Des Moines Register: Bachmann campaign hires Iowa strategist Eric Woolson

September 21, 2011

By Jennifer Jacobs

Iowa Republican political operative Eric Woolson has been hired to lead communications for presidential candidate Michele Bachmann’s Iowa campaign.

In a statement, the Minnesota congresswoman said: “Eric Woolson is well-known not only by Iowa reporters and party activists but he has also earned a reputation among the national media as someone who works hard, knows his state and gets things done.

“We’re very happy to have someone with his experience and can-do attitude join us as we begin the critical push to win the Iowa caucuses.”

Woolson handled Iowa communications for former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty until he dropped out of the presidential race Aug. 14.

Woolson is best known for managing the 2008 presidential campaign in Iowa for Mike Huckabee, who claimed a surprise second-place in the Iowa Straw Poll in summer 2007 then surged to victory in the caucuses in winter 2008.

He also worked for George W. Bush’s presidential campaign, Sioux City Republican Bob Vander Plaats’ gubernatorial campaign, Mariannette Miller-Meeks’ congressional campaign and U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley’s re-election campaign.

Woolson started his career in newspapers, including time at the Waterloo-Cedar Falls Courier. He was later press secretary for Republican Gov. Terry Branstad’s first administration.

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Time’s Halperin: The Great Communicator

September 21, 2011

Bachmann Hires Iowa Campaign Veteran Eric Woolson to Communications Team in Iowa

Urbandale, Iowa – Republican presidential candidate Michele Bachmann announced today that her team has retained Iowa campaign veteran Eric Woolson to lead its communications efforts in the first-in-the-nation caucus state.

“Eric Woolson is well-known not only by Iowa reporters and party activists but he has also earned a reputation among the national media as someone who works hard, knows his state and gets things done,” Bachmann said. “We’re very happy to have someone with his experience and can-do attitude join us as we begin the critical push to win the Iowa caucuses.”

Woolson managed Gov. Mike Huckabee’s campaign in Iowa in 2008, and most recently, he was a senior adviser to the presidential campaign of former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty. With more than 20 years of experience as a print journalist in Iowa, Woolson went on to serve as Gov. Terry Branstad’s communications director and press secretary.

Prior to his service in the governor’s office, Woolson was the Iowa communications director for George W. Bush’s 2000 presidential campaign, and served on the communications teams of the previous three Republican National Conventions. In 2010, he provided counsel to Iowa gubernatorial candidate Bob Vander Plaats and congressional candidate Mariannette Miller-Meeks in addition to serving as the spokesman for U.S. Sen. Charles Grassley’s re-election campaign.

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Read more: http://thepage.time.com/2011/09/21/the-great-communicator/#ixzz1ZXX7cyPb


After 27 Years on Brownsburg’s Main Street, Laughlin’s Menswear Announces Quitting Business Sale

September 20, 2011

BROWNSBURG, Ind. – Citing the prolonged weak economy and changing consumer trends, the owner of Laughlin’s Menswear said today that he will close the store he has owned for 27 years and sell its entire inventory with a quitting-business sale that begins next week.

“I almost did it a year ago but decided to hang in there and keep going. I might have stuck it out had we not had this recession,” Steve Laughlin said. “I’ve been here since 1984 so this was not a decision that comes lightly.”

The public sale of the store’s inventory will begin Thursday. The store, 1032 East Main St., will be open from 9:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. weekdays, 9:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Saturday and 11:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. Sunday during the quitting-business sale.

Laughlin, who was raised on a farm near Rushville, earned a bachelor’s degree in natural resources at Ball State University and went to work for the Indiana Department of Fish and Wildlife. He moved to California and worked in sales for several years before returning to Indiana. He worked in the Brownsburg store before purchasing it for the owner.

“All those years I’d been looking for something I liked and I found I really liked talking to people and really liked the retail business,” said Laughlin, who borrowed money from his father to buy the store.

Laughlin’s forte was word-of-mouth marketing and he captured attention for his store’s tuxedo rental section by hiring high school students to wear formal wear to classes as proms neared each year. “It was the least expensive thing I could do and it had the most punch,” he explained. “The store’s main focus was on the everyday men’s wear but I think high school kids are a blast because they just want to have fun. I’d hired one high school student each year, usually a football player at the end of that season, train them in time for the Christmas shopping season and they’d work at the store until the end of the school year.”

Like many independent men’s clothing stores around the country, Laughlin’s business flourished during the 1980s but began a long cycle of ups and downs through the early 1990s that stretched through the 2000s. Laughlin said sales slowed in 2006 with the arrival of the Kohl’s store in Brownsburg and dropped again in 2009 as the recession hit.

With chain stores purchasing massive lots of clothes from shops in China and India at lower prices, Laughlin and other independent retailers have seen their suppliers struggle and go out of business over the past decade. Compounding the store’s challenges were two other national trends: more consumers are also purchasing their clothes online, and more men are wearing increasingly casual clothes in the workplace and at previously formal events such as weddings.

“Men don’t dress up as much for work us they used to do years ago. First it was casual Friday and then the whole work week became much more casual. That’s when the trend toward buying clothes really moved from the independent men’s stores to the big box stores,” Laughlin said. “We’ve really battled that by delivering a higher level of customer service but the time has come to call it quits.”

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