Thursday, August 30, 2012

Photographer offers specials, hopes to recover hard drive

Melissa Bristol with her sons, Mikey, 10 and Leighton, 5
There's been a lot of talk this week about the challenges women face, so I'd like to offer a story of someone I know: a single mother of two who's trying to realize her dream as a photographer while struggling with some stubborn health issues.

Right now, Melissa Bristol's immediate concern is getting the money together to restore her hard drive. It crashed Monday, taking with it hundreds of photos she'd been editing for customers. The photos are recoverable, but it's going to cost hundreds of dollars.

To raise some cash, she's offering some specials:

  • Senior Photos: $30 for a one-hour session, a disc of all the photos, and up to 10 edits
  • Family Photos: $50 a session for up to four people, a disc of all the photos, and up to 10 edits; $10 extra for a collage
  • Back to School: $20 for three basic photos, $10 extra for a collage

Melissa is the mother of two boys -- Mikey, 10, and Leighton, 5 -- and is in between jobs. She is hoping to find something that allows her flexibility to spend time with her kids and build her photography business. She volunteers her time and talent to the Museum of Idaho and the American Cancer Society Relay for Life. (On top of everything else, Melissa is dealing with cervical cancer, which, insurance or no insurance, is not cheap.)

I don't want to turn this into a bulletin board for hard luck cases, but she's a friend of mine and a talented young person. If anybody can help her out, I'd be glad to hear it.

Here's a link to her photo page on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/?ref=hp#!/pages/Photography-By-Melissa/167038123358065

Idaho Falls Marriott Residence Inn taking reservations starting Sept. 4

There was still much to be loaded in Wednesday morning at the Idaho Falls Marriott Residence Inn.
Begun four years ago but delayed by the financial crisis that fall, the Idaho Falls Marriott Residence Inn on West Broadway is almost ready to open.

Reservations are being taken for Sept. 4 and after, according to the recording on the hotel's reservation line, (208) 542-0000.

Work on the 98,700-square-foot hotel ground to a halt in 2008, when the original developers, McNeil Development, ran into financial trouble in connection with the failure of Arkansas National Bank. Architect John Brunt of Woodbury Corp., the Salt Lake development company that took over the project, said one thing that made it easier for them to restart the project was the fact that McNeil had enclosed the building, which kept out water that might otherwise have gotten in and caused major damage.

Still, there were repairs to be made and Marriott’s standards had evolved in the time the project was in limbo. Once the six-story hotel is finished, Brunt said the estimated cost will top $20 million.

The hotel has 108 guest rooms, two meeting rooms, a large exercise room and pool. “There’s a lot more common area than a typical Marriott Residence Inn,” Brunt said, earlier this year. Although the exterior is in keeping with the other buildings of the Taylor Crossing development (a style Brunt described as “eclectic classical”), the interior will be more modern and streamlined. 

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Love at First Bite to expand in new location

The sweets counter at Love at First Bite
Love at First Bite, a locally owned sweets and gift company, is expanding its presence at Snake River Landing, nearly doubling the size of the store by relocating to the riverfront corner of 901 Pier View Drive.

Owners Juli Richards and Madalyn Luthy, who set up shop in 2010, are planning to hold a grand opening in October. They are going to expand the store's offerings to include specialty olive oils and balsamic vinegars, bottled for customers under the Twig and Vine Olive Oil Co. label.

Love at First Bite carries a variety of gourmet cupcakes, home d├ęcor, gifts, chocolates, truffles, roasted almonds, fudge, toffee, and specialty dipped apples.

Store hours will remain Monday through Saturday 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. The current location will remain open during construction of the new store. For more information about Love at First Bite visit

Local businesses aid family with fund-raiser for medical costs

Dickie's BBQ, Snake River Landing have volunteered to help the Aaron Webb family with a fund-raiser to help cover his medical costs. Webb, a self-employed entrepreneur, lacks health insurance but urgently needs a bone-marrow transplant. For more information on the plight of him and his family, visit www.aaronraywebb.blogspot.com.

BizMojo wants to hear from you; here are some tips for telling your story

Given the number of press releases I have seen in my lifetime, I can offer a few suggestions on how to write one that's effective.

Why am I addressing this topic? Because, in order that I may keep this blog as current and full of information as possible, I want to see press releases. Although I can whittle a pageful of words down to three, two or even one paragraph, I'd prefer what comes into my in-box to be well-written and to the point.

Here are a few tips:

Proofread your work before you send it in. I have corrected plenty of spelling and grammar mistakes, but extra care in this department means you really care about your cause or business. Go over what you’ve written a few times, and then let someone else read it. 
(Note: There are a lot of people less tolerant of this than I am.)

Don't try to load your copy with keywords. I know a lot of people are obsessed with search engine optimization, but a story loaded with verbiage is more likely to get tossed. My dad used to have a card above his Olympia typewriter that said "Omit That Fat!" Great advice for any writer. Also, you might be interested to know that Google is far more likely to reward something that reads like it was written by a literate human than something that's trying to push its buttons.

Keep the sales language to a minimum. Commercials and ads are designed to sell. The purpose of a press release is to inform.

Keep your quantity in check. Familiarity breeds contempt, so if you send too many releases you're going to be dismissed out of hand. If someone gets a promotion, if there's a new hire or someone receives an award, we want to know about it. If someone has done an exceptional job of keeping his desk clean, it's not news. Unless of course it's me.

Keep it newsy. Who, what, when, where and how.

Avoid jargon. When was the last time you turned to the dictionary while you were reading a paper or browsing the Web? Do you think anyone else is?

Focus on your headline. If you've got something unique to relate, make your headline reflect it.

Anything you have to send should be sent to bizmojoidaho@gmail.com.