Monthly Archives: July 2011

Could Beantown Boom Bring More Renters To NH?

Jeremy Hetzel / Flickr

A classic itty-bitty Boston apartment

It’s tough being a renter in Boston right now.  Granted, Beantown’s always been a pricey place to rent, but moreso now than ever before, according to a new Boston Globe story by Jennifer McKim.  After rattling-off the obligatory stats, McKim cuts to the chase and gives us the horror stories.

“Erin Sagin, 23, a marketing intern and waitress from Miami, recently went out with a real estate agent to look at seven properties. As they were driving around the city, she learned that three had just been leased.

Eventually, Sagin decided on an Allston one-bedroom for $1,400 a month. Getting approved, she said, was a challenge. She and her boyfriend had to undergo credit checks, have their parents cosign their lease agreement, and pay first and last month’s rent as well as a $1,400 security deposit and a $700 broker’s fee.” Continue Reading

Jackie O’s Contribution To The Latest Trust Trend

In this piece The New York Times’ Paul Sullivan traces a new trend among the ultra-wealthy: The charitable lead trust.  Just like her fashion choices, Jackie O’s Last Will and Testament is an iconic example.  At least among estate lawyers and other people in the business of distributing the wealth of the ultra-rich deceased.  Here’s how it worked:

newpn2000 / Flickr

Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis is much better known for her taste in sunglasses than for her far-sighted will.

“After parceling out specific gifts, Mrs. Onassis put the rest of her estate into one of these trusts. It was set up to last 24 years, distributing money to charity annually. Whatever is left in 2018 goes to her heirs, in this case her grandchildren.”

And just like Jackie’s giant black sunglasses, the charitable lead trust is back en vogue.  Sullivan reports that’s mainly thanks to the continuation of some Bush-era estate tax exemptions and super-low interest rates.

Given New Hampshire’s tendency to favor private charities over a large government-funded social safety net, could this new trust trend spread northward?

What’s The Future Of Cisco In New Hampshire?

Following the untimely death of the Flip camera, The Guardian (by way of the Associated Press) reports more cuts at Cisco.  And this time it’s not technology.  It’s jobs.

“Monday’s announcement to cut 6,500 of its 73,000 employees across the globe follows a plan disclosed in May to eliminate thousands of jobs. Two-thirds will come from redundancies and the rest through an early retirement plan. The company said 15% of employees at or above the level of vice president are being eliminated.”

The future of Cisco’s outpost in Bedford, near Manchester, is still unclear.  Apparently American employees will know if they’ve got a job with San Jose-based Cisco sometime in early August. 

The AP article also brings up a bit of interesting–and on-going–

David McNew / Getty Images News

Cisco Systems corporate headquarters in San Jose, California

chatter about the company.

“Cisco has long been a high-growth company, but after rebounding from the recession its sales started stalling about a year ago. Critics have long said that Cisco tries to compete in too many markets.”

New York Times tech writer David Pogue summed up the Cisco situation shortly after the company axed the Flip.

Why Borders Books Failed and Barnes & Noble Didn’t

Annie Lowrey at Slate wrote a decent summary of how a series of bad top-level decisions laid the course for Borders Books closing.  In a nutshell: The internet didn’t do it.

Granted, in today’s bookselling world, that’s like saying, “No.  Really.  It wasn’t the butler.”  Which is basically what Lowrey says, at least for the most part.  She compares the Borders strategy to the much more successful Barnes and Noble business model, and then slips in later that, well…Barnes and Nobles’ brick-and-mortar stores aren’t exactly tearing up the marketplace, either, thanks to e-readers and e-commerce.

Ironically, the e-book revolution that’s killing Barnes and Nobles’ big-box stores is saving its profit margins, thanks to the Nook.

So the butler put the maid up to it. Continue Reading

State Prepares For Borders Closing

Justin Sullivan / Getty Images

Nearly 400 stores will close and an estimated 11,000 jobs wil be lost.

Between its Express stores and the strip mall behemoths, Borders Books actually had a pretty good presence across southern and central New Hampshire, and as far up as North Conway.  The fact that it closed wasn’t surprising to anyone who’s been following news from the chain over the past year or so.  But what was surprising, to me anyway, was reading in Ben Leubsdorf’s piece in the Concord Monitor how few people it actually took to run the big Borders store at  Fort Eddy Plaza in Concord.

“The Department of Employment Security will assist the roughly 25 employees who will lose their jobs when the Concord Borders store shuts down, the agency said yesterday.

Commissioner Tara Reardon said the department was in contact with Borders yesterday and will provide “rapid response services,” which include explaining benefits and rights to employees.

She said about 25 full- and part-time employees currently work at the Concord store in the Fort Eddy Plaza. That’s about half the number who worked there a few years ago, according to the Greater Concord Chamber of Commerce.

Reardon said the agency wasn’t told when the store will actually close.”

The New Hampshire Business Review counted five Borders stores closing in the state–out of 399 nationwide.  That accounts for a little better than one percent of the chain’s total stores.  Yet to be counted is how many more New Hampshire booksellers will be out of work.

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