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Gerry Frank Honored in Governor's Office
Mr. Oregon held court in the State Capitol during a special reception.

Governor Kate Brown, Honoree Gerry Frank,
Also pictured in print and pdf edition:
Senator Jackie Winters, Rep. Vic Gilliam,
Rep. Jodi Hacke

    "Gerry Frank is just one of those extraordinary Oregonians that as first year legislator I am proud to honor today." Said Jodi Hacke, Oregon House of Representatives, District 19.
    Hacke and Vic Gilliam, Oregon House of Representatives, District 18, spearheaded House Concurrent Resolution 20, to honor Frank.
    Sponsors include Senator Jackie Winters, Rep. Barreto, Bentz ,Boon, Buehler, Clem, Esquivel, Frederick, Hayden, Heard, Johnson, Krieger, MClane, Nearman, Smith, Sprenger, Stark, Weidner, Wisnant, Wilson, Whitt, Senitors: Courtney, Ferrioli, Knott, Thatcher and Thomsen.
    Over 150 invited guests enjoyed ten different flavors of fancy cakes from the Konditorie.
    Frank told those gathered, how much he appreciates this special honor and that he has stories about everyone in the room.
    When you have touched as many lives as Gerry Frank in his 91 years, the stories are loved.
    It was remarkable to see so many of Gerry Frank's closest friends gathered to show their respect for Mr. Oregon.
    Nani Warren has known Gerry Frank for 90 years. "It's like Gerry to have 10 different flavors of cake in the Governor's Office."
    Governor Kate Brown loved teasing Frannk who told the Governor, "You are skinny..let's eat some cake now!"

Simply Grand
Getting to Know One of the Owners
Some Q&A with Aaron Steach

Aaron Steach, Simply Grand

    Why did you decide to open a new location?
    I grew up in West Virginia, and in every shopping mall there is a special occasion store. We didn’t have anything like that in Salem, and now we do. This was my dream 5 years ago, to build a great business that focused on the more glamorous things in life, like prom, pageants, military balls, and etc. However, I allowed someone to talk me out of my dream. I allowed someone to take my individuality and ideas, and use them for their benefit, funny they still are using my ideas more than a year later. This year I finally had had enough, and here we are today. There’s a quote that sums it all up, “If you don’t build your dreams, someone will hire you to build theirs”. For all the dreamers out there, make sure you stay true to you; don’t ever let someone manipulate your visions to suit their needs.
    Greatest accomplishment so far?
    Being able to look at my business partner Kathi, and say, “I told you so”. I know that probably sounds very cocky and condescending, but it’s not meant that way. Kathi has been in the Bridal business for over 15 years, so for her to step out on a limb and gamble was a huge risk. We had 3500sq ft. to fill with prom dress. That’s a lot of dresses. However, in the end we far exceeded our goals. I don’t believe there are more than a handful of dresses in the store today that were there the day we opened. When we first opened the doors there were more than 500 dresses in stock.
    How has the location benefited you?
    The Salem Center Mall has been an ideal location. Our success here has been so phenomenal that we are closing for the first week in June to remodel and consolidate both stores. This mall sees over 1.2 million people per year. The exposure is unparalleled to any other retail space in Salem. Showcasing at the mall has given us a customer base that we would never have seen in a small freestanding boutique in downtown Salem. We are open every day of the week with easy free covered parking. For the millennial population, the mall is always the first stop when looking for a prom, homecoming, or any social occasion wear. For the young ladies getting married, the first stop is choosing rings and we are maybe 50ft from three popular nationwide jewelry stores. For the ladies looking for dresses for the mothers of the wedding party, proms, formal galas, military balls or any special occasion, we are located near to Nordstrom, J.C.Penney, and Macy’s, which are typically the first places people browse for dresses. With our mall location and our existing location combined we have met last year’s total sales in the first 5 months of 2015.
    Simply Grand goals for the future?
    To continue to grow, without losing personalized attention to each customer. To maintain happy and healthy and prosperous employees. I think many employers forget that without happy employees, your business is nothing more than a space full of products that you own. The most important thing I ever learned from an employer, is how not to treat your employees. I once had an employer that would deduct money from our monthly goal driven bonus if we ordered something incorrectly. I figure if you have to take money from your employees, you are a pretty terrible human being. Employee input is valuable, their happiness is essential to their demeanor, their demeanor is essential to sales. I think you understand my point. Credit for doing something spectacular is by all means very important to me, I know what I can do, and I don’t need to hear the praise for something great, but when I was merely an employee I needed that recognition. So when my employees do something amazing, they get noticed and rewarded, not with gold stars, but things like Starbucks gift cards and well earned bonuses.
    What sets you apart from everyone else?
    I like to think our willingness to work with each and every consumer individually is built into our business plan, but also our want and desire to build strong relationships within this community is paramount. We are a more civic minded business, granted, like most small businesses we cannot just give away the store, but we can reach out and make a difference. Most recently we chose to take $20 from each gown sale in April to donate to the programs affected by the fire at South Albany High School. We also work with PCL to provide a stable work environment for those with special needs.
    Have you had any moments of doubt or disappoint?
    I think all business have moments where they have doubt themselves, their services, and their products. Doubt is inevitable, so you just do the best you can and hope your best is enough. As for disappointment, only one that really stands out to me, the Miss Marion-Polk Scholarship program. We offered a generous amount of cash, as well as, an entire competition wardrobe for the winners of the programs annual pageant. Only to be turned away because there is already a wardrobe sponsor on the state level. However, there are numerous photographers, hairdressers, make-up artists, and etc. that sponsor these types of programs on the local level all over the state. As I said earlier, we want to be a more civically minded small business, and well…….There is always a non-profit needing assistance.
    Is there anyone that is directly responsible for your success?
    Oh, most definitely. As I mentioned my business partner Kathi Gustafson, she keeps us level. Without her none of this would be possible. She saw my vision, said “let’s do it,” and the rest is what you are seeing today. One of our favorite sales reps Janet Fulder from MonCheri said it best, “Aaron you have the great vision, Kathi has the great business experience, and together you make one heck of a team,” and she was totally correct. Getting this store together was not an easy process. The stress was overwhelming at points. My partner Greg made sure that when I came home, life was easy. Greg works for the City of Salem in Public Works. We know that is not the most glamorous of jobs. No matter what happened in his day, how tired he was, what tomorrow entailed, he has always there, and still is making sure my world is moving as smoothly as possible.
    A few years ago I met the most amazing tailor. We worked together before. When we decided for sure to open Simply Grand, I called her and asked, “Brenda, want to get back in the game?” She did not hesitate to say “Yes”. Without her expertise with a needle and thread, this store would not function as successfully. Brenda is truly brilliant. Most importantly, the consumers. The outpouring of support from everyone we have met so far has been a simply grand feeling. From loyal customers I have met over the years I have spent in this industry to those I just met this season, it has been amazing.
    There is an art to what we do at Simply Grand. Just ask the beautiful people that wear our fashions. They will tell you "It's not easy to be fabulous.".

Can’t Stop, Won’t Stop:
How to Know When You’re Talking Too Much


    I’ve been accused by my kids of talking too much. I use too many words when I could just use a few.
    I like a lively conversation and I like words.
    In business, we really do need to limit the excess words and get to the point.
    In PR we learn not to “bury the message.” Sometimes I listen to presentations that take so long to get to the point that it’s more like a treasure hunt than communication.
    Also, we are competing in a Twitter-world of messaging. If you can't get your point across in a few sentences, you have lost your attention-deficit audience.
    A person who talks too much, whether they're in a formal meeting or having a casual conversation, could turn what would otherwise be a friendly interaction into a “hostage situation.” While it's easy to criticize other people for talking more than they should, it's a far harder thing to realize or admit when you're the very type of over-talker you tend to dislike. How do you know when it’s time to quit talking? Ask yourself a few basic questions:
    How Much Do Others Around You Talk?
    When you’re in a conversation, how much of the talking do you general do? In a good balanced conversation, each person involved should be contributing around an equal percentage of content to the entire discussion. If you're providing 70% of content when talking to one another person or 50% of the content in a conservation with five other people, chances are you’re over-talking. Make sure that other people are able to have an active role in the conversation and that there’s a natural sense of balance. Draw them out with questions.
    What’s Your Audience Doing When You Talk?
    If you’re talking for way longer than you should, your listeners will let you know, just not verbally. These signs include staring off into space, messing with pamphlets/handouts, playing with their phones, or looking visually tired. One word phrases (“yeah” or “uh-huh”) and vague statements of affirmation (“sounds cool”) are also clear signs that no one is really listening. If it's obvious that you're losing the audience, try to wrap things up as quickly as possible.
    Can You Talk Less and Make the Same Point?
    In the art of conversation, less is often more. Over-talkers often inflate their narratives with tons of unnecessary detail that detracts from the audience experience. What the speaker thinks is important and what the audience thinks is important may be very different. When you craft your conversations, think about what message you really want to convey to the audience. Ensure that your speech is more about quality than quantity. Constantly survey your audience, before, during and after.
    What Do You Think About Other People?
    People who over-talk often tend to have little respect for what other people have to say. Over-talkers need to be the center of attention and are willing to push other people aside in order to get their point across. This often takes the form of frequent interruptions, interjections and criticism when others are speaking.
    If you think that you’re a person who tends to over-talk, the easiest way is to: Ask yourself, “What can I learn from this person today?” Promise yourself, “I will not interrupt this person until they are finished with their thought.” Remind yourself, “I don’t learn when I talk, I want to learn from this person so I will listen.” I’m sure as we learn together to listen better, we will be offered our turn to speak and then someone will listen.
    Mary Louise VanNatta, CAE owns VanNatta Public Relations, an association management, event planning and PR firm located in Salem, Oregon. or