By Moe Lastfogel
Director of Sales and Marketing for The Retail Observer
Eight years, or 96 issues ago, Chuck Edmonds had a plan. Little did he or anyone else know what would come of it. But it was his turn to relax and watch somebody else run around like a madman in this industry of retail, design and construction.
I figure even now he is watching with a smile on his face as the team here at The Retail Observer try to match what he and Lee Boucher were able to accomplish within their means years ago. With a digital camera in hand (although they still printed the pictures for scanning), a notebook and a computer (only for typing, as nothing was ever saved) these two men started something big and had no idea where it was going or would end up.
Thanks for the exercise guys, we are now running at a full stride with no finish line in site. Since July of 2007, we have brought The Retail Observer into a new era of being. It has grown from a 32-page regional news rag (as it has been lovingly called for years) of 6,000 subscribers to a truly international (37 countries) industry standard B2B publication with well over 23,000 followers.
I’d like to take the time to publicly and personally thank Eliana Barriga (Publisher), Terry Price (Art Director), Market Digitally with Michelle (Website), Vmags Media Solutions (Digital Issue), Walsworth (Printing) and of course all of our advertisers, writers, buying groups, trade associations, trade shows and others who have helped make The Retail Observer what it is today. But especially to you—our loyal readers—without whom we would have no reason to keep running year after year, issue after issue.
By Eliana Barriga
Publisher and Managing Editor for The Retail Observer
I recently took a business trip to Italy and one evening found myself enjoying a stroll through the town square. As I walked down cobblestone streets taking in the fresh air mixed with the aroma of delicious meals being prepared in the kitchens of the homes I passed by, it seemed the entire village was out that night enjoying time together. Children played on the curbside while their parents exchanged laughs and friendly conversation, as grandfathers sat around wooden tables playing cards and telling stories. At cafe tables, young friends enjoyed espressos and gelato while couples toasted with glasses of wine. Dogs were being walked and people on bikes and scooters whizzed by. Underneath it all was this steady pulse of life and feeling of connection that fed my soul.
I returned home bathed in the afterglow that comes from experiencing the epicurean lifestyle that is Italy. This time I was determined not to lose that feeling, but instead invite it into my everyday life. Ours may not be the culture that gathers in the streets at night for our social exchanges, but our kitchens once again have emerged as the gathering place for family and friends. Food is the experience in all parts of the world that we share in common, it’s what unites us.
Learning to make pasta was one of the highlights of the Italy trip! Holding cooking demonstrations in your showrooms not only teaches your customers how to prepare meals, it increases sales and loyalty but most importantly, it creates a connection with people. So—maybe it’s time to be selling a little more of the cooking experience rather than just the box with an appliance in it, because ultimately, food and fellowship is something most of us crave and can never have too much of.