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Retailer2retailer: When odds are against you, take a chance

February 5/12, 2018: Volume 33, Issue 17

By Scott Perron

 

In January my son Zachary, who is now 17, and I took our first father-son trip to an industry trade show for the SE Flooring Market in Atlanta. As a young man, Zack was intermittently around during my corporate days in Kansas City but he had never been to a vendor show of any size.

During our 60-hour jaunt that included drive time to and from Atlanta we had time to talk about life, business and the future. I look forward to taking that same type of trip with my daughter Morgan in the not-too- distant future. Interestingly enough, I thought back to my dad taking me to Atlanta back in the early ’80s when we attended the show at the Atlanta Merchandise Mart.

We walked the floor and worked several prearranged meetings with our vendors from the largest manufacturers to the smallest distributors. As I watched Zack interact with the vendors it occurred to me that he had been listening to much of what I had said over these last several years. Even more enlightening for him was his mom and dad were in a really big industry that provides profitable products and services to the masses and those numbers and possibilities began to become very real.

Sally and I made a rule years ago that we would never push our children into the family business. In addition, we made it clear they both needed to attend and finish college and also work for another company or two for at least a year before they were allowed to come on board. This way they would clearly understand what others expected from them, so they could grow to expect the same or more from themselves.

Prior to leaving the show Zack asked me tons of questions about flooring, business and whether I felt we made the right decision by being in the flooring business. To that I replied, “Absolutely!” We all have things we wish we could change; however, the path unknown may not have been any brighter.

In the wake of a young Florida man winning the $450 million Mega Millions lottery, Zack asked me one final question, “What if you won the lottery, dad? What would you do?” I thought for a moment and told him I would give back to the industry that got me to where I am now by helping to fix the greatest issue we will face in the future.

I would fund and build a state-of-the-art training facility for flooring installation teams to learn this valuable trade. Based on their performance I would open it up to anyone free of charge in hopes of turning thousands of young men and women into professional tradespeople rivaling the best electricians, plumbers and HVAC contractors with further hopes of them training their sons and daughters to do the same. In addition to learning the trade itself, we would teach them the basic premise of business finance and profit and loss while providing systems for them to retain benefits and create a retirement plan for their families.

What if as an industry, we recognized that if we all came together in a small way with a similar purpose then we would have the resources necessary to accomplish this goal in our lifetime. Being the odds of winning the Mega Millions are about one in 259 million, there is always a chance.

 

Scott Perron is the president of 24-7 Floors and Floor4Pros based in Sarasota, Fla. He is also an industry trainer and motivational speaker. He can be reached at scott@24-7floors.com or 860.250.1733.