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The Hoosier Lottery's Mega Millions mascot at a store in Zionsville, Ind., Friday, March 30, 2012. This guy’s not on the list, but the town of Avon, Indiana has banned roadside advertising mascots. (Michael Conroy/AP)
The Hoosier Lottery's Mega Millions mascot at a store in Zionsville, Ind., Friday, March 30, 2012. This guy’s not on the list, but the town of Avon, Indiana has banned roadside advertising mascots. (Michael Conroy/AP)

Small Business Briefing

Franchise owner up in arms over town's mascot ban Add to ...

The latest news and information for entrepreneurs from across the web universe, brought to you by the Report on Small Business team. Follow us on Twitter @GlobeSmallBiz.

Dancing mattresses and hot dogs

The population of Greater Avon in Indiana is estimated at 45,000. It is the birthplace of William T. Hornaday, trumpeted as “saviour of the American Buffalo;” it is the birthplace of the soybean in the United States; and it’s home of the first outdoor table-tennis tables in the state.

And now it’s at the centre of a dispute between small-business owners and city council, which has passed a new policy banning roadside mascots and “wavers” used to advertise products. One local firm is suing Avon over the bylaw, TheIndyChannel.com reports, arguing his tax franchise needs the gimmicks to lure customers, and says his business can’t survive without them.

“To us they are like the golden arches like McDonald's has,” Liberty Tax franchise owner Victor Ruthig told TheIndyChannel, run by ABC affiliate RTV6.

But Avon’s town manager Tom Klein doesn’t buy the argument, and cites safety as an issue. “We've had dancing mattresses, hot dogs, Halloween City-type person out there ... One of the purposes of our ordinance is not to distract drivers.”

Where to GAIN some help

Global Angel Investors Network (GAIN) is an online meeting place where angels can meet entrepreneurs. Business owners outline their ideas and upload the information to the GAIN website. Investors, who must have a net worth of more than $1 million (U.S.) and have made $200,000 in income over the past two years, can sift through the featured proposals to decide whether any of them are worthy. According to the website, “entrepreneurs from every segment of the marketplace and part of the globe are encouraged to contact us.” The site also states that it will not endorse any companies, nor will it get involved in any investment transactions or earn any commission or finder’s fees.

Sounds delicious

The fifth annual Chinese Restaurant Awards took place in Richmond, B.C., on Tuesday night, honouring the achievements of restaurateurs in Greater Vancouver and Greater Toronto. Sea Harbour Seafood Restaurant of Richmond was awarded the Greater Vancouver Critics’ Choice’s Most Awarded Chinese Restaurant, 2009-2013. Click here for a list of the other Vancouver-area winners. From Greater Toronto, 10 restaurants were handed the 2013 Critics’ Choice Signature Dish Awards. For a complete list, click here.


Business, technology and you

The National Business and Technology Conference (NBTC) brings together hundreds of young leaders and numerous industry professionals to participate in interactive workshops, to listen to inspiring speakers, to compete in the consulting case and the entrepreneurship competitions, and to enrich their networks. This year’s event takes place in Toronto on March 8 and 9.

Get behind the scenes

Brampton, Ont.’s Small Business Enterprise Centre is hosting an event for called Getinspired, with keynote speaker Deanne Kelleher, founder of Kaos Group. Her presentation, Building Blocks: A Foundation You Can Grow On, focuses on supporting your business from behind the scenes whether you have a new, growing or rapidly expanding company. Takes place March 7 from 8:30 am to 12:30 pm, at the Lionhead Golf and Country Club.


Lots of drawing, little time off

After 10 years as a starving artist, Robb Scott is finally making a good living doing what he loves: drawing famous sports figures. But the success of his business, Greenfield, N.S.-based Rob Scott Drawings, has come at a cost. He works around the clock and barely spends any time with his wife and two children.


Passion or convenience?

The image of the passionate entrepreneur toiling away at a labour of love is almost passé. It's important to do what you love if you're starting a business – we know this. And logically we would likely agree it's important to surround yourself with people who share that passion. But as the demands of running a company mount and the constant scramble for cash flow takes its toll, it would seem that too many small-business owners hire whoever they can afford or whoever they can find right now, Chris Taylor says in this guest column from January, 2013.

Got a tip on news, events or other timely information related to the small-business community? E-mail us at smallbusiness@globeandmail.com.

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