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Furniture Retail Tip #16 From Grandpa Mike-e-e! at 90 - "The Grandchildren Are Coming!"

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

When my Bubbila and I used to slip away to Florida during the winter months there were subjects I had to be certain I was up-to-date on. Why? Because if I wasn't, I wouldn't be capable of putting my Northern "two cents" into the discussions held with regular January-March exodus-ers from the North.

One such issue was the "Early Bird Special". Nope! This had nothing to do with birds. It had to do with discounted rates for "eating out" Seniors who like to get deals on evening meals in the local eateries. The issue? Simple. What was the "Early Bird Special" go-time as designated by the local restaurant managers?

To begin with, the original "go time" was four-thirty in the afternoon until one brave manager chose to move up his "Special" to four o'clock and, therewith, catch his competition with folded napkins. Result? The evening special "go time" competitive race started to move the crowds slowly but surely upwards to normal lunch hour!

Another discussion issue was the "assisted living-quarters" question. Assisted living? Yes. Senior communities with such quality amenities as housekeeping, dining services, daily activities and club groups, security, transportation and nearby shopping. A-n-d even a beauty salon and an ice cream parlor.

Today's "graying population" is the darling of town managers generally, because they have higher incomes, have no use for new schools, and don't add too much to traffic congestion.

So what's all this have to do with our home furnishings? A lot. This consumer demographic should be the "darling" of Furniture Stores as well. That's because most of the "Graying Population" hasn't done a major revision of its living quarters in any recent decade -- And the prospect of doing it at a relatively advanced age can be nerve-racking. 

Furniture stores need their business, but to get it we need to offer seniors educated help in crossing this major bridge in their graying lives. Thinking merchants recognize such pressure and can offer that helping hand to help them decorate new spaces and make them fabulous!

Is this a new phenomenon? No way. But it's a rare challenge for us as an industry. This graying population isn't just flowering on the home scene. They've lived it, dreamed it and know what it should taste like. But they also can use a bunch of TLC.

Wise merchants recognize the score and can treat it, accordingly. Think ideas like: "Once a Bride Always a Bride." Think ideas like: "Bridal Seminars for Grandmothers."  Think ideas like: "The Grandchildren Are Coming."   Think furniture compactness, mobility, function and charm. Think music and wall beauty.

You know, the more I write about this business scene, the more I realize that we as an industry need more help than those graying consumers out there. And I'm not talking about dollar volume. I'm talking about people, people. A refreshing, shot-in-the-arm, valuable fresh and fun marketing ideas, without the usual hype.

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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