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Furniture Retail Tip #10 From Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90 - Senior Fling!

Furniture World Magazine


Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e at 90)

It seems that generation gaps these days don't generate. The young 'uns hook onto the elder patterns and the elders hook onto whatever Walmart has on special in a choice of three colors and four sizes.

Talking about really large generation gaps, Grandma and I have been stretching across one super one for the last 12 years with groups of 4, 5,and 6 year olds in early childhood centers doing a read-a-long, sing-a-long, dance-a-long with my book titled: "Where's The Green Pea?" that includes original music and lyrics. The "kids" are the children of scientist parents from across the globe who do research in a top-quality Westchester laboratory.

And the reason I use quotes around the word kids is because these children (especially the girls with their hair bangs) are as adorable and wise and sweet as can be.  Once you teach them something factual you'd better make sure you stick to the same facts the second time around because they're sure to catch your boo-boo. But since Grandma and I have studied our audience, and have fine tuned our presentation, we satisfy them every time.

Generation gap? Uh! Uh! Not if you've first studied your customers and market.

Here's another example. One Saturday night I took my best gal to the "Seniors Prom" at the neighborhood high school. We were delighted because having been married during the war years we never had a prom opportunity. It was great! As the high school seniors did everything possible to please the 100 senior citizens who paid twenty bucks a head to support the Children's Leukemia Fund.

Generation gap? Nope. The kids did their homework and besides a delicious buffet they included a rose for each guest and a color photo of each couple to be mailed home. Music for the dancing senior customers? Of course. And not a single arthritic moan was heard on the dance floor to blemish Glenn Miller and his band by a DJ. It was a real senior fling!

Yes, these students and their school staff did their homework and the grades they earned were all "A"s.

What has all this goulash got to do with the furniture business?

Simple. When you target consumers do your homework first class. If you are looking to satisfy members of the Generation X, Generation Y or the Baby Boom, use your noodle and build your product and service presentation to meet their needs and preferences. Take time to shop retailers in other industries such as clothing, food services and technology to get ideas... Do some reasearch on the internet... Brainstorm with your employees... Host a focus group... Subscribe to magazines they like... Then do it all up right... with a smile.

Result? They'll love you, talk about you and come back regularly for more. Otherwise? Like the first graders mentioned above they will catch your boo-boos, and notice your lack of preparation.  

Oh! Yes! I made sure to have my Bubbila back home again before the 11 p.m. curfew.
Thanks, again, for listening.

Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90

Got a question? Got a comment? Great!! E-mail: grandpamike-e-e!@furninfo.com

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.

Grandpa Mike-e-e

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