Volume 48, Issue 1 - January/February 2009

Window Guy
A dealer’s perspective
by R. Mark Reasbeck, owner of Coyote Springs Window and Door of Las Vegas. Mr. Reasbeck’s comments are solely his own and do not necessarily reflect those of this magazine.

(Apple) Core Values
How Our Nation Got in the Financial Mess 

If you are a believer in the Biblical account of creation, you are well aware of a little problem Adam and Eve encountered with the snake (possibly the first lawyer?). It seems the confrontation was between the serpent and Eve on the “nutritional” values of a piece of fruit hanging from an apple tree. The serpent convinced Eve that by eating the fruit, she and Adam would be as smart as God. We all know the outcome of that little error in judgment.

Reading between the verses, you’ve got to believe that those two sitting on the curb outside the garden were looking at the discoloring apple core thinking, “Re-do Re-do.” And so this is where I think we first discovered “Core Values.” The apple core was the definitive landmark between the lifestyle they once had and the hard road of survival ahead of them. You know they had to be thinking, “If we would have just stuck to basics, and not let pride and greed take over, we could have lived happily ever after.”

The Big (Apple) Picture
This column is being composed on an airplane on Thanksgiving weekend. By the time this is in print, there is no telling what our financial world will look like. It changes hourly. I truly believe the snakes have invaded Washington as well as Wall Street. Funny thing is that Wall Street is in the city called “The Big Apple”—the “Core” of the financial world, with a perfect place for snakes to gather—Madison Square “Garden.”

My opinion is that the temptations of wealth and power were too much for those who can’t walk past an apple tree without sampling the fruit. Yes, I’m going political here, but there is no way to survive these times unless you understand the political horse that dropped us here. This so called “bail-out,” which I call the “drain-out,” should have never been a consideration. The public agreed and what really gets me lathered up is the fact that the ones who are responsible for getting us on this train wreck are the ones “appointed” to repair the tracks.

Baseball, Hot Dogs and Apple Pie
By now you are probably aware of the many big box retailers, chain stores and automobile manufacturers who are, indeed, “TOO big, to fail.” But they are. Recently, I heard a radio interview with a lady named Catherine Austin Fitts. She echoed what the inside-my-brain voice has been saying all along: Big box business has one business model, expansion and acquisition. She confirmed my entrepreneurial insight that reinforces the reality that the stores cannot sustain themselves with single store sales and cannot stand autonomously from the “mother company.” With the laundry list of company closures, this theory may have a dog in the hunt.

Fitts, Assistant Secretary of Housing under former President George H.W. Bush, explained how business is working in her small town, Hickory Valley, Tenn. Mom-and-pop businesses are surviving and prospering because the town’s folk get it. I believe that we will see entire shopping malls fold because the smaller stores can’t survive without the anchor stores. The new anchors will be the entrepreneurs who know that a CEO position is no substitute for hard work. Seeing how this all links together in the window industry will be interesting. Will the companies that went on a shopping spree make it through, or will the stand-alone companies come out on the other side stronger and leaner? 

In closing, that’s what I have had to do. The Las Vegas building market has collapsed. In October, there were 50 single-family dwelling (SFD) permits in Las Vegas, a 50-year low. I see no turnaround in the immediate future. The top ten builders in the Las Vegas market are all on the builder-implode.com list of builders to watch, and how do you get a deposit from builders who are “Too big to fail?” 

P.S. This is not my last column. 

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