Congratulations to our intern Aziza, who took first place this weekend at the Advertising Club of Buffalo’s Student Portfolio Review! Aziza is only a sophomore at Villa Maria College, but has design chops beyond her years. She’s been at Block Club for the last 10 weeks where she has been a great member of our team. Today is the last day of her internship, but she is full of talent and we can’t wait to see all the exciting projects she has ahead. Great job, Aziza!
- Julie

Congratulations to our intern Aziza, who took first place this weekend at the Advertising Club of Buffalo’s Student Portfolio Review! Aziza is only a sophomore at Villa Maria College, but has design chops beyond her years. She’s been at Block Club for the last 10 weeks where she has been a great member of our team. Today is the last day of her internship, but she is full of talent and we can’t wait to see all the exciting projects she has ahead. Great job, Aziza!

- Julie

I spent the weekend among my people—our people. The kind of people who make things with their hands, of their hearts and for their neighbors. The kind of things that make you go, hmm, this is new.
This year’s Buffalo Small Press Book Fair was once again an embarrassment of riches, from which we met fellow publishers, printers, writers, illustrators, designers, photographers, entrepreneurs, artists and active citizens. All of them were fans, and all were producers.
I picked up just a few objects for my growing but wrongfully small collection of zines and small-press publications. I especially liked Sean Nickerbocker’s collection of graphic novels, enticingly titled Rust Belt. I purchased all three volumes, which came with that awesome print (in the top right corner) that reminds me of Roald Dahl’s “The B.F.G. (Big Friendly Giant),” a favorite book of my childhood.
Major, huge, arms-open kudos to Chris Fritton and his team with the BSPBF, as well as their partners at WNYBAC, for assembling such a great group of vendors from our city and others. I think it’s a testament to having produced seven successful years (this year was the event’s eighth), and to our city as a whole, that we can attract so many eager, excited, curious travelers from cities around North America. We are so lucky to be able to share this great creative work with everyone who’s interested! We should always connect over art and design; we have no good reason not to.
Thanks for stopping down and seeing us, and thanks for supporting the printed word!
-Ben

I spent the weekend among my people—our people. The kind of people who make things with their hands, of their hearts and for their neighbors. The kind of things that make you go, hmm, this is new.

This year’s Buffalo Small Press Book Fair was once again an embarrassment of riches, from which we met fellow publishers, printers, writers, illustrators, designers, photographers, entrepreneurs, artists and active citizens. All of them were fans, and all were producers.

I picked up just a few objects for my growing but wrongfully small collection of zines and small-press publications. I especially liked Sean Nickerbocker’s collection of graphic novels, enticingly titled Rust Belt. I purchased all three volumes, which came with that awesome print (in the top right corner) that reminds me of Roald Dahl’s “The B.F.G. (Big Friendly Giant),” a favorite book of my childhood.

Major, huge, arms-open kudos to Chris Fritton and his team with the BSPBF, as well as their partners at WNYBAC, for assembling such a great group of vendors from our city and others. I think it’s a testament to having produced seven successful years (this year was the event’s eighth), and to our city as a whole, that we can attract so many eager, excited, curious travelers from cities around North America. We are so lucky to be able to share this great creative work with everyone who’s interested! We should always connect over art and design; we have no good reason not to.

Thanks for stopping down and seeing us, and thanks for supporting the printed word!

-Ben

Inside Sales Team is not your typical sales team and neither is their website. The founder of IST, Steve Hays has a big personality and wants it reflected in every aspect of his business. From the brand swag his employees sport to the way his office functions as a quasi command center running on sales wins. 

We are very glad he left it up to us to develop their website.

Here’s a peak at the website that just launched. Stay tuned for a full case study.

-Tim

We’ve been working on the Insyte newsletter mailer now for just about a year, and we’ve come full circle with their tag line – Innovation. Growth. Profit. We’ve used those words as the theme of the past three newsletters. We’re happy to say that Insyte has gotten a lot of positive feedback on the mailer and the motivational poster side of the newsletter has been spotted within a variety of local businesses. It always feels great when you see or hear about your work hanging up in some location, just as you’d hope the piece would work.

-Tim

Block Club spent two nights in New York last week during which we met with the United Nations Foundation to kickoff an awesome new project. A really awesome new project that we can’t wait to share with you. We had a few very exciting brainstorming sessions and in between, had time to seek out some inspiration about town.

It was nice to get away for a few days and get things done remotely. It can be a great creative recharge just to rearrange your workspace, not to mention temporarily relocating it to a totally different city. It didn’t hurt that we stayed at the Wythe, a gorgeously designed and immaculately detailed hotel on the Brooklyn waterfront with breakfast buns that I’ll be dreaming of for weeks.

- Julie

Note: You can breathe a sigh of relief, despite the rosy hues, this post is not related to Valentine’s Day.
We are smack dab in the middle of production for Issue 35. So what am I doing? Drawing little piles of rocks, that’s what! Don’t be fooled, behind this unassuming subject is an incredible new piece of fiction from contributor Ramesh Pillay. I speak for Tim and myself when I say that this issue has some of the most exciting illustration concepts we’ve had yet… and no, I’m not talking about the rocks. We can’t wait to share them with you this Spring (yes, Spring! Believe it or not, it will arrive… eventually.)
- Julie

Note: You can breathe a sigh of relief, despite the rosy hues, this post is not related to Valentine’s Day.

We are smack dab in the middle of production for Issue 35. So what am I doing? Drawing little piles of rocks, that’s what! Don’t be fooled, behind this unassuming subject is an incredible new piece of fiction from contributor Ramesh Pillay. I speak for Tim and myself when I say that this issue has some of the most exciting illustration concepts we’ve had yet… and no, I’m not talking about the rocks. We can’t wait to share them with you this Spring (yes, Spring! Believe it or not, it will arrive… eventually.)

- Julie

CITY DINING CARDS IS EXPANDING!

Happy new year, all!

With the new year, comes new growth. That said, City Dining Cards, Block Club's sister company, is expanding!

We’re looking for dynamic, self-motivated, savvy individuals with strong personalities, sales experience and an openness to traveling.

Positions are available in Buffalo, Rochester, Syracuse, Albany, Pittsburgh, Philadelphia, Boston and Providence, so spread the word!

If interested (or if someone you know might be), please send a résumé and a cover letter to info@citydiningcards.com for consideration.

Thanks, and stay warm!

- The City Dining Cards team

Storefront: November 2013

Storefront, my column for Buffalo Spree, is back in the November issue. This month’s column focuses on my belief that for small businesses, profit sharing always trumps holiday bonuses. Here’s a preview:

Ready or not, the holidays will be here in the blink of the eye. And traditionally, for most businesses that means writing bonus checks for employees. Well, bah humbug to that! This holiday season, no one should be getting a bonus.

Employees, before you run me out of town, please hear me out. It’s not that I think you didn’t work hard this past year or give your all to your job. I think you might be selling yourself short. I’m saying this because a bonus is a gift. It’s a gift given at the discretion of your employer and it might range from a few hundred dollars to thousands of dollars, depending on your profession and where you work. A gift is a gift. It’s not guaranteed and it’s not tied to performance or failures. And while gifts are nice, this is business, and your successes and failures on the job directly impact the bottom line of the company you work for. If you’re always putting your job first and making the company lots of money, don’t you think you deserve more than just a bonus? Don’t you deserve a piece of the action?

Now employers, before you run me out of town, please hear me out too. It’s not that I think you’re being tight with the bonuses your gifting your employees. I think that the bonuses aren’t necessarily being appreciated the way that you think they are. It’s in your best interest to keep your employees happy and make as much money for the company as possible, right? If that’s your goal, allow me to suggest a different solution. It comes in three parts…

Pick up the new issue of Buffalo Spree to read the column in its entirety and keep an eye out for my column next month. It’s all about innovation.

-Patrick Finan

Customer Service: Leading By Example

We’ve all seen this picture before, right?

Remember Block Club magazine issue no. 31: Quality/Quantity?

Now I’m not a betting man but chances are this lady doesn’t work in your customer service department. Chances are if you’re part of a small business, you and your small staff are the customer service department, along with the accounting department, sales team, HR team and all other teams at your business. Customer service is more than just a person or team, it should be a company philosophy that exists within every person, every task and every facet of your organization.

On Tuesday, October 29th at 5:30pm I’m hosting an event with Buffalo Niagara 360 and UB CEL. Here’s the description: Differentiate yourself and your businesses with great customer service. A collaboration between Buffalo Niagara 360 and the University at Buffalo’s Center for Entrepreneurial Leadership, this carefully crafted seminar will teach participants how to deepen the relationships we have with our teammates and customers. Participants will walk away with ideas and exercises to take back to their employers and their teams. This workshop will be led by Patrick Finan, founder and principal of Block Club, a branding and marketing agency based in Buffalo, NY. 

It’s going to be a great seminar and I strongly encourage everyone to attend! To RSVP and learn more, click here.

-Patrick Finan

Block Club teamed up with Mickey Harmon to put together some Rust-belt inspired scout books and wrapping paper. The patterns include the makings for a tasty garbage plate (Rochester), Dippy the Dinosaur (Pittsburgh), and our own pride and joy, the chicken wing. They’re printed on 100% recyclable paper that is made up of 30% post-consumer waste, and are manufactured locally using wind-generated electricity.

-Tim

Buffalo! Startup Weekend 2013 is happening this weekend, October 4-6th. I was a mentor at the last event earlier this year and loved every minute of it! Dave, Tim and Brett from Block Club will be there so if you see them, say hi! I really encourage the area’s entrepreneurs, dreamers, designers, programmers, pitchmen, marketing gurus and idea people to attend. You won’t be disappointed.
-Patrick Finan

Buffalo! Startup Weekend 2013 is happening this weekend, October 4-6th. I was a mentor at the last event earlier this year and loved every minute of it! Dave, Tim and Brett from Block Club will be there so if you see them, say hi! I really encourage the area’s entrepreneurs, dreamers, designers, programmers, pitchmen, marketing gurus and idea people to attend. You won’t be disappointed.

-Patrick Finan

Check out the branding work that Block Club did for Pie Mad, a new pot pie company owned by Damian and Vicky Parker. This is a photo of a newspaper clipping from last week’s Business First. If you haven’t tried one of the pies, they’re delicious and you can pick them up at Tops or at their facility at 1176 South Park Avenue in Buffalo. 
Block Club magazine did a story on the Parker family a few issues back in issue no. 28: Old/New. Read the story starting on page 31.
-Patrick Finan

Check out the branding work that Block Club did for Pie Mad, a new pot pie company owned by Damian and Vicky Parker. This is a photo of a newspaper clipping from last week’s Business First. If you haven’t tried one of the pies, they’re delicious and you can pick them up at Tops or at their facility at 1176 South Park Avenue in Buffalo.

Block Club magazine did a story on the Parker family a few issues back in issue no. 28: Old/New. Read the story starting on page 31.

-Patrick Finan