(Ep.58) The Acquirers Podcast: Steady Hands, How The Leaders Of Four SME Businesses Are Weathering The Coronavirus Storm

Johnny HopkinsPodcastsLeave a Comment

In this special episode of The Acquirer’s Podcast Tobias chats with four SME business leaders about how their businesses are being impacted by the coronavirus, and how they’re weathering the storm. The four business leaders include:

Jesse Koltes (LonoLife) – We are a grocery goods business, consumer packaged goods that sell dry soups into grocery stores in the United States. Based in Oceanside, California.

Scott Felsenthal (Whitmor) – We design, manufacture, and distribute home storage and organization products to the retail sector. Based in Memphis, Tennessee.

Ariel Barbouth (Nuchas) – Nuchas is an American made but internationally inspired handheld food (empanadas) company that sprung from a kiosk in Time Square. Based in New Jersey and New York City.

John Swallow (New Jersey Mining Company) – We’re a junior gold producer, so we’re a bit of a unicorn out there in the gold production industry. Based in North Idaho.

You can find out more about Tobias’ podcast here – The Acquirers Podcast. You can also listen to the podcast on your favorite podcast platforms here:

Apple Podcasts Logo Apple Podcasts

Breaker Logo Breaker

PodBean Logo PodBean

Overcast Logo Overcast

 Youtube

Pocket Casts Logo Pocket Casts

RadioPublic Logo RadioPublic

Anchor Logo Anchor

Spotify Logo Spotify

Stitcher Logo Stitcher

Google Podcasts Logo Google Podcasts

Full Transcript

Tobias Carlisle:
All right, gents. When you’re ready, let’s get underway.

Tobias Carlisle:
Hi, I’m Tobias Carlisle. This is a special edition of the Acquirers podcast. We’re talking to business leaders about what they’re seeing in their business. We’ll be talking to them right after this.

Speaker 2:
Tobias Carlisle is the founder and principal of Acquirers Funds. For regulatory reasons, he will not discuss any of the Acquirers Funds on this podcast. All opinions expressed by podcast participants are solely their own and do not reflect the opinions of Acquirers Funds or affiliates. For more information, visit acquirersfunds.com

Tobias Carlisle:
Hello, gents. Thanks so much for joining us. I’ll start with Jesse Koltes. Jesse, can you tell us your name and what do you do and what’s your business?

Jesse Koltes:
Yeah, good to be on, Toby. My name’s Jesse Koltes. I’m the co founder and operator of LonoLife. We are a grocery goods business, consumer packaged goods that sell dry soups into grocery stores in the United States.

Tobias Carlisle:
Where are you based?

Jesse Koltes:
Oceanside, California.

Tobias Carlisle:
And Scott, how about you?

Scott Felsenthal:
Thanks, Toby. Great to be on. Scott Felsenthal is my name. I’m executive vice president of a business called Whitmor. We’re fourth generation, family owned business. We design, manufacture, and distribute home storage and organization products to the retail sector. Based in Memphis, Tennessee.

Tobias Carlisle:
Thank you. Ariel?

Ariel Barbouth:
Okay. How are you? I’m Ariel Barbouth. Our company is Nuchas. We’re based in New Jersey and New York City. Right now, I’m actually right across the river from New York City. We make handheld foods, empanadas if you want to call them, and we have locations at [inaudible 00:01:42], in Times Square. We sell to airlines. We have a location at the convention center in Atlanta, and we’re figuring this out.

Tobias Carlisle:
And John, how about you?

John Swallow:
Thanks, Toby. My name is John Swallow. I’m the CEO of New Jersey Mining Company. We’re based in north Idaho. Our corporate office is actually in Coeur d’Alene, Idaho. We’re a junior gold producer, so we’re kind of a bit of the unicorn out there in the gold production industry.

Tobias Carlisle:
Just starting back with Jesse, can you tell us a little about what impact you’ve seen so far on your business?

Jesse Koltes:
So this has been the craziest two week period in the last five years for us. We sell dry bone broth. It’s a dry soup product. Typically, there’s a lot of seasonality. The winter is higher and the summer is lower, and so we were already at the winter peak, and then over the last week, we’ve sold 50% more than we did the week before. We’ve gotten inbound calls from Costco saying, “Anything you can make, we’ll buy,” which has really never happened before in the five year history of our business.

Tobias Carlisle:
How about you, Scott?

Scott Felsenthal:
Yeah, it’s interesting. So we’re in the retail sector and the jury’s still kind of out on how the retail industry’s going to respond to all this from a brick and mortar perspective, but also an online perspective. Obviously the online business is doing very well through our retail partners like Amazon and others. What is yet to be determined is really the presence of the brick and mortars and are chains going to close for periods of time across the country and what’s that going to mean for re-orders from our perspective? So there’s really no playbook. We’re doing the best we can and trying to figure that out as we go.

Tobias Carlisle:
Thank you. Ariel?

Ariel Barbouth:
For us, it’s been crazy for a while now. We’re actually located, one of our retail locations is in the middle of Times Square. Usually the winters are not that great, but we started noticing the slow down and at the same time, everybody in the same subway. There’s many factors at stake here. It’s not only what are we doing, but it’s our people, our team. So on the retail side, all our retail operations have been shut down. With that being said, we’re still getting phone calls from airlines until last week. We were sending samples to some of the largest airlines. People are still preparing like this is going to go away fast.

Ariel Barbouth:
We are doing a lot more sales to Whole Foods and a lot of these places. We’re actually launching our direct to consumer website, which we had ready for a while. We’re going to launch tomorrow or Wednesday just to get people out there and be able to get our products out there. There’s plenty of demand. We’re playing it day by day. We’re doing production, but we’re looking at production not on a weekly basis, but on a daily basis because we don’t know what’s going to happen. We don’t know if tomorrow they tell us, “Keep working,” or they shall say, “Shut down.” We don’t know.

Tobias Carlisle:
Thank you. How about you, John?

John Swallow:
Our industry is a little bit different in that there’s been a market for gold for about 2000 years, and actually that’s one of the reasons why when I chose to get back in the industry, I wanted to go straight into the gold market. I’ve got other business interests, so this was sort of my way of also diversifying. I have said for a long time I didn’t want to be held to the whims of a teenager and iPhone, and plus I know this industry and I know our area really well.

John Swallow:
Our biggest challenge is actually building the business, and now that we’re where we’re at, it’s kind of interesting. Now it’s keeping people safe, doing the right thing, doing what’s best for the communities and that kind of thing. One of the things that I’m really hoping comes out of this is that everybody starts to understand how dependent we are on foreign sources of everything. I’m really, really hoping that this makes it through as unscathed as possible, but also opens everybody’s eyes a bit.

Tobias Carlisle:
What does that imply, John? That you would like to see some more domestic production?

John Swallow:
Yeah, I’d say … one of the things you notice in our industry, too, is … we live here, we work here. We actually put out a press release this morning that kind of crystallized our thoughts on how we’re handling everything. If you really think about when the environmental side came after, with a broad brush stroke, and tried to wipe out all mining, all that did is it just down in the U.S. and kicked it overseas. It didn’t get rid of it.

John Swallow:
So then you basically exported any kind of environmental impacts to a different country, which was even worse. I always said, “Look, we can operate. Just keep the goalposts steady and let’s do it right and responsible. Don’t remove the goalposts.” That’s really what I see, and one of the things to look at is we actually ship our concentrates. We create a gold concentrate, we get paid by a concentrate broker at our mill, and then that concentrate actually gets shipped over to either Japan, South Korea, Germany, or China because there aren’t the [inaudible 00:06:57] in the U.S. that can process it. Right there, you could go all the way to the very end of your product and you’re still beholden to … like, the last little piece is that piece to go overseas and there’s people that have tried to permit smelters in the U.S. and do it in a responsible way and can’t get approvals.

Tobias Carlisle:
Does anybody else have international inputs into their business?

Scott Felsenthal:
We do. We, from a manufacturing perspective. Obviously we’re international, majority being in China, and I think John’s exactly right. When a moment like the last few weeks surface, we quickly realize how connected the world can be. For us, it’s been … we’ve had to deal with tariff issues the past year. We’ve had actually a flood at our office we kind of had to overcome, and then we finally kind of get settled down and all of sudden, the coronavirus hits. So we’re doing a lot of things and trying to be human with our employees. We’re not trying to be the type of people that we know exactly how to handle this because we don’t, and I don’t think any of us do. We’re just trying to be humans and being very empathetic and taking care of our staff and our team and ultimately that’s what benefits the company in the end. But that’s kind of the challenge as we’re dealing from an international supply chain perspective.

Scott Felsenthal:
Now, China’s, as everybody’s heard, China’s kind of on the other side of all this now so they are starting to ship very consistently products to us, but the problem now is the slowdown that’s potentially coming on our end. So that side of the supply chain’s fixed, but it’s kind of in our hands now as to what happens from here. Interesting times.

Ariel Barbouth:
On our end, food comes from all over the place. We source everything here. We buy nothing from China, but everything is affected. Our spices come from all over the world. We’re still a small manufacturer, but we’re growing a lot. We do deal with international airlines, and I’ve actually started listening to this as it unfold while we’re working with a Korean airline for the past four months, and I work through the whole progression of we had a presentation on January 3rd for this airline. We shipped product, they tested it, they liked it. As a matter of fact, today I got the boxes that they were planning to use and I was like, “I don’t know what to do with it.” People are still working like all of this is going to go away soon, which is great. It’s going to take a while, and supply chains here, even with all the meat and everything that we buy here, and vegetables, everything is going to get affected at some point or other. It’s a short game. It completely changed the way we look at everything for a while.

Tobias Carlisle:
Jesse, what are you seeing on a sort of customer and supplier front?

Jesse Koltes:
On a supplier front, one of the most interesting things I’ve heard of is basically what’s happening at the national level now is what happens regionally in the southeast during hurricane season. The way food gets to grocery stores typically, if you’re not a very large supplier, is it goes through a distributor like Kehe or Unify. In hurricane season in the southeast, when a town like New Orleans gets hit by a hurricane, they change how they supply the grocery stores and they start giving primacy to things like toilet paper, water, that sort of thing. That’s happening all over the United States rights now. It’s unclear to me how much of these secondary goods are going to be slowed down getting into grocery stores across the nation.

Jesse Koltes:
Right now, I was in New York City, it looks like the grocery stores look pretty good, but given that the whole nation is on this “hurricane footing” right now, it’ll be interesting to see what they look like in two weeks.

Tobias Carlisle:
Scott, what are you seeing from a customer and supplier perspective?

Scott Felsenthal:
We’re seeing, from the supplier side, we’re doing okay now because of what I mentioned earlier with China and other countries on the Asia side that are kind of on the down cycle, I guess, of the curve that everybody’s talking about. From a retail partner perspective, we hear a little bit more everyday. Some customers are beginning to close stores for a period of time. Some, obviously, aren’t because the demand has been unbelievable like Walmart and Target and others, mostly consumable products. It’s going to be very interesting to see how this dynamic changes the … continues to have the evolution of the retail world and how this, as it opens our eyes, what’s it going to do to the retail sector? Yet to be determined.

Tobias Carlisle:
You’re agreeing there, ariel?

Ariel Barbouth:
Yeah, it’s a big concern. My biggest concern will still be supplier vendors. It’s our people. It’s really how everybody’s going to do on March 31, and the more people are concerned about what’s going to happen with their rents on March 31, the harder it’s going to be for anybody to think straight. That’s kind of my biggest thing. I’m worried … we’ve been preparing for this for a few weeks, but people need to start thinking straight and they can think of what the government is saying today and worrying about the end of the month. We need to just stay home.

Tobias Carlisle:
John, what do you-

Ariel Barbouth:
And so-

Tobias Carlisle:
I’m sorry.

Ariel Barbouth:
Go ahead. Sure.

Tobias Carlisle:
Sorry, Ariel. Finish that thought.

Ariel Barbouth:
No, that’s fine. I’m good.

Tobias Carlisle:
John, what are you seeing from a supplier or customer perspective?

John Swallow:
You know, we’re … being located in north Idaho and being in a mining community where the folks are fairly resilient third and fourth generation people. They’ve been through strikes. They’ve been through … you know, one of the biggest things that I compare this to when I was a kid was the eruption of Mt. Saint Helens. That shut down north Idaho for a couple of months. The highways, everything. So I find myself taking bits and pieces of different things and fitting them into this, and I guess now that I’m a little older, now I’ve got enough experience to be able to fit a lot of it together.

John Swallow:
One of the things as we built the business, we made sure we had redundancy built into the systems and that kind of thing. We make sure everybody’s responsible for what they do. A lot of that makes sure that when we hit a situation of a supply shortage of anything, if it’s concentrate bags or drill bits or anything like that, that we’re covered. We kind of already naturally run that way. I’m not trying to be cavalier at all about it. It’s just that we kind of do that because when you run a small business, if any one little part of it goes away, your profit margins are toast.

John Swallow:
One of the things that’s kind of good for us, is right now our main customer for shipping our concentrate is Sumitomo in Japan. Those folks have actually started to come out the other side of the curve, so while we saw a little bit of a delay, I’m feeling comfortable about that. What I’m looking at now is I’ve got this checklist of as we’re building the business and I guarantee you I’m going to be addressing the milling and processing of our concentrate in case this ever happens again.

Tobias Carlisle:
So you’re looking to bring some of that onto … you’re going to do that yourself rather than shipping it?

John Swallow:
Absolutely. Yeah, and a few weeks ago I actually got ahold of Russ Fulcher, congressman in Idaho, and actually the county commissioners. I took it as an opportunity to introduce our business and actually tell them what impact we are to the community. I always figure the best job to get is pretty much the one you save, and really talked to them about that and how we can actually adjust going forward.

Tobias Carlisle:
Jesse, how about you? How are you reacting? What are you planning to change, if anything?

Jesse Koltes:
Yeah, it’s a really interesting thing. Just in time kind of goes out the window when sales go up 50% from a high. So just in time’s looking less and less intelligent when you’re trying to pull forward inventories for the whole of 2020 into the end of the first quarter. Really, that’s all we’re doing. Our plan is to max production now, really without hesitation. Our main concern is that social distancing is going to end up in our food factories, and if you’re socially distanced in a food factory, you can’t produce. We’re just pedal to the metal on trying to build inventory as fast as we can while we can.

Tobias Carlisle:
Scott, any thoughts on that?

Scott Felsenthal:
Yeah, I really kind of want to pose a question to these guys because it’s something we’re working through as well from a … our corporate office is attached to our warehouse and I know you guys have distribution operations up there as well. So as we’re encouraging a lot of employees to stay at home, you clearly cannot do that with the warehouse piece of the business, so you kind of addressed that a second ago. But any other thoughts there from y’all on how you’re kind of handling those two groups of employees?

Ariel Barbouth:
I’ve been having conversations with our team every week. It’s not about what they do with us, but it’s what they do at home, where they go, and the same conversations about what are your activities. I even had a conversation with the USDA inspector a few times last week. I got him in the office, and I said, “Listen. Nobody’s coming into our facility that we don’t know. You’re the only person. I need you to be extra careful. I need you to be extra careful when you go home.” It’s creating awareness of everything. Creating awareness with our own families. My parents live overseas. They’re older, and at this point, everything that people are taking care to do, it’s affecting them. So if my brother’s going to be helping them, my brother kind of needs to stay in, too.

Ariel Barbouth:
We need to change the mentality with everyone, so what I’m telling our people is, “Listen, we can keep going like crazy. These are good times for manufacturing food. But everybody’s need to come in clean and the first time this fails, they’re going to shut us all down, too. It’s social distancing, and as soon as the virus walks into the facility, it’s going to be problem.” So we’re implementing every 15 minutes, somebody going around. Nobody comes in with a cold, but that is not enough. Nobody can come in.

Ariel Barbouth:
I called our printer today, because that’s also a concern. We’re starting direct to consumer. It’s fantastic, but if my printer does not protect himself, I’m out of labels, so what are they doing? They’re not doing much, and it’s like, “Well, close the door. Put a sign, one client at a time.” We need to educate a lot of people. The larger suppliers know what they’re doing. The smaller ones, we need to work a little closer, I think, and that’s going to be our focus.

Tobias Carlisle:
Jesse?

Jesse Koltes:
Yeah, one thing that’s happening, which is amazing, is there’s been a lot of phone calls between food manufacturing quality people this week and last week. There’s kind of a homebrew Chinese system coming up about measuring the temperature of some food workers before they come into your plant, in addition to banning everybody that’s not totally critical to being there. I think we’re all trying to get ahead and think, “Where is this going to be in two weeks? Are we going to be doing temperature monitoring?” We’re already seeing that in some of our facilities?

Tobias Carlisle:
John, are you doing any … have you implemented anything like that? Is there any work from home?

John Swallow:
It’s really hard to mine from home. A lot of our guys … they’re very small communities around here, so it really, really has to start at home and taking care of themselves and their families so then they can go to work. A lot of the guys have told me that they actually feel safer going to work as opposed to being, I don’t want to say stuck at home, but at home. Not that home’s not safe, but I know these guys. They’ll be out doing stuff and that’s just how they roll.

John Swallow:
As far as that goes, we’ve just been really, really diligent to make sure that they know the business is in good shape, we’ve got their backs. If they’re sick, stay home. Don’t worry about PTO and all this. Just kind of letting them know that we’re there. And the usual wash your hands … I mean, all of that stuff. I’m not trying to dismiss it, but everybody knows that stuff by now.

John Swallow:
Yeah, it’s really just kind of sticking with it and if there’s any … things are going to evolve and businesses are going to change coming out the other side and really that’s what I’m focused on myself, and our guys. We want to be prepared for the future and hopefully we can leverage off of this and do real well.

Tobias Carlisle:
Scott, did you have something you wanted to add before?

Scott Felsenthal:
No, I didn’t. That was a great response, John.

Tobias Carlisle:
I just have a question, without putting too fine a point on it, whether you’re worried about survival or not, and for the food guys, it looks like you’re pulling a lot of supply, a lot of demand forward. Do you worry about, subsequent to this, that there might be a drop off? Maybe start with you, Jesse.

Jesse Koltes:
Yeah, I think there’s definitely going to be some pull forward of demand for food, I think, and so on the backend of that, there’s only so many mouths and a given rate of how much people can eat. I can’t imagine there won’t be a dropoff in the future. For the moment now, I think though that’s a secondary concern because it seems plausible that there could be empty grocery shelves in a matter of weeks, which frankly, I’m concerned about causing panic and I would rather pull demand forward even if we give up sales later. Then obviously, I think we’re all … every small business owner’s looking at their balance sheet a little more to make sure they’re going to be around in case they have to go through a fifty day period with no sales.

Tobias Carlisle:
You’ve got a business that’s probably pretty well built for something like this because it’s dried protein that you can store for an extended period of time. Does that … you’re doing fairly well through this period at the moment?

Jesse Koltes:
Yeah, so far. I think … I mean, to be clear about it, the demand is through the roof, and it’s going to be through the roof for a while. What we’re entirely focused on now is the supply chain and just like someone was saying, one thing in the supply chain slips and we can’t make the product. We don’t know when that’s going to be or what that trigger will be. So it seems like a bad move to be cautious now with manufacturing because at any point, a link you don’t anticipate breaking could break.

Tobias Carlisle:
Right.

Jesse Koltes:
So we see very little risk in building up inventory. Usually at this point in the season, we’re taking inventories down. We’re basically building inventory like we’re going into the Christmas season right now.

Tobias Carlisle:
Ariel, you’re seeing something similar?

Ariel Barbouth:
I’m seeing something similar and it’s going to be Christmas for everyone for a long time in the food business. We don’t know if UPS, FedEx, these guys are going to be able to support it. We know Amazon can, but they never had a sixty day Christmas craze and that’s the part that we’re thinking. We were actually ramping up production like we’ve never done before. We got into almost every stadium that we wanted to in the country. We were starting with baseball, we were ready for NBA, NHL. We were ready for all the sports, everything was lined up so we started doubling productions since the beginning of the year, tripling since the end of last year. Three weeks ago, we decided to start bringing down. We build a lot of inventory. We know our product holds great, and it’s actually now, as a direct to consumer item it’s perfect. You can get 24 of these things. It works great.

Ariel Barbouth:
So we’re also not concerned with inventory risks, but, and all of these will actually eventually come up, but we should all be concerned because we don’t even know if our clients will be paying, even then large clients. We don’t know what’s going to happen. I’m at convention centers, fortunately they keep sending their checks, but they’re shut down. I’m sure they’re going to continue to honor them, but everything is up for grabs so we’re doing everything we can on our end not to be the responsible party to break it, but you can’t watch everyone.

Tobias Carlisle:
Scott, what do you think?

Scott Felsenthal:
In my head, I’m trying to draw parallels between now and the recession period and it’s two totally different scenarios. In the recession period, our products did fantastic as people stay home and they want to organize their home and that’s what our products are for. Same thing now in terms of people staying home more and potentially that helps our products, but it’s a different animal. This is not necessarily an underlying economic scenario yet. It’s more of the threat of the virus. I really don’t know what to expect. I think there’s going to be frankly some “Oh, shit” moments that we’re all going to experience and I don’t think any of us can pinpoint quite yet what those are. They’re certainly lingering out there and we’ll just see what happens.

Tobias Carlisle:
John, the gold price has been pretty strong over the last little while. That seemed to sell right into this crisis. Do you have any thoughts on the demand from your perspective?

John Swallow:
You know, during the credit crisis, anything with a bid got sold. It was kind of funny. I was actually in New York trying to raise money for a fairly large acquisition of an underground mining company while people were taking pictures off the walls and loading cardboard boxes and they were shutting down. So while I realized the thing I thought was going to happen had happened, the reaction, the ramifications of it I had completely wrong. I didn’t think anything with a bid would get sold. I think that’s a little bit of what you’re seeing right here in the gold market right now.

John Swallow:
I’ve talked to a couple of guys that are on the physical side, and they said the demand on the physical side is quite high but the paper side is completely different, kind of disconnected. We built our business … when we started, when Grant and I decided to turn New Jersey Mining Company into a producer, gold was $10.80 an ounce and we built a business for $1200, $1100 to $1200. I didn’t care if it went up. As long as we had a business at that point, I’m fine. So we did a lot of heavy lifting, and it really sucked, quite honestly, and it was really hard.

John Swallow:
So I think anything right in here … we put out a press release earlier, I can’t remember when it was, where we talked about when gold hit $1400, it’s signaling something different out there than … I believe it’s signaling something different than it used to, whether it’s monetarily, whether it’s [inaudible 00:25:32] values, whatever. I think these are good prices. I honestly, right here, I don’t care if it stays flat right here or goes up. I don’t like to see spikes in anything. I mean, nobody can run a business in a spike, so really what we really need is sort of flat and boring and profitable.

Tobias Carlisle:
What does $1400 indicate?

John Swallow:
I wasn’t quite sure, but I knew things were different. So it had kind of gone up to around $1350 for quite a while and then it would drop back down, almost like clockwork. When it hit $1400, I’m a bit of a student of the markets and I’ve been since I was a kid. It just seemed to me that things were structurally different. When you see it blow through $1350, hit $1400, kind of keep going and before in ’08 when credit crisis hit, gold was kind of high then, but so were oil prices and interest rates were higher. We don’t have either one of those now. The balance sheets of the mining companies, even the banks are completely different. Banks, for the most part, have fortress balance sheets now.

John Swallow:
You add all that up and gold’s going up while the dollar was going up also, I don’t know how to tell you what that means, but it is different.

Tobias Carlisle:
It’s unusual behavior.

John Swallow:
We’re re-writing the books here as we go, I think.

Tobias Carlisle:
Scott, you had something that you wanted to add there?

Scott Felsenthal:
Yeah, John, interesting point you made. So as the physical versus the paper, is the paper seeing the sell-off that you kind of think it’s seeing because people grasping for liquidity versus the physical? Physical gold being bought and at a high demand for true investment purposes?

John Swallow:
I think so, yeah. I think that’s right. It’s the thing that’s easy. You know, you’re not taking a bar of gold down to the coin dealer and trying to sell it. For on an individual basis, this little part of it here does remind me a lot of ’08 when everything with a bid got hit. I’m actually surprised it’s held in here really well.

John Swallow:
Now, a little bit along those lines, if you look at the silver market, and I am no expert on the silver market, but I’ve been really interested. I don’t think silver is as much of a monetary metal or a store of value as it used to be. I think a lot of that generation that believed that is kind of gone now. Really just kind of glad we’re in the gold business.

Tobias Carlisle:
Gents, I’d just like to ask you what the government should do, if anything. So far, we’ve seen the Federal Reserve set interest rates to near zero. They fired the $700 billion bazooka over the weekend, or on Friday, and then they’ve added another $500 billion to repo this morning. I haven’t seen what the fiscal response is going to be, but there’s precedent for a thousand dollars being sent out, or some sum of money being sent out a couple of times in the past. Do you think that’s likely helpful, Jesse?

Jesse Koltes:
Yeah, it’s … I just saw that Mitt Romney even came out in support of the $1000 check to every adult citizen. It’s pretty amazing that the debate has moved that far. I don’t think that would have been on the table even two years ago. I don’t recall that sort of method being proposed in 2008 at all, so maybe credit Andrew Yang with putting that into the social conscience. I think that’s likely to happen, and I think it would help. Certainly the hourly workers I think would stand to benefit tremendously from that.

Tobias Carlisle:
Scott?

Scott Felsenthal:
Yeah, I really don’t know. It’s very interesting when we’re trying to fix a situation regarding health with money, and I think the government’s clearly just trying to get in front of this the best they can from an economic perspective. Again, if no vaccine or no treatment truly for this comes about and things continue to go up in the U.S. and North America, there’s no amount of stimulus that’s going to be able to necessarily fix things. I hope we’re funneling money in the right places to help companies solve this from a drug perspective, but at the same time, obviously anything the government can do for people to help them through this time is only going to mitigate any of the significant harm that could result.

Tobias Carlisle:
What about from a regulatory perspective, just easing up some things? Is there anything that would help you?

Scott Felsenthal:
You know, it’s been a very good administration from a regulatory perspective for us. There’s been a lot of easing over the last years compared to prior administration in terms of various environmental and other things that our products sometimes have to get tested for us. For us, not so much on the regulatory side. I assume for these guys, there would be more of some of that, but not for us.

Tobias Carlisle:
Ariel?

Ariel Barbouth:
I have a different view of this, and again, because there’s no vaccines it’s vital of us staying home, so we need to help businesses. I’m not talking about … we’ve already closed our locations. There’s [inaudible 00:30:53] in the city. Tourists disappeared. They shut down Broadway. But if people that work in restaurants don’t know what they’re going to do at the end of the month, on March 31, we need to ease their mind, but it needs to be immediately. So I don’t know all these packagings and all these things they’re saying they’re going to do and then they don’t do it that same day. It just keeps [inaudible 00:31:14] the panic on these people and all these employees that now no longer have work and they have a hard time reaching those social services. Phone lines are insane.

Ariel Barbouth:
Whatever needs to be done, it needs to be done now all the way through March 31 so people now that on March 31, they’re going to be fine. They’re not going to die. And that’s kind of the concern. If they don’t pay the rent on April 1, they’re going to be fine, but if they don’t know that, then people are staying home and freaking out at the same time. So what we need to do is give them that calm so they can stay home, purposely. They really should stay home.

Ariel Barbouth:
I think we need to do more. I mean, I come from a country where we can teach a lot of people about crisis. When they come, they’re severe and things get ugly. We’re not that prepared.

Tobias Carlisle:
Where are you from, Ariel?

Ariel Barbouth:
I’m from Argentina. That’s why I’m super glad that South America has closed most of its border. The president of Argentina was the first one to say, “You know what? No more flights from Europe. No more flights from the U.S.,” because everybody should be controlling their own problems and we should do it today.

Tobias Carlisle:
What are your thoughts, John?

John Swallow:
You know, when Trump declared a state of emergency, I had emails from guys. There were a couple of them, not in our company, but other people I know and they were a little freaked out and I said, “No, I don’t think you understand. That’s the step. That’s the first step to saying, “Okay, everybody kind of gets it.” They’re going to do damn near anything they need to do to help.” I was talking to a couple other guys this morning about this also, and I said, “You know back when I was a kid, the current state of emergency just never happened. You never did it. Now, we, good or bad, we do it. We’ll do it quick enough so we can get in front of the problem.”

John Swallow:
The $1000 a month, I think … you know, I don’t know. I just don’t know if that’s what is needed. I think more of a targeted approach in different industries and I think even if it’s … you know, if a company has debt payments coming up or whatever, or mortgage payments, add a couple months to the end of the term and call it good for a while. Give people that right there. It’s not the end of the world that way.

John Swallow:
One of the other things is I really hope, I was hoping after ’08 that we would come in and do this massive infrastructure build and prepare ourselves for the next hundred years and we didn’t. I think this is the universe telling us, “Here’s your second chance to get this right. Come back and get us set up for the next hundred years.” I’m really hoping that’s what comes out the other side of this.

Tobias Carlisle:
Just along that same vein, this’ll be second last question. I just want to know what you guys are planning to change in your businesses for the future and then I’ll just get your final comments and I know you’re all busy. I’ll let you go after that. Jesse, what are you looking to change?

Jesse Koltes:
I think that this crisis sets a new standard for what days on hand minimums need to be, as far as planning for worst case. Everyone has to have a number in their mind about what would the worst case be and how much would I need to have on hand to deal with that worst case, and I think there’s a new high water mark now for our business. We’ll be changing our inventory footing going forward to deal with things like this.

Tobias Carlisle:
Scott, any changes?

Scott Felsenthal:
I think I look at it from a cultural perspective and I think this opportunity’s going to allow us the opportunity to take some groups that … all of our departments are very interconnected, which is great and not so great because when people aren’t here it is a challenge. I think this might give us an opportunity to kind of figure out how to go into the future being able to be as effective remote if necessary. I think there’s going to be some silver linings there as it relates to how we’re having to manage this.

Tobias Carlisle:
Ariel?

Ariel Barbouth:
As a business, I think this has brought us all together closer, and I think it’s empathy the culture, the realizing that is … we are all in this together. We’re all ingredients in the world, no matter where we’re coming from. I think it’s going to be honing on the culture and us really hugging ourselves at the end of this. A lot more empathy and not only worrying about our parents, but other people’s parents. My parents don’t live in this country, but I’m concerned for everybody’s and I think people are starting to gain some conscience that we’re actually all in this together and if people around you are not doing well, then you really cannot be doing well. So this country as a whole needs to start doing well as a whole.

Tobias Carlisle:
John, any thoughts?

John Swallow:
Actually, yeah, a little bit. I’m really hoping a lot more perspective comes in the media. I’m just not a huge … sure I’m a businessman, but I’m not a huge fan of the political situation on either side right now. It’s very, very annoying and I think very destructive. I think it’s showing a younger generation the wrong thing. I can’t stand it and I don’t care what side anybody’s on. I just can’t stand that.

John Swallow:
But speaking of generations, when I was coming up, the World War 2 folks were still around. So go talk to a guy that had stormed the beaches at Normandy about your problems and I guarantee you he’s going to have a little different perspective. They knew how to break down a challenge into a small piece and build from there and kind of quantify what’s in front of them and don’t take on the whole thing at once. That really was one of my big takeaways, and really, I’m sort of glad that these guys are … that there’s a younger generation that’s young and has the energy and that they’re going to have takeaways from this for the future. So when I’m 75 years old, I know there’s a generation out there that can handle this stuff.

Tobias Carlisle:
Gents, really appreciate the time. Why don’t you just once again tell everybody your name and your business and how folks can support you, either through finding your website or however they can go about helping your businesses. Jesse, start with you.

Jesse Koltes:
Yeah, my name again Jesse Koltes, co founder of LonoLife. We manufacture dry bone broths. The best time to buy us, or best place to buy us right now, is probably on Amazon, but lonalife.com also works.

Tobias Carlisle:
I’ll stick a link into the show notes for this and I eat LonoLife. It’s really good.

Jesse Koltes:
Thanks, Toby.

Tobias Carlisle:
Scott.

Scott Felsenthal:
Scott Felsenthal. Our company again is Whitmor. Best place to learn about us is our website, www.whitemor.com. W-H-I-T-M-O-R dot com.

Tobias Carlisle:
Thank you. Ariel.

Ariel Barbouth:
So our company is Nuchas. The best way to learn about us is also on our website, nuchas.com. This is coming to you online, so you can actually order hand held foods. Nuchas in your house, that was prepared for this.

Tobias Carlisle:
Are those empanadas?

Ariel Barbouth:
These are nuchas. They’re handheld food through the world, or as we like to call them, the evolution of handheld foods. We were actually going to start in a few stadiums. We’re so excited that we’re going to get finally America what these are. These are not from Argentina. These are food from us. So you can see that in our website, nuchas.com. We’re going to be launching our own online store, shopthenucha.com, probably starting tomorrow or Wednesday.

Tobias Carlisle:
That’s great. Thank you.

Ariel Barbouth:
Thank you. And I think one more thing I want to add. It’s going to be hard, but I really hope like with any other mistakes that get made, we all really learn and take something from this that is much more important than March 31. Our own wellbeing and we have just one place to live in.

Tobias Carlisle:
Yeah, couldn’t agree more. Thank you. John.

John Swallow:
My name is John Swallow. I’m CEO of New Jersey Mining Company, a junior gold producer in north Idaho. The thing I would look at is I hope folks would take a look at even like their portfolios and just look at things that are an actual storer of value, regardless of the medium of exchange or whatever, and really, really focus on that. Not to dive all in on anything, but really take a look at and maybe not pay as much attention to the talking heads.

Tobias Carlisle:
John, you’re publicly listed, aren’t you? What’s your ticker?

John Swallow:
Oh, it’s NJMC. Nancy John Mary Charlie.

Tobias Carlisle:
Thank you very much.

John Swallow:
Yeah, we’re the dreaded penny mining stock, but if you actually look at our-

Tobias Carlisle:
But you’re a producer.

John Swallow:
Yeah, we’re a producer, one of the few, and if you look at our chart, believe it or not, we’ve held in there better than the Dow. It’s kind of funny.

Tobias Carlisle:
That’s great. Gents, thank you very much. I really appreciate the time. We’ll get this out as soon as we can, so hopefully this will be out this afternoon and I wish you all the best in your businesses.

Scott Felsenthal:
Thank you, Toby.

Jesse Koltes:
Thanks, Toby.

John Swallow:
Nice talking to you guys.

Ariel Barbouth:
Thanks, Toby. Nice meeting you all.

Jesse Koltes:
Bye.

For more articles like this, check out our recent articles here.

FREE Stock Screener

Don’t forget to check out our FREE Large Cap 1000 – Stock Screener, here at The Acquirer’s Multiple:

unlimited

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.