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New Brown Book Shop owners plan to adapt to the digital age

 
Brown Book Shop, founded in 1946, has sold technical publications at its store in downtown Houston. It has grown into one of the world’s largest bookstores that cater to the niche of oil and gas companies. Pictured is the new owners Steven Plumb and​ Noah Davis.
As seen in the Houston Chronicle By Erin Mulvaney
February 11, 2014 | Updated: February 11  
The Brown Book Shop has evolved over nearly seven decades from an art, poetry and fiction salon for the city’s elite to a specialty outlet for technical handbooks, manuals and industrial codes for the booming energy sector.

Now, the downtown institution at 1517 San Jacinto is poised for the next stage in its transformation. It has been sold, and new owners Stephen Plumb and Noah Davis hope to expand the Brown Book Shop’s customer base and move it into the digital age.

“We realized the business had a lot of potential,” Plumb said. “We wanted to use the success as a spring board to launch it into the digital media age.”

The shop will keep its name and continue in the downtown location it has operated in since 1987.

But the focus will increasingly be online. Plumb and Davis were hired by Pat Ginther, the second owner in the store’s 68-year history, in July to help reverse a downward sales trend that Davis said had Ginther within a week of closing the doors.

Over the last six months, Brown Book Shop’s online presence has increased significantly and the store also now offers tools, supplies and maps for engineers. Sales have since doubled, Davis said.

The new owners also plan to begin publishing books through the new Brown Publications.

Brown Book Shop carries about 10,000 titles, including many hard-to-find titles for engineers, electricians and architects with titles such as “Drilling Data Handbook,” “Pipe Fitters Manual” and “Handbook for Riggers.” Books cost on average between $200 and $300.

The new owners feel confident enough in their business plan to renew Brown’s lease until 2019 and doubling the staff to 10 employees. They are remodeling the offices and a portion of the building and plan to add a daily feed of industry news to the website.

“The idea is to make Brown a resource for people in the field,” Davis said.

Last year, the shop generated $1.65 million in sales. The new owners estimate that will double in 2014 and continue to double annually for the next five years.

When original owner Ted Brown opened the shop in 1946, well-heeled Houstonians visited the shop for rare leatherbound books and first-editions, and the store would host famous authors for book signings.

He likely saved the store from going out of business by radically adapting the focus to technical books from oil and gas companies. He purchased books from across the United States, in Canada, Europe and South America.

Ginther bought the business from Brown in 1980 and moved it to its current location in 1987, maintaining the technical focus.

The new owners say its one of the only remaining technical bookstores in the world and that it has about 3,000 active accounts with oil and gas, petroleum engineering and marine industry companies. Many of their existing customers are based in Houston.

Irwin Miller of The Service Corps of Retired Executives said he thinks brick and mortar and online can work together in retail. He said although the Brown name is well known in Houston, the owners need to market themselves to a broader customer base.

“The world is changing and you have to change with the world,” he said. “Their accessibility will be way beyond just Houston. I think their market is larger. People all over the world would need technical books.”

About 30 percent of business still comes from walk-in customers, Davis said.

“I think it’s a testament to the Houston area,” he said, “and how strong the market is here and how strong the energy industry is here.”

 

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Posted by on February 13, 2014 in News

 

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Digerati Completes Acquisition of Waste Deep, Inc.

logoHOUSTON, TX, Dec 03, 2012 (MARKETWIRE via COMTEX) — Digerati Technologies, Inc. (OTCBB:DTGID) (OTCQB:TGID) completed its acquisition of Waste Deep, Inc., and its two well established oil field services operating subsidiaries on November 26, 2012. In connection with the acquisition, Digerati Technologies, Inc. will be changing its name to HD Energy Services, Inc., moving its headquarters to Houston, Texas, and changing the composition of its Board of Directors to better reflect its current business plan.

John Howell, Chairman and CEO, stated, “The acquisition of Waste Deep with its operating subsidiaries Hurley Enterprises, Inc. and Dishon Disposal, Inc. provides a great basis for enhancing current shareholders’ value. We are currently in the process of doing PCAOB audits of the operating subsidiaries as part of the due diligence. When we complete these audits, we will file the audits in an 8K in order to provide the basis for filing a registration statement for an American Equity Fund equity line of $100,000,000 to fund capital investments for our operating subsidiaries and future acquisitions. When the company has qualified initial due diligence financial statements, we will provide initial, non-audited, summary information as part of press releases associated with the company.

“As for the changing Board composition, we elected three directors that replaced two of our directors. We also moved our Sr. Vice President of Finance & Controller into the position of Chief Financial Officer — further information is available as part of 14C filings available at the http://www.sec.gov website. The business backgrounds of our new directors and officers are included in the information statements we filed with the Securities and Exchange Commission and mailed to the stockholders on the 16th day of November, 2012. The information statement is incorporated herein by reference and is available on the SEC website at http://www.sec.gov.”

About Digerati Technologies, Inc.

Digerati Technologies, Inc., soon to be renamed “HD Energy Services, Inc.” (OTCBB: DTGID) (OTCQB: DTGID) is a diversified holding company with operating subsidiaries in the oil field services industry and the cloud communications industry. The company’s websites are available at http://hdenergyservices.com and http://www.digerati-inc.com.

The company’s cloud communications subsidiary, Shift8 Technologies, Inc., is a three-time recipient of Deloitte and Touche’s Fast 500 Award for recognition as one of the 500 fastest growing technology companies in North America. Shift8 Technologies, Inc., is meeting the global needs of businesses seeking simple, flexible, and cost-effective communication solutions. Shift8’s cloud-based services include a fully hosted IP/PBX, VoIP transport, SIP trunking, data storage, and customized VoIP solutions for specialized applications. Services are delivered with unparalleled reliability and performance over Shift8’s carrier-class global VoIP network, which has been built over the course of a decade.

The company’s oil field services subsidiaries are Dishon Disposal, Inc. and Hurley Enterprises, Inc., both located in the Bakken, one of the most important oil fields in the world today. Dishon Disposal Inc. is a waste disposal facility with a 25 year track record, focusing on solid and liquid wastes from oil field and drilling processes. The solid waste is land filled into specially prepared synthetic lined pits and the liquid waste is treated with industry leading water treatment technology, which can be applied across multiple industries outside of the oil field. The company is well respected in the community. Hurley Enterprises, Inc. is also an oil field support services company that functions as a drilling site service company, with 98 service and rental lines of revenue. Hurley provides everything from skid houses, telecommunication services, booster booths, Porta-Potties, generators, potable water, and mess halls in service to many of the major drilling contractors and oil majors in the Bakken. Hurley has several sole source contracts with strategic contractors in the Bakken that will provide large growth opportunity within the next three (3) years.

About American Equity Fund LLC

The American Equity Fund LLC (“AEF”) provides an alternative funding mechanism, an Equity Line Facility (“ELF”), for SEC reporting publicly traded micro- and small-cap companies that want to take control of financial futures. An ELF is a flexible financing structure in which AEF commits to purchase shares of Common Stock directly from an Issuer, at prevailing market prices, over a multi-year period. When an Issuer elects to drawdown on the ELF, AEF is obligated to purchase an amount of shares equal to the dollar amount requested with a discount to market and warrant coverage to underwriting expenses. Issuers request drawdowns at their discretion in accordance with the terms of their funding agreement.

Forward-Looking Statements:

The information in this news release includes certain forward-looking statements that are based upon assumptions that in the future may prove not to have been accurate and are subject to significant risks and uncertainties, including statements related to the future financial performance of the Company. Although the Company believes that the expectations reflected in the forward-looking statements are reasonable, it can give no assurance that such expectations or any of its forward-looking statements will prove to be correct. Factors that could cause results to differ include, but are not limited to, successful execution of growth strategies, product development and acceptance, the impact of competitive services and pricing, general economic conditions, and other risks and uncertainties described in the Company’s periodic filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission.

Contact:

Jack Eversull
The Eversull Group
(972) 571-1624
(214) 469-2361 fax
Email Contact
SOURCE: Digerati Technologies, Inc.
CONTACT: http://www2.marketwire.com/mw/emailprcntct?id=D7E1FB987C6FF427

Copyright 2012 Marketwire, Inc., All rights reserved

 
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Posted by on December 9, 2012 in News

 

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When did “rich” become a four letter word…

Wealth in America

Wealth in America (Photo credit: uvw916a)

When did “Rich” become a four letter word?  Have you ever caught how many of the Liberal / Democratic candidates and politicians sneer when they say “Rich”?  And have you wondered why Republicans fall in line with anything that looks like it will help anyone with capital to invest [some say, invest in political campaigns]?  Let me shed some light on this situation from my point of view…

First, maybe we should look at the word “Rich”.  Here is a simple definition from Dictionary.com:

having wealth or great possessions; abundantly supplied with resources, means, or funds; wealthy.

It is very interesting to review the definition of the word “Weath” by Wikipedia (too long for this article, but a good read all the same).  I personally don’t see anything inherently wrong with having abundant resources.  What I do feel gets stuck in people’s view is the opulence that some glitterati show, almost mashing all of the world’s face in the fact that they aren’t as wealthy, pretty, etc. as they are (think about Paris Hilton here).

What even bothers me more is the hypocrisy with which the politicians of this day bandy these terms around.  First, most of the politicians are fabulously wealthy – think President Obama ($1,728,096 last year’s return), Mr. Romney ($20,901,075 estimate for last year), Nancy Pelosi (I didn’t want to add it up, but take a look).  Why are these politicians always bashing the “rich” – both Democrats and Republicans?  Because it is popular and the vast majority of Americans like to think that they are middle class.

THE TRUTH – Americans, one and all, are wealthy.  All of us.  So we should change our thinking.  Here are the steps I think that all of us in the USA should take:

  1. Start using the word “prosperous” and celebrate it – how could you be hateful or want others not to be “successful and flourishing” (part of the definition).  Semantics I know, but we all need to be careful with words.
  2. Don’t vote for anyone who spews garbage about the “rich” or ask to “sock it to the rich”, and that includes Republicans, Democrats, or Libertarians.
  3. Implement a flat tax – no deductions, no progressive tax implementation.  We all pay the same percentage of everything.
  4. Don’t favor the “rich” in anything (especially taxes) – they tend to take care of themselves, that’s why they have those abundant resources.  I tend to listen to Warren Buffet on this.

This article may seem like it favors Republicans, but let me tell you, I am personally as fed up with them as I am with Democrats.  I tend to vote Conservative, but I do not think either side is representing us well. (My opinion)…

SEC puts off implementing rules associated with the JOBS Act

[This information taken from an e-mail sent from PPM Logix]

 

Seal of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commi...

Seal of the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Securities and Exchange Commission Chairman Mary Schapiro testified to Congress on Thursday, June 28th, regarding the general solicitation ban on Regulation D Private Offerings, saying “the 90-day deadline does not provide a realistic time frame for the drafting of the new rule, the preparation of an accompanying economic analysis, the proper review by the commission, and an opportunity for public input.” She went on to say “I expect that in the next two days we will publish time line for lifting the general solicitation ban and it will be done this summer.”

Read the blog at www.ppmlogix.com

Where have the blog entries been…

We have gotten a good amount of mail from our subscribers asking what happened to us.  First, I [Robert C. Rhodes] have been on a 13 day vacation with my kids in Washington State on Whidbey Island – what a beautiful couple weeks.  No rain, very unlike Washington, and lots of friends.  Secondly, we have signed up three new clients and are busy putting the initial consulting engagements in place.

Something struck me while I was there in Washington State – there were a lot of new cars on the road which wasn’t the case 30 years ago when I moved away, and the prosperity that is shining on Houston, Texas where I live now (actually Sugar land, but close enough) is not shining on Washington.  Many have dropped out of the work force and many, many stores are empty.

 
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Posted by on July 13, 2012 in BLOG, Business, Public markets

 

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Not worth saving the Dome // thedailycougar.com

The Houston Astros played 25 Opening Day games...

The Houston Astros played 25 Opening Day games in the Astrodome between 1965 and 1999. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Even though there are so many great memories that my whole family has of the Houston Astrodome, “The Dome” for everyone in Houston, it is time to say goodbye.  Over 10 years later and our local politicians still can’t just make a decision that has become so evident – it is time to say goodbye and get some more packing space for the new Reliant Stadium.

Don’t get me wrong – my whole family has great memories of the Dome.  Who doesn’t remember:

  • Dollar Dome Dog Days – thanks Brian Schwarz and Matt Vossler for introducing me to these delicious $1 muchies.
  • UH games – vs. Rice was always great.
  • Houston Oiler games – Luv ya Blue lives on, and may the Tennessee Titans go down in a fireball (no animosity there, right…).
  • Astros games – I had season tickets with Brian again, and let me tell you, lots of fun.  Love to see Nolan Ryan
  • Rodeos – oh yes, these were fun even though I don’t understand Houston’s fascination with this, good people, good times (concerts rock), and people watching is the best.
University of Houston's athletics logo.

University of Houston's athletics logo. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

The University of Houston’s Daily Cougar really put a good spin on this discussion – thanks guys.

Not worth saving the Dome // thedailycougar.com.

 
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Posted by on April 18, 2012 in BLOG

 

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