America By The Numbers




As Americans, we have always had a fascination with numbers. The Constitution was full of them. It dictated that a president must be 35 to serve and mandated that a representative serve two years, presidents for four years, and a senator’s term be six-years. The first 10 amendments were known as the Bill of Rights. Abraham Lincoln’s famous Gettysburg Address even began with a number, “Four score and seven years ago,” which coincidently added up to 87 years.


Growing up, I tracked baseball statistics. Today, I track hurricanes on a scale of one to five and earthquakes on a scale from 0 to 8.0. I know that on average 19.5% of you open and read the Weekly Report each week and I am willing to bet $10 that eight out of 10 readers this week will enjoy what we’ve written. (By the way, for those of you keeping score at home, that’s like batting .800.) Ted Williams hit .406 in 1941 and went to the hall of fame, so I figure I’m doing pretty good. We evaluate and measure everything by the numbers. As a high school student, I didn’t have a 4.0, but I did get an 1180 on my SATs, which meant that I could get into a Top 50 school. 


Perhaps no one understands our fascination with numbers more than digital mega-companies. Google allows you to give one through five rankings to any organization listed. I’m proud to say that Madison+Main has a 5.0 on Google. However, The Brandermill Church, of which I’m a member, only has a 4.7 — which means three people out of 12 people gave them a 4.0 instead of a 5.0. I am convinced that these three people will have problems remembering the combination to the lock on the Pearly Gates. As many of you know, I own two restaurants in Lynchburg and both of them are highly-rated on sites like Google, Facebook, Yelp, and TripAdvisor. Every day, I get at least a couple of email notifications showing me that someone has rated the restaurant. Most reviews are 5.0, and the poster usually says something nice about our people, our food, or the value. But at least once a week, I get one review that gives us 3 or 4 stars, which I find depressing. A few weeks ago a reviewer wrote, “Local staple that will have you coming back for more. I already have cravings for the Cheesy Western. Always worth a quick stop and go!” and then bombed us with 3 stars. WTF?


I have mixed feelings on this obsession over social media’s five-point scale. As a consumer, I find myself relying too much on arbitrary numbers to decide where to go, what to do, what to buy, or what to watch. If a movie gets 79% on Rotten Tomatoes, does that mean I should see it or avoid it? Would you ever buy gas at a convenience store with a 2.3 rating? I mean, after all, it’s gas. And do four out of five dentists really recommend Trident for their patients who chew gum? Inquiring minds want to know. 


I am starting to think we replace the current five-point rating scale with a thumb rating, like Facebook or Siskel & Ebert. Thumbs up means I should buy that Homedics Heated Foot Massager and thumbs down means I should avoid renting Alligator 2: The Mutation. For the record, I have seen Alligator 2: The Mutation, starring Joe Bologna. This 1991 low-budget, direct-to-video, sci-fi screamer received a 16% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and was edited by one of my best friends and godfather to my daughter, Jim Schulte. Jim is going to kill me for mentioning this. 


Alright. So how do you rank this week’s edition of the Weekly Report? Thumbs up or thumbs down?




Monday, February 17 – A Smooth Finish



Client Services Manager Katie “Smooth Move” Rossberg packaged up a handful of Small Batch Bowman Brothers Bourbon bottles and fancy glasses for our clients at A. Smith Bowman Distillery. The booze will be given away to media types and influences as part of their bold 2020 marketing plan.


While Katie was packaging bourbon in Richmond, I was drinking some in Lynchburg. After a few long, hard days of work over Valentine’s weekend, I found myself stopping by Bootleggers for a burger and a couple of glasses of Isaac Bowman, one of A. Smith Bowman Distillery’s award-winning bourbons that is finished in port wine barrels. It’s my new favorite.





Tuesday, February 18 – Give No Fuss



Business in the ‘Burg required my attention for one more day, so I reluctantly had to give my VCU Rams tickets away. Fortunately, Copywriter Derek Fair is a super Ram fan and VCU alum and got to see the game with his pal Kenny, who’s been waiting five years to get his hands on a ticket. As it turns out, Derek and Kenny are not very lucky and they watched the Rams fall to a very tough Dayton team that was ranked number five in the country. I listened to the game on the radio and pounded my dashboard every time we missed a free throw. I will be dropping off my Jeep off at Whitten Brothers tomorrow so they can repair the damage. 


On Tuesday, we were excited to welcome back Graphic Designer Erin Rebmann, who has spent the last 12 weeks on maternity leave. As you recall, Erin and hubby Rich welcomed baby Averly into the world on the 25th of November. Both momma and baby made it through Tuesday with no fuss. Okay, maybe a little.






Wednesday, February 19 – On The Road Again



On Wednesday the Madison+Main-iacs hit the road, traveling in three different directions, which caused momentary confusion because there are only two company Jeeps. Director of Client Services Kaitlin Thomas and Creative Director Art Webb pitched new creative concepts to the marketing team at Virginia Commonwealth Bank, while Communications Director Kent Brockwell traveled up to Warsaw for a meeting with the Northern Neck Tourism Commission on behalf of our client Compass Entertainment Complex. So that meant Account Executive Allison Nida and Art Director Carissa Ghaffari didn’t have a car to drive to Housing Families First for their video shoot. It’s a good thing they’re only a couple of miles away from us.





Thursday, February 20 – A Day Of Celebrations



Twice a month, I get suited up and drop by the prestigious Commonwealth Club for ham biscuits and great conversation with my fellow members of the Insider’s Club. Yesterday, we celebrated 35 year-member Nancy Dransfield, a landscape architect who owns Landesign of Virginia, Inc. and Dransfield Jewelers in Shockoe Slip. Nancy and her husband “Dandy” Don Dransfield have moved down to the Northern Neck and she is retiring from our illustrious group of dealmakers. The Insider’s Club bestowed our highest honor on Nancy; Member Emeritus. 


Lucy Corr held a great Lucy Living Lecture Series with VCU‘s Dr. Ayn Welleford MS, PhD yesterday, where Allison snapped some shots. Meanwhile, I finished up the day celebrating three spectacular people at CowanGates. Last night, the Midlothian law firm held an impressive gala at Salisbury Country Club, honoring Janice Cadmus and Maryann Hartzell for their 40 years of service at the firm. (Both started at the tender age of 9.) Rusty Gates was toasted and roasted as well, announcing his retirement from the firm.





Friday, February 21 – We’ll Raise A Glass To That


Congrats to our liquor loving clients at A. Smith Bowman Distillery for being named runner-up in the 2020 Icons of Whisky Visitor Attraction of the Year category. Master Distiller Brian Prewitt shared, “It is an honor to be runner-up for Visitor Attraction as we thoroughly enjoy sharing the distillery and our rich history with our guests on our complimentary tours.” If you’re looking for something fun to do this weekend, I strongly suggest heading to Fredericksburg to experience a complimentary tour and tasting for yourself.






A Few of Our Favorite Events


Lucy Corr’s Lucy Living Lecture | Featuring Mindy Conklin

6709 Roundabout Way | Chesterfield, VA

March 19, 2020 | 2 – 4 p.m.


Mindy Conklin, Executive Director and Founder of Hitting Cancer Below the Belt (HCB2), will share effective ways to prevent diseases such as cancer by focusing on proper nourishment, movement, and breathing. Mindy’s early detection and preventative behavior insights are backed by 20 years of experience in the health industry. Call Maria Bond at Lucy Corr to reserve your seat today at (804) 425-8280!


A. Smith Bowman Distillery’s Master Distiller’s Dinner

1 Bowman Drive | Fredericksburg, VA

May 30, 2020 | 6 – 9 p.m.


Master Distiller, Brian Prewitt, will start the evening off with a guided tasting of rare Abraham Bowman Limited Edition Whiskies, accompanied by delectable small bites specifically selected by Chef Jessica Wilkins. Following the tasting, Chef Jessica will treat guests to a 3-course dinner served with carefully crafted bourbon cocktails. Cost for this even is $125 per person and is limited to 40 attendees. All tickets must be purchased in advance via Eventbrite and go on sale April 30 at 9 a.m.


Got an upcoming event you want to share? Can we come? Send us the deets!




“A good decision is based on knowledge, not on numbers.”

— Plato