But now Amazon has a new game. Now that it has agreed to collect sales taxes, the company can legally set up warehouses right inside some of the largest metropolitan areas in the nation. Why would it want to do that? Because Amazon’s new goal is to get stuff to you immediately—as soon as a few hours after you hit Buy.
It’s hard to overstate how thoroughly this move will shake up the retail industry. Same-day delivery has long been the holy grail of Internet retailers, something that dozens of startups have tried and failed to accomplish. (Remember Kozmo.com?) But Amazon is investing billions to make next-day delivery standard, and same-day delivery an option for lots of customers. If it can pull that off, the company will permanently alter how we shop. To put it more bluntly: Physical retailers will be hosed.
Can Amazon pull it off? It’s sure spending a lot of money to try…Amazon is investing $130 million in new facilities in New Jersey that will bring it into the backyard of New York City; another $135 million to build two centers in Virginia that will allow it to service much of the mid-Atlantic; $200 million in Texas; and more than $150 million in Tennessee and $150 million in Indiana to serve the middle of the country. Its plans for California are the grandest of all. This year, Amazon will open two huge distribution centers near Los Angeles and the San Francisco Bay Area, and over the next three years it might open as many as 10 more in the state. In total, Amazon will spend $500 million and hire 10,000 people at its new California warehouses.
As Independent Booksellers Week gets into full swing, the Booksellers Association has released figures to suggest outlets with cafés are likely to have higher sales than those without.
Figures based on a survey of 40 BA members reveal that bookshops with cafés saw a 3% growth in overall turnover in 2011, whereas those without experienced a decline in sales of 5.2%. Those bookshops with cafés also experienced a 2% hike in their book sales last year, in comparison to those without cafés which had a decrease in book sales of 4%.
“We want customers to celebrate their local bookshop and also we want consumers to vote with their feet and use their local bookshop or risk losing it. Bookshops are social and cultural hubs and provide far more to communities than books and as such deserve and require strong action to preserve their unique role in British life.”
What do Kelly Slater and Rick “Rockin’ Fig” Fignetti have in common?
Both surfers seem to be getting better with age.
Fig, as he’s known is the surf world, has been chasing after an NSSA Championship title for decades, and finally this week the 55-year-old was able to claim victory with not one, but two big National titles at the competition on the south side of the Huntington Beach Pier.
Fig is a well-known figure around the community and the voice of surfing, his unique and quirky voice recognizable from blaring through speakers at the U.S. Open or from his 20-year stint as the surf reporter on KROQ. He was inducted two years ago in the Surfing Walk of Fame as the “Local Hero,” and has one of the original surf shops in town.
But in the water, Fig is also a fierce competitor. He competed in the first NSSA National Championships in 1978, making the final 35 years ago. He got fourth, but that result gave him something to strive for.
Sea levels off most of California are expected to rise by about three feet over the next century, according to projections released Friday by the National Research Council.
The study is arguably the most comprehensive report of its kind for the West Coast, and its conclusions fall into the range offered by other estimates in recent years. They reinforce predictions that coastal areas will face increased damage from storms and big waves — what the research council called one of the most visible effects of large-scale climatic changes.
“Following a few thousand years of relative stability, global sea level has been rising since the late 19th or early 20th century, when global temperatures began to increase,” said the peer-reviewed report, co-authored by Daniel Cayan, a research meteorologist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.
“Sea-level rise will send reverberations throughout local and state economies.”
Warren Buffett made good Thursday on his promise to buy more newspapers, agreeing to buy 63 daily and weekly newspapers in the Southeast for $142 million from financially troubled Media General Inc. of Richmond, Va.
The newspapers, in Virginia, North Carolina, South Carolina, Alabama and Florida, would be combined with the Omaha World-Herald Co. into a new Berkshire Hathaway Inc. division called BH Media Group. They would be managed by World Media Enterprises, a new sister company of The World-Herald.
“In towns and cities where there is a strong sense of community, there is no more important institution than the local paper,” said Buffett, chairman and CEO of Berkshire, in a press release. “The many locales served by the newspapers we are acquiring fall firmly in this mold, and we are delighted they have found a permanent home with Berkshire Hathaway.”
And Buffett said Thursday he may buy more newspapers.
Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway, Inc has announced it is purchasing 26 local papers, all locals. In a letter to the publishers, Buffett said that the papers would need to focus as much as possible on local issues rather than try to compete on national ones. More interestingly, Buffett weighed in on the perennial issue of whether newspapers can give away their news online:
“We must rethink the industry’s initial response to the Internet. The original instinct of newspapers then was to offer free in digital form what they were charging for in print. This is an unsustainable model and certain of our papers are already making progress in moving to something that makes more sense. We want your best thinking as we work out the blend of digital and print that will attract both the audience and the revenue we need.”
In this day of the $6 cup of coffee, when bragging rights mean knowing not only the varietal but the beans’ latitude, anything exotic gets the antennae waving. Which may explain why Jay Ruskey of Good Land Organics is inundated with requests to visit his north Santa Barbara County farm, where he is the only person cultivating coffee in California. He’s been turning down the requests—until now. This month the curious can sign up online for an agritour and the chance to see how Ruskey coaxes a plant inextricably tied to Latin America and Africa to flourish on U.S. soil.
The coffee-growing experiment is part of the UC small farms initiative, which supplied Ruskey with bushes and an expert, Mark Gaskell, who has worked in Central America. While coffee is normally grown at altitudes approaching thousands of feet, Ruskey’s farm sits at 650. The beans thrive in his coastal canyon largely because of the lack of extreme cold or heat and the low winds.
He now has 470 trees in the ground, which would fill half an acre if they had been planted in a continuous block. By chance, he planted the young trees among mature avocado trees and found that the two were good companions, as the coffee benefited from the rich soil generated by the avocado trees’ mulch.
…his mature trees are mostly Typica, the Arabica type from which most others developed, and Caturra, a mutation of Bourbon discovered in Brazil. He also has 100 young trees of Geisha, a rare Panamanian strain of Ethiopian origin, legendary for its superb quality.
He is sufficiently convinced of the feasibility of his project that he and Gaskell are working to organize a Santa Barbara coffee growers association with several other farmers who have planted or committed to planting coffee trees.
Local farmer Megan Paska has witnessed beekeeping as it morphed from an illegal (and possibly crazy) habit to a sustainable, community-supported skill. Mirroring beekeeping’s own ascendance, she found more than just a living: “This is the first time in my life when I’ve just felt absolutely on the right path.”
In our inaugural film, we visit the Breuckelen Distilling Company, the first gin distiller in Brooklyn since prohibition. Founder Brad Estabrooke talks about starting from nothing and the imperfect process of perfecting a craft.
“It was challenging to get people to take me seriously. ‘Hey, I just got laid-off from my job and I have a little bit of money. I want to start a distillery.”
DIRECTED AND PRODUCED BY – Keith “keef” Ehrlich
DIRECTOR OF PHOTOGRAPHY – Joshua Kraszewski
EDITOR – Matt Shapiro
TITLE DESIGN – Mandy Brown
MUSIC – Roman Zeitlin
SOUND RECORDIST – Robert Albrecht
RE-RECORDING MIXER – Nicholas Montgomery
SPECIAL THANK – Brad Estabrooke, Breuckelen Distilling Co.
Made by Hand – films to promote that which is made locally, sustainably, and with a love for craft.