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CONVENIENCE STORES

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“Little Stores are like some people, advertising much in hope of attracting love. Someone will wander in not looking to buy just anything. And then there, hiding, the wanderer will find a treasure. The store and wanderer richer because of it.”  - Brenda Little
Convenience stores are as Americana as you can get. Bright gaudy places advertising almost everything. You usually go there for something specific, but often walk out with much more. They seldom disappoint. 
Small stores are big business, with sales growing for 16 straight years. Last year sales surged 8.9% to 634.3 billion. This is despite their small size, averaging 3,230 sq. Ft. They employ an astounding 2.36 million people. Food service now accounts for 22.6% of non fuel sales eclipsing beverage sales of 15.2% and candy 10.4%. 
Unlike much of our society, they offer immediate satisfaction. 83% of items sold are consumed within one hour of leaving the store. Satisfaction indeed for a wandering soul…

David Young










THE QUIET SHUTTER

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There is so much sameness in life. One mall looks like another, suburbs sprout everywhere and are ditto to each other. People, though, remain unique, individual to the one, each carrying their own world within. One way to celebrate people is with a camera in hand. Not any camera, but one with a QUIET SHUTTER, giving you that extra fraction of a second to capture people as they are before they notice you. The tapestry of life unfolds in front of you, giving art to the everyday of life.


Over time, the challenges of photographing people have increased. Privacy, personal space and even fear of others have contributed to this. If you approach people carefully you can get marvelous poised shots of them, some dramatic. Often though, catching them going about their normal lives reveals more. Great cameras with quiet shutters include the Ricoh GR or Fuji Film X100T series. Both small in size and easy to get great shots with. So too is your smart phone if you set the mode silent. 

The right camer…

THE ROYAL HOTEL

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Rain fell gently on the pavement as commuters sped sped by, not really noticing the faded buildings on this doorstep to the city. An old red clad five story bore the sign Royal Hotel, its windows small and uninviting, nothing more than a flop house.
Just to the east the bright lights of china town and to the west the tall buildings of Vancouver’s profit. The blocks around the Royal, left as is, uncared for and unloved by anyone.
Paul a wheel chair bound man managed the Royal. Rent was by the week or month. Most tenants were forgotten souls, minimum wage workers, disability pensioners, drinkers and newly landed immigrants. They immigrants would be quickly gone, the rest stayed. Paul kept a lid on everything, collected the rent and handled any trouble. He had a small room behind the front desk where he lived. The owner far away in Toronto. 
Paul always dressed neatly, wearing a sweater or gray sports coat. He possessed a bearing, in part because of his large size, not often found in this p…

CLARENCE SECRET ROAD

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The South is crisscrossed by many roads. Ones that join major cities, small towns and a thousand places without a name. Some don’t go anywhere, just joining two other roads that do. It makes up part of the charm of this region. You car like your favorite pet wanting to be taken for a walk, to get off the freeway, to explore the small roads.
Once in a while you happen upon a road that speaks of history or endeavors of the past. Such is Clarence Secret Road in North Carolina. You would pass it by a hundred times before finally being pulled in by its beauty and charm. The remains of crops coloring the fields, buildings barely standing, each board telling a story in their own language, forgotten with time. 
Endeavors of man were here, big shows at one time. Crop silos, construction trucks, weigh stations. All standing alone now in untended fields with broken fences. You left to imagine the lives once here.

David Young




MINUTE COLLAGES

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“Collage is the noble conquest of the irrational….”  Max Ernst
It seems we are always trying to piece different parts of news and life together these days. Sometimes you just need a break. One of my enjoyments is collecting small artful items, old envelopes, scraps of paper, shipping labels, parts of photographs and art that has just the right image in it. When the world at large seems to overwhelm, I retreat to making what I call “Minute Collages.”



Collages by definition are simply a combination of different things brought together by how well they look together. Doing these little art works is almost like creating your own world. Some have meaning and others do not beyond their visual impact. The beauty is that you can move the pieces around until they fit. Some are driven by the image you want to create, others just speak their own image as you work with them. 
All you need is a pair of scissors, a decent backdrop to start with, a little glue and your imagination. How I wish the world…

REVIEW OF PAUL THEROUX'S NEW BOOK

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I highly recommend Paul Theroux’s new book on his Mexico travels entitled “On The Plain of Snakes.” Beyond his rich description of Mexico with all its problems and blessings, the book brings forth important thoughts for anyone in the autumn or winter of their careers.
Theroux now in his late seventies waxes and wains about the importance of putting your stamp on this phase in life. He talks about deciding on the Mexico road trip. How it might be his last adventure. His car was old and he (because of age) had to be tested every two years for eye sight to retain his license. Theroux did not know how long his car would last or he would be able to drive.
One passage especially calls out from the book.  Theroux writes, “In the casual opinion of most Americans, I am an old man, and therefor of little account, past my best, fading in a pathetic diminuendo while flashing his AARP card; like the old in America generally, either invisible or someone to ignore rather than respect, who will be be g…

GOOD INTENTIONS

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Sometimes in business it’s good to take a pause and reflect.  The push for conquest and results is so strong that we can forget what the real purpose of our efforts were in the the first place. This can be doubly true when numerous parts and people are involved. Ones that are beyond our control. They only add to the potential of getting lost in the process.
Call this time out meditation if you want, but some of those teachings can yield surprising results in business. Both in meditation and religion, you are urged to state your good intentions after you pray or reach a calm. This is a great time to revisit how your efforts are going to help the client, the company and everyone involved. If you can’t find those reasons, maybe all the efforts should be abandoned and a better project found.
Most endeavors have the potential for good. Revisiting that good refocuses you. It also can help you find the methods and words to unfreeze those elements out of your control. Passion naturally springs …