Chris Hardie

Blog, Tech, Business and Community Building

richmond

April 27, 2005

I'm negative AND out of a job

My friends Glen and Donna Lawrence have teamed up to help me to come to an important and tragic realization: that I'll never be able to get a job at the new Frisch's Big Boy planned for location here in Richmond. You know, the one I pledged never to visit. Worse, my FAMILY won't ever […]

April 19, 2005

Follow up on Hayes pledge

The personal commitment I made late last week to boycott stores that might develop on the Hayes Arboretum land here in Richmond has gotten a bit of attention. The signatures of folks who share my commitment have been coming in steadily, with more than a hundred after just a few days. Bill Engle from the Palladium-Item called yesterday to interview me about the petition. He was friendly and understanding, but he seemed to have a hard time figuring out why I wasn't better fitting what I suspect was his profile of an "angry activist," which I'm not. Perhaps it would have been an easier story for him to write if I'd just chained myself to a tree? He did note that he was glad we weren't actually attacking the institution of Frisch's Big Boy itself...I take it he's a fan.
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April 14, 2005

A pledge to boycott stores located on Hayes land

In June of 2003, the folks who manage the Hayes Arboretum here in Richmond announced their plans to sell 33 acres of the Arboretum that runs along the main National Road in Richmond for commercial development...another strip mall, ugh. It was recently announced that the first three tenants signed on to the planned development are Menard's, Walgreens, and Frisch's Big Boy. I usually avoid activism of this sort, but I've launched a petition, where the signatories have pledged not to spend money at these locations or any other retailers that might locate there. The full pledge is below; please consider signing if you agree.
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March 29, 2005

The Pieing of William Kristol

I always look forward to seeing the speakers that my alma mater, Earlham College, brings to Richmond, Indiana because they often bring perspective, insight, and experience that you just can't otherwise get living in a small Midwestern town. Tonight's event was no different: William Kristol (neo-conservative pundit, editor of the Weekly Standard, Bush/Quayle advisor, and member of the American Enterprise Institute) would be giving a talk entitled "America's Foreign Policy After 9-11" on campus free to the public. I appreciate that Earlham makes the effort to bring speakers and thinkers like Kristol who are so diametrically opposed (e.g. Ann Coulter) to so many members of the Earlham community on campus to present alternate, challenging and often infuriating points of view. And I usually appreciate that the Earlham community handles these encounters in such a principled and respectful way.

Oh wait, did I just say "principled and respectful"? I must have made a horrible mistake somewhere, because at tonight's talk, about 30 minutes into Kristol's speech, a student-looking person got up on stage and smacked Kristol square in the face with a pie.

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January 24, 2005

OfficeMax responds to customer service letter

I had a nice call this morning from Nick, the local store manager of the OfficeMax in Richmond. I'd recently had some really poor customer service experiences in that store with them and had submitted a narrative of those experiences for their review. I usually don't bother going back to a place after such occurrences […]

November 7, 2004

Big box stores eating big box stores

The forthcoming closing of Richmond's Target store, reported in the Palladium-Item on November 6th, is certainly a troubling development for the local economy. Jobs will be lost, the convenient shopping will need to be found elsewhere, and yet another "big box" piece of real estate will need to be filled.
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March 14, 2004

Business incubation contributes to long-term health of community

This piece was written for submission to the Palladium-Item during my time on the board of Main Street Richmond-Wayne County. It never made its way to the paper, but I thought I'd post it here since it's still relevant.

It still strikes me how little we knew about everything that goes into running a business when we founded the technology company I work for, Summersault, in 1997. We were very confident about the services we wanted to provide and very focused on the clients with whom we wanted to work, but had plenty to learn about accounting, legal matters, hiring employees, and all of the other necessary but complex areas of knowledge one must dive into when doing business.
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January 15, 2004

Big Corporate Tops Small and Local

I'm usually very much in favor of using local vendors, service providers, etc. instead of big corporate versions whenever possible and reasonable. Current cultural trends make that a challenge. But I've recently had an experience where the branch of a big corporate bank impressed me much more than that of the local bank that I would usually like to celebrate on that basis alone.
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December 9, 1999

Wet Contrast

I was actually looking forward to working late tonight. I had a client who'd asked me to do some work on a project related to some software I maintain. Because it's software I maintain outside of my usual duties at my company, I charge an hourly rate directly to the client, instead of going through […]

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