58: Let’s Talk Succession Planning in Retail with JRM Sales & Management

Written by Rob Stott

February 23, 2021

There’s perhaps no conversation that’s more difficult to have for family-run and independent businesses than the one that involves succession planning. In fact, that’s probably why only 30-ish% of family-owned businesses make it to the second generation of ownership. But why are these conversations so difficult, and how can independent retailers break through to ensure the longevity of their life’s work? We sat down with JRM Sales & Management founder and CEO Joe Milevsky to talk succession planning and a whole lot more.

Rob Stott: All right. We are back on the Independent Thinking podcast. Been really excited and looking forward to this conversation. Mr. Joe Milevsky, I appreciate you taking the time and chatting. Now where are you guys based out of?

Joe Milevsky: We are located at a suburb of Atlanta called Acworth. It is proximately maybe about a 30-minute drive from downtown, somewhere up in the air on the Northwest side.

Rob Stott: Okay. So you guys avoided all of this winter weather for the most part, is that true this past few week?

Joe Milevsky: Yeah we did but I didn’t. I happened to be up in Ohio and Kansas City last week. So got hit with a blizzard and some near zero temperatures.

Rob Stott: Oh man, couldn’t avoid it.

Joe Milevsky: One of the really positive stuff that I do for a living, I guess, right?

Rob Stott: There you go, there you go. But I-

Joe Milevsky: Because we don’t see snow here at all in Atlanta and just thought the stress is sewed up there no question about it.

Rob Stott: No, I know. Thinking back a couple years ago, I think Atlanta, a half an inch, I know it does a number to the area down there. So the less winter weather you guys can get the better I’m sure.

Joe Milevsky: Absolutely.

Rob Stott: Now Mr. Milevsky, CEO and founder, JRM Sales and Management. Also, I talked about it already, but something I’ve been looking forward to diving into with succession planning and a very important topic. But before we get into that, I want to get a chance to learn a little bit about you and your company and what you bring to the table.

Joe Milevsky: Sure, sure. Well, we are a consulting company. We work exclusively with independent retailers of all shapes and sizes. We’ve had a relationship now with a MEGA Group and Nationwide for 20 years. Actually the company was founded in January 2001. My first client was a company in Batesville, Arkansas in January. My second one was in Russellville, Arkansas, both members of MEGA Group and of course MEGA is now part of part of the Nationwide organization. I’m not really your typical consultant, I guess, in that I don’t have any a degree in that. A matter of fact, I have a degree in psychology, but my background is the retail industry. My father had a grocery store when I was a kid and so over the years, pretty well have done everything there is to do at one time or another. In fact friendly way from selling on sales floors, to managing 35 stores at a time as a VP of a company. So I’ve got a very diverse background and my people have very similar backgrounds.

We have no MBAs that are associated with our company, because you can’t find one that’s willing to travel our crazy schedule, especially in our current environment. But it’s been a great ride getting the endorsement of Nationwide and then other major organizations in the industry. It’s been a bit of privilege.

Rob Stott: You talk about that history, is that really what attracted you and had you interested in going this route? What is it that brought you back to this retail space?

Joe Milevsky: Yeah. Actually, no, it was the opposite. I swore watching my father and I would never get into retail. I hardly ever saw him, he’d go to work in the morning before I got up and come home after I went to bed. So I said, “No way am I ever going to do that.” But like I said, I majored in psychology. Well, that meant that I could get a job at a warehouse after I graduated. So having to be a retail furniture warehouse. That’s how my background evolved, and got into some consulting for another company for a couple of years and decided to go out on my own, back in 2001.

Rob Stott: That’s awesome. Obviously we are very appreciative of that and the fact that you’re in that, so it’s a awesome relationship to have. We’re going to lean into that a little bit today because the idea for this, we had talked about it beforehand, but the idea for this really, it’s going to sound crazy to some people listening, but I’m sure in the news, if you follow retail news that Jeff Bezos is stepping down as Amazon CEO and they have a whole transition plan in place that they’re talking about. I know people who are listening are “Well, what the heck is Amazon? Big, major international corporation, how’s that going to be able to relate to me?”

But the idea being that they had a succession plan. He had a play. It’s not something that you’re not just going to on a wind, decide to step down from Amazon and not have something in place. A lot of lessons to be learned from that, and a conversation I think that doesn’t happen too often. You don’t hear it too often in retail, and we’ll get into that a little bit and the importance of it, why that’s important and how to go about it. But I know moving into this conversation now, just looking at some stats, I did a little research on my own before diving into this, and I know there’s like some, roughly like five and a half million family-owned businesses across the US.

I mean, that’s a major part of the US economy, 80 to 90% of companies in the US being in North America are family-owned businesses. They account for almost two thirds of GDP, more than half of the workforce. But I know you’ve got more numbers on how the handoff goes, that move from one generation to the next. I’m interested just before we dive into the meat of this, what numbers can you share on how succession planning, well, not succession planning, but how the succession typically goes?

Joe Milevsky: Yeah. Typically not well. Approximately half of all businesses, if it’s family owned, survive that handoff from first to second generation. Then about a third of those going into the third generation survive. So the number that go to the third generation, it’s about 30%. I actually had a client years ago that was still around seventh generation, in the top 150, in terms of their age, a very small business in Pennsylvania, not a big business. But it’s a rarity, it’s a very, very difficult for these companies to do it for a lot of reasons.

Rob Stott: Yeah. Yeah. Well, you’d mentioned that. I mean, I can even think to just a couple of interviews we’ve done on this podcast that are fourth, fifth generation. So the fact that we even get to talk to them, it’s unique in and of itself. But what is it that makes these conversations so difficult for retailers to have this succession planning or exit strategy talk as a family owned or independently run business?

Joe Milevsky: There’s really two major fears, I guess. One of those fears is the sense of a loss of control. So if somebody else is going to take over, this is my baby. I’m the one that started this thing. The fear that somebody else is going to be running it, and I can’t make decisions anymore, that’s one. Obviously it’s also the fear of facing the inevitable. We know, well, there’s two things that are inevitable, like death and taxes, right? But we just really don’t seem to want to face, maybe we may be able to face the taxes with a good CPA, but the other part is very, very difficult. So it’s just not something that people want to deal with.

There’s also an example of, I visited a member of the group a couple of weeks ago and they have a son, son’s 33 years old. They’re ready, I mean, they could step down and just go away tomorrow. I mean, they’re ready for that, but they don’t believe the son is ready. But there’s been nothing put in place for him to get ready. He’s been allowed to do what he wanted to do in terms of working the job. There’s been absolutely no plan in place for him, none.

Rob Stott: Interesting. I mean, aside from facing reality, is there anything that can be done to make this an easier conversation to have, or to jumpstart that, aside from now all of a sudden you’re in a situation where you have to? I’m sure that’s how a lot of them start is like, “All right, well, now we have to think about it,” because some event happened, there is a reason to transition. But is there a way to back a couple of steps before you get to that point to start having these conversations?

Joe Milevsky: Sure. When we work with among other types of companies, startups. One of the first things we do with a startup is to build their exit strategy. It’s just because we know how difficult it’s going to be in place. We know that without an exit strategy in place, things are not going to go well. So if without an exit strategy, there’s only one possibility your company will eventually go out of business, you will close the doors. Obviously that’s something that Nationwide really doesn’t want because they want you to be around and continue to do business with them. So the other possibilities is to, maybe you can sell the business to an outside source. I have an example of a client years ago, they began with the end in mind, they wanted to get to the point where they had 25 stores, a combination of franchise stores and company owned stores.

They hit that number, they sold to a venture capitalist who then ran it into Brown that about two years. But they got out of it, they got out of it, what they wanted out of it. They can keep control through a very well-run management team-controlled company, as they get into their later years, as long as they have a competent people and great checks and balances in place, great processes, that’s something that could work where they could sell or leave it to a family member. But with no plan in place, without the concept of beginning with the end in mind, they just don’t go through that process. Then it’s reaction at the last possible second. Also, we have found over the years that it’s a very difficult conversation for the up and coming generation to have with mom and dad. Because they don’t want to tell mom and dad, “I think you’re going to die here in the next few years, and I want some security.”

I’ve seen so many cases over the years where they struggled to do that. There’s no plan in place, there’s no business plan, there’s no succession plan. There’s not even a state plan. Our initial engagement with the client is something we call a business performance analysis where we’re looking at everything in the business. One of the questions we ask, even before we come in, do you have an estate plan? Do you have a will? I would say that approximately two thirds of the folks that answer that question, no. That’s just really, really sad because that’s going to leave all kinds of family disharmony and all kinds of potential financial losses to the up-and-coming family.

Rob Stott: Yeah. I mean, that’s a crazy way to think about it, but it makes a lot of senses. Will planning is very similar in terms of how the potential to save heartache or just the ability to run the business in the future. Just having that plan in place obviously makes this a lot simpler of a transition.

Joe Milevsky: For me to see the business succeed in multiple generations and be profitable is very rewarding. But for me to see the family succeed is even more important. When I don’t see these things in place, I’ve seen so many times where family members breakup. Let’s say they have four children, one’s involved in the business and three aren’t. What they do is in their will, they love all their children equally, so we’ll give them all a 25%. Well, the one his whole life is built around, his income is built around running the business. His heart and soul has been into it, but he or she now is going to be out voted three to one because others would rather just sell the thing off and let’s get the assets. I watch families break apart, which really, I struggled with a lot more than even seeing a business break apart.

Rob Stott: The interesting thing, and hearing you describe some of these situations is that it’s impossible, I think. There’s not a one-size or maybe I’m wrong, maybe there is, and you can explain that. But it doesn’t seem like there’s a one size fits all solution for how to go about this. So for a majority, the numbers speak for themselves that you’ve been sharing. The majority of people listening to this probably don’t have a succession plan in place or an exit strategy. So where do they even begin to have these conversations or to start this process?

Joe Milevsky: Well now, obviously it’s going to take a team of people and you bring in somebody from the outside, somebody that’s objective because when you’re right in the middle of this, and you had your heart and soul in something that you yourself have built, it’s very difficult to see the forest for the trees. So you bring in somebody from the outside, you get involved, you need to find yourself a very good estate planning attorney, because there’s so many different directions that you can go. You can go with, bigger businesses I guess if it’s a good tax advantage can do something called an ESOP, an employee stock option plan. All the different directions and all the things you can do. That’s why you need a team of people, and a good CPA, and a good, experienced estate planning attorney that understands this.

Also getting involved with a financial planner, somebody that that’s what they do for a living, just to get their input advice, you don’t have to listen, you don’t have to do what they tell you. You get to get that objective. Most of those objective viewpoints is to get you going in the right direction and to get started this absolutely critical.

Rob Stott: Obviously outside help and certainly makes a lot of sense. For inside the organization, inside the family, is this something where it’s just the owner, the person at the top that needs to be involved in this, are there other people that they should be having these conversations with?

Joe Milevsky: Yeah, sure. I mean, communication is often the thing that destroys businesses and families. So regular a family meeting going over your plans, letting people know, getting everybody involved. There’s always an issue and a concern that what if I choose, if I have multiple family members or multiple qualified people? I’m working with a client right now that he had two sons in the business, but the sons left the business for various reasons, and they’re no longer involved in it, and actually started their own. So we’ve built up and promoted a general manager from within the organization. It’s taken us about two years to get the guy up and running, but he is doing a phenomenal job and that succession plan is in place.

But the object of the game is to ensure that communication is there, whatever your plan is, talk to your family members. We have regular meetings, maybe even once a quarter because things happen and things change. Look what’s happened over the last year in this country and around the world. But constant communication, making sure that you’re ready because a lot of people, what happens to them is they wait too long. Then all of a sudden what happens is that they start to get burned out in the business. If the business is not growing, by definition, the business not growing, it’s failing because somebody else is going to come in there and chew them up. But they wait and it’s going down like, “Oh, my God let’s sell.” Well, that makes the business less marketable. It makes the business less attractive.

The up-and-coming generation look at mom and dad, they see all the stress that they’re under, had been done under and they say, “Why do I want that? There’s got to be a better way. There’s got to be something better for me to do with my life.” They then fail to be able to attract them. Also what they don’t realize is they have so much proprietary materials. The more things that they have in place could be anything from utilizing a budget, to be able to plan their financial success rather than accepting it. It could be things like job descriptions. It could be employee job evaluation processes. It could be organizational charts, a business plan, the more of these kinds of things, CRMs where we’re able to go back and we are able to see what our customer base is. All of these things have value. If you try to sell to an outside company, unfortunately, the numbers that I’ve been given is somewhere in the area of less than 10% of all businesses that are brokered actually sell them.

Because there’s somebody coming and looking at it, there’s no delegation processes that our systems and processes in place. Mom and dad are working 50, 60, 70, 80 hours a week to keep the thing going, “Gee, that sounds like fun I think I’ll go buy myself a job.” Those businesses can sell, it does happen. I’ve been called in on numerous occasions over the years to actually look at businesses that people want to buy. But that’s almost by chance or something that they decided they wanted to move to a certain area, or that they grew up in an area they wanted to return, and they wanted to go buy a business, and a specific business and I go in and take a look at it. But if it’s not highly marketable, if it’s just something that’s so dependent on one or two people, and when you take those one or two people out of the equation, the business is not very attractive and not very marketable. The odds of it selling to an outside source, if that’s the way you want to go, are slim.

Rob Stott: My head’s spinning with potential questions here, but one that I know stands out and maybe because it’s the next I had written down here is, is there a time that’s right to start looking at a succession? I know you said with startups, you start that process right away. With these family-owned businesses that may have been around for a couple of decades, and it just isn’t something, I mean, is there ever a too late? Or when is really the right time to start looking at this?

Joe Milevsky: A few years ago, at a PrimeTime, a member of the group sat down with me and the business was definitely going into this direction. Their income level was quite low. As a matter of fact, when I looked at the lack of profit, the losses that she was experiencing, and I looked at what she was trying to pay herself, I had to tell her I couldn’t help her. It was too late. There was really nothing that I could do. Her best bet honestly, was just to close the business and try something else if she had the energy to do it. So, yeah, there are times when it is too late, but in most cases, that’s not the case. It’s just a matter of really stepping up. So I guess, if you can’t begin with the end in mind, at least during the process, have that end in mind and put all these things in place, and it’s doable.

So even if it’s, I mean, God forbid, if somebody tells you that you’ve got some a disease and you only have a few months to live, at least gain control now, get all this stuff in order, because it’s going to save your family so much stress at the end. Dramatically increase the probability of a successful transition to keep that business going.

Rob Stott: Yeah, in terms of planning, something like this, it sounds very similar to business continuity. If someone gets sick and you have to take an extended leave of absence, you have plans in place, who picks up what slack and how the business continues to go on. Is it similar to that? If you haven’t started it and you want to start thinking about it and maybe you don’t want to completely have the end in mind, is that a good practice run for what would be a succession plan?

Joe Milevsky: It depends, honestly. I mean, Nationwide has a lot of very small members and it’s not unusual for one of those companies to have a single point of failure in the business. They’re it, there is nobody else and if something happens to them, that business will struggle to survive and probably won’t. But the fact is that if we get started early enough and we realized that we want that continuity, we want the business to continue not only for ourselves, but often we look at the people that have been with us. One of the neat things about working with the independent I love is, that you don’t see in corporate America anymore, is that it’s not unusual, small town America to have employees that have been with them 15, 20, 25, 30, 35 years.

I’ve got one right now, one member I’m working with right now. Matter of fact, will be on the phone with her as soon as we hang up, they have father and son. The father has been there for 50 years and the son’s been there for 35 years. Well if a business goes under at that point, and that’s part of the reason that they want to keep it going, that they want to keep it going for their employees. They want to keep it going for their towns. I mean, they bring something very, very special and everything in this twirled cycles. There’s been so much going towards organizations like Amazon. Of course, even prior to that, you got the Home Depots and the Lowe’s of the world and whatever, and even been prior to that, I guess Sears, whatever.

You got all these big conglomerates and everything seems to move in that direction, but everything goes in cycles. All of a sudden, one of these big companies go under and then the manufacturer is going well, “Where is the little guy? I need the little guy again?” Well, guess what? Obviously, I’m very dedicated to that as Nationwide…keeping the little guy going, that’s what this is all about, just finding a way to make that happen.

Rob Stott: No, that makes a lot of sense. To that point about the cycles, you think about the family cycles within a business. Is it possible that a lot of what maybe some of these family run businesses struggle with is waiting for that next in line to be ready? Or if they’re not already an involved in the business waiting for them to decide like, “All right, now I’ll come home, and hang around, and start to groom myself to be that next person.” Is it a lot of that waiting for that person to realize that they are next in line?

Joe Milevsky: Yeah. I mean, it’s not unusual for me to find. If I’m starting to work with somebody and they’re looking to put together a succession plan, and they feel that even if they have a family member, that’s their or even have some really good employees that have been there a long time, but there’s nobody that they have confidence in turning the business over to. Well, first of all, I want to go and I want to actually get in there and take a look at it. Because my opinion oftentimes is considerably different than them. But I’m also going to be asking questions about other children, if you will, that are in the business, that were not in the business, that might’ve moved away or whatever. They may have jobs somewhere and with limited income potential. They just don’t understand the potential of their own businesses, which quite honestly, most of the members of this group don’t. They don’t get the fact that there’s things that they could do to engineer a lot more success. Thereby making the business look so much more attractive to the upcoming generation.

Not just financially, but in terms of how it’s run, how things are delegated, how they run the business through their people. So, yeah, I want to know all about, let’s dig into all kinds of things, nephews. I’m looking for the things that they hadn’t even thought about. I sat down with a member of the group years ago. His son moved away about 70 miles away and took a job, running a business somewhere else. He thought the son was real happy, the son was probably making $60,000, $70,000 a year. But the potential of his business, if it was one right and I showed them how it could be run right, was many times that. The son didn’t see it and honestly the father didn’t see it and didn’t know how to communicate it. So we want to look at all of those things, potentially any talent that’s out there, we want to understand what that talent is and to make the business attractive to them.

Rob Stott: Just from a personnel standpoint, well, a two-part question, how often do you find that for the family owned or independent run business that the next line of father to son or the next generation is there, but they don’t end up actually being the right person? It’s actually an outside family member that ends up being the right person to run that business when it comes time to hand it off?

Joe Milevsky: Well, I mean, yeah, I mean, it’s very frequently. I like to give examples of clients, right? So I have clients that had a fairly one of the larger members of the group actually and there were three brothers involved. Father had no plan in place, and one day he decides that he’s not going to wake up in the morning. So each brother was given a third of the business in the will. The problem with that is that you had one brother that really had the talent and the ability to be able to run the business. He had innate leadership skills. He had good management acumen. He was really prepared to do it.

A second brother was the, he loved the product. He he loved going to PrimeTime, or to the home furnishings in High Point or something. He loved all those kinds of things. He loved the relationships that he had with vendors at all levels. The third really had a piece of property out West of the store. All they wanted to do was spend time on his property and enjoy life and yet they all had a third. Well, the problem with that is that there was no majority ownership. So nobody was the ultimate decision maker, and that caused a lot of problems for the company and a lot of stress. So in that particular case, we needed the grant, the brother that wanted to not work, grant his wish. They had to buy him out and then the other two brothers took control. I helped them to understand that one of them needed to have a little bit more ownership so that decisions could be made, and the business was able to survive.

But that was very difficult. That was incredibly stressful because the planning process was not in place. Again, conceptually, we love all of our kids. We don’t want to show favorites, right? Fortunately, I have two sons. One has a master’s degree in engineering. You put them in a room with 100 kids, 100 people, their kids, he’s in his 40s. Put him in a room with 100 people and nobody likes them. The other, you put them in a room with 100 people, he’s got 100 friends so there are just innate differences. Even though the environment may be identical, there was certainly innate differences in people. It’s important for us to be able to recognize that and plan for all that in our estate planning and our succession planning.

Rob Stott: Following up to that and to that point, in terms of, yes, you want to almost devil’s advocate to that point. You don’t want to play favorites and you want to show that you love all your kids the same, in doing so, in planning and maybe identifying who it is that’s going to be next. Does it have the potential to disenfranchise either your other family members that thought that maybe they were next in line and have you seen situations like that, or how a business works through that? Or even maybe not a family member, but someone else in the business that thought they had a good shot at advancing their career only to find out that someone else has been handpicked?

Joe Milevsky: Yeah. But they might as well find out now. I mean, they’re going to find out sooner or later. That’s obviously an issue and a concern, but a bigger concern is not making those decisions and failing to do that, and that’s what I see most of the time. I don’t really see that other issue popping up very often. Then it comes up and we talk about it, client that has multiple siblings but bought out a general manager and the general manager is stronger than both of those children, those are very, very difficult. That business is not going to be successful most likely with either one of the children that are coming up unless things can change. But oftentimes what happens is that that older generation has simply not that anything to hold their children accountable to be able to ensure that they’re going to be ready to take that move.

So they look at them and they say, “Well, he or she, they don’t have the ability. They don’t have the desire. They’re not willing to work 80 or 90 hours a week like I am.” Well, okay. That’s probably a good thing. They want to have a life, let’s come up with a plan that you can accept where you understand that they are willing at times, if they have to roll up their sleeves and work their tails off, they’re willing to do it, but they have an even bigger drive to be able to run the business than rather having the business run them.

Rob Stott: To bring this home, I want to talk about some of the other major challenges or hurdles that you see in terms of succession planning or pitfalls that you would warn other independent businesses to avoid as they go through this process. What are some of those big things out there that you see commonly happen as the business prepares or goes through the succession planning process?

Joe Milevsky: Yeah, honestly, I think we probably have covered most of them already. I think, again, it’s just this constant willingness or non-willingness to face the inevitable. It’s the ability where we look at that up-and-coming generation, or the people that are in our company and we say, “We just don’t have anybody that can take over and there are. But there’s nothing in place at all to help them to develop their skillset. For me, what I love to see is I love to see if there’s a family member that’s in the business, first of all, get them out of the business for a while. Let them go out and do some things on their own, and see what’s out there in the world, and then come back.

But when they come back, they need to be able to demonstrate. They don’t have to be necessarily the best at everything, but they need to be able to understand everything. So I would always start out very sales oriented, obviously that I want them on the sales floor. I want them to understand what it means to interact with the customer, to show that they are going to stay in touch and follow up and maintain the mission of the company. Make sure that’s clear that customer comes first, and they understand everything about that, and can sell that they understand. It’s not unusual if I have a husband-and-wife team, which is a lot of the members of the group, and that one of the two of them loves numbers. They love to look at the financial statement. So when I sit down with them and go over those aspects of their business, their tails are waging a million miles an hour, and the other one I’ve got to keep slapping in the face, “Now focus.”

So they bring up that second generation coming up, their generation coming up and they have no exposure to a financial statement whatsoever. They’d have no idea how the business is doing. There’s no, again, no plan for any of these kinds of things. So again, to make sure that we have them do that. We have them understand merchandising process, how to flow goods, the importance of it, not just being able to budget and have a financial statement, but understand cashflow and how to build a better balance sheet, and how to understand to make sure that how poor merchandising processes can destroy a business. Especially right now, it’s a scary thing right now because people have not been able to get product, you can’t get appliances.

I have clients that typically might be running about a $200,000 under livid backlog. They sell something, it takes maybe a couple of months to get the product into the customer, that are now running $1.2 million, $1.5 million. So now the tendency is going to be, as we start to catch up, “Man, let me go buy a whole bunch of stuff and let me load up my warehouse.” Then of course, whenever you load up your warehouse, Murphy’s law of merchandise kicks in, which says, “Now that I’ve got it, I can’t sell it.” So that’s to have them understand merchandising processes. I’ve had them understand how to build people up, how to manage people, how to run an organized company, where they can have their quality of life, but where they can have whatever leadership skills they have that are innate actually come out and enable them to be incredibly successful.

So anything that’s associated with the running of the business, giving them an opportunity to point by point to spend enough time there, so they can demonstrate what they can and cannot do and work on their weak skills. What I see instead is the parents, they don’t know how to do it, so they give up, they say that, “My son, my daughter just doesn’t have the drive, doesn’t have the ambition, is not willing to even make a decision.” You’re not letting them make a decision, they make a decision and you say, “No, we’re not doing it that way. Let them fail. Let the people fail. That’s how we learn. As long as they don’t keep failing on the same thing over and over again. If I bring on somebody at the JRM Sales and Management and they don’t fail and they don’t make mistakes, they don’t last very long. I need them to push the envelope. I need them to try different things. Otherwise, why do I need them.

Rob Stott: Right? Like most things in life is, I mean, it’s a great balancing act in finding where that that perfect middle is, is it’s tough, but it’s doable. As I think we’ve talked about, there’s processes and ways to go about it and it’s an important process to run through as well for many reasons. But we talk about those numbers at the top and this industry, this channel will always be a big part of the US economy. Ensuring their continued success moving forward is obviously in everyone’s best interest. So I appreciate it, it’s a conversation that, like I said it was when I was looking forward to having, and I think you did it justice, Joe. I appreciate it. This was a lot of fun and I hope to continue having these conversations. Because it’s definitely not a one and done, one that needs to continue to happen and need to happen more often. So I appreciate you taking the time and at least broaching the subject with us.

Joe Milevsky: Appreciate the opportunity. Enjoyed it also, thank you.

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210: An Economic and Inventory Financing Overview with Wells Fargo

210: An Economic and Inventory Financing Overview with Wells Fargo

You can’t have a conversation about the retail industry without talking about the current status of the economy or where it’s heading. We did just that with Velicia Sutton, managing director and general manager for Wells Fargo. In addition, Velicia dives into the world of inventory financing and shares how independent retailers can leverage this available benefit to free up cash to focus on other areas of their business.

209: Tip Top Furniture’s Mother-Son Duo Shares Secrets to Sustained Success

209: Tip Top Furniture’s Mother-Son Duo Shares Secrets to Sustained Success

Founded by Ken Dudley in 1978, Tip Top Furniture in Freehold, New York, has seen three generations of Dudley’s take their place at the head of the family business. Currently run by Donna Mae, she and son Colby sat down for an interview during PrimeTime to talk about the keys to their multi-generational success and how they manage to merchandise a store that – at 35,000 square feet – can truly hold the entire population of Freehold.