Michael Greene (Grandpa Mike-e-e at 90)
Friends of mine in Canada thought Michel Verdi was the French version of Michael Greene (A.K.A Grandpa Mike-e-e) when he showed up with his Paris beret, weighed in at 124 pounds at the Canadian Retailers Exposition and was chosen International Retailer of the Decade by his trade associates.
Michel has the hottest retail store in the country, with the highest volume and net profit per square foot! Not only that, it's all he wants to own. His competition says that's not normal... but it is normal for Michel Verdi.
The guy is hitting seventy-five... in the Pizza Slice Three: 55-80 Life Quadrant of Younger Dreams by the Old, and hopes to accomplish all that he couldn't even dream about as a kid.
Note from Grandpa Mike-e-e: If you are befuddled and don't have a clue about the Pizza Life Slices which are: Slice One: 1 -25 Quadrant of Older Dreams by the Young; Slice Two: 26-54 Quadrant of Promissory Handshakes; Slice Three: 55-80 Quadrant of Younger Dreams by the Old; Slice Four: 81-?? Quadrant of Your Footprints in the Sands of Time... then check out my article from two weeks ago titled Furniture Retail Tip #15 From Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90 - Life At Retail Pizza With Slices - Part 1 by clicking here.
Michele Verde was born in the European, Austria, Ukraine, Poland strip and honestly doesn't know which one because every year one of them would try flip-flopping the other two.
When he hit seventeen, a cousin of his in Belgium brought him to that small but great country and taught him his skills as a cabinet designer-finisher and how to save the hard-earned profits he earned. Two years later Michel rolled a bulging backpack with his trade tools and took off for America where it was rumored that, "The streets were paved with gold." Well, the streets weren't paved with gold, but Michel's dreams were.
Two years later, with a Promissory Handshake, his cousin staked him to a workshop-showroom overlooking the Brooklyn Bridge for which Michel sketched, planned and designed a dream home furnishings center. It included a top-tool workshop; a circular atrium for charity concerts; an Austrian tearoom and bake shop; plus an open-ended arc of home furnishings displays with carefully chosen accessories.
And the final touch: Very young and very old sales designers who had imagination, knew what they were talking about and made customers happy instead of separating them from their hard earned bucks. Michel had the right formula and the right people to make a quality dream come true but that was not his ultimate dream: his ultimate dream is a Michel Verdi caring and sharing human being who arrived in this world as a naked infant.
Michel once read about a CEO who never incorporated his business venture. He wanted his creditors to know that he was on the bottom line with everything he owned: his business, his house, his car, savings and wife's gift jewelry. Michel did the same to the dismay of his accountant and lawyer.
One day, a credit manager of a large Southern furniture plant wanted to see Michel's current assets so he brought his wife of 40 years to the annual, regional market and said: "Tom, here's the major part of my assets, my wife, my beautiful, unbelievable, sparkling diamond. I'd have brought the rest of my assets but they have loads of homework." And then he unrolled a three foot strip of bright, lovely photos and family snapshots. The credit manager shook his head in disbelief, smiled and telephoned his CEO to join the three of them to the finest dinner in the South.
That was a wise, experienced credit executive who understood that not everything in business is in cold black and white. He understood that the intangibles of invested dedication, talent and imagination are what add up to the greatest values of the bottom line. And that is true even in 2011 when money is tight, jobs are on the line and the "double-dip" could be at hand.
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.