Localizing trucker, tote board, tattoo and tequila stories

by May 1, 2014

May is another one of those action-packed month for business features that can tie into a number of industries or beats, and I wanted to provide some food for thought and resources about upcoming events you might want to localize.

Place your bets.  Saturday’s 140th running of the Kentucky Derby is a big day for racetracks nationwide, and if you’ve got one handy you might check into attendance and wagering stats for this year and past Derbys as something of an economic indicator.  Most tracks that do

Here’s a PC Magazine guide to online wagering – if you want to tackle the technology angle. It’s a bit of a grey area overall but the Derby’s home track, Churchill Downs, offers a legal betting site.

And this CNBC article makes the point “Why bet on the Derby when you can own it?” about Churchill Downs’ wide-ranging business operations and performance as an investment; you could evaluate any remaining race tracks in your area according to the same metrics.

Tequila.

Cinco de Mayo coming up Monday makes for a festive long weekend and as we’ve blogged about before, a merchandising holiday increasingly adopted by the retail and restaurant industry.  Here’s even a press release, “Just in time for Cinco de Mayo” about new market research on the Mexican restaurant scene in the United States.  (54,000 restaurants, $39 billion in annual revenue – another angle to localize.)

The purported lime and advocado shortages I wrote about recently are a new Cinco de Mayo twist, but beyond that take a look at how communities and merchants are sponsoring an increasing number of parades and festivities to drive spending on food, merchandise and more.

Truckers.

As of May 21, 2014, interstate CMV drivers are required to obtain certified physical examinations.

A story that has received very little attention outside the industry is a looming May 21 rule change for truck drivers.  After that date, they must get their required medical checks from examiners approved for a national registry operated by the U.S. Department of Transportation.  According to some industry information sources, there’s quite a concern that an insufficient number of examiners will create a backlog keeping truckers off the road or forcing them to drive many miles to get an exam.

Here’s an explainer from Land Line News, which says fewer than 40 percent of the estimated 40,000 examiners needed are registered to date. And here’s a neat story from the JournalTimes.com in Wisconsin, Truck stop health clinic thrives as DOT tightens driver regulations.”  It’s a great opportunity to look at innovative health-care delivery outlets at truck stops in your area, and driver wellness initiatives overall.

Tattoos.

This isn’t quite a seasonal feature but an interesting one nevertheless to jump on right away.  The New York Times reports that “Before ink dries on Army rules, soldiers rush to get tattoos,” and the larger story is that the tattoo economy so dependent on military members is going to face a hit soon as grooming rules tighten up.  A Statistics Brain report from December 2013 says tattoos are a $1.65 billion industry across some 21,000 tattoo parlors nationwide; other surveys put the figure even higher.

Tattoo removal is another industry to look at with specialty parlors like Colorado’s Rethink the Ink forming to meet demand.  Here’s a look at state-by-state regulations for laser tattoo removal.  It would be interesting to contrast local demand for new ink with demand for removal.

And permanent make-up such as eyeliner tattooed beneath the skin appears to be another facet of the industry worth watching; there’s even a trade group that offers an interactive map to find permanent makeup artists in your market.