against Carol Miller, a state delegate whose father represented an Ohio district in Congress.State governors:Georgia The race for governor in Georgia will be closely watched around the country. After years of mostly centrist white male governors, this year’s candidates, Democrat Stacey Abrams and Republican Brian Kemp, represent radically different views of America that in many ways echo national political and cultural clashes. Kemp is a populist in the Trump mold, proudly politically incorrect with ads that showed him brandishing a shotgun and offering to use his own truck to take immigrants back. Abrams, who could become the country’s first African American woman governor, built her primary campaign on an unabashedly progressive platform that includes affordable childcare, economic fairness, and clean energy jobs. Demographically, Georgia has been growing more diverse, and in November its voters will choose between two bright-line candidates who represent very different directions.TennesseeThe Volunteer State has seen Democrats and Republicans trade stints as governor in roughly equal measure since 1970. The outgoing governor is Republican Bill Haslam, whose net worth of more than $2 billion makes him the richest governor in America, including West Virginia resort and coal magnate Jim Justice. The state is home to much of the Smokies and Cherokee National Forest, with numerous state parks. Former Nashville Mayor Karl Dean is running as the Democratic nominee and will face businessman and political newcomer Bill Lee, who won a four-way primary that broke campaign spending records.  Ballot measures:GeorgiaThe “green space” amendment would change the Georgia state constitution to set aside up to 0.75 percent of sales and use taxes on outdoor recreation equipment to maintain, restore, or buy land, waterways, or parks for conservation and outdoor activities. The amendment, paired with action by state lawmakers, could funnel tens of millions of dollars into conservation and outdoor recreation in the state. Although the Outdoor Industry Association is focusing mostly on western races, it heavily supports this ballot measure.last_img read more

Bruins miss their shot in loss

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORECoach Doc Rivers a “fan” from way back of Jazz’s Jordan Clarkson UCLA (11-2, 1-1), ranked No. 11, shot a season-low 36.7 percent from the field (18 of 49) and was especially let down by its guards, who needed to take charge in a game that featured Cal’s Powe and DeVon Hardin, two of the best post players in the Pac-10 Conference. But it didn’t happen for the Bruins. As expected, the big Bears mucked things up in the paint defensively. and the Bruins’ shooters had no answer. Jordan Farmar, who played despite a sprained ankle, missed nine of 11 shots. Josh Shipp, still not 100 percent after hip surgery, missed six of nine and Arron Afflalo scored 19 points but made just one of five shots in the second half. Despite all this, the Bruins had a good chance to win. Neither team led by more than six points until Ayinde Ubaka made two free throws to put Cal up 58-51 with 2:34 left. The Bruins hung tough until a crucial error cost them. Cal led 62-60 with about 40 seconds left when Afflalo stripped Ubaka of the ball. UCLA’s Darren Collison had a chance to grab the ball but seemed to hesitate, and Ubaka took it back and drove in for a layup and a 62-58 lead with 37 seconds left, a basket that essentially clinched the victory. UCLA handled Leon Powe pretty much the way it hoped to on defense, as the Bruins held Powe, Cal’s leading scorer this season, to one field goal and 5 points Saturday afternoon. Only one, not-so-slight problem – the Bruins didn’t do much else right, and even their attempt to slow Powe didn’t really turn out that well, since Powe simply turned into a facilitator. “Darren made some great plays today, but he needed to be more aggressive there,” Afflalo said. “I feel like if we had picked up that ball, we would have had some momentum on offense.” That’s something the Bruins never really accomplished, thanks in part to Powe, who had 12 rebounds, 11 on the defensive end. Powe’s five points were a season low. The Bruins double-teamed him aggressively every time he touched the ball, but the Bears stayed patient. Cal’s four other starters combined to make 18 of 29 shots and Ubaka finished with 19 points, including two free throws that gave Cal a 64-59 lead with 21.5 seconds left. “You really get tested when things don’t go your way,” Farmar said, “so this will be a good test for us going forward.” Rich Hammond, (818) 713-3611 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!center_img The young and hobbled Bruins, flummoxed by the combination of Cal’s tenacious defense and ultra-patient offense, couldn’t make enough big plays down the stretch as the Golden Bears took advantage to earn a surprising 68-61 victory over the Bruins in front of 10,129 at Pauley Pavilion. “They took it to us physically,” UCLA coach Ben Howland said of Cal, which earned its first two-game sweep in Southern California since 2000. “They beat us on the glass. We seemed to be a step slow.” last_img read more