I keep a file folder labeled “article ideas.” After writing an abundance of articles, I have to be careful not to be too redundant, although you know I do have some favorite topics! My writing style has always been to be less formal and more personal. My bride of 40 years sometimes encourages me to be less personal – and I’m afraid she’ll think I may have gone overboard with this one.
My entire adult life I have loved the beginning of a new year. Yes, I’m one to make new year’s resolutions – and really try to keep them. The new year always brings new challenges and opportunities. It’s a time to do budgets, marketing and sales plans and to update your short- and long-term business plans (at least for the few of you who do them). I’m sensing more optimism entering 2012 than I have for the past several years. Being the eternal optimist, I start every year feeling good…and this year is no exception.
So here’s one of my 2012 resolutions. I’m going to try and write a thank-you note to someone every day of the year. Some will be to family, friends and those folks I work with and for. Other notes will be to someone who, in my opinion, has done something special, unique and different. I am not doing this to get a response back. I’m doing it to say, “I love you,” “You’re terrific,” “Thanks for a job well done,” or maybe just “Thanks for being my friend.”
Interestingly enough, I’ve received a half-dozen notes, calls and comments thanking me for the nice note. The bonus: It feels good! Here are a couple examples:
Jan. 1 – Note to my wife. She’s the best. Really the best!
Jan. 2-5 – Notes to each of our kids – all unique and special in their own ways!
Jan. 9 – Note to a local tire company thanking them for the great hustle!
Jan. 13 – Note to my mother-in-law to tell her how great she is! She cried.
Jan. 22 – Note to a DPHA industry leader thanking him for his contribution to our great industry!
Jan. 28 – Note to a manager at our local Home Depot for special effort by one of his employees.
In addition to resolutions and now these notes, the beginning of a new year is a great time to say thanks for what went on in 2011. I hope you’ll be able to identify more good than bad. In my case, my health continues to be outstanding; I completed a 1,600-mile bicycle journey; all our kids and their families are doing terrific; our bank account is holding steady; we’re bringing our soldiers home; the economy is improving…and so much more. We are so incredibly blessed.
Showroom thanksSo, you’re getting the idea. Will I be able to stay on track with the thank-you notes? I hope so. I know you’re asking, “What does this have to do with showrooms?” Allow me to share just a few thoughts:
Count your blessingsI have been/am as guilty as many of you in taking so much in life for granted. As I’ve gotten older, I’m finding more time (and maybe the need) to stop and count my blessings. They have been, and are, so numerous that I am humbled. I have lived in the greatest country in the absolute best of times. I was afforded a great education and worked for several large, successful wholesalers (actually four Supply House Times Wholesaler of the Year recipients). We started our own showroom business and were so very fortunate to see the bath and kitchen (and all the great products that go in them) become the main rooms in the home. Then along came a large, successful wholesaler that wanted/needed to get into the showroom business and bought our business. Then my third career just happened! That of consulting, writing, teaching and helping others in the showroom business try to be better at what they do. Add in a wonderful wife, four terrific kids, four fantastic grandkids and a bunch of great friends and you can see why I’m so thankful.
Allow me to close this much too personal article by saying THANK YOU to you the loyal and faithful readers of this excellent publication. I met and became acquainted with the original founder, owner, publisher and editor of Supply House Times way back in 1960. That was about two years after Charlie Horton started the magazine. I was fresh out of the Army and graduate school and had joined one of the aforementioned Wholesaler of the Year companies in a training program.
Mr. Horton came to Pennsylvania and did an article on the industry’s first college-recruited training program. There was a picture in the magazine with me and eight other bright-eyed, optimistic, excited folks just embarking on our careers. I still have a copy of that magazine. I had hair and a gleam in my eye, but I wonder if I thought I would spend my whole life selling tubs and toilets?
I have seen wholesaler showrooms grow from a very few in number and pretty poorly done to now being a very important part of many wholesalers’ overall business models. I like to believe that I have played a small part in both the growth of showrooms and how they operate.
I’ve had the unique pleasure of meeting and working with many of you. I’m so proud of what you are accomplishing in the operation of your showrooms. They look better. The people are trained better. They are contributing more revenue to the companies’ bottom lines than ever before. They’ve become the “go-to” place for homeowners, designers, architects, builders, remodelers and plumbers for the selection of products for the home.
Possibly, the second-biggest THANK YOU (after you readers) should go to the many loyal advertisers. Without them, there would be no magazine. Thank you, thank you, thank you!
So, my thank-you note for Jan. 29, 2012, (when I wrote this) is to you, my wonderful friends in this fabulous industry.
Have a great 2012!