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Oglesby: Merchants get creative in tough times
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The deal we last wrote about now is reality. General Motors and Chrysler are in Chapter 11 bankruptcy. Many dealers have been told they're toast, from this month into next year.

Dealers scrambling to unload inventories are getting more creative. Other types of merchants also are getting more and more creative. I've read numerous articles about varied ideas adaptable to many merchandising fields.

For example, the very day that column appeared, I received a flyer promoting a local car show July 11. It's called "Cruise in-Stay and Show." It'll feature antique and classic vehicles. Public admission is free. Entry fee for "show only" exhibitors is $15. The $55 fee for stay (hotel bill) and show is meant to attract out-of-town exhibitors on July 10, the fee including the room. Some out-of-state exhibitors already had signed up by the time I talked to the contact.

The show itself will be July 11 in the Days Inn parking lot and will include local area exhibitors. Judges will award first-, second- and third-place trophies. Four food vendors will have stands, with a photographer on hand. That's seven local enterprises involved.

Exhibitors, local and away, can call 678-316-6108 with the car and year or contact coordinator Spectators just walk in.and enjoy.

Unique? Lodging place sponsors car show to fill slow season rooms, inviting other enterprises, some competitive like the food vendors, to participate. It's interesting to see how creative various types of merchants get to move their wares. The Times has featured a number, including, for example, Jackson County's antique tour which could benefit motels restaurants and others.

Permit, please, personal notes. Two longtime good friends died last week.

Kenneth Grogan had been my friend 50 years. We did things and went places together. We both served on and chaired Lakewood Baptist Church's deacon board, ushered together, were longtime Sunday School co-general secretaries.

He was noted for his pranks. No one knew when a commode might show up on a front porch or lawn, usually on a Sunday morning. I once wrote a column about how he tied his ties, sitting down and tying it around bended knee, then slipping it over his head to tighten and straighten.

It was hard watching Ken waste away with Alzeheimer's over about eight years, at the last knowing no one, including family, except for an occasional momentary recognition.

Last fall, fellow Kiwanian Carl Ridley was behind the griddle, flipping pancakes as he always did, at the annual Pancake Breakfast. He traveled with Ted's Travelers, my travel group. He went to Alaska, Europe, San Francisco, China and Australia. He recently told me if I scheduled a Panama Canal crossing next spring, put him on it.

I'll never forget in 2004, when he was 91, our concourse and plane change in what I consider the world's worst airport, DeGaulle in Paris. He threw his garment bag over his left shoulder and pulled his wheeled carry-on suitcase behind him with his right hand, keeping up with us decades younger. What a guy!

Finally, she deserves a medal and more. Come Friday, Betty will have put up with me for 56 years, taking when I wasn't home the any-hour telephone blasts from angry readers who didn't know how to disagree agreeably. She taught and was mother and father to our small children during my frequent absences on professional seminars, Air Force duty and SBA affairs. She's a jewel.

Ted Oglesby is retired opinion page editor. Reach him at P.O. Box 663, Gainesville, GA 30503. His column appears every other Tuesday.

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