Saturday, February 28, 2015

The Gelato Chutzpah

Now that we’ve got our snow management obligations under control, at least for the moment, and have filed both our income tax returns, we thought we might return to making our trademark “other side” observations on the passing parade that is the local scene.  To set the stage for this post, we offer a candid shot of “Community Developers” as they approach the block grant process.  “Entrepreneurs” don’t look a bit like they used to, do they.

      Image result for pigs at the trough

Perhaps you remember a post some weeks back that toyed with the issue of what you and others are entitled to.  You can find it here:

The post suggested it’s become a sign of the times that seemingly everyone feels entitled to ‘free money’ from the endless reserves of such largesse.  Including those who by all appearances are making money scoop over cup.


In this case, we refer to a local maker and purveyor of Gelato, who in a matter of mere years, has added a Portland location, an off-site production facility, and a huge number of wholesale accounts around the country (  We became aware of their latest gesture of entitlement when we read this entry in the agenda for the town council meeting this coming Monday, March 2:

18. This item is a request from Gelato Fiasco for the Council to submit a letter of intent for a CDBG grant in the amount of $350,000 to provide funding to support their production expansion in Brunswick. With the growth of this business since 2007, this project would develop a 20,000 square foot production space to continue to grow their business. Copies of a memo from Linda Smith and the draft Letter of Intent are included in your packet.

Suggested motion: Motion to support a Letter of Intent for a CDBG grant in the amount of $350,000 for Gelato Fiasco to support their continued growth and production in Brunswick.

And you thought the Brunswick Taxi gift from the BDC was a “fiasco.”  If memory serves, our local Gelato ‘business people’ have been prior recipients of a sweetheart deal from the BDC as well.

As you can see from the above photo of their Brunswick store, Gelato Fiasco is a humble Mom & Pop start-up operation.


You’ll note in this recent photo listing their offerings that they’re darn near giving their product away.  Frankly, we can’t see how anyone can make a go of it charging so little for designer ice cream.  Milk, cane sugar, and flavorings can be pricey, though.

We hear word that their business is generating operating revenues in the $3-5 million a year range at this point, but we can’t say.  And we don’t expect the subject to come up Monday night, because hearing about their financial growth since the early days might look a bit unseemly when panhandling to town officials.

Not that it would matter.  We expect our betters at the curvy table to come down on the side of “looks good to us; it’s not OUR money!”  Johnny Protocols, given his past experience at doling out OPM, will probably wax teary-eyed about the importance of ‘supporting struggling young people as they seek to survive in our town.’  State officials surely take the position of “looks good to us, it’s not OUR money.  Besides, those on the scene locally have reviewed and approved the proposal.”


So bend over, Brunswick and related money tree orchardists!  And you have the unmitigated gall to wonder just how we could possibly be $18 trillion in debt as a nation.  All the while cheering such giveaways and loss-leader boondoggles like the Downeaster.

                                   Image result for stifle yourself edith

So shut up!  Just shut the hell up, will you?  As we’re sure to be reminded by town ‘leaders,’ such giveaways of OPM are how we go about building our community’s future, and fund precious and vital investments.

We all have different expectations of investments, we suppose.  Having just completed our income tax returns, though, we can report a noticeable absence of ROI on our contributions to the future of others.  We had not a single penny of dividend income to report from Brunswick Taxi, Frostys, Cool as a Moose, Gelato Fiasco, J. Hillary Rockett enterprises, or any of the others we’ve doled out cash benefits to. 

Maybe our checks have been delayed in the mail.  And yours too.

But we wouldn’t be a bit surprised to see that various ‘business consultants,’ like Scott Howard types, for example, have received THEIR dividends on OUR investments.  Folks in his game get to hold their Heads High as they wander amongst us little people, helping to find worthy recipients of extra cash we didn’t even know we had.  Ain’t this a great system we live in?

Before you get too complacent in your happiness, though, we’re going to pour a little salt on your slushie.  Do you know what the word “fiasco” means?  It derives from an Italian term meaning “to play a game so that the one that loses will pay the fiasco, in other words, he will buy the next bottle (of wine). That plausibly connects the word with the notion of "a costly mistake."

How ironic.  A costly mistake.  Yet here we are, about to collectively give away $350,000 of hard earned cash to someones who don’t even begin to need it, or warrant it.  You really think a business with their revenues and national distribution network can’t come up with $350,000 on their own?  We’re guessing they’ve got that much and more in cash on hand.  If not, they certainly should have an incredibly good opportunity to borrow such funds….say from a local bank, where others in the ‘community’ might benefit.

On the other hand, maybe Side should stop fighting them, and instead join in the happy scarfing up of loose shekels available just for the asking.  Let us know what you think of this idea:

We’ll come up with a request for a $350,000 Community Development Block Grant to fund the creation of a new enterprise called Block Head Enterprises, Inc, a consulting firm that will focus on helping communities develop some rational thought capabilities.  We’ll feature a syllabus including various ‘flavors’ of skill development, like Common Sense; Rational Thought; Public Trust; Stewardship; Self-starting Behavior; Private Entrepreneurship; Accountability; Economic Reality; Problem Entitlement Rehab; Overcoming OPM Addiction; Recognizing a Pig in a Poke; Why Passenger Rail Died; and others as they occur to us.

In so doing, we promise to create at least two new jobs.  And local officials needn’t worry.  We expect the $350,000 should last us at least 3 years, so we won’t be back looking for more within their attention and memory spans.

We think our proposal should be a winner in a logical world.  Which leads to our primary concern.

           Image result for panhandlers

We sense there’s a bit of a bias when it comes to ‘seeking’ grants.  There are beautiful folks holding out their hand, and approaching beautiful people with the endorsement of beautiful people in the community.  We expect they do very well, thank you.


Then there are not so beautiful folks holding out their hand, without the support of beautiful people in our midst.

                               Image result for panhandlers

They’re likely to come away empty handed.

How about you, there, Mister?  And you, Ma’am?  Will you support us in our community developing, start-up funding request?  We promise you’ll feel better about yourself if you do.

And before you know it, your dividend check will be ‘in the mail.’

                         Image result for gelato fiasco

Place your bets on who’ll be the “winner” in this game, and who will ‘pay the fiasco.’  And how likely it is they’ll rename their business “Gelato Chutzpah.”

No comments:

Post a Comment