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Furniture Retail Tip #56 From Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90... The Power Of Roaming Around

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In these 92 years of my roaming this round earth of ours I've rubbed briefly-very briefly- with thousands of earthlings in airplanes, apartment elevators, street corners with "wait" traffic lights, subways with hold-on straps, movie theater ticket lines, check-out aisles in super markets and my barber's wait chairs with its magazines that have to be removed to the window sills to make room for customers.

It's a friendly, interesting, exciting roam. Especially when I see little kids and their legs hanging out shopping carts at the grocery store. Luv to watch 'em as Mom is looking for her credit card in her huge pocketbook, while those tiny legs and arms try to knock down candy packets on the nearby shelves.

On such occasions, I often ask if the unruly child is her first -- and she usually answers a "Yes!" with a proud, broad smile. And before you know it, nosey here, is guessing his name and Mom is adding that she's a primary teacher at the neighborhood school, a stone's throw down the road.

This "friendship" style allows me to recognize the same child and his mother the following week. I might wiggle my fingers and make a "silly face" at Joshua (that's his name) who now recognizes me with his tiny, waving hand and broad smile. Oh! Yes! Joshua's father is a tall engineer and he wiggles his hand, next time around, too.

I've also gotten to know Rick who is the staff manager of the setup crew and who now tips me off as to the Friday "specials" in the cereal section and a couple of extra tips on the all weekly "volume specials".

And don't forget Genevieve who I always bother to tell me where the special French gravies are buried and where the "sweet" little can of milk is exhibited. A-n-d Louis in the vegetable gang teaches me how to select sweet grapes and confides how he "guards" kids on the summer beach... and I help him select college subjects for study at the local State College, in the winter.

Had enough of this talk of my "friendly" shenanigans yet? Are you wondering what all this has to you with retailing furniture?

Well, during my years in the retail furniture life, my personal style of roaming brought in many new customers and often turned my customers into friends who told their friends about me and my store's services. Sometimes, when luck was on my side, these socially connected customer-friends became pushy advocates for my retail services.

And this was before Facebook, Twitter and all the others which can magnify the influence of today's customer.

So, if you are reading this and you are the big boss of your retail company, consider putting a smile on your face when you go out shopping, when you travel and even when you are Facebooking! Making friends is a winning proposition for you and for all of your employees.

I personally think that it would be a good idea to hold a store meeting on the topic of friendly roaming! Cover the basics of course such as how your employees look, how they sound, what they say and how well they listen. But, don't forget to remind them to smile, be a bit nosey, and when appropriate let people know what they do and share their business card.

It couldn't hurt!

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.

Furniture Industry News and in depth magazine articles for the furniture retail, furniture manufacturers, and furniture distributors.
Read other articles by Michael Greene