Wednesday, January 22, 2020

Increase Your Store's Revenue

I have finally pulled myself together with God's grace after my mother passed and her funeral. It has been difficult, but thanks to everyone's prayers and uplifting I am going to make it through this. I want to share a particular moment of encouragement to show how God can move mountains and ease our pain. One of my authors, Ellis Lucas, who wrote "The Potter and the Clay," and "Wanted," reached out to me often during the last two months. As a minister, he prayed with me and over the speaker on the phone prayed for my mother and me. After my mother passed, he sent me a recording, about twenty minutes long, of him singing and playing the guitar of one of his songs he hasn't recorded or released. Wow! The song and his words of encouragement lifted me and I was able to sleep that night. His actions were a blessing to me. The moral of this story is you never know how much one kind act, one kind gesture, and reaching out to someone can make a difference in their life. Thank you Ellis for setting God's example for all of us.

On a different note, I am currently working with two authors, Philip H. Mitchel and Gary Petz, who teamed up to write a fabulous book called "Stores on Fire." They also have a companion workbook to go with it. Today, I will be featuring their book and interviewing Philip and tomorrow I will interview Gary. Happy reading.


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.

I have spent all of my working career in retail, and I’ve been fortunate to manage several successful stores. From retail management, I went to work in sales for a regional hardware wholesaler. There I climbed the ladder from sales to regional sales manager and then later to vice president of sales. During that period, I met Gary, who at the time, was working for a competing wholesaler. We soon learned that we shared a passion for helping retailers achieve better results. We first formed a friendship and then, later, launched our business, Discovery Retail Group. That was over a decade ago.

 What inspired you to write this book?

 Well, I guess it would be the passion for helping retailers that I mentioned earlier. If you have learned things over the course of your lifetime, we feel that you have an obligation to share that knowledge with others. Many will read the book and a large percentage of them will benefit from it, I believe.

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

I’m sure that you noticed that there are gears depicted on the “A Retailer’s Story.” Gary and I have spent the last number of years trying to identify the systems that drive a retail store. We thought that there was something analogous to how one gear drives another, and that one the next … so on and so forth, until the machine produces the desired results. A break down anywhere in the mechanism compromises the end result. And, so it is with the various components of a retail store.

 Who has been the biggest influence on you personally and as a writer?

It’s a great question, but I probably don’t have a great answer. I would tell you that I’ve worked with and learned from some retail geniuses, and I mean that sincerely. They didn’t all approach things precisely the same way, but they all produced excellent results. I’m speaking of profits, of course, but each of those individuals were assets to those who worked for them as well as the communities they served.

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

Gary and I have a successful consulting business and so one of the biggest challenges was finding time to write. We have been helping some of the same stores for over 10 years now. We feel very committed to them, so they come first. That having been said, it’s a grind at best, to write a book. In this case, it was even more challenging because there were two books. One is a story of a retailer, his struggles, and how he overcomes them. The other is a workbook that can help readers leverage what they learn from the books.

Tell your readers about your book.

The book, “Stores on Fire … a Retailer’s Story” is a story about a guy and his wife who, as a result of a tragic accident, end up owning and operating a home center in a small town. The guy has no background in the business at all. But through a series of random events, he becomes friends with and mentored by a guy about his same age. He has some real challenges that most store owners and managers can relate to.

The book provides enjoyable learning. Many people say that the story is engaging and that they forgot that they were learning as they read. Most of them are anxious to share the book and let others learn from it too.

Who is your target audience, and why?

Obviously, the story centers around a manager in the home center and hardware industry, so I guess one would expect them to be our target audience, and they are. But truthfully, all of retail is basically the same, so anyone who owns, manages or works in a retail store would benefit from reading the book. Now that I think about it more, I would expand on that anyone who is responsible for moving goods or services to a target group should read this book.

If you were going to give one reason for anyone looking at your book to read, why should they buy it?

That’s an easy one. If they are responsible for the success of a store, in any way, the book can help them be more successful.

What do you consider your greatest success in life?

My family is my greatest success. But beyond that obvious answer, the way Gary and I have been able to help retailers for over a decade … well, that’s a pretty good thing. The fact that we’ve developed some great friendships over that time is also a great source of pride. I think our customers, for the most part,  all felt that we were trustworthy and produced tangible improvements. What could be better than that?

Everyone has life lessons to learn, tell your readers one or two of yours and how they make you the person you are today.

I’m at the point where I can look back on my life and identify great peaks and valleys. Neither the highs nor the lows, lasted. So now I try to enjoy the day, but more than that, break things down even further and fully live in the moment. Feel the pains and the joys and be enriched by both. 

What one unique thing sets you apart from other writers in your genre?

Everything sets me apart. I’m the only one who has lived through my experiences and therefore the only one who can tell my story as I do. That doesn’t make me better, only different.

Tell your readers anything else you want to share.

I guess only this: if you read our book and enjoy it, we’d appreciate it if you share your opinion. We have put a lot of work into the project and could sure use your help to get the message out there. If you would do that, we’ll pay it forward.