Monday, November 30, 2015

How to Prevent Speeding on North Peachtree Road

Shut the whole street down at its low point over the culvert leading to Kingsley Lake for culvert repairs.
Put up a bunch of signage announcing the detour.
Fine the hell out of anyone speeding through the work area.

Stay safe, folks.  Take this opportunity to remember the regular speed limit is 25 MPH and yes, you do have to ride your brakes on this road to stay at that limit.  No, you do not get a pass if you live in Dunwoody.

Friday, November 20, 2015

Counting Down to Small Business Saturday and the 2015 Holiday Shopping Season

It's just over a week until every retailer's biggest time of year.  Small business - companies with less than 10 employees - make up 80% of Dunwoody's registered businesses.  There's plenty of opportunities for our residents and commuters to patronize a Dunwoody shop or service in the coming months.

Dunwoody's population quadruples during the day, every work day of the week.  Don't forget the commuters in your promotions.

Are you ready for the seasonal stream of customers that November and December bring?  Can your customers find you online?  Take these few days to put your best foot forward online.  SDOC is burning the midnight oil to assist our website customers for the season.

1)  Go Google Yourself  (or Bing yourself.  or Yahoo! yourself)  Search for your company or products online.  See where your company ranks in the results.  You probably can't change your search engine ranking in time for Black Friday or Cyber Monday but you can still create or update your business listing maintained by each search engine.

Even if you are not using e-commerce on your company website, a free business listing in the search engines is critical.  According to Google, almost 90% of shoppers will search for a business type online before shopping.  Your listing makes it easier for your shoppers to find you, or call with questions, or get directions to your door.  Make sure your phone number and hours of operation are correct.   Plus search engines will direct shoppers to the location nearest them.  It's easy and only takes  a few minutes each!

Google Local (requires free creation of a Google+ page, also helpful for search engine rankings)

Yahoo Small Business for local listings. (Customizing your listing for search engine rankings is free, but a paid directory submission service is available.)

Bing Places for Business (Same idea as Google and Yahoo but owned by Microsoft. Requires a free Microsoft account)

2)  Visit your website.  Better yet, have your mother visit.
Have you looked at your website lately?  Do you know what's there?  How do your customers react to it?  Is everything working?  Better to take some time and check.  Get someone who is not familiar with your website to do the same.  A set of fresh eyes will spot mistakes or problems that you might miss.  
  • Click on all of your links.  Fix the broken ones.  
  • Check your website's images.  Add fresh ones if the others are looking stale.  Maybe take some new photos of your store's decor for the holidays
  • Make sure your contact information is easy to find.  
  • Make sure your telephone number is a tappable link on phones.  
  • Does your website have a search function?  Try it out.    Ask your web developer to make sure all of your website pages meet Google's latest SEO guidelines.  
  • Double check your social media links and integrations.  
  • Are you using e-commerce?  Try the store out as a customer and find any mistakes or problems.  Check your inventory.  Remove discontinued or out of stock items and add your new inventory for the holidays.  Are your prices correct?  Coupons and discounts updated?  Added value upsells included?  Gift Certificates configured?  Your web developer can expedite these fixes
3) Take all the free publicity you can get.  Start with #ShopSmall Saturday

American Express began the Shop Small Saturday movement several years ago to bolster their small-business merchants.  Through their website, your business can get more online exposure and marketing materials to use in your shop or online.  

Get signed up at the official Small Business Saturday website.  There is no business too small - home based, solopreneur, Etsy shop, all are welcome if you accept American Express from customers. That also includes PayPal, Square, WorldPay users!

Your online marketing materials will include custom- made Facebook banners and graphics like the ones in this post and on SDOC's Facebook.  There's also some boilerplate copy you can include in social media or website/blog posts.  (Just be sure to customize it for your company and your products.  There's nothing worse than overlooking an (insert product here) tag in your post!

We wish all of our visitors a successful and prosperous holiday season in their enterprises.  For Dunwoody's visitors and residents:  don't forget to patronize local restaurants and coffee shops when you've shopped til you've dropped!

This week, SDOC will be taking exactly these steps to assist our website customers with their online outreach.  Drop a line if you're looking for some last minute help before the big shopping rush hits next weekend!

Monday, November 16, 2015

Can You DIG Infrastructure Improvements?

The following blurb came via the City of Dunwoody e-news updates.  It's easy to get antsy when you see workers near your property and you may not have gotten a heads-up.

AT&T is installing their fiber optic cables and AGL is doing some work on their system.  Call the utility company directly (numbers below) with concerns.  (Read:  don't call the City of Dunwoody, they'll direct you to the utility.)

Many of the commercial areas and some neighborhoods in Dunwoody have recently received visits from utility crews such as AT&T or AGL. At any given time, a number of utilities could be performing general infrastructure, transmission and equipment upgrades for their established services in the city. Oftentimes these utility providers are conducting work in the right-of-way adjacent to streets, businesses and residential properties. Though the work is permitted through the city of Dunwoody the contractors performing the work are hired directly by the utility companies. Concerns related to work being done in the area should be directed to the primary utility provider by calling AT&T (fiber optic installation projects being performed by Ansco) at 800.278.8213 or AGL at 404.584.3142.

Sunday, November 15, 2015

Redevelopment by (Alleged) Arson?

Major fire at Bombay Grill Indian Restaurant on Savoy Drive on Sunday morning.   If you woke up to police/fire sirens, that's what they were.

Dekalb Fire is on the scene of a structure fire at the Bombay Grill on Savoy Drive. Savoy Drive is closed between N Shallowford Road and N Peachtree Road. Use Cotillion Drive. (RP)
Posted by Dunwoody Police Department on Sunday, November 15, 2015

Per WSB, the fire may have been arson:

Per Heneghan's Dunwoody Blog:

"The huge piece of property sits between the bowling alley & Wendy's and could be a catalyst for redevelopment of the area. "
And you thought redevelopment by neglect in Dunwoody was harsh!

Tuesday, November 3, 2015

Dunwoody Elections 2015

First, some caveats before we get down to the endorsements.

1)  Every penny spent during a Dunwoody mayor's administration is a result of at least 4 votes cast together by the entire city council.  Those 4 votes don't even have to include the mayor to carry the day.  The mayor has no veto.   So if you hold any Dunwoody mayor solely responsible for money not being spent to your liking, you are way off the mark.

2)  Dunwoody is far more diverse in lifestyle and thought and ideology than many want to admit.  There is far more to making decisions and planning a future and establishing rules and regs than your preferences in your living room.  That kind of thinking is not "preservation"; it is stagnation.  Expecting all legislation to match your lifestyle without allowing for consideration from other sectors is not how you strengthen a city - it's how you kill it off slowly and painfully.

3)  You're not going to get your way in every vote.  I speak to this from experience.  Voting the bums out is one option.    If you're serious about your perspective you continue to advocate your perspective on another day.  Don't get confused between "S/he's not listening to me." and "S/he isn't doing exactly what I said, the way I said."  They're not interchangeable.

Now for the endorsements:

Mayor - Mike Davis

Mike was elected in 2011.  I supported Bob Dallas in that election.  There wasn't much to do except watch and see what happened.

But after Mike was elected I learned a few more things about him that didn't come out in the election.  No, he isn't a saint,  But he is patient if you're half-way civilized.  I had some time to talk with Mike about decisions being made.  I learned more about the factors and people beyond his control that had to be dealt with and negotiated over to get his vision across.  I was involved in some business and political ventures that ran contrary to Mike's ideals, but he never held them against me.  After some heart-to-heart chats and a few beers, Mike won me over to his side.  We never sat around agreeing on every idea or priority   But I am convinced that he advocated for the best position he could take given a range of circumstances, most of which did not originate with Dunwoody city council.

And as always, any decision made required four votes.  Sometimes the vote went the way he recommended.  Sometimes not.  Once the vote was taken, he had to roll with it, just like the rest of us.  Mike is always aware that present circumstances will not last forever and for Dunwoody to thrive in the future, current signs of evolution in future generations has to be considered.

If Chipka and Grivakis were even somewhat serious about effecting change on city council, they would have run in one of the 3 uncontested seats.  As I said previously, "Save Dunwoody" or any other organized group have a better chance of consolidating their voting power when at-large seats are up for grabs than individual districts.  Those two would have had a better shot at actually winning.

It has been no secret for some time that I think Denny Shortal's days of effectiveness in government are behind him.   His outbursts in city council are documented on video.  He has trouble keeping some basic facts straight:  for example I've heard from several sources that he believes the Chamber of Commerce is a department of the government when it is a completely independent entity.  But it has been extremely disappointing to watch the deliberate misinformation in his campaign.  Either Denny is trying to pander to his demographic's fears, or he really doesn't understand what's happening in city council.

Don't take my word for it if you don't want to.  The following passage was posted to Facebook by Bev Wingate (the person who joined with Denny to form DunwoodyYes as a once and for all campaign for cityhood) in response to a video clip where Denny claims that Mike did not want to spend the finally-won parks bond funds on parks: (emphases added)

This is why I hate small meet and greet gatherings in homes. A candidate can say anything and there is no rebuttal where one is needed. The Mayor Davis comment is taken out of text (and intent). The Mayor was quoting the legalities of the receipt of the bond money - not his personal intent. He had stated so previously and again, quite clearly, at the candidate forum. There is no one, I repeat, no one on council that would consider using that money any other way. They have told me so. This video is disingenuous at best and dirty politics at worst. You guys are my friends, but I don't take kindly to campaigns run on hyperbole and innuendo. Play nice in the sandbox!
And with this, Bev ended her neutral stance and supported Mike's campaign.  That action speaks volumes to anyone who has watched Dunwoody's evolution and the roles of the people involved. 

 District 1:  Terry Nall

Like anyone else on city council, he is one vote of seven and he has always voted and advocated the same way on council that he does in his own living room.  Terry splits his vote with Mike often on some issues (the Dunwoody Village Parkway, for example) but he never lets a disagreement over a policy matter change his relationships with people.  Just this past weekend I looked him square in the eye and pointed out a number of his votes that I disagreed with.  I don't have to worry about getting knifed in the back for it later.  I can't say that with the same certainty about anyone else on city council.  

I don't know Ms Springer personally but she made two grave mistakes in her campaign.  One was accusing city council of bribery over the John Wieland development.  (Dunwoody Green in Georgetown)  I take issue with council members frequently and have even raised questions about some members contradicting themselves numerous times in this blog.  She could have just said "The Dunwoody Green deal was supernaturally mornic" with legal impunity, and maybe even some evidence.  But she didn't stop there - she made an accusation against city council as a whole of a major crime.  If you're going to accuse someone of a crime, have the facts or shut your face.  It's not hard to understand.  

Second was the famous "85% increase in crime and crime is out of control" claim.  Anyone who has ever taken high school statistics and passed knows that when analyzing small numbers (like single digits) percentages are misleading.  Worse, she used manipulation of statistics in an argument with a banker, whose entire job is about analyzing numbers.  I just don't see how that could end well.  

But seriously folks:  vote tomorrow November 3 because every vote is going to count.  Just like my neighbors I argue for positions I think are right, but these days I'm wondering if I'm going to wake up to a burning bag of poo on my front porch or some other backlash down the line.  I hope not.  This is what we signed on for when we voted to incorporate Dunwoody:  not the elimination of all of our conflicts but the ability to settle them amongst ourselves with others who have to live with the consequences together.