Some Business Stories Are Filled With Cheer - InformationWeek
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12/24/2008
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Some Business Stories Are Filled With Cheer

It's all too common lately to check out the news and end up depressed. Which is why it's refreshing to read some good news, like the story of a recently shuttered bakery -- that resulted in 300 layoffs -- being opened back up by another company just in time for the holidays.

It's all too common lately to check out the news and end up depressed. Which is why it's refreshing to read some good news, like the story of a recently shuttered bakery -- that resulted in 300 layoffs -- being opened back up by another company just in time for the holidays.The holidays bring an added layer of stress to an already bleak economic year. Overall sales are down, and for the first time in seven years, even online sales saw a drop this season. The result of the lack of business all around has been stories of layoff after layoff.

Even more depressing are the Madoffs and the auto companies who stole Christmas from innocent autoworkers and investors, leaving them without jobs and often broke -- even dead.

And that's why when a bMighty reader pointed out to me that there is some positive stuff going on, too -- fuel prices are down, for example -- I started noticing some other unexpectedly pleasant news. The New York Times reports that more companies are finding ways to avoid layoffs -- they're cutting other costs instead, sometimes in the form of pay cuts. Perhaps those companies read bMighty's blog post about how to cut costs but not employees?

But the truly heartwarming story can be found in Ashland, Ohio, home of the Archway cookie factory, which shut down in October, leaving 300 people jobless. But it reopened last week, the result of being bought by Lance Inc., a Charlotte, N.C.-based snack food company. Sixty Archway employees returned to their jobs last week, with more possibly coming back in the coming months -- depending on how business goes. In addition, Lance gave all 300 former Archway workers a $1,500 prepaid debit card.

The CEO of Lance, David Singer, said in the article that the gift-card gesture was the company's way of saying it's going to do things different. And while the company does want to make money, "we wouldn't do it willy-nilly," he said.

Indeed, the New Year could bring opportunity. Hopefully, lessons have been learned about how to run a tighter ship, how to cut costs, and how to remember that employees are people too. And who knows -- maybe those new jobs Obama is proposing will pan out, and 2009 will be less bleak.

This holiday season, whether you travel to surround yourself with 17 extended-family members or just sit alone in front of your own fire with a mug of cocoa, take some time to reflect on your life, your plans, and your destiny. Heed the lessons of 2008, know that you're not the only one concerned about your business and the ongoing recession, and take the time to recognize what you do have.

Happy holidays!

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