Friday, January 24, 2020

Gaining Insight to Small Business Ownership

Does your life ever turn back to normal after a parent passes? I don't think so and for the first time in my  life I am missing my mom who passed away two weeks ago. The good news is that we shared a relationship that went beyond unconditional love and friendship. The last couple of months we spent hours talking about everything. I learned a great deal about our family that I hadn't heard before and a lot about my ancestors. Then, I also listened to her last wishes and her regrets in life and took them to heart. One of the things she told me she regretted was not spending time, quality time, one on one with her grandchildren. Don't get me wrong, she was a fabulous grandmother, but to her she wished she would have done things with them other than the occasional holiday gatherings and pool parties. She advised me to take every opportunity to spend with my grandchildren dong things with them they love and enjoy away from the house.
Over the years, I have done that with my grandchildren. I have taken them to see Broadway shows, movies, gone to the circus, amusement parks and to the beach. However, over he course of the last three months, I had been pre-occupied taking care of my mother so the time for me to spend time with them went out the window. I fixed that yesterday, and did we have some fun. I picked up the four older grandchildren, age 4, two ten, and one twelve, and took them to eat sushi. that was their choice. After that, we decided to go to the mall and roam and find the video games and the ice skating rink and hang out and have fun. We emptied the claw machine and walked away with a lot of stuff animals. Then, off on a shopping spree to find all of us matching tennis shoes to wear when we go to Mardi Gras parades this year. Do you know how hard it is to find matching tennis shoes? Finally, at the last store, we had success. So we are shoe ready for the parades.
Now you might be wondering how any of the above has to do with today's author. It does. You see, while I was at the mall, I passed empty store after empty store and several small stores going out of business.

Times have changed since the thriving days of the Mega Malls, now most are closing. I couldn't help but wonder if today's author, Gary Petz, and his book "Stores on Fire" he co-authored with Philip Mitchell, could help any of them, so, I asked to speak with the managers or owners and told them about the book and the workbook. If you are a small store owner, hardware store owner, or an mega store owner and your sales are slumping, I think you will find "Stores on Fire" incredibly useful. Now, let me introduce you to Gary and the book.


Stores on Fire: A Retailer's Story

by Mr. Philip H. Mitchell (Author), Mr. Gary Petz (Author)

Charley Kern and his wife inherit a home center after her parents are tragically killed in a car wreck. Even though he was involved with the store for a short time prior to the tragedy, he has no idea how to start improving the struggling operation. He takes a leap of faith and introduces himself to a person who soon becomes his friend and mentor. His new friend introduces him to a new concept called The Incremental Improvement System. After Charley thoroughly understands the huge differences that small improvements can produce, he is taken on a journey of reinvention and produces success beyond any thing he could have imagined. The engaging story provides a great way for people who are looking for retail store improvement to learn while being entertained. This is the first book of the series. The second book is also available. It is the companion workbook to deepen understanding of the Incremental Improvement System.



Tell your readers a little about yourself. Where you grew up, where you live now, where you went to school etc. Let them get to know the personal you.
My retail experience began over 35 years ago. I started working in sales at various hardware and lumber retailers in the Midwest, while attending the University of Kansas. Realizing I had a genuine interest in this industry, I continued working in home centers and worked my way up to management positions in several companies. Eventually, I became vice president of a regional hardware wholesale company. It was at this time, because of the experience I had achieved, that I felt I could offer many exciting new ideas to hardware home centers and lumberyards. My longtime friend in the business, Phil Mitchell, agreed that many independent entrepreneurs needed guidance. We then decided to take the chance to form our own business, Discovery Retail Group. We have been successful in reaching out to retailers since 2008. I share this success with my wife and daughter in the Kansas City area.

Where did you get the inspiration for your book’s cover?

The gears on the books cover represent all the different processes that have to work in unison for any business to be truly successful.

What were your struggles or obstacles you had to overcome to get this book written?

Daily business at Discovery Retail Group keeps us very busy, so finding time to concentrate on our books is difficult. In fact, most have been done after hours, but because we are passionate about what we do, it is definitely worth our time to help retailers refresh their business and improve their bottom line.

Tell your readers about your book.

Stores On Fire is a fictional story about an owner of a business and his struggles. He re-examines the business, retools, and these changes allow him to turn the business around. Our workbook is a self-guided tool to help any independent retailer discover previously hidden protentional.

Who is your target audience, and why?
We focus mainly on hardware stores, home centers, and lumberyards, but retailers of all types have the same mission and would benefit from reading our books.
If you were going to give one reason for anyone looking at your book to read, why should they buy it?
Anyone who reads our book will agree that most retailers have great potential that goes unrealized. Our goal was to help businesses elevate every element of their operation. We encourage them to examine small or incremental changes that can be made to yield great results in improved productivity and profitability.  Our book will remind them that this is necessary to become financially successful.

 What do you consider your greatest success in life?
My greatest success in life is establishing this business, which has allowed me to comfortably support my family, of which I am most proud. I am extremely thankful that Phil and I took the chance to develop Discovery Retail Group into the successful business it has become. I feel lucky to work at a job that I enjoy and love the fulfillment it brings when a retailer is proud of the work we have done to help him succeed.
Everyone has life lessons to learn, tell your readers one or two of yours and how they make you the person you are today.
Establishing Discovery Retail Group has definitely been a life lesson learned. If you have an idea you truly believe in, go for it, no matter how frightening or challenging. Phil and I had no idea if our business would fly. Without taking a risk, we would never have known the joy that has come with our success from just fulfilling our passion.
Tell your readers anything else you want to share.
This is a book about industry by people with first-hand knowledge, not just theory, about what it takes to own a successful business. We hope people will buy our book, enjoy the read, and pass it on. We would love to help all retailers; it truly is our passion.