Sdnews rss feed
    Some shark bites are better than others; Tower Paddle Boards building a national brand
    by TERRI STANLEY
    May 25, 2016 | 11395 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Stephan Aarstol, founder and CEO of Tower Paddle Boards.
    Stephan Aarstol, founder and CEO of Tower Paddle Boards.
    slideshow
    Stephan Aarstol, founder and CEO of Tower Paddle Boards, says he had never heard of the reality show “Shark Tank” when he got a call in 2011 from one of their producers asking if he would appear on the hit reality ABC television show to pitch his new company to the gleefully carnivorous pack of tycoons (the “sharks”) who could potentially grant his entrepreneurial wish. But Aarstol wowed the panel on national TV with his idea that he could tap into the burgeoning paddleboard industry by selling direct to consumers online, cutting production costs in half and passing the savings onto the customer, all while delivering a quality product. At the time, the company had about $35,000 in sales and he had just hired his first employee three weeks earlier. “Shark Tank” panel member Mark Cuban was so impressed he agreed to invest $150,000 into Aarstol’s new company. “Many of the entrepreneurs who have been on the show are really disgruntled. I’m going to be a millionaire now, they think, this is going to be seen by 7-8 million people, game over,” Aarstol said. “The problem is that you get this huge wave in traffic and sales but it kind of washes over you and then its back to normal and people don’t realize that unless you do something else or leverage it some other way it’s gone. “ As most entrepreneurs know, at a certain point in time in the start up of any business, the dictum “beggars can’t be choosers” is repeatedly played out. Cuban took a hefty 30 percent equity stake in the company but Aarstol, who comes from an SEO perspective, was able to leverage and maximize his fleeting fame with numerous press placements on highly trusted sites and publications as well as amp up the social media around his ecommerce company. Cuban’s initial investment in 2011 and a subsequent guaranteed line of credit for $300,000, less than what Aarstol originally asked for, but still enough to allow the fledgling company with two employees and an annual revenue of $255,000 to grow. Accepting risk while keeping an eye on opportunities within the industry is a skill that entrepreneurs must possess when trying to reach that next plateau. Aarstol convinced the media mogul that he would be able to generate revenue of $ 2 million to $3 million with three employees and could hit $5 million with four employees. Tower Paddle Boards now has nine employees and is on track to produce about $10 million in revenue for 2016. “We used some of Cuban’s money to go to inflatable paddleboards,” Aarstol said. “It’s really hard to ship a paddleboard and 15 percent of them were getting damaged. “So we looked at the inflatable boards on the market-they were inferior products and only 4 inches thick. We decided to make it thicker and redesign the ridges and made prototypes. They worked. “We ship them in a UPS box for $25, for both domestic and international markets. We can do all kinds of things on the customer service front now and you can’t damage these things, they’re indestructible-people can drive over them in their car. So we basically changed the industry.” The million dollar question for Aarstol, who has launched several companies and seen most of them fail, is how to keep growing the company now that it has cleared those first five-year hurdles and is riding its own wave of success. Tower Paddle Boards is nationwide and only occupies 3 percent of the international market so there is plenty of room to grow those numbers, but Aarstol is focusing on a bigger picture and hedging his bets. “We’re very profitable right now and paying a huge amount of taxes so we’re trying to pursue more of an Amazonian perspective of reinvesting all profits to minimize taxes,” he said. We’re creating another site called The Towermade.com, which are products made by Tower. “This is really where we feel the future of ecommerce is – a branded product where you’re buying that product directly from that brand – no distributors, no retailers – an entire category. The Tower brand is beach lifestyle, anything on the beach –sunglasses, skateboards, bikes and then apparel will follow.” With an email list of 35,000 and a magazine list of 40,000 subscribers, the idea is to grow his database to 150,000 by the end of this year and to half a million in three years. He envisions a huge media property full of lifestyle customers who will soften the blow when paddleboards go out of vogue because he and his team will be offering them the next thing. Aarstol is also pioneering a new concept in the workplace, and one he has lived by for the last 10 years. He will publish a book in July called “The Five Hour Work Day,” fivehourworkday.com, which chronicles the history of the workplace from the days of Henry Ford, who invented the eight hour work week, to the present. He describes how over the last 40 years blue and white collar workers are 80 percent more productive and should be maximizing output and minimizing input. Put simply, workers should accomplish in five hours what now takes them eight hours to complete. Aarstol believes that this system encourages you to live differently, unlock productivity and find happiness by having a more balanced lifestyle. Five-hour workdays are being implemented in his company today and he hopes that more companies will adopt its practice. “We are testing the five-hour workday at our company, we’re making it very public and proving to people that it can be done. Imagine starting your day at 8 a.m. and getting off at 1 p.m. – all the things you can do,” he said. “Go to your kids games, exercise, have the afternoon free, pursue another idea or passion. There is so much wasted time today, all of these coffee breaks, lunches and people are getting away with it,” Aarstol added. “They’re spending an hour on Facebook and the biggest ecommerce day of the year is Cyber Monday, a day when everybody is working! “We’re not only going to be the fastest growing company in San Diego and one of the fastest growing in the country but we’re going to do it with the whole company working these compressed hours,” he said. “Get in and get out – that’s what the experiment is about and it is working great.”
    Comments
    (0)
    Comments-icon Post a Comment
    No Comments Yet
    Entrepreneur Gina Champion-Cain’s secret to success? Do what you love
    by NICOLE SOURS LARSON
    May 24, 2016 | 7458 views | 0 0 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Gina Champion-Cain
    Gina Champion-Cain
    slideshow
    If you ask serial entrepreneur Gina Champion-Cain the secret to her success across an ever-evolving range of businesses, her answer is clear. "It's really simple. I just do what I love. I never would get stuck in a job I hated," she said. The daughter of a Michigan real estate developer, Champion-Cain grew up surrounded by the business she later embraced. Following graduation from the University of Michigan, she headed west to attend California Western School of Law. She chose San Diego because of two key features – proximity to the ocean and the international border. Having grown up on the water near the Canadian border, she was eager to experience Mexican border culture. Champion-Cain quickly discovered that she didn't want to practice law, yet she recognized the usefulness of a law degree in a business career. She also realized that, as a woman in a male-dominated field, she needed an extra arrow in her quiver and enrolled in the University of San Diego's MBA program. She started out in the apartment industry in the late 1980s, managing and redeveloping distressed assets spun off by the Resolution Trust Company. Her big break came in 1994 with the Irvine-based Koll Company. She joined their team tasked with redeveloping La Jolla Square Shopping Center, formerly an enclosed mall home to old May Company and I. Magnin stores. "I got a reputation for rebuilding distressed malls" and flipping them from distress to success, she explained. By 1997, Champion-Cain was ready to go out on her own, starting American National Investments. Passionate about urban areas, she bought and rehabbed a rundown Woolworth store for her first solo real estate development project, eventually bringing the House of Blues to San Diego to fill the space. No one, she explained, thought she, a rare female developer, could do it. Now in her 50s and established in her career, Champion-Cain no longer elicits doubts about the potential success of her projects, which focus increasingly on interrelated businesses in the hospitality industry. All resulted from her adaptability in pivoting when the economy tanked, her ability in recognizing a gap in the market and her agility in filling that niche. She got into the restaurant business by chance when she purchased Pacific Beach's Lamont Street Grill. Expecting to tear it down and redevelop it, she responded to community requests to retain the restaurant, reinventing it as The Patio. Three other locations, in Mission Hills, Liberty Station and Petco Park, followed, with plans for more up the coast. She acquired Saska's in Mission Beach when the founding owners retired. A beach and animal lover, Champion-Cain started her network of about 10 pet-friendly up-scale Mission Beach vacation rentals when she found no one welcomed her golden retrievers (or her elderly cat) at a beach rental. Her two Luv Surf apparel companies sprang from requests from her vacation rental guests, while The Swell, her coffee company, Andrea's Truffles, her handmade chocolatier, and Luxury Farms, two specialty gourmet markets in Mission Hills and Coronado, were natural evolutions of her restaurants. In explaining her formula for success, she returns to her roots in real estate. "It's location, location, location," she said with a laugh. "You have to be in a great location with great people around you. I always try to look at a market and ask what is missing from this market, what do you need, what works in this demographic." Champion-Cain says she loves to work and works long hours. "You have to love what you do,” she says, “and then it's not work."
    Comments
    (0)
    Comments-icon Post a Comment
    No Comments Yet
    Romeo and Juliet are getting married
    by LAINIE FRASER
    May 23, 2016 | 4966 views | 0 0 comments | 6 6 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Romeo, played by Stéphano Candreva, proposes to Juliet, Erica Alvarado, on stage after the show's last performance.
    Romeo, played by Stéphano Candreva, proposes to Juliet, Erica Alvarado, on stage after the show's last performance.
    slideshow
    In 2012 City Ballet of San Diego received standing ovations and endless praise for its performance of “Romeo and Juliet.” This year, the Pacific Beach-based ballet company’s final show ended with a surprise that shocked the audience and changed two performers' lives. Throughout the performance it was the intricate costumes, set designs and acrobatics, along with the timeless love story that amazed audience members. When the show came to an end, it was an act by Romeo, played by Stéphano Candreva, that stole the show and the hearts of everyone in the room. At the end of the performance, while the performers lined up to take their final bows, Candreva ran to take a prop off stage, or so everyone thought. In reality, Candreva had left to retrieve an engagement ring for his on and off stage Juliet. Seconds later, Candreva returned and on one knee, in front of a full house, proposed to his girlfriend and dance partner of six years Erica Alvarado. According to Candreva, it was the only way he ever imagined it happening. “Romeo and Juliet is extra special to me,” Candreva said. “It is such a passionate and romantic ballet, and everything from the chemistry we share in our relationship to dancing the steps together felt so natural with Erica, the proposal too felt natural.” Alvarado said that Candreva has always been theatrical and romantic but that she did not see this coming. She said she had been engulfed in becoming Juliet for the last two hours and had not thought once that night about a proposal. “The whole company knew about the proposal the day before I popped the question,” Candreva said. “I had put that off because I didn't want word getting out to Erica, the surprise factor mattered to me.” Members of the dance company who witnessed the romantic event said his timing was thoughtful and heart warming. Managing director Jo Anne Emery said the entire dance company was impressed with how well Candreva kept his secret and how beautifully it all came together. Candreva and Alvarado met six years ago as members of the Milwaukee Ballet and a year later both coincidentally received contracts with City Ballet of San Diego. Candreva said he has always known she was the one he would marry and had planned to propose last season but chose to wait for the “Romeo and Juliet” performance. “Ballet drives both of our lives,” Candreva said. “Ballet is what brought us together and really what better play is there to propose after than ‘Romeo and Juliet’ where you two danced the roles of Romeo and Juliet?”
    Comments
    (0)
    Comments-icon Post a Comment
    No Comments Yet
    Deep-fried pizza, steampunkers and an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme at this year’s fair
    by LAINIE FRASER
    May 23, 2016 | 2595 views | 0 0 comments | 4 4 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    Deep-fried pizza, deep-fried lemonade and just about anything that can fit in the fryer, plus steampunkers and an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme, should keep fairgoers Mad About the Fair, which starts June 3 in Del Mar. PHOTO BY LAINIE FRASER
    Deep-fried pizza, deep-fried lemonade and just about anything that can fit in the fryer, plus steampunkers and an ‘Alice in Wonderland’ theme, should keep fairgoers Mad About the Fair, which starts June 3 in Del Mar. PHOTO BY LAINIE FRASER
    slideshow
    As the largest fair in California, attracting more than 1.5 million people last year alone, the San Diego County Fair hopes to break the attendance record with this year's theme, “Mad About the Fair,” running June 3 through July 4. Fusing the inventive and artistic movement of steampunk with the magical world of Lewis Carroll's “Alice's Adventures in Wonderland,” the Del Mar Fairgrounds have been transformed into Alice's world of wonder and amazement. Events like Tea Time in Wonderland and the Mad Hatters Dance Party are designed to transport those in attendance to a world full of characters in eclectic costumes and a variety of fried foods to go along. “We had this retro-futuristic vision for this year's fair,” Frederick Schenk, Agricultural Association Board member said. “We are grateful for how it has come together and for the outreach by the San Diego Steampunk Society.” Members of the San Diego Steampunk Society have worked diligently for months to create handcrafted costumes that are both Alice in Wonderland and steampunk inspired. Their work and adaptation of the storybook characters has been deemed a success by Schenk. According to Linda Zweig, director of media relations for the Del Mar Fairgrounds, the fair should feel like a wild tea party with food and people to match. “If you invite the steampunk community, they will make it a show,” Zweig said. With 10 festivals, daily contests, events and nightly entertainment, all 26 days of this year's fair are planned to impress from open until close. “There are magical manifestations and outlandish landscapes to highlight every single day of this fair,” Schenk said. Of the festivals planned for this year's fair, the San Diego International Beer Festival is scheduled for June 17 to 19 and is projected to attract a large crowd for the third year in a row. “Unlimited beer sampling from your backyard and around the world will make you grin like a Cheshire cat,” Schenk said. There are nine stages at the Del Mar Fairgrounds, and each is scheduled to host musical, comedic and theatrical performances all day. Acts are family friendly, and many are free with an admission ticket. Headliners include Lady Antebellum, Grand Funk Railroad and Kenny Rogers, to name a few. “We want everyone to go completely bonkers,” said Tim Fennell, CEO of the Del Mar Fairgrounds. “What matters this year is food, fun and frolic, so please sip, savor and sample.” The newest feature to the fair this year is the California Grown Exhibit. It is an attempt to honor the agricultural history of the state and recognize California as the number one farming state in the nation. The exhibit is equip with farm animals and machinery and is intended to educate people about the past- and present-day farmer as well as the impact agriculture has across the state and nation. The exhibit will have three parts depicting farming yesterday, today and tomorrow. Food that is locally sourced and served farm to table will be available at the fair. “We want everyone to travel around this wonderful state through food and drink,” Schenk said. Planning for the 2016 fair began the day the 2015 fair ended, and, according to Zweig, it has been the board's intention from the start to make it the best one yet. “We are absolutely mad about the fair, and we want to open San Diego's mind to the eclectic world of steampunk,” Schenk said. Adult tickets for the fair are $16, and group promotions and passes are available online and at the fairgrounds. For more information about this year's fair and a chance to win merchandise as well as discounted admission tickets, the San Diego County Fair Street Team will be at the Fiesta Del Sol in Solana Beach, the D6 Night Market and the Balboa Park Garden Party in the coming weeks. Meanwhile, see sdfair.com for more.
    Comments
    (0)
    Comments-icon Post a Comment
    No Comments Yet
    Bill Walton sculpture as large as his life
    May 19, 2016 | 19598 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
    A life-size bronze sculpture of legendary San Diego athlete Bill Walton was unveiled Saturday, May 14 at Ski Beach Park in Mission Bay. / PHOTO BY JIM GRANT
    A life-size bronze sculpture of legendary San Diego athlete Bill Walton was unveiled Saturday, May 14 at Ski Beach Park in Mission Bay. / PHOTO BY JIM GRANT
    slideshow
    A life-size bronze sculpture of legendary San Diego athlete Bill Walton was unveiled Saturday, May 14 at Ski Beach Park in Mission Bay. Walton, a lifelong cycling enthusiast, is commemorated in bronze with his bicycle. The statue stands 6 feet, 11 inches tall and weighs 1,200 pounds. Alison Brown, the bronze sculptor who created the monument, took exact measurements of Walton’s bicycle, his shoes and other personal items. These were carefully replicated in the finished work, a life-size, highly detailed replica of the man himself. ‘In clay, every fingerprint, every detail created in the sculpture is transferred into bronze. When the sculpture is ultimately cast, the finished monument reflects every tiny detail in bronze,’ said Brown. Walton led the UCLA Bruins to national championships in the early 1970s before joining the NBA and playing for the Portland Trail Blazers, San Diego Clippers, and Boston Celtics. Walton won two NBA championships and was named the NBA’s most valuable player. He was eventually inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame and named as one of the NBA's 50 Greatest Players of all time.
    Comments
    (0)
    Comments-icon Post a Comment
    No Comments Yet
    News
    City bans bath salt components as synthetic drugs
    The synthetic drugs in bath salts and the cannabinoid Spice – which have caused hundreds of overdoses – were banned Monday in an 8-0 vote by the San Diego City Council. The drugs are sometimes sold...
    May 24, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
    full story
    Sports
    Teamwork makes everything sing, Bishop’s volleyballer says
    Having been to the prom the night before, and with a volleyball playoff game scheduled later in the day, Nico Langlois is playing it pretty cool. He looks rested and is animated in a conversation a...
    May 23, 2016 | 1 1 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
    full story
    Opinion
    Village News editor can’t keep up, calls it quits on a 44-year career
    I just now bought a spot of travel insurance my new employer requires as it sets me up in Montpellier, France for the fall. I’ll be teaching conversational English to my client family, in exchange ...
    May 13, 2016 | 1 1 comments | 8 8 recommendations | email to a friend
    full story
    Arts & Entertainment
    MCASD deputy chief named museum’s new director
    After more than three decades at the helm, Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego director Hugh Davies is preparing to hand the reins to MCASD deputy director Kathryn Kanjo, who will become the museu...
    May 18, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 3 3 recommendations | email to a friend
    full story
    Business
    Costa Verde Center slates annual appreciation day
    Costa Verde Center’s annual Customer Appreciation Day will take place on Saturday, May 21 from noon to 3 p.m. Customers are invited to enjoy live reggae musical entertainment by Pali Roots along wi...
    May 18, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 2 2 recommendations | email to a friend
    full story
    Obituaries
    Gregory B. Anderson
    Greg Anderson passed away peacefully at home of congestive heart failure on March 17, 2016, just days shy of his 85th birthday, surrounded by his wife Eve and his children. Greg was born on March 2...
    Apr 18, 2016 | 0 0 comments | 10 10 recommendations | email to a friend
    full story
    Current Issues(Archives)
    The Peninsula Beacon, May 26th, 2016
    download The Peninsula Beacon, May 26th, 2016
    The Peninsula Beacon, May 26th, 2016
    La Jolla Village News, May 20th, 2016
    download La Jolla Village News, May 20th, 2016
    La Jolla Village News, May 20th, 2016
    Beach & Bay Press, May 19th, 2016
    download Beach & Bay Press, May 19th, 2016
    Beach & Bay Press, May 19th, 2016
    The Peninsula Beacon, May 12th, 2016
    download The Peninsula Beacon, May 12th, 2016
    The Peninsula Beacon, May 12th, 2016
    Featured Events (see all events)