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Furniture Retail Tip #22 From Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90 - A Fine Business Question From A Fine Father

Furniture World Magazine


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

One of the beautiful, quality segments of this furniture game of ours is its people.  A-n-d it's not just "people people" it's "little people." A-n-d it's not just "little people" it's little people with fine training and experience and love.

Love? Yes! Love for what they're living for. Love for what they're working for. A-n-d love for the people they're working for... like family.

"Gee! Grandpa!" you moan as you gulp your Starbuck weekly "special" and shake your head in sorrow. "When a guy hits ninety you never know what he's going to have you crying about next." Maybe, kids. So let me tell you.

I once received a telephone call from a home furnishings retailer who had a family business problem that was "beautiful." It was beautiful in the sense that it came from his heart. In business? Yes, in business.

The gentleman told me he was in a dilemma. His son was graduating college and wanted to join his Dad in their successful, home furnishings family store. Wow-e-e! I seriously thought to myself. What a beautiful family compliment.

The father went on to tell me that he loved and respected his son but that he did not want him in the family business. Why? Because he was afraid that they would rub against one another because the young man had business ideas of his own that he would want to try. What should he do?

I felt it was an honor to be called.

I remembered that some dealers (and manufacturers) in our industry game had a plan that they used to help one another in similar dilemmas. They would gladly welcome the "stranger" in one of their out-of-town-stores or factories to allow offspring to learn the everyday ropes of our game, away from their family:

They'd have to show up on time; have to ask for time out for a haircut; permission to use the company telephone for "friendly" calls; and most important, to accept daily assignments without pro and con discussions. In other words, the kids got no "special family" goodies.

The father thanked me for my time and replied that he'd seriously kick the idea around.

About two years later I suddenly thought about that call and telephoned the father. The father answered and was quick to thank me for thinking about the family. I suddenly felt as if I was butting in but the father sounded pleased, so I was glad.

The father related that his son was now married and had opened... and was the owner... of a furniture specialty shop with unique features. He was very proud. His son was not only successful with an original idea store but did it all on his own with a bank loan. In my mind I guessed that Dad helped insure that move and didn't worry about it.

Later on, I realized that the caring and love they had for one another had been reinforced. It was great news and I was happy and was thanked for my call and interest,

A-n-d, I almost forgot; the father reported that his son had just made him a proud grandfather. Super finish and super beginning!

Thanks, again, for listening.
Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90

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

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.

Grandpa Mike-e-e

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