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Furniture Retail Tip #36 From Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90: Company Assets? The Major Major One- Yes! You!- Part 2

Furniture World News Desk on 3/6/2012

Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e at 90

During my last few columns I've been yapping about You, the 24-hour chief Miss/Mister of your showroom and its major, major asset.

And I've been yapping that your major mission is not just your buying and selling products but, rather, the selling of You, your company's major product... major asset.
And it suddenly occurred to me, the journalistic genius here, to think that perhaps You, your company's major asset, thinks that this guy Grandpa Mike-e-e! is making a major fuss about a major asset. That you think he's talking about a Macy's, or a chain of furniture stores or a one-spot-furniture store that takes up a block of downtown Chicago! All BIG stuff.

But I'm not. I'm talking about all business management assets; Giant, Big, Average, Little and Teeny.

For example: Just yesterday, I again stopped in at my favorite hardware store. A super solo store in town. This time the trip was to try to find an itty/bitty screw for a folding end-table of mine… a forty-cent hardware sale. The last time, the search was for a rubber liner for my Bubbila's super soup lid… a buck-and-a-half sale. Both surely zoomed that day's volume for the solo store! Wow-e-e!

This favorite super, solo hardware store of mine measures about 20 feet by 100 feet and was planted on this patch of land about 70 years ago by Papa Charles and Mama Mary Jane, the parents of the present manager, Ronald… the present major, major asset for the last 20 of the 70 years. Yes! Just 2000 square feet of wire, pots and pans, bulbs, cooking devices, brooms, gift utensils, screws, tape measures of every design and size, sockets, electric devices, hinges for doors... p-l-u-s:

Kitchen appliances, shovels, key corner, batteries, tape measures, brooms, mops, wheel barrels, bags and bags of sand that become cement in the hands of little guy artists in shmeared overalls that fashion walks, steps, home entrances, patios and sheetrock walls for wallpaper.

And during the last ten years, the major 24-hour chief has added on a staff of salespersons, one at a time, who have been trained to know every nook and cranny of the store's display plus its collection of printed and photo catalog pages.

And because Papa and Grandma were "trained" by the tough days of Irish famines they saw to it that their son Ronald was readied at Franklin and Marshall College in Pennsylvania with detailed business studies a-n-d foreign language for his future every day needs and tomorrow's questions and answers.

As a result, every salesperson hired by Roland in the last five years speaks Spanish fluently to properly service the needs of the customer of the day with trade knowledge-ability, verbal expression and unbelievable patience.

“So,” you say, “Grandpa! What can we learn, from this hardware store and it’s owner Roland that will help us to run our furniture stores”

Here is my point. Since you are the owner and #1 asset of your furniture operation, make sure to touch as many of your customers as possible. It doesn’t matter if you are a big independent or a tiny little hole in the wall. Greet them when possible… thank them for their business… step in personally to take care of service issues… talk to them in your television and radio commercials and on your website with video… and tell your story about where you come from and what motivates your desire to serve your customers.  If I didn’t know Roland and his “story” I might just go to Home Depot to buy my itty bitty screw for 40 cents instead. But since I know Roland, I will keep coming back, be loyal and every once in a while, I might buy a huge gas grill or 1,200 pounds of bird seed!

Finally, You as your #1 company asset are the continuous backbone of your corporation in your daily show, in your trade, in your community and in your personal life. Don't be bashful. Show it off 24 hours a day...and be proud.

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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