IS Seafood and YouKuai Group Brand Z-Rou Meat Sign Distribution Agreement

IS SeafoodIS Seafood, a sustainable B2B seafood supplier and part of the Roche Enterprises Group, has formed a strategic cooperation with Z-Rou Meat, a premium, plant-based meat brand. The agreement was signed this week in Shanghai.

Z-Rou Meat officially launched in China last December and started delivering delicious, wholesome plant-based ‘meat’ to mainstream restaurants. This iconic future food is made with 100% plant ingredients including non-GMO soybeans, konjac, coconut oil and shiitake. All ingredients are locally sourced, and the end product is 87% more efficient compared with traditional pork production in terms of environmental impact.

YouKuai Group, the company behind Z-Rou Meat, hopes to empower consumers and chefs with tasty and sustainable plant-based meat alternatives. With Z-Rou Meat, people with different dietary habits can sit together at a dining table and enjoy the same food, while being more environmentally responsible.

Sustainability has been a core value of IS Seafood since day one. The team’s philosophy is to leave more than they take from Mother Nature. Being an expert and leader in the industry, IS Seafood has successfully built a network with top restaurants in China.

Biggi Stefansson, one of the founders and CEO of IS Seafood, stated, “We all care about the future. We all care about our health. We care about our children. We feel it’s important to reduce meat consumption based on environmental factors. When Z-Rou approached me, I was immediately sold, not only about the product but also about the love and passion from the team. I feel IS Seafood and Z-Rou Meat are much aligned on our core values and where we want to head in the future. We are looking forward to introducing this futuristic and tasty product into our network.

Celebrity Chef David Laris who worked closely in bringing the three magnificent companies together, expresses his feelings on the great progress: “I’m personally excited to contribute and close a deal with profound meaning. I hope to see that more environmentally conscious companies enter the consistently developing plant-based market and gain a firm foothold there.” David is part of Acorn Digital team, a leading digital agency that assisted in Z-Rou Meat’s launch in China, who is devoted to sustainability.

When the Founder of Z-Rou Meat, Franklin Yao, was in the US last year, he drew inspiration from eating a lot of Impossible burger and Beyond sausage. It struck him that somebody was going to do this for China, for ground pork, and for Chinese dishes like Mapo Tofu, dumplings, and for Lion’s Head meatballs and it should be started from Shanghai. He founded Z-Rou Meat afterwards, and is happy to see growing momentum for this space with the likes of Omnipork entering China. He envisions Z-Rou Meat as a global brand from China to serve the entire world, to empower customers who want good food and make choices to do more good. He feels fortunate to find like-minded allies in Biggi and David who are also focused on building businesses that create a better world.


Green Rock Hemp Holdings Launches New Companies

Green Rock Hemp Holdings, LLC (GRHH), a professional, vertically integrated GRHH Logo CMYKsolutions provider to the industrial hemp industry, has announced the launch of its family of companies, including GeneticsCubed, LLC; Mesa Rising Hemp Farms, LLC; and Red Mesa Science & Refining, LLC. GRHH and its affiliates provide farmers, consumer goods producers, and end customers in the industrial hemp industry with the highest quality products and solutions.

Green Rock Hemp is led by Chief Executive Officer Joe Cachey, who believes that the company’s vertical structure allows them to effectively manage all aspects of the supply chain – from scientific genome and seed development, through cultivation, processing and extraction. Their goal is to provide customers with the highest quality products and solutions and bring professional business practices to this emerging industry.

The Green Rock Hemp family of companies includes GeneticsCubed, LLC, a company that designs, develops, and clones genetically superior hemp seeds; Mesa Rising Hemp Farms, LLC, a large-scale cultivator of high-quality hemp plants, and Red Mesa Science & Refining, an innovative hemp processing and extraction company.

The supply of quality hemp-derived CBD is struggling to meet soaring worldwide demand, and Green Rock Hemp Holdings’ soil-to-oil structure provides customers with professional solutions across the supply chain.  These businesses are led by successful executives with extensive experience in the industry, and I’m proud to have them join the Roche Enterprises family.

To learn more about Green Rock Hemp Holdings, please visit:

Gallup Energy Logistics Park Welcomes New Tenant

73009022_765396423911651_4870397539620225024_oGallup Land Partners has announced that Stone Material Handling of Saginaw, Michigan, will be a new rail tenant at the Gallup Energy Logistics Park (GELP). GELP is a master-planned, 2,500-acre rail-served industrial park that is a BNSF Railway Certified Site. Stone Transport will secure approximately 11,000 linear feet of the park’s current 20,000 linear foot rail capacity, complimenting current tenant GCC Energy. Unit-train operations of materials destined for the San Juan Energy Basin have begun, with an already proven capacity of over 100 truck transloads per day.

To support this growth, McKinley County and the NM Department of Transportation will undertake a complete reconstruction of Carbon Coal Road; a 5.1-mile road connecting the Gallup Energy Logistics Park to US Hwy 491 utilizing $23M in state capital outlay appropriations.  Construction is expected to begin in 2020.

We are thrilled to welcome our new tenant and create new jobs that support local economic growth. Initially, we anticipate the creation of 12 new positions for loaders/railcar operators supporting numerous truck driver positions. Gallup Land Partners will work with the GGEDC’s Industrial Workforce program to support their training and place graduates in these new jobs.

Our belief in Gallup is reflected in our investments in the area, and we are thrilled to help develop and grow the northwest region of New Mexico. Our partnerships with the Greater Gallup Economic Development Corporation (GGEDC), the City of Gallup, McKinley County, and the New Mexico Department of Transportation has been invaluable in moving this project forward.  Since 2013, Gallup Land Partners has invested more than $40M into the Gallup area, and Gallup Land Partners spent $1.03 million (USD) on locally-sourced materials during construction.

New Mexico is Open for Business!

NM3-7187-41_6x9_240-DM (2).tif
The Gallup Energy Logistics Park is a BNSF Railways certified site that capitalizes on New Mexico’s transportation assets.

The state of New Mexico is open for business!  The country’s 47th state has always offered affordable land, a talented workforce, a competitive cost of living, reasonable tax rates, and rich renewable energy resources – that’s why I founded businesses here. However, the new Governor, Michelle Lujan Grisham, is investing in infrastructure, housing, and workforce development projects that pull these assets together and make New Mexico even more attractive for businesses like mine. Governor Lujan Grisham, Senators Tom Udall and Martin Heinrich, and Democratic leaders in the State House and Senate have hung out the “open” sign with their pro-business agenda.

With broad support from the state legislature, Governor Lujan Grisham doubled the amount of money invested in a state program that helps small businesses and startups in New Mexico acquire the capital they need to grow. She more than doubled the incentives for qualified film and television productions filming in New Mexico. Those film crews pump millions of dollars into the state. Increased state-level marketing will also help enhance awareness of New Mexico as a business great place to do business

In response to increasing congestion at our southern border, Governor Lujan Grisham and State Representative Patty Lundstrom (District 9) are working with companies like mine to expand New Mexico’s inland port capacity. They are also investing in workforce development programs that help workers develop skills tomorrow’s jobs will require. To make sure new growth does not negatively impact New Mexico families, they have funded studies on how to increase affordable housing.

Here’s how smart investment in infrastructure, housing, and workforce pay off. Over the past six years, my company, Roche Enterprises, invested more than $40 million in northwestern New Mexico. We developed the Gallup Energy Logistics Park (GELP), a BNSF Railways-certified site, and constructed 11,000 feet of new rail lines. Those rail lines are helping energy companies and other businesses connect to more customers, opening northwestern New Mexico to more growth. As traffic at GELP picks up, my company is adding more capacity and infrastructure, which will attract more business, and so on.

With continued support of development programs, expansion of utilities infrastructure, and construction of light manufacturing facilities, my company could create more than 100 well-paying jobs in the region through new manufacturing opportunities.  In today’s increasingly competitive economy, infrastructure, affordable housing, and workforce development bring success – and success tends to lead to more success. If you fall behind, it’s hard to catch up.

And, in response to the rising cost of climate change, state Democrats are promoting clean energy – and positioning New Mexico to take a leading role in solar power.  Our government’s support for renewable energy, solar energy investment is rising, and New Mexico is positioned to be a leader. My company is working with one solar company to build a 10-megawatt energy farm in Gallup. Providing low cost, clean energy should encourage more businesses to move here.

Governor Lujan Grisham is also making the case for New Mexico in Washington. Last month, I attended a conference organized by one of Washington’s top think tanks to feature rising governors and promote new ideas for fixing our economy. Lujan Grisham focused on immigration and economic opportunity, selling her plan to transform New Mexico into a mecca of opportunity. She made quite an impression on the crowd, which should lead to more investment.

Yes, New Mexico is open for business. The Democratic Party knows that small businesses drive the economy, and they are removing barriers and providing targeted support for entrepreneurship. Governor Lujan Grisham is proof of this, as she is willingly and eagerly collaborating with businesses for enhanced economic development and opportunity for the people of New Mexico.

Cachet Boutique Hotel NYC Joins INTRIGUE™ Hotels by Interstate Portfolio of Properties

Cachet Hotels & Resorts acclaimed lifestyle hotel, Cachet Boutique Hotel NYC, has joined the INTRIGUE™ Hotels by Interstate portfolio of properties with a new hotel management agreement that was announced last week. INTRIGUE is the dedicated downloadlifestyle division of Interstate Hotels & Resorts, a global-leader in third-party hotel management with more than three dozen independent, lifestyle, or soft-branded hotels under management. INTRIGUE is focused on delivering innovative culture, style and technology for hotels in the independent or soft-brand category, as well as curating next-generation lodging experiences and service standards to fulfill the curiosities of the modern traveler.

“The addition of Cachet into the INTRIGUE family of properties furthers our strategy of delivering a best-in-class experience in the independent, lifestyle lodging sector,” said Brian Sparacino, Managing Director of INTRIGUE. “With its world-class deliverables, and prime location in the destination market of New York City, Cachet embodies the style, service, and sophistication emblematic of the INTRIGUE portfolio.”

Cachet Boutique Hotel NYC opened its doors in July 2017, bringing the renowned international brand to the United States with a design-centric aesthetic and East meets West hospitality. The hotel is located at 510 West 42nd Street, a half-mile from the Jacob K. Javits Convention Center and the newly opened 34th Street-Hudson Yards subway station. Cachet Boutique Hotel NYC features 105 rooms and villas, the Playboy Club NYC, and local-favorite Treadwell restaurant. The hotel is also home to three discreet outdoor gardens, providing a unique urban oasis for guests. Additional amenities include on-demand spa services, personalized meditation sessions by and in-room alternative wellness treatments

Cachet Boutique Hotel NYC is a perfect complement to the INTRIGUE portfolio. By combining the style and unique deliverables of the Cachet Hotels & Resorts brand with the power of the INTRIGUE platform, we hope to elevate our guests’ experience and continue to be a leading independent, lifestyle hotel in the New York market that inspires the creativity of the modern traveler.

To make reservations at Cachet Boutique Hotel NYC, please visit:


Sand Hollow to Host Exciting Week of Golf

golf week graphic (2)Earlier this week, the Leavitt Group and Sand Hollow Resort, the host for this year’s Sand Hollow Golf Week, hosted a press event and announced plans for Platinum sponsors and additions for this year’s tournament.

Platinum sponsors for this exciting week of golf include three of the major sports teams in Utah and Nevada: the Raiders, and new this year, the Utah Jazz and Real Salt Lake. Other major sponsors include SkyWest Airlines, Zions Bank, Workers Compensation Fund of Utah, Utah Sports Commission, Leavitt Partners and Nike.

Sand Hollow is thrilled to host this week of amazing golf. The Friendship Cup adds an international element, and the sponsorship of not only the Raiders, but also the Utah Jazz and Real Salt Lake will certainly make Sand Hollow Resort in Southern Utah the place to be in September.

During the week of September 16, 2019, there will be four events:

  • September 16: Friendship Cup  New this year, The Friendship Cup is a transatlantic mission of golf diplomacy between two great golf communities, St. Andrews, Scotland, the ancestral home of golf, and Southern Utah, where it is said the summer sun spends the winter. Fifteen person teams will play here and then next summer, a “home and home” match in Scotland.
  • September 17, 18: Leavitt Charity Cup  This friendly competition between the teams will include alumni and executives from the Raiders, Utah Jazz, and Real Salt Lake, along with our sponsorship partners. They’ll compete in a two-day Ryder Cup style tournament. All proceeds will go to charity with JDRF as the sponsoring charity.
  • September 17, 7 pm: Gala: An Evening with Stars Under the Stars, presented by Zions Bank –in the Rock Bowl at Sand Hollow Resort with an auction featuring sports memorabilia and experiences, live music, gourmet food and drink, and stories of current and past triumphs. All proceeds benefit JDRF.
  • September 18 – 20: Sand Hollow Leavitt Group Open – this event allows some of golf’s aspiring young professional stars to test themselves on the world-famous Sand Hollow Championship Course. The winner is awarded an exemption thanks to the Leavitt Group for the Korn-Ferry tour. Past players such as Jim Knous, Zac Blair, and Tom Whitney are now playing on the PGA Tour.

For more information, please visit Sand Hollow

Acorn’s Digital Services Division Adds Chef Works to Growing Roster of Brands

Today, Acorn International, Inc. (NYSE: ATV) announced that Acorn Digital Services has signed Chef Works to the lineup of brands that it represents in China. Chef Works is a global leader in culinary and hospitality apparel, serving some of the world’s top hotel brands, restaurants and culinary academies. Acorn Digital Services will provide Chef Works with social media and digital management services to help grow the value of its brand in China.

With a growing list of clients, Acorn Digital Services uses its expertise in social media, KOLs, and e-commerce to build brands and drive sales of our products, creating a real competitive advantage in the Chinese market.

Acorn Digital Services includes Acorn Entertainment and Acorn Streaming, which are Acorn’s social media management business and digital content business. The company’s goal is to help talent and brands capture yet-untapped value from the Chinese market through a variety of means, including endorsements, pay-to-view content, KOLs as well as e-commerce.

Social commerce is becoming a major force in e-commerce in China and leading brands like Chef Works recognize the need to stay at the forefront of marketing and branding in order to succeed. We’re excited about adding Chef Works to our brand portfolio and look forward to working with them on raising the visibility of their impressive brand in the Chinese market.

Hotel Guests Demand Sustainable Hospitality

Recently, I came across an article in Environmental Leader, Sustainable Hospitality on the Rise as Guest Demand Heightens.  It was so gratifying to read how hotel guests are demanding sustainable hospitality!

182376201In 2004, I financed and launched URBN Hotel, recognizing the serious pollution problem in China, and the need for sustainable solutions. Occupying a converted factory warehouse, URBN was China’s first carbon-neutral hotel and proudly uses recycled and locally-sourced materials. The hotel has earned multiple awards, including “Hotel with Lowest Carbon Theme Design” from <T+> Magazine and “China’s Best Environmental Hotel” from Voyage magazine.

In addition, Cachet Hotels & Resorts, our Hong Kong-based management company, is a socially responsible and innovative hospitality company. Cachet Hotels & Resorts participates in the Strawless Ocean initiative and has joined Bacardi and Lonely Whale, the award-winning non-profit dedicated to positively impacting the health of our oceans, in the global movement against single-use plastic. #TheFutureDoesntSuck was launched in July with a goal of permanently removing one billion single-use plastic straws by the year 2020.

I’m proud of Cachet’s efforts to further enhance sustainable hospitality and place social responsibility at the core of its business model.


Oak Lawn Marketing Opens New Shop Japan Store

20190417_SJSHOP_74Oak Lawn Marketing, long known for its direct marketing of home convenience, health, beauty, and wellness products and services, opened its first Shop Japan retail location on April 18. The new store is located in the Lalaport Shonan Hiratsuka shopping park in Hiratsuka City, Japan. With nearly 250 stores, the mall attracts approximately 13 million visitors annually and totaled sales of approximately 30.5 billion yen in 2017.

In recent years, Oak Lawn Marketing has expanded from its conventional core business of TV shopping and now operates across multiple shopping channels. Shop Japan is Oak Lawn Marketing’s proprietary lifestyle brand. The store includes a collection of our most popular products across multiple categories and gives consumers an opportunity to see the high-quality products and experience using them. 20190417_SJSHOP_91

The grand opening celebration included an appearance by Karina Maruyama, a former professional soccer player in Japan, who is also featured in some of our product advertising.

Over the years, Oak Lawn Marketing has adhered to a “Voice of Customer” concept, operating its own independent call center, listening attentively to its customers, and analyzing feedback to develop and improve products and services. This new retail location provides another opportunity to interact directly with our customers.


Acorn International Launches Influencer Development Business

The impact of social media “influencers” on digital media marketing is being felt across the globe, but the phenomenon is enormous in China. To capitalize on this growing digital marketing strategy, Acorn International has launched a local Chinese influencer facilitator business, called A-KOL (standing for “Acorn Key Opinion Leader,” with a key opinion leader being equivalent to a social media “influencer” in other parts of the world).

A-KOL is initially established to support other parts of Acorn’s broader business, such as Acorn Streaming, which monetizes digital content, and Acorn Products, which houses Acorn’s e-commerce business. A-KOL is distinct from Acorn’s core social media management business since A-KOL actually facilitates the development of local China influencers to optimize their ability to convert Acorn’s content and product sales.

In China, grassroots influencers, known as KOLs, have become a social media and e-commerce phenomenon, and a major part of B2C business activity now in China. Based on research from Frost and Sullivan, China’s internet KOL economy, which refers to all activities relating to the monetization of the KOLs’ influence and impact on their fans, grew at a CAGR of 181.5% from 2013 to 2017 and is expected to continue expanding at a CAGR of 41.8% from 2017 to 2022. Moreover, China’s market for internet KOL facilitators generated revenue of RMB38.8 billion in 2017 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 38.9% to RMB200.9 billion in 2022. Despite its size, the industry remains nascent, with many KOLs operating independently, or connected to small, unsophisticated KOL facilitation companies.

In line with Acorn International’s business model of combining social media management, content creation, and sales of its own, as well as third-party brands through e-commerce, various parts of Acorn frequently engage KOLs as part of its business growth. However, with this move, Acorn can now develop its own KOLs to support its business and capitalize on this emerging space.