Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90)
Last year, on July 4, as my Bubbila and I watched Washington's every year's celebration, I thought to myself that most Americans probably believe that "July 4th" only lasts as long as the traffic backs up, the fireworks boom, or until the Marine Corps brass band plays the last note of "God Bless America."
Yes, it's beautiful… noteworthy for our country and for our heroes, but not enough for our citizenry, in toto.
July 4th, our well-grounded, established Independence Day, is just a one-day, national event, when we honor and recognize the volunteers of our country's Services for the years they have stepped forward to protect our great nation from attack any day, and right up to any moment, with their precious lives.
But… we as a great nation of great citizens and even great Green Card immigrants need also to initiate another 364 days of recognizing— Yes! every remaining day—and honoring, without music, all those "little" Americans busying around, daily, in the Service of other "little" Americans that count on them.
Little citizens that daily serve our country: who respect, honor, create, build, worry, smile, vote, educate, heal, organize, incorporate, entertain, play politics, cleanup, protect, preach and install. They laugh, volunteer, dance, worry, swim, think, engineer, discover, move, carry-up, study, encourage, tickle, plug, wash, worry, pray, hope, dream, support, raise, dig, bury, sing and do justice.
So, if you are a fan of Grandpa Mike-e-e’s Furniture World rants, or even if you just give them a quick read-through occasionally, you might be thinking, yet again, “What does all this have to do with furniture retailing?”
A-n-d frankly, up to this point, I hadn’t given it much thought. At 90 plus years old, I hope you will forgive me for that tiny thought-omission.
So, I’ve updated my thinking and here is my advice to you for this week. As the 4th of July approaches, give some thought to what you as a retailer and a citizen can do to show your respect for this country and your customers. And I’m not just talking about giving them a huge holiday weekend sale with HUGE savings for two days only! Here are some suggestions, plus a homework assignment for Furniture World readers this week.
- Think carefully about the words “independence” and “interdependence” and how they relate to your business, your community and this great nation.
- Think about how can you help to make your customers independent from the worry of buying the wrong furniture at the wrong price, and independent from making bad decorating decisions.
- Make sure that you support your community and your customers through your focused charitable efforts that allow people to be independent of disease, worry and want. Urge your customers and employees to get involved with your store's efforts as well.
- Recognize the interdependence of the furniture industry with offshore suppliers, but give a nod to American made products a-n-d promote independent manufacturing here at home. Carry some domestic suppliers. Promote and let your customers know about their benefits in your 4th of July promotions.
- Think about how you can better recognize your customers and the needs of your community every day by listening better and doing more.
- Think of some more ways that you, and all of the great furniture retailers and manufacturers out there can support independence and interdependence. Then, send a note with your suggestions to me, Grandpa Mike-e-e at… email@example.com
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.
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