By Eliana Barriga
Publisher and Managing Editor for The Retail Observer
There’s a topic of discussion that I know many independent retailers and small business owners deal with day in and day out, yet no one seems to really talk about: the challenges and benefits of working with family and friends. At the end of the day, it’s these close-knit relationships and the level of trust and loyalty formed (or not) throughout the years that will impact the state of the business at any given time.
Think about it: how can a business thrive if either the senior owner (parent) or store manager (son or daughter) is dealing with a chronic illness? Who will do the accounting if the bookkeeper is the daughter struggling with the first few months of motherhood? I am sure many family-run companies deal with issues similar to these. However, when the owner, store manager, or accountant is your family member, decisions on who should take their place or how to keep their jobs intact until they return become a little more sensitive.
As part of a family owned business, you are reminded each and every day that relationships are what matters and that humanness in business is important. Ideally, this makes us better managers and people because we can’t just fire our sibling for losing a truckload of furniture, now can we? In keeping with that spirit, we would do well to stand by our employees when they fail and celebrate them in their accomplishments. We wouldn’t schedule our top salesperson to work every Saturday when we know he’s been recently divorced and the weekends are the only time he has with his kids. We’d let our employees take time off for doctor’s appointments, birthdays, and vacations because we understand that their health, wellness and happiness will impact how much they are able to give and be present when they return to work.
So, yes, sometimes our businesses may temporarily suffer because of how closely our relationships are interwoven into them. But most of the time, these relationships are the foundation, the very reason why we flourish.
To family and friendships,
By Moe Lastfogel
Director of Sales and Marketing for The Retail Observer
As I write this Musings, I have just returned from Nationwide Primetime. CES, World Market, and Design and Construction week have all ended. However, as busy as the beginning of the year has been, March is the busiest month of the year by far for the trade shows we promote and partner with.
The month kicks off with the BrandSource Summit at the Venetian in Las Vegas, March 8-11. I’m sure the manufacturers and reps will be sharpening a lot of pencils to keep up with the orders that will be flowing in from the exciting buying and educationally formatted events.
The Summit is followed by the Hearth, Patio & Barbeque Expo in New Orleans, March 12-14. If you are selling outdoor or hearth products this is a must go-to. My favorite area is always the outdoor burn area where manufacturers can show of their wares and usually always ends in a good meal.
The Inspired Home Show — IHA’s Global Home + Housewares Market will be held March 14-17 in Chicago. I am always excited to go there to play with the newest gizmos, gadgets, countertop appliances, and kitchen accessories. An additional bonus: this show will be showing a lot more connected products than ever before. As always, it’s another great show for noshing.
March 19-22 is the ever-exciting Architectural Digest Home Design Show in New York, where many manufacturers will be launching new products. From appliances and plumbing to contemporary art and furniture, this is one of our industry’s premier shows.
The ASD Marketweek Trade Show will run March 22-25 in Las Vegas. This B2B trade show brings the world’s widest variety of retail merchandise together in one efficient shopping experience.
Wrapping up the month will be the Digital Signage Expo March 31-April 3, also in Las Vegas. DSE is the world's largest tradeshow of digital display and interactive technologies.
So get your calendars set, tickets in hand and some extra clothes, as this is going to be a long month with lots of exciting things coming your way. Hope to see you there and if you see me first, stop me to say hello! Let me know how your business is doing and what we can do to help your company grow.
Happy retailing and safe travels,