Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e at 90
Yes! Sir-e-e! Check everywhere and everyone: Like bookkeeping; like showrooms; like the warehouse; like the truck; like the parking field; like the kitchen and water cooler; like the personnel that sell or record or answer service questions.
Every one of them has a valuable mind, a steady hand and heart, but none is as caring, thinking, worried or involved as You, the 24-hour chief Miss/ Mister of your retail furniture operation. As quoted from the Good Book by caring mothers.., "Kein ayn ahora"... G-d Bless You. And now that I've revealed you as the major, major company asset, your major, major mission is to reveal yourself to your industry and your customers.
How? By exposing yourself in a major, classic advertisement with large print and in color? By getting written up in one of those tell all tabloid. Uh! Uh! Never! That’s not the way to reveal your dedication and caring to your suppliers as basic factors in your business.
Your major mission is not just your buying and selling of products but, rather, the selling of you. Yes! the selling of you, the major asset of your company.
When? At the next market and trade show where you can pick out the top wheels of suppliers: The best reps! The best presidents! A-n-d, beyond a doubt, the chief credit and sales service wheels. To let them know that a young (or not so young) knowledgeable business individual has jumped on the retail merry-go-round and is anxious not only to buy product, but to become an important player in the industry.
If promoting and building your own personal reputation and value is not your bag, then all this garbling may sound like pulpit preaching. However, I want to go on record as saying, that putting yourself out front in industry doesn't necessarily make you an ego maniac, it makes you a thinking, business executive.
Yes! All day long, in retail, you're buying and selling merchandise and services. But all day long you should also be buying and selling yourself as accomplished management. Wow-e-e!
Let your segment of the industry know that you're not just a computer number on their invoices nor are they just another supplier. You're you, Jack Smith! and they are Jane and Tom! Which means they're the ones who have to keep their promises re quality and shipping dates and you have to honor yours, as well, including fields of mutual credit. If you say the check is in the mail you have to make sure it is and so is the stamp on your envelope.
And while you are at it, get involved doing some good for our industry. Yes, I know that you are busy in your local community, but maybe not so busy that you can’t do your part for industry organizations and charitable efforts. Get involved with the NHFA, WHFIA OR HFIA. Support your organizations like GMFA, Tri-State HFA, Florida HFA… or any of the other HFA’s, IA’s or FA’s that do good work. Or, get involved with the home furnishings fund raising arm of City of Hope, the American Furniture Hall of Fame Foundation or the Bernice Bienenstock Furniture Library. Along the way you will cement your reputation as a Mench.
So what does all this rigmarole boil down to, Grandpa Mike-e-e? It boils down to sincere give and take by us folks in the buying and selling phases of daily industry... especially, these days, where little kids are growing up talking with I-pad, U-pad, Business-pad, Politics-pad and Bank-pad… and cartoon Love-pads. Smart machines that don't cry or bleed.
At least we here in the furniture game have something called a Comforter Pad that can make a breathing person feel human, cozy and caring… even kids.
PS. Stay tuned for my next week’s column, Check Your Assets –Part 2. It will deal with an equally important topic of selling this very same, #1 company asset (you), to your customers and prospects.
Thanks, again, for listening.
Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90
Questions? Comments? e-mail Grandpa Mike-e-e! at firstname.lastname@example.org
About Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90) Columnist, Retailer, Author, Composer-Lyricist, Playwright.
- Emigrated to U.S. with parents at age 3; Graduated high school at 16; Managed a retail/manufacturer at 18.
- Joined Tootsie Rolls/Sweets Corp. of America at 19 as Assistant to V.P. Purchasing.
- Joined US Army Signal Corp-Communications; Selected for (ASTP) Army Specialized Training Program, Rutgers U. Qualified for Officer Candidate School and graduated as Second Lieutenant, Personnel Division in 1944 at 23.
- Married his sweetheart, Anita, and gives thanks to the Almighty that they are still sweethearts… after 74 years.
- Rejoined Tootsie Rolls Corp as Director of Personnel at 24 (500 employees).
- Joined widowed sister, as President of retail/manufacturing company in 1946. Stayed on for 46 years managing and custom designing over 20,000 children's rooms.
- Graduated Hofstra U (evenings) in 1968 at age 47... before all his three kids, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren graduated with their degrees.
- Answered 30 day, temporary columnist advertisement by Reed Business Newspapers (Furniture Today) and stayed on for 27 years. Columns were sold from Bangladesh to Belgium to Beijing to Brooklyn. Admitted to the Writers Hall of Fame for "Conspicuous Excellence In reports and appraisals of the Furniture Industry." Visited with 3rd/4th generation retail owners throughout the US. Retired from retail after 55 years of management.
- At age 72: Published his first hardcover book: "Where's The Green Pea?" with vegetable characters in color, original music and lyrics on cassette. Designed programs for primary and pre-K schools and presented them with Grandma Anita, his partner.
- At age 76: Published hardcover book/ with color: "Gee! I Wish I Had A Bedroom That Was All My Own" presented at middle schools with tech info for parents planning a student bedroom. Included outlines for teachers and students in Home Sciences.
- At age 80: Published hardcover book with color of unique art: "Tzedakah Of Caring and Sharing". A classic original with music for high school chorales. Ossining HS drama staged it and lona College sponsored a presentation as "American Fruit Salad".
- At age 88: Published on-line book "Retail Life: How To Get In, Stay Alive and L-o-v-e it" for college students, with versions for industry, business schools and entrepreneurs. Includes section for "Wise Women Who Love A Career Challenge", business professors and career students seeking everyday practical trade experience and business thinking .
- Invited to address retail salespersons, customers, Furniture Designer Associates ; I.H.F.R.A. sales associations, High Point U. students and F.I.T. retailer sessions.
- At Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90: Writes a weekly column for entrepreneurs, sales representatives and furniture management personnel in Furniture World - a trade publication for 140 years.
- Grandpa can't play an instrument nor read music. But you can see and hear his You Tube music video staring him with his granddaughter Becca at: http://bitly.coni/qALkrX.
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