Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e at 90)
Take a good look around and you may find people in your retail operation that have foreign accents, P-L-U-S a boat-load of charm. There was once a talented foreigner like that in my family! It was my brother, a super talented photographer for the fashion magazines and Sunday rotogravure sections of New York "who-hah" society.
He brought with him a charming Polish-Ukraine-Bronx smile, a mile wide, super talent and an accent with the touch of an Englishman's English which he must have picked up at a New York, Delancey Street, free-meal synagogue. Oy! Vey! What a combination business package that was!
It's one of the patterns of our unbelievable America, our great country, to extra admire foreign sources of charm that come with a packaged accent. There is a saying that “ninety miles from home base qualifies as a consultant.” And, there is some truth to that saying.
Oh, I know that you are thinking, “But Grandpa Mike-e-e, there are people in the good old USA who are charmed by an English or Australian accent, but they don’t like to hear some others.” OK, I will grant you that, but people who have the right amount of talent and real charm to go along with their accents, can do better than just fine.
In fact, the art world and the furniture business world are full of success stories. But if you think about it, with some notable exceptions, many foreign accented people weren’t brought up through the ranks of established furniture businesses. They had to make their own way as entrepreneurs.
And it's a sad part of Grandpa Mike-e-e's life scenario when he realizes that these same furniture businesses have overlooked talent in their organizations that came with accented charm.
So, if you have talent in your organization of any type, nurture it and brag about it. And, bye the bye, it wouldn't hurt to find a way to take advantage of all the languages that are spoken every day in your warehouses, on your trucks and in your offices. All of which are there, just for the asking.
Now, while we are on the topic of country of origin, let’s consider our products.
If you are selling Made in the USA furniture, there is a big story to tell that resonates with our USA customers both domestic and foreign-born. But, if you sell quality furniture from other countries, or furniture with quality foreign-made components, why keep it a secret?
People shouldn’t hide where there are from and we shouldn’t hide where our furniture is from either. Instead, why not "schmaltz-up” the sales-styling value of your products to give them a bit of foreign-born charm (when possible) and cash in?
Our entire furniture world of people and product are "imported". All we need is an ink-stamp or a word or two to brag about it.
Thanks, again, for listening. Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90
Got a question? Got a comment? Great!! E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
PS. See the new YouTube music video staring me, Grandpa Mike-e-e! with my granddaughter Becca in a supporting role at http://bitly.com/qALkrX
About Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e!)
Retailer, author, columnist, lecturer, composer and lyricist.
Came to US with immigrant parents in 1924 at the age of three.
Graduated high school at 16.
Managed a small bedding retail and manufacturing company at 18 in 1939.
Hired as Assistant to the VP of Purchasing (Sweets Corp. of America... approximately 500 employees) in 1940 at 19.
Drafted into US Army Signal Corp - Communications Personnel Div., Fort Monmouth.Tested and selected for Army Specialized Training Program, Rutgers University. Qualified for O.C.S. - Officer Candidate School and graduated as Second Lieutenant, Inventory/ Personnel Division in 1944 at 23.
Married his sweetheart, Anita, and he gives thanks to the Almighty that they are still sweethearts... after 73 years.
Rejoined Sweets Corp as Director of Personnel in 1945 at 24.
Joined his suddenly widowed sister as President of a small retail/ manufacturing company in 1946. Stayed on for 46 years managing the custom designing of over 20,000 childrens rooms and master bedroom beds.
Attended Hofstra University (evening program), and graduated in 1968 at age 47. Two of his kids followed right along at two other college campuses.
Applied for 30 day temporary columnist opening offered by the Reed Business Newspapers in NC and stayed on for 27 years. His retail columns were distributed everywhere from Brooklyn to Bangladesh, to Belgium to Beijing.
Traveled the US and visited with 3rd/ 4th generation retail owners.
He was admitted to the Writers Hall of Fame for, "Conspicuous Excellence In reports and appraisals of the furniture industry."
Retired from retail management at age 70.
BOOKS: (1) At age 72: published first book "Where's The Green Pea?" vegetable character stories including his original music and CD.
Designed programs for primary and pre-K schools and presented them with his Anita. (2) At age 76: Gee! I Wish I Had A Bedroom All My Own," lectured in middle schools (teenage), with tech info for parents, teachers and students in Home
Science. (3) At age 80: Tzedakah - Caring And Sharing classic book with original music CD and illustrations for high school chorales and drama groups.
At 89 -- published Retail Life: How To Get In, Stay Alive a-n-d Love It! in online and printed version for business schools, industry, and entrepreneurs. Includes how-to educational section for "Wise Women Who Love A Challenge" and "Oldtimer Retailers Who've Missed Some Basic Goodies In Business Promotion. Also provides business professors and career students seeking everyday practical trade experiences and business thinking.
Invited to address Levitz Furniture retail salespersons, Furniture Designer Associate members,
IHFRA sales associations, High Point University students and F.I.T. retailer evening sessions. Also accepted as an ASID associate member.
At 90 plus... is a musical playwright, composer and lyricist with original music and thinking for very young and very old America.
Furniture World Magazine-Business solutions for furniture retailers