Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California on December 1, 1999 · Page 3
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Ukiah Daily Journal from Ukiah, California · Page 3

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Ukiah, California
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Wednesday, December 1, 1999
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Page 3
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THE UKIAH DAILY JOURNAL Commerce MONEY MATTERS By BARBARA REID Choosing the right retirement plan 'ith the unemployment rate at its lowest level in more than 20 years, jat5facting and keeping good jertployees can be a real chal- [leoge. In a nationwide survey of [hitfnan resource professionals, (retirement programs ranked among the top five strategies for retaining employees, i Yet only 11 percent of the 1.7 imiHion U.S. companies with 50 tor : fewer workers offer 401(k) £lans. It your business doesn't icurrently offer a retirement pro- jgram, what are your options? Three of the most common are SEP, 401 (k), and SIMPLE I SEP: ! Advantages for Employers: I • Generally low start-up and operating costs. | • Contributions are tax deductible. r „• Can be started by most •niployers, including self- ^nfployed. *'• Business not locked into Qiiifcing contributions every year. • Advantages for Employees: • • Employee immediately owns |11 contributions. • • Employer contributions not {otlhted as income for income tax purposes. „ • Employees can direct their awn investments. J.«, Upon employee's death, assets go to chosen beneficiary. ni'-tihrelatea>'to eniplpyjee ""-". •~"^higher contribution Himts than SIMPLE plans and fi$'s. £x Employer can change per- aejtage or amount of matching (J&nJribution from year to year. •Advantages for Employees: J^Higher contribution limits aifcw employee to accumulate {jfttentially greater savings. contribution limits i SIMPLE's for certain indi- _als. ^Potential to borrow against lint balance for qualified pur- ^Portability when employees gejobs. IPLE: Advantages for Employers: be sponsored by most t^pes of organizations. I • Somewhat flexible contribution amount. I • Owners can participate as owner/employees. • Fewer administrative costs tpan larger retirement plans. S Advantages for Employees: i • Contributions are transfer- atye to another SIMPLE IRA tax- free in a trustee-to-trustee transfer or to a non-SIMPLE IRA after tivo^year waiting period. ft-* Employee immediately owns a£l "contributions from self and employer. jtr Employees can direct their own investments. ir-Plan Selection Plan selection involves recog- and matching employer and desires to the features jd options available within a an. The size and nature of the jsiness bring key factors to the pie in addressing plan eligibili- The size of the business and r s. number of eligible employees nijay limit the available plan selection. The IRS has established eligible business require- itjbnts on some plans. These must a$o.,be taken into consideration \yjien reviewing the plan choices. •iThe first, and arguably, most important question to answer \ytien choosing the proper retire- n^rif plan is who is going to fund the plan. ^Barbara Reid is sharing her faowledge and experience in a /iff seminar on Small Business Retirement Plans on Dec. 9, at tfye\ Grace Hudson Museum Mating Room. Call 462-4060 fpr reservations. Grand opening Store manager Dennis Cleary (at right) talks with customer Steve Elliott during Monday's grand opening at the new Ukiah business office supply store, Office Depot. Office Depot opens store here in Ukiah The Daily Journal The Office Depot celebrated the grand opening of its Ukiah store Monday with music, food and a crowd of well wishers. The 25,000-square-foot store was remodeled from the former Albertson's store ife'Pe^r Tree Shop- by a number of Ukiah city and chamber officials, shoppers heard tunes from one of the Ukiah High School jazz combos directed by John Mattern and were treated to a lunch buffet. A number of shoppers were already busy in the store' Store Manager Dennis *l£leary says-the store's crew'is ready for business. "We're very excited to be in the community. We anticipate doing very well," he said. Cleary added that Office Depot feels very comfortable in Ukiah, which he says appears to be a town that supports its businesses. Cleary hails from Vallejo where he managed the local Office Depot. At the ceremony, attended Despite' i6q|l[!deba{e v t whether 'Ukialirhas. e business for two major office supply chain's'"' - Staples already has a store in the Redwood Business Park - Cleary said Office Depot took the time to do a zip code study of its customers in Santa Rosa (its next nearest store) and found that many of them were traveling from this area to shop there. He said he's confi-: dent those customers will See OFFICE, Page 5 Office Depot clerks help a customer with her purchases. THE COMMERCE FILE By K.C. MEADOWS T he man who swore to beat Wal-Mart at its own game is now being honored by the big box chain. Jim Mayfield, owner of Rainbow Agricultural Services was one of the only Ukiah business . people to say he wasn't worried about Wal-Mart and actually used the company in his own advertising back in 1994 when Wal-Mart opened. Now Wal-Mart has awarded Mayfield a 1999 Sam Walton Business Leader Award. "When you think Wal-Mart, think Wal-Mart for paper towels, (and) Rainbow for ...." and he would list his services. These were the ads Mayfield ran when Wal-Mart first opened here. Mayfield maintained that his agricultural, garden and pet services would continue to thrive even with a Wal-Mart in town and he was right. The Sam Walton Business Leader Award was established by Wal-Mart to recognize local business leaders in towns with Wal-Mart stores. Mayfield was chosen because he exemplifies what Wal-Mart considers the three basic tenets of good business: customer service, respect for individuals, and general excellence. Mayfield was also honored for the time and resources he spends on community projects. Don Estes, Wal-Mart store manager presented Mayfield with a plaque and a $500 check :':tt go 'to^fie Ukiah'Chamber of, ^ bniriierjcfe hi Mayfield's.name. 7..,^JMunber of people have commented to me about the item I had here a couple of weeks ago about the Coffee Critic sign painted on the roof of the Mountanos vineyard barn off Gpbbi Street on the east side of Highway 101. It looks now like the supervisors will have to decide the ANALYSIS "W TT •"••• -| '• . /; 'ijjj*"<" ;1 . . "•",'• V"'< JJiitfi)' «*.• V k' «*• .. ,; .g . ~g Your dot.com leases can go bad By JOHN CUNNIFF AP Business Analyst NEW YORK - Real estate owners, managers, investors and developers: Check out those dot.com companies before handing them the keys. They may not be your passport to the New World. Allen Cymrot offers the advice, based on his background as stock broker, multibillion- dollar real estate investor, author, and most recently, strategic adviser to national real estate companies. No question about it, "dot.com" fascinates, as the stock market demonstrates every day. It suggest young geniuses at the cusp of a market revolution with the potential to make millions of dollars. But, says Cymrot, such companies can go broke. With low initial sales and big promotional costs, and challenges by competing concepts, they can be the worst as well as best tenants. . From his base in California's Silicon Valley, Cymrot has observed owners and developers spending big money to lure dot.coms, and then accepting stock options in lieu of rent. "The belief is that dot.coms are the wave of the future, and the expectation is that they can only grow and occupy more space and that their stock options will be worth a fortune," he says. Already, he says, the dot.coms and their need for space have created a second phase in the real estate bull market. But, he explains, the value of commercial structures - office, retail and industrial depends on the quality of leases and the income they generate. Without good leases, he'says; v 'such build-' ings are nothing but brick and mortar," and he considers some of the leases he has viewed as not very good. . The Achilles' heel for businesses that depend on the Internet to sell their services and products, he says, is the belief that they will be able to contain business costs at a very low level. '' j ' . . He maintains that it isn't so, largely because the competition to .view a company's ,v Web page is so intense that even relatively small companies may have to develop huge advertising budgets. ' ' ' , -< : s ' "If no one visits the Web pa^e, then no' products are sold and no revenue is generated," says Cymrot, former chief executive of the Robert McNeil Co., one of the nation's biggest property owners. See ANALYSIS, 1 Page $ i The Planning Commission voted 4-3 to uphold the staff's decision to ask the Mountanos family to remove the sign and {he^family will appeal to the board of supervisors. No date has. yet been set yet for the appeal. In case you haven't seen it; the sign looks like the old-fashioned advertisements painted on barns arid the' sides of buildings in the olden days (and which people travel for miles to photograph). So far I haven't heard from anyone who thinks the sign should co.me down. The way I understand it, the sign violates a county rule against off-site signs - the Coffee Critic (also owned by the Mountanos family) - is on North State Street. According to the county's chief planner Alan Fallen, the staff likes the sign and thinks it looks fine, but the county's laws Say that such signs can only go in commercial or industrial zones, not agricultural zones, which is what the Gobbi Street parcel is. 'See COAf MERGE, Page 5 Supermarket chain agrees to settle employee complaints By MARK WARBIS Associated Press Writer BOISE, Idaho -An agreement was announced Tuesday settling eight federal lawsuits alleging that Albertson's Inc. forced employees to work overtime off the clock and discouraged them from filing disability claims. The nation's second-largest food-and-drug chain said it took a $37 million one-time charge against third-quarter earnings as a corporate estimate of total liability under the settlement of the proposed class-action claims, which still must be approved by U.S. District Judge B. Lynn Winmill. But the agreement stipulates the payment of $ 17.5 million just to cover the plaintiffs' legal bills. That would leave $19.5 million of the total Albertson's set aside to pay claims to what the United Food & Commercial Workers International Union estimated could be as many as 150,000 eligible current and former employees. The company had no estimate of the number potentially eligible, but Albertson's Vice President Mike Read said it should be substantially fewer than the union believes. The case stems from an investigation launched by the union in 1996 that resulted in.lawsuits that were consolidated in 1997. The settlement addresses policies for Albertson's stores in Arizona, Arkansas, California, Colorado, Idaho, Louisiana, Mississippi, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Oregon, South Dakota, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wyoming. The union, which financed the litigation and would be compensated for its expense under the agreement, hailed the settlement as a major victory for Albertson's workers. "The UFCW is pleased that Albertson's has finally agreed to do the right thing: Clean up its act and pay employees who worked off the clock to meet arbitrary labor cost goals," union President Douglas Dority said in a statement. Albertson's denied any wrongdoing, but Read said the settlement was fair and achieved what the company had been trying to accomplish since the case began more than three years ago: establish the extent of the alleged problem so all eligible employees can get the pay they deserve. "In essence it brings us full circle," he said. "We'll finally get the information we've been requesting for years so we can evaluate claims and pay legiti- mate claims." Seattle lawyer James Webster, the lead lawyer for the employees, called the settlement one of the broadest ever negotiated for alleged violations of federal wage-and-hour laws. Besides the overtime claims, the settlement resoNes challenges to the salary status of grocery managers under California law and claims that Albertson's store-level bonus procedures resulted in managers discouraging employees from filing claims fpr worker's compensation benefits. It calls for lump-sum pay- See CHAIN, Page 5

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