Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

There are Businesses and Then There are Businesses

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Fall 2016

I read in the Philadelphia Inquirer about three Wharton grads who developed a new app, “Beer Me”.  They intend to change the way that people order at bars. According to Beer Me’s calculations, using the App cuts the average payment time from 90 seconds to 20 seconds. A 20-percent tip is included, and then the alcohol is delivered.

It reminds me of “Back to School”, a Rodney Dangerfield movie about an untamed father that accompanies his bookish son to college.  Rodney and his entourage are in the bar, and he instructs the barmaid to: “Bring us a pitcher of beer every seven minutes until somebody passes out. And then bring one every ten minutes.”

It strikes me as a shame that some bright young people’s talent is not more productively applied.  It is a free country though, and people are able to choose their own careers. The Beer Me guys could have the last laugh, and become internet millionaires.

Nancy and I recently were in Milwaukee, looking for another place in Wisconsin to visit. We noticed that Kohler (think toilets) was nearby.  There was a 5-star hotel there, and the company offered a 3-hour factory tour. I have an engineering degree and love to see how things are made.

Kohler is a company town with a population of approximately 2,500.  The town consists of two hotels, a small shopping center, schools, parks, single family houses, and Kohler factories.

We checked into the American Club and had dinner at Cucina, a Kohler owned restaurant in the Kohler owned shopping center. The American Club Hotel is a showcase for Kohler bath products. The night before our tour, I was looking forward to bathing. Our room was equipped with a huge bathtub, with a filler the size of a diesel truck exhaust pipe. When I tried to shut off the water, the handle broke with the water still on full stream. I immediately opened the drain and called reception.  When I said that I needed a plumber, and that the faucet had broken, the person started to laugh. A few minutes later, the plumber showed up, and quickly shut off the water. He said that he could complete the repairs then, or return the next morning. I said to fix it then, thinking that they had an entire factory of parts nearby. In about 20 minutes, he returned, repaired the valve, and we were good to go.

The next morning, we reported to the Kohler design center at 8 a.m. for our tour.  Our guide was a 42-year Kohler veteran, having worked in the factory for 30 years, then leading tours for 12 years.

We started in the Urinal Department.  Basically they form the urinals from clay, let them dry, bake them, and then coat them with a ceramic glaze and re-bake them.  Nancy has worked with pottery, so the processes were familiar to her.  The engineering challenges were evident; how to handle heavy breakable ceramic items, sometimes very hot, while maintaining quality and cost control.

Next, we went to the Faucets and Fittings Factory. There were many computer controlled lathes, drills, routers and planes.  Shavings of brass and aluminum were everywhere.

Our tour then headed to the foundry, which is a giant Machiavellian- like furnace for melting scrap steel. The fiery hot molten metal is poured into molds to form tubs, or other items.  Our guide said that Herr Kohler came from Germany in the 1870’s and set up a foundry to make cast-iron cattle troughs. At some point, he coated one of the red hot cast iron tubs with powdered glass, which melted to a smooth, shiny, impervious surface, and the ceramic tub was born.

These factory jobs are real work.  I noticed that the employees were United Auto Workers Union members, so I assume that these are good paying jobs.  Our guide told us that part of their compensation is based upon output and quality, computed for every individual.  Sounds complicated but fair, and only possible with computers. There are 30,000 employees, with plants around the world, including China.

My understanding is that the Kohler family are billionaires. Seeing the tremendous infrastructure and Investment, if they can still make a profit, they deserve it.

On further thought, Beer (the champagne of the working man) and toilets are both pretty important, so maybe a little more respect is due to the app developers.


TABASFUNDING has provided a six-figure line of credit for remodeling rental properties to Hawthorne Investments LLC. Hawthorne is an affiliate of Ranieri and Kearns Associates, a multi-faceted residential and commercial construction company.

TABASFUNDING provides entrepreneurs with funding to acquire or expand businesses in the form of flexible loans from $100,000 to $750,000, or more. We supplement bank and other funds, and consider most types of businesses in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.   Please call for further information.


School Daze

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Summer 2016

At TABASFUNDING, we don’t make student loans.  Our funding is strictly for expansion or acquisition of businesses.  In the course of looking at those, however, we do review borrower’s financials.  One recent husband and wife whose financials we reviewed have a total of about $90,000 in student loan debt. The government offers terms that are flexible, so they don’t have to pay more than a certain percentage of their income.  It is manageable, but my concern for them is, will they ever have the satisfaction of paying off their student loans?

More worrisome were the two Physical Therapists that started a PT business and were looking for funding.  They both earned PhDs.  One had a breathtaking $180,000 in student loans, and made around $80,000 in annual salary. The other had $139,000 in student loans, and made around $61,000 in annual salary.  I can see incurring that kind of debt if one can earn a couple of hundred thousand dollars per year afterwards. PurdueUniversity has started a student loan program advancing money based on estimates of future earnings. For example, computer engineering majors may qualify for more aid than turf science majors, because engineers typically earn more.

It is clear why Bernie Sanders has such appeal to young people.  His pitch about free college would have lots of traction with the students and families in the United States that have accumulated $1.2 trillion of student loans.

My take-away is that young people have little financial experience when applying to college or graduate school.  They think that if they are granted loans, that somebody is looking after them and if approved they assume that the thing to do is accept the loan.

Seems to me that financial literacy should start when one is relatively young. My own little survey shows that two of the local school districts have a financial literacy course that starts in middle school. The course is optional.  I am not aware that any of my children (they are older now) took such a course.  Knowing about loans, credit cards, interest, bank accounts, and other financial matters is very important – Why it is not mandatory?  Entrepreneurship is being promoted in high schools. It is pretty hard to run your own business if you don’t grasp basic financial matters. I was fortunate- my father was a businessperson, and at the dinner table, we talked about most of these things.

A related topic is; does it make a difference what college or university that one attends?  Does it make sense to borrow big to get into a better college/university?  From my point of view, with few exceptions, the answer is no. There are a dozen colleges/universities where the name (think Harvard) and education will certainly help to advance one’s career. Most of these colleges/universities will provide substantial grants if someone gets accepted.   For the most part, in my opinion, borrowing and paying more for private college or university, as opposed to attending a public one cannot be justified.

TABASFUNDING has provided funding to Jackie London, an importer, wholesaler and retailer of women’s shapewear. The company seeks to serve primarily Latino and African American customers.  These are growing markets, and we are optimistic about the company’s future.

Ameritech Media Services of Harrisburg is an existing client. Ameritech offers marketing services for growing companies.  If your marketing could use a breath of fresh air, please have a look at the website: or contact Dustin Foreman at 1 800 319 8481.


TABASFUNDING provides entrepreneurs with funding to acquire or expand businesses in the form of flexible loans from $100,000 to $750,000, or more. We supplement bank and other funds, and consider most types of businesses in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.   Please call for further information.


LEE TABAS is available as a consultant or an expert witness. Areas of expertise include:  Ability to help through experience in banking and investing: loans, deposits, administration, collection, leadership, liability, conflicts of interest and documentation. Experience as a Trustee for Trust and Foundations. Has track record of helping entrepreneurs with growth.  Please call for further information.


Free Stuff

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Nancy and I are generally fascinated by offerings for free stuff that come in, usually real estate or timeshare sales.  They promise a free gift in exchange for 90 minutes of your time.  We’ve gotten golf clubs, bargain overnights in Williamsburg and New York City.

Recently an oversize post card came in with a scratch-off number, as well as an electronic device. When we turned on the device, a number glowed in blue, which matched the scratch-off number that we found on the postcard. We’d won a) $25,000, b) a new car, c) an Android tablet computer.  All we had to do was call up and make an appointment.  It turned out to be associated with Split Rock in the Poconos. We’d heard of it, but never visited. It could be a nice outing, so we called and made arrangements.  The drive was easy, 1 ½ hours from home.  We gave our name to the receptionist, and Barry, a 70 ish man introduced himself. He disclosed that the program was for sale of timeshares.  Next, we went on a tour around the community. It is quite nice with a combination of upscale and ordinary houses, and some condominium timeshares. There were restaurants and several beautiful lakes.

After the tour, we went to the closing room, with a dozen or so round tables. The room was busy with other prospects.  Split Rock is associated with Interval International, a large timeshare company. As Barry explained it, we would buy the share at Split Rock, and pay the split rock maintenance fee, which is a lot less than the maintenance fee in New York City, for example, and would get points which could be used at any of the Interval properties. He showed us a book which had some nice Hyatt and other facilities around the world.  Next he showed us the price of a timeshare, which was about $12,000 and could be mostly financed.

Nancy and I thought that our children might like to use a condo at Split Rock. The place was nice and convenient to Philadelphia.  When I asked about documentation, he said that was available only if we agreed to buy, and that the price was good for today only.  Generally my thought about timeshares is that they buy ground by the shovel and sell it by the teaspoonful, and that there was no real reason to get yourself obligated, when you can stay overnight at a hotel, with no long term commitments.  While we could probably get what we wanted at Split Rock, I imagine that it would not be so easy to get reservations at one of the other Interval properties. Looking online later, that was confirmed.

By that time, our 90 minutes were up, and we indicated that we’d like our prize. Barry directed us downstairs. A sign asked us to have a seat, and someone would be with us shortly.  In a few minutes, a 50ish year–old man motioned for us to follow. Apparently this man was the Closer – Barry wasn’t successful, so this guy would try again.  We stated the same objections that we had before. This time, the price came down to about $10,000.

When he wasn’t making headway, he did give us the prize- an Amiko tablet computer. We haven’t gotten it set up yet, but it sounded more impressive in the marketing material.  I guess if you want people to think that what you are doing is top quality, you would give a top quality item. It sort of reinforced our feeling that we made the right decision not to participate.

Puerto Rico Takes a Hit to the Head

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Spring 2016

Nancy and I own Puerto Rico bonds, which have been in the news a lot recently. Some bonds are in default, and other payments are due which Puerto Rico says it will not be able to make. For a reason that no one seems to be able to determine, Puerto Rico is not eligible for bankruptcy restructuring, as other government subdivisions are. The territory has gone to the Supreme Court to ask for relief.  Hedge funds own the bonds, as well as many ordinary investors who want to recover as much as possible. Because Puerto Rico is a US territory, not a state, the bonds featured, triple tax free (US, State, and Municipal) income, making them quite attractive before now.  We have some of the better ones, still rated investment grade and insured.

Nancy and I planned a trip to Puerto Rico to get a feel for the economy and the people while hoping to enjoy ourselves as well. There is reasonable and plentiful air travel, and one does not need a passport.  Puerto Rico dangles outdoor activities, shopping, sightseeing and history as attractions.  The island was discovered by Columbus in 1493 and served as a key port in the Spanish new world.  San Juan, the capital, is a charming pastel colored city which dates from the 1500’s.  We walked all over the quaint streets; there were plenty of police, and we felt quite safe going anywhere.

Almost uniformly, anyone coming in contact with tourists was super nice.  I had hoped to practice my marginal Spanish, but everyone we met spoke excellent English. Puerto Ricans get the message- keep the tourists happy and they will keep coming.  The bad news is that other Caribbean islands also have nice weather, and try hard to attract tourists.

There were quite a few empty buildings throughout Puerto Rico. I picked up the local publication “Caribbean Business” for additional insight.  Puerto Ricans are rightly concerned about legislation coming out of Congress to resolve their debt. What’s proposed is an oversight board dominated by non- Puerto Ricans who would supervise the island’s finances.

The US obtained Puerto Rico after the Spanish American war in 1898.  At that time, it was seen as a strategic island holding in the Caribbean.  Puerto Ricans are free to travel or move to the US at any time.  The weak economy spurs that- supposedly one doctor a day moves to the mainland for a better opportunity.

Taxes are different than elsewhere.  Most individual Puerto Ricans don’t pay US Taxes, but do pay Puerto Rican taxes. There is an 11% sales tax, soon to increase in response to the financial situation.

During the 20th century there were tax incentive programs which brought Pharmaceutical firms, and others, to Puerto Rico.  When we were there, we saw several large container ships full of Asian autos unloading in San Juan harbor.  It seems that Puerto Rico could be a possible location for auto parts manufacturing.  Whether the Mexican work force is better or not, I don’t know.

One thing I do know is that the Puerto Ricans have less political capital than Cuban-Americans.  After arriving as immigrants with little, now South Florida is practically run by Cuban-Americans. They have clout.  To that point, they kept the US from establishing relations with Cuba for over 50 years. Two of the presidential candidates were of Cuban heritage.  There are some famous and successful Puerto Ricans, but they don’t seem able to muster much political power. Lin Manuel Miranda who wrote, directs, and stars in “Hamilton”, the hottest Broadway musical, and J Lo are two.

When we were there, we rented bikes and rode from the OldTown to Condado, a strip of land with nice hotels which is popular with tourists. It was a very windy day.  While waiting for a traffic light to change, a large, poorly secured, “Construction Ahead” sign on the sidewalk blew over and hit me in the head. Thank God I was wearing a bike helmet. Save a cut on my hand, I was unharmed.  Hopefully the territory of Puerto Rico will be shielded from the most harmful fallout from the financial crisis, and allow this beautiful island, with its wonderful people, to regain its footing.

Lee and Sign in Puerto Rico 2 Mar 1 16 Visiting my sign


TABASFUNDING provides entrepreneurs with funding to acquire or expand businesses in the form of flexible loans from $100,000 to $750,000, or more. We supplement bank and other funds, and consider most types of businesses in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.   Please call 610-896-2400 or email for further information.


Peer to Peer Online Lending

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Much money has been thrown into online lending. Some have described it as the financial “Uber”; trying for financial disintermediation in the staid banking industry.

One goes online to one of many sites, fills out an application, and by the magic of algorithms gets a fast loan approval. Pieces of the loans are then offered to investors, both individuals and institutions.  I was thinking that TABASFUNDING might like to be an investor, but I found the decision window too short- actually one has to decide immediately whether to buy. I guess they expect you to decide by algorithms as well.   I also found the request for personal information from me as an investor too intrusive.

But maybe you can’t know everything with algorithms.  It turns out that the San Bernardino terrorists were approved for a $28,000 loan by one of the online lenders. Allegedly some of the money went to buy the arms and ammunition used in the horrific incident.

US Regulators are taking stock of what to do to respond. From my point of view, what’s missing is what we learned and taught as community bankers: “Know Your Customer.” I like to do business with people in the area that I can get to know.  There are certainly some improvements that can be made to strengthen safeguards in online lending, but I am not sure that you can get to know someone with algorithms.

TABASFUNDING provides funding To Plasma Manufacturer, B Positive National Blood Services LLC

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TABASFUNDING, a private lender in Haverford Pennsylvania has provided a medium six figure loan to B Positive National Blood Services, LLC of Cherry Hill, New Jersey. (B Positive’s website:

B Positive National Blood Services was established in 2010 for the purpose of collecting high quality source plasma and other blood products to be used in the creation of life-saving therapies like immunodeficiency and bleeding disorders.  Plasma is the protein-rich liquid portion of the blood that is collected from volunteer donors through a process known as plasmapheresis.  The global demand for plasma-derived proteins and enzymes, such as Intravenous Immunoglobulin (IVIG) and Albumin, is at an all-time high, and suppliers like B Positive are opening new collection centers and rapidly increasing collections to help meet that demand.  B Positive is entering the next phase of its expansion plan and expects to double its collections in the next year.  B Positive CFO Marty Pollak said, “Lee Tabas spent a great deal of time getting to know our management team and business.  In particular, we were impressed with TABASFUNDING’s clear focus on entrepreneurs and the issues we face. B Positive looks forward to a long lasting, mutually beneficial relationship”. The funding from TABASFUNDING will be used as working capital for the company’s growth, as B Positive will open two new locations in spring 2016.

For further information about B Positive please contact B Positive’s Director of Marketing Jamie Brotz at

TABASFUNDING provides funding for entrepreneurs to expand or to acquire businesses. We do this in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware. Funding is available in amounts of $100,000 to $750,000 in the form of flexible loans. For information about TABASFUNDING, please contact Lee Tabas at (610) 896-2400 or

Economics of Big Towns vs. Little Towns

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Some of you know that we have a vacation place in Vermont, and try to spend time there.  When the weather permits, we do outside activities. When it rains, we try to find things to occupy us.  Time passes slowly there. When we finished spackling the nicks in the walls and looked for something else to do, we rode to Montpelier, the capital, which we had not visited before.  Montpelier is the smallest capital in the nation, with only 8,000 inhabitants.  The state house has a gold dome and looked interesting to visit, so we just walked right in. No metal detectors or pat-downs. We toured the oldest original senate and house chambers. The volunteer guide said that it’s a house of the people and open to them.

The guide didn’t want us to sit in the seats, or open the desks in the chambers though. He said that state senators and representatives don’t have additional offices or staff in Montpelier. When they are in Montpelier, they work from their desks on the floor of the chamber.  Pretty thrifty.

Our Vermont place is near the border with New Hampshire.  New Hampshire is kinda exciting at this time because of the presidential primary.  The local paper, The Valley News, is indispensable; all local activities are listed.  We are political junkies, and attended a forum with Lincoln Chaffee, a presidential candidate. There were 40 or 50 people in the room, so attending was no problem.  Later we saw that Hilary was speaking in Hanover, New Hampshire. We attended that – we did have to go through screening by Secret Service, but we had no problem joining the 500 or so who turned out to watch.

We like a synagogue in Woodstock, Vermont, and attended Friday evening service there. At our synagogue in Merion, Pennsylvania, one has to be buzzed in. Nothing like that in Vermont- the doors in the synagogue are always open.  In the Woodstock Synagogue, if there is a meal, it is most often pot luck where the congregants each bring a dish to be served. The congregants set up the chairs and tables for the meal and take them down afterwards. At my synagogue in Merion, we have an executive director and a full time rabbi, along with a new assistant rabbi.  Most events there are catered.  Of course there are a lot more members in Merion.

There is crime in Vermont, though. We have a friend, Jeff Kahn, who owns a novelty store, the Unicorn, in Woodstock.  We read in the Valley News that several businesses were robbed one night, including Jeff’s store, which is right in the middle of town.   He said hundreds of people had expressed concern to him.   I am thinking that so little goes on in Woodstock, that there is probably one policeperson in the office and no patrols in the middle of the night.

When we parked too long in Woodstock, we received a parking ticket. The ticket said that you have two choices. You may send in $10, or you can take the ticket to any participating merchant.  We had just bought some shoes in the outdoor store there, went in, and the owner immediately took the ticket and said they would take care of it. What a pleasure!

My theory is that the bigger the political subdivisions get, the more unwieldy and inefficient that they become.  One would think that with technology, cities and states could be very efficient.  The problem is that people competing for power and money get in the way.  Years ago, I heard a riddle about the factory of the future. The only things in the factory are a big machine, a man and a dog. The man is there to feed the dog. The dog is there to make sure that the man doesn’t touch the machine.

Living in the Philadelphia area, we have lots of cultural, sports, shopping and civic opportunities.  Hopefully, one day those rows of desks and employees with unaffordable pensions in City Hall Annex will give way to fewer employees, more automation, and maybe a dog or two.


TABASFUNDING is providing medium 6 figure funding for construction of a new child care center at 410 Commerce Drive, FortWashington. The facility will be operated by Early Learning Children’s Academy (ELCA), which currently operates an existing center in FortWashington. The existing center will be moving to the new location.John Hertzberg, the principal of ELCA said: “Affordable quality child care is a necessity today for many families.  We appreciate the help that TABASFUNDING gave us in getting this job started.  We believe that the quality and convenience of our facility will help to make it a big success.”


TABASFUNDING provides entrepreneurs with funding to acquire or expand businesses in the form of flexible loans from $100,000 to $750,000, or more. We supplement bank and other funds, and consider most types of businesses in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.   Please call 610-896-2400 or email for further information.


LEE TABAS is available as a consultant or an expert witness.  Areas of expertise include:  general business, management, problem asset resolution, marketing, acquisition or sale of businesses, relationship development, loan policies, high performance banking, and business funding.  Please call 610-896-2400 or email for further information.


Gift Tax and Political Agendas

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Often parents if they are able, give money to their children.  Anyone can give up to $14,000 to another person annually without triggering the “gift tax”. If money is subject to gift tax, something like 40% of the eligible amount will need to be paid to the IRS by the giver. The gift tax is related to the estate tax; both are designed to target large accumulations of family wealth.

Not covered by the gift tax are 501c (3) charities. (The number refers to a section of the tax code). One can give as much as one wishes to the Red Cross or HopeSchool without incurring the gift tax.  On the contrary, when you make a donation to one of these organizations, you may claim a tax deduction.

There are no specific gift tax rules about 501c (4), (5), and (6) organizations. The (4), (5), and (6) sound high minded in the code. They are stated as civic leagues, social welfare, chamber of commerce, labor and the like.  In this category is Citizens United, the conservative group that makes documentaries and advertisements that often show public figures in a negative light.  501 c (4) may be actively involved in lobbying.  After the Supreme Court decision, we know that they may accept donations without limit. They are also able to shield their donors’ identities.

In April of 2015, the House of Representatives quietly passed legislation to exempt contributions to these organizations from gift tax and sent it on to the senate. There is apparently support for this type of legislation from both sides of the aisle.  Naturally, businesses, unions, the Koch brothers and other big contributors would like to see the issue clarified as not triggering the gift tax. For its part, the IRS has stated its position as not wanting to spend resources challenging donors on this issue. We recall the “egg in the face” that the IRS suffered from targeting tax exemptions of Tea Party groups.

My feeling is that it is a shame that the Supreme Court struck down limits on political donations.  Maybe applying the gift tax in these instances could help to rebalance the scales again?


TABASFUNDING provides entrepreneurs with funding to acquire or expand businesses in the form of flexible loans from $100,000 to $750,000, or more. We supplement bank and other funds, and consider most types of businesses in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.   Please call 610-896-2400 or email for further information.


LEE TABAS is available as a consultant or an expert witness.  Areas of expertise include:  general business, management, problem asset resolution, marketing, acquisition or sale of businesses, relationship development, loan policies, high performance banking, and business funding.  Please call 610-896-2400 or email for further information.


Travel and Immigrants

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Spring 2015

Nancy and I made a couple of trips south this year to break up the winter. We visited South Florida in January and South Carolina in February.

We haven’t spent much time in recent years in South Florida. The economics of the area are outstanding; better than in my neck of the woods, Southeastern Pennsylvania.

First come the retirees.  Retirees don’t spend lavishly, but they spend consistently. They need housing, restaurants, and services of all kinds.  Then there are the vacationers. The cruise industry occupies a huge berth today with many ships based in South Florida.  People on holiday spend money.   The crew members may be international but the supplies for the most part, come from the U.S.

We met a cousin for dinner at Aventura Mall on a Wednesday evening at 8 p.m. The mall was packed with many middle-aged and younger people. We wondered if the kids there attended school.  Are evenings at the mall part of the South Florida lifestyle?  Had we gone to King of Prussia, the big mall in our area on a school night, I bet one could toss a pelota and not hit anyone. My cousin clarified it for us; the kids there were from South America, where it was summer vacation.

Let’s now “Tango” over to the Latin American influence. Many Latin American companies set up offices in Miami when establishing a US presence. Brickell Avenue serves as a hub for those businesses, as well as a nexus for US businesses serving the Latin American markets.  Wealthy Latin Americans purchase second homes for cash in South Florida.  They look for places that are safe, where the electricity and water work 24 hours a day, and where they can get a fair deal. The US and South Florida fit the bill.

DadeCounty, the county containing Miami, is 65% Latino.  Their influence flourishes everywhere.  On our way back from the Keys, we stopped for lunch in SouthwestDadeCounty.  We checked out a Wynn Dixie supermarket.  The labeling in each department was in both English and Spanish.  We decided on a small Cuban lunch place. Everything was in Spanish.  One young person who worked there spoke halting English. It could have been Habana except there were no old cars or buildings.

In February when we drove to Charleston, we stopped at Potomac Mills, a mall in Woodbridge, Virgina to stretch our legs.  This is a mid-level outlet mall filled with sneaker stores – there were no Gucci or Tiffany shops.  The shoppers spoke languages of all kinds, mostly not English.  Many were Asians, Africans and Latino.  These are newer immigrants, not the Irish, Italian, or Russians like my grandfather. They are many of the people buying the sneakers, housing and cars and who will be drivers of the future economy. Over the centuries since the founding of the United States, immigration has ignited economic growth.  Businesses that position themselves to supply goods and services to immigrants will do well.

We did reach Charleston, one of our favorite towns, to spend a few days. Sherman left Charleston more or less intact during the Civil War, and afterwards, the inhabitants were too poor to construct new buildings, so there is a wonderful stock of antebellum architecture which is now treasured. We toured the Kahal Kadosh Synagogue, founded in 1749 by Sephardic (Spanish or Portuguese speaking) Jews looking for a better life. Nothing is new under the sun – they also came from Latin America.

Walking Charleston is the best way to get around.  King Street is compact and ideal for window shopping. It is hard to believe there are enough customers for all the restaurants interspersed throughout Charleston. We never usually leave town, but this time we drove to suburban PalmIsland – what a magnificent quarter-mile-wide beach! Charleston also has industry. It is a substantial port for the area, and North Charleston hosts one of the few Boeing assembly plants outside Seattle.

On the negative side, you won’t be swimming outside in South Carolina during the winter. The temperature in Charleston is about 15 degrees warmer than in Philadelphia. If you like driving, though, and are coming from the Philadelphia area, it is an easy 2-day ride and worth the trip.

In these divisive times, it is more important than ever to visit other places to see how the other half or third or 90% live. People all over are generally friendly, even when we have different backgrounds or philosophies.


TABASFUNDING provides entrepreneurs with funding to acquire or expand businesses in the form of flexible loans from $100,000 to $750,000, or more. We supplement bank and other funds, and consider most types of businesses in Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware.   Please call 610-896-2400 or email for further information.


LEE TABAS is available as a consultant or an expert witness.  Areas of expertise include:  general business, management, problem asset resolution, marketing, acquisition or sale of businesses, relationship development, loan policies, high performance banking, and business funding.  Please call 610-896-2400 or email for further information.


The Album, a short story by Lee Tabas

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On a crisp Sunday in late October, I fished in Valley ForgeNationalHistoricalPark.    In the fall, when it rains, sometimes the biggest trout migrate to spawn.  Battling against the swollen currents allows them to move upstream over rock ledges and shallow areas that they normally could not breach.   The rain came through several days earlier; unfortunately, the fish no longer were on the move. I got skunked.

Many people enjoyed the bright colors and sun in the Park that day.  As I crossed Route 23, the main road through the Park just south of Washington’s headquarters, I noticed a photo album along the side of the road.  I picked it up and began to leaf through the 30 or 40 photos with handwritten captions.  It appeared to celebrate family; some of the photos showed a young man, identified as little Jimmy, a 7 or 8 year old who everyone loved. Then there were a couple of pet photos.  Further on the caption was Pops or Dad, ”a great guy”.

As I leafed further through the book, my eyebrows lifted a bit when I saw the nude photos of a woman, with the caption “great body, luv ya babe” or something similar.   The author was probably a guy, who presented the book to his girlfriend.

I flipped to the front and to the back cover, but no name or contact information could be found.

There is a large rock memorializing the beginning of the Horseshoe Trail which starts in Valley Forge, and heads out 80 miles to join up with the Appalachian Trail in Central Pennsylvania. It seemed like a prominent spot, so I stood the Album up on the rock, and walked to my car. While putting away my gear, I thought about the album, and how it might have gotten where I found it.  It could have been forgotten while the guy and girl were on a picnic or a hike in the park.   Then it struck me that perhaps the guy and girl were driving on Route 23, and she was offended by the album and the pictures, they had a fight, and she tossed it out of the window.

p.s. I drove by there a few days later and the album was no longer on the rock. Either: 1) the happy couple came to reclaim it, or 2) someone else took it, or 3) your answer.