It’s a cool cloudy afternoon at the lake as temps remain unseasonably mild.  I just shut down the air compressor after filling up the ATV tires, which I may ride down to the beach shortly and take a stroll.  I’m tired after another long day and evening touring various prospective clients with Steve yesterday, including a promising referral from Katie @ Affinity Salon & Spa, whose cousin we met at Grover’s for dinner, famous for its 12 ounce burgers.  Matt has been operating and expanding a successful winery, Freedom Run, since early 2007 and for a young man is very focused and passionate about his business.  We’re looking forward to a personal tour of the vineyard and facilities, with plans for a restaurant to open this spring.  He seemed quite receptive to our offer in helping promote the place while saving money on their charge card processing.

On the way out to the beach I hooked up with a good friend and business partner, Rob, as we caught up over some amazing fare at Peg’s Place, he enjoying a Rueben and I having already eaten lunch noshed on homemade blueberry pie, tres magnifique.  He is an emerging leader in the energy business as he builds a local team with massive plans for expansion in 2012.  We’re excited as we consider the future, yet wise and mature enough to temper our enthusiasm knowing that nothing in life is a guarantee.  We both agreed that the most important element in business is the relationships forged, and that the money is secondary.  And we both feel strongly about family and never sacrifcing integrity for growth.

I have several solid leads now circulating in the sales funnel, including a collections agency and various establishments around town.  In leveraging various contacts we’re gaining access to decision-makers.  I was up early this morning sending out emails, updating my database of prospective clients and catching up on social media activity.  In grabbing the bull by the horns the anticipation of results is on the rise.  I’m eager not only to tap into an income stream, but more so in working alongside small business owners to grow and innovate their model through cutting edge marketing.  If our clients succeed we succeed, plain and simple.

We concluded our evening at Buffalo Brew Pub, renowned for its vast selection of craft beers, including several brewed on site.  It is also acceptable to shuck unlimited peanuts and cast the shells onto the floor.  I couldn’t help but eavesdrop as Matt discussed beer and wine-making with one of the guys behind the bar, presumably a brewmaster based on his knowledge of the intricacies.  There was talk of CO2 and temperature ratios, head pressure and varieties of hops most suitable for the local climate.  Matt intends to have a brewery up and running within 2 years, elaborating on the favorable growing conditions along the escarpment.  He was delighted that I was aware of the extended growing season given the proximity to Lake Ontario.  I explained I have over 15 years experience in landscaping and a bachelor degree in environmental science.

Meanwhile, Steve was jovial as ever sipping on coffee with a long drive back to Rochester ahead of him while Katie shared her enthusiasm for hockey and a mutual dissatisfaction with the Sabres woeful season.  We made arrangements to meet up at the Powder Keg Winterfest next Saturday, specifically to check out the Red Bull snowboarding half-pipe and of course patron nearby watering holes.  Earlier in the day we had dropped by Page’s Bar & Grille and O’Neill’s Stadium Inn where further headway was made in securing deals.  I’d be surprised if I don’t have my first one or more inked before the end of next week.

I need to rest up for a busy weekend ahead of festivities including a house party tomorrow night and Super Bowl XLVI at the Compound on Sunday.  I’d already been rooting for the Giants before Tom Brady stuck his foot in his mouth with an absurd remark about sub-standard hotels in Buffalo.  I suppose when you’re a perennial champion making millions with a supermodel on your arm it’s nearly impossible not to get a little cocky.  Nonetheless, in illustrating his point about the support of his family in the early stages of his career he could have exercised more tact.  It will only make for a more compelling matchup when the Pats come to The Ralph next season.

In other news, Occupy Buffalo has been evicted as yet another city bites the dust in a nationwide movement for social and economic change.  It makes one wonder why the city even allowed them to stay as long as they had, perhaps hedging on a rude Buffalo winter to oust campers from Niagara Square.  I am quite certain not one city official could have predicted a winter like we’ve had with records for lowest snowfall and highest mean temperature all but guaranteed to be broken.  For all of the criticism and naysaying hurled at OB over the last several months, everyone who stuck it out through thick and thin deserves a hearty round of applause.  I am most curious to see how the movement responds as it surrenders its geographical space.  A gritty tune by Tom Petty comes to mind, “No I won’t back down…”

In common wealth,