Biz Beat 3-17-2016

• Travelers to the coast may have noticed that Alpha-Bit Café in Mapleton closed in mid-February following a farewell sale. Old photos are still being posted on the Alpha-Bit and Alpha Farm Facebook pages. So what happened? The café and bookstore support the Alpha Farm Intentional Community in Deadwood and hundreds of people have worked there over the decades. The workers considered themselves volunteers, but according to a recent store worker named Zain, “the government” views the workers as employees, not volunteers, and says wages, withholdings and insurance are all in arrears. “We stayed in the black only because those at the helm never thought we had to pay for such things, so we never did,” Zain tells us. “We just can’t afford to operate any longer.” The property and building are owned by Alpha Farm and are on the market. We hear at least one offer has come in.

• We’ve been tracking KEPW 97.3 FM, a listener-supported community radio station in Eugene that is projecting to be on the air by the end of 2016. “We could have our 45-foot antennae up within the next couple of months and are also gathering equipment for our studio at Growers Market, 454 Willamette Street,” says Rick Gold of KEPW in an email to supporters. Ideas for programming are welcome and the first meeting for organizing shows will be at 7:30 pm Thursday, March 17, at Growers Market. Regular weekly meetings for KEPW are from 6 to 7:30 Thursdays at the same location. See 

• A four-part series of presentations called “Creating Green and Resilient Homes, Neighborhoods, Economy and Culture” begins March 21 and continues April 18, May 16 and June 20. The program is hosted by Jan Spencer and is in cooperation with the River Road Park District. All presentations will begin at 7 pm at the River Road Annex, 1055 River Road. A tour of homes and sites will be sometime in July. Spencer has been a River Road neighborhood activist and an advocate for economic and cultural transformation for many years. Sliding scale; suggested $25 for the series. More information at or email 

• Haggen Northwest Fresh bought dozens of Albertson’s grocery stores, then went bankrupt and sold them back to Albertson’s. The Wall Street Journal and other publications have followed the convoluted tale involving federal trade regulators. The newly named Haggen stores in Eugene still have their Haggen signs, but are now back under Albertson’s ownership. But we hear rumors that many local store employees (and customers) prefer the Haggen management and store improvements and are not looking forward to their new/old bosses. Haggen honored union contracts when it bought the Albertson’s stores. 

• “Social Media Marketing 101” is the topic of a free workshop at 6 pm Thursday, March 17, at the Eugene Public Library downtown. Workshop leader Carol Infranca is an award-winning print and broadcast journalist, business and government marketing and public relations specialist, and an authorized local expert for Constant Contact. The following week, “Get Your Business Online” is a free workshop at 6 pm Thursday, March 24, at the Eugene Public Library. Brad McKinney and James Korth will talk about how to make businesses easy to find with Google search and Google Maps. These steps will promote your business and also help boost the local economy by putting Eugene and Springfield “on the map.” Both workshops are sponsored by the library and SCORE. Call 682-5450.

• We see City Club of Eugene is taking nominations for officers and new board members. The club is also seeking volunteers and mentors to work on a new Civic Associates program, an effort to boost civic engagement among young adults in the community. City Club is also looking at fundraising efforts to meet the growing costs of operations. City Club has looked at 20 potential sites for its weekly noon meetings and has settled on the UO Baker Center at 10th Avenue and High Street through July. Lunch menu is provided by the UO catering service. See