business acumen | On cheesy guarantees and the next big business – Times-Standard
Someone recently told me that there is an Italian bank that takes giant Parmigiano Reggiano wheels as collateral for business loans. I thought they were joking. What is the punch line I requested; but there was none.
Credito-Emiliano has been doing this since 1953. They store the cheese wheels in an air-conditioned warehouse near the bank. A few years ago, they had stored nearly $ 175 million worth of cheese wheels in exchange for collateral. So many questions crossed my mind: why doesn’t cheese (ah okay… they are Italians), cost more to store than it is worth (the answer is no… the Italian cheese is expensive), and for whom in the world these banks work (apparently I know someone who does!). But more importantly, how did a region in northern Italy become creative enough to think outside the box and do something so unique and, which probably seemed absurd then (and now), and yet this turned out to be a great business model?
It made me explore other still creative but weird companies. You’ve probably heard of a Cat Café before; where you can pet cats while drinking coffee in a cafe, but have you heard of lice removal companies? They do the very dreadful job that no parent or school wants to participate in and will come to us or our company and remove… yes you guessed it… lice from a person’s head.
These companies were once just ideas that someone spawned and eventually launched. Although most would never have guessed that they could prosper. It made me think. What else is there that sounds ridiculous by nature, but could be a successful business?
As a two-year pandemic anniversary approaches, storefronts are empty like a ghost town, and ships with overseas goods pile up in the ocean off the coast waiting to unload. I can’t help but wonder what ideas we could come up with to put in these downtown buildings and fill the void with concepts we didn’t even know we wanted or needed.
“Change is the only constant in life” according to the Greek philosopher Heraclitus. If this is indeed the case, and it appears to be true, then more than ever, it seems now is a good time to adjust to the changes in our new reality and get creative with the next best company. Who would have thought that the Redwoods region would ever have a day spa with a restaurant wrapped in a dispensary? But we do. With the US Census Bureau citing the county as home to more active artists per capita than any other county in California, Eureka named the “Number One Small Town Arts in America” by John Villani, author of The 100 Best Small Art Cities in America, one would assume that we are a lot of creative people. What other combo or crazy service that we didn’t know we needed can we find to fill these gaps? Ready some parmesan?
Cassandra Hesseltine is the film commissioner for Humboldt and Del Norte counties. In her spare time, she learns chess, studies the art of pasta, and finds the next best movie to watch.