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Ignite Innovate Impact - Geoff Mintenko

Give the gift of time

Profit will come and profit will go in business, however there will only be so much time in our lives to create the memories we share with our families, friends and loved ones. A price can’t simply be put on those moments.

Having been a retailer for a better period of my life, I was witness to and part of the manic hysteria that revolved around retailing during the holiday season for numerous years. I despised every moment of it, like unintentionally taking a bite of your least favorite chocolate from the Black Magic box.

You see the holiday season doesn’t really represent the holiday season to those in retail, in fact it’s the complete opposite. A different energy fills the air - many business owners and managers become Scrooge-Grinches. Self imposed panic sets in because that’s what they think they are supposed to feel. They’ll make sure that feeling is spread to the front line workers. They’ll chant things like “this month will make or break our year” or “no time off, extended hours of work for all”. In quick measure also relaying that “this is retail – if you don’t like it, there’s the door”!

Please, don’t even get me started on Boxing Day sales in Canada, or is it Boxing Week, or is it now Boxing Month? All I know is the “Boxing” effect will eventually go the way of the dinosaur and that, my friends, will be a day of celebration to myself and many others.

Now let’s talk customers. Not the wonderful level-headed souls that generally shop your fine stores. I’m talking about the kind of customers you create with all your holiday hysteria, turning genuinely good people into stressed, angry and anxious Who-villians.

The combination of tired, overworked, stressed retail staff that has had no family time, mixed with a hyper caffeine-fueled, turkey-buzzed client base is a recipe for sour eggnog if there has ever been one.

Is it time for you Mr and Mrs Retailer to start a new holiday tradition? How about helping those employees that help you so much, create some holiday memories.

Do what I started to do about 20 years ago. I made a conscious choice to close all of the stores I operated the day before Christmas and not re-open until at least a couple of days after Christmas.

I gave the gift of time. The gift of time, so my staff could unwind and enjoy a holiday with friends and loved ones. I gave our customers the gift of not having to feel they were going to miss out on “the great deal”.

I can’t tell you enough on how this positively affected all those around me. All I can say is the memories that were created for so many will last a lifetime and none of my stores suffered financially, in fact they excelled. This was something I practiced for over 15 years and occasionally am reminded of the gesture from past employees, even to this day.

There may come a time in your business that giving time will feel right to you. Maybe that time is now?

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all.


Retail Evolution - Real Speak - Retail Radio

Evolve, follow or get out of the way. Your business or industry is doing one of those exact things right now.

Your business is both evolving and changing with a vision towards future growth. Or, your business is following the pack, doing what your business sector has always done, and hoping for different results. Or lastly, the writing is on the wall and you’re strategizing an exit plan.

Quite frankly the last two directions suck, and I feel truly sorry for you if your business falls into either of those categories. I can safely say in personally helping dozens of different companies in so many different industries over the years, the number one factor in a company’s demise is their reluctance to embrace change and evolve.

I want your business to succeed and I’ve developed a new tool for you to utilize. I’d been approached by various sources to produce and develop a radio show focused on the retail sector.

Always wanting to continually evolve my own business and pay it forward, Retail Evolution’s, Real-Speak Retail Radio show was born. This radio show is now featured on Apple iTunes in their business section and has hit their New and Noteworthy chart within its first week on iTunes.

This podcast can also be found on PodOmatic currently featured in their NEW marketing and management category on PodOmatic.

This weekly radio show is filled with no holds barred real-speak on brands, commerce and consumerism. This is a current and essential program focused on modern profitable retailing.

Ready to embrace change and evolve? Hop in, buckle up and hang on! Your Retail Evolution, Retail Radio Ride is about to blast off!

Zombies and the death of your business

The sad reality is more and more brick and mortar retailers, large and small, will cease to exist as the comfort and ease of online shopping grows leaps and bounds in popularity daily.

Those retailers turning a blind eye to this evolution of how consumers are choosing to shop, will soon enough be turning their open sign to closed - permanently, if they don’t embrace online shopping as a viable addition/option to their businesses.

To those old fashioned retailers that feel consumers will never buy a sofa, clothing, eye glasses, etc online without trying them all prior, you’re dead wrong. I can tell you from personal experience, my wife and I have bought all of the above online without ever stepping foot in a store to see, touch or feel the purchased products.

We are part of a growing consumer base that is tuning out bad service at retail outlets and shopping by mouse in the comfort of our own home. In the past two weeks alone we have encountered less than good service from three independent retailers.  We are very easy to please and wish to do our part, however we won’t be going back to any of those local shops.

There are many factors why online shopping has become such an attractive way to purchase worldly possessions. One factor of course is price. Lower overhead in operating expenses allows profit margins to be significantly different than those of a brick and mortar store.

No doubt about it, price is not everything to everyone. When I was a retailer, I made sure energetic proper staff, superior customer service and very specialized product lines priced at appropriate market value, made pricing objections very uncommon. Customers gladly paid top dollar for products, guided by genuine, personal interactions with knowledgeable staff that were truly into their jobs.

So if it’s not all about price, what else has online shopping got going for it over the total in store touchy, feely experience? Good question, it’s actually what it doesn’t have going for it that is having a very positive effect. It doesn’t have what I will call “Retail Zombies”.

Many consumers including myself will continually fade away the shop local experience if the retailer or business doesn’t offer the genuine customer experience of professional service from its staff.

Enter the “Retail Zombies”. These are the front line clerks or sales people that are literally the walking dead. These people have no business dealing with your limited customer base. They are tuned out, communicate poorly, have a genuine uninterested attitude in what they are doing and are very poor listeners. They have no business in your business.

These “Retail Zombies” are costing you money and may be the complete downfall of your business if you don’t make some changes. The most interesting fact in all of this is, the “Retail Zombies” are your fault. Oh, have I touched a nerve? Good, it’s easy for you to blame not being able to find the right staff on so many different variables. That’s a story you’ve created, it’s a story of personal convenience and mindset. Change your story, change your mindset.

If you have not dedicated the time to ongoing proper training, coaching and mentoring your staff to excellence, you are contributing to the zombie problem and demise of your business.

If you have not handpicked people that are truly excited to work in your personal culture and can’t wait to show it every day, you are contributing to the zombie problem and demise of your business.

If you are paying low wages and solely basing your pay structure on performance, you are part of the zombie problem and demise of your business.

Don’t let “Retail Zombies” be the demise of your dream. I and many others would love to come and shop at many of your stores again - but we won’t, unless you take action.

Remember this; online shopping is “Retail Zombie” free, 24 hours a day.


Questions, comments? Come over to my Retail Evolution Facebook page and start a discussion.

Business survival - a checklist

Profitable and enjoyable retailing in today’s economy relies on you sparking innovation, igniting positive change and taking direct action.

Fresh idea generation, improved experiences and new blueprints for success are three key elements equating to strong ROI in a rapidly changing retail landscape.

I’ve developed a popular checklist used by many of my business clients in the USA and Canada. This checklist helps business owners set a course for personal business success and positive growth. Below is a sample of what the checklist has to offer. If you wish to have the entire checklist, I offer it free to all those that are interested. Just go to and follow the instructions – it will be sent to you instantly. Use this checklist to help navigate a course of happiness, profitability and longevity for you, your team, your customers and company.


  • Do you agree and understand, your entire way of life depends on the success of your brand?
  • Have you created your own unique, personal, honest, meaningful clear position in your industry?
  • Is your branding reflected consistently across your social media platforms?
  • Is your business truly remarkable at what it does?


  • Are you continually reviewing your marketing strategies? Even if it’s worked for you in the past, it may have zero relevance to your current consumer base. Be prepared to stop using certain modes of advertising. This may be uncomfortable due to lengthy relationships with advertisers past, get over it, you’ve got a business to run. The past does not equate the future.
  • Are you marketing you company in the most effective ways possible? Your business may have a face for radio or it might be TV pretty. No matter what you personally believe, you must have a strong online presence. It doesn’t matter what your business is, if you don’t have a strong social media and online presence your future world (or city) domination will be extinct before you know it. It’s all about being social in today’s consumer centric world. Today’s customers review, shop, purchase and comment online about everything, get used to it and become a part of it.


  • Does everyone on your team fit your brand? Your brand is a promise that has to be fulfilled. Your brand will live and die with the actions of every employee. Are you igniting the passion in those that live and breathe your brand? Are you releasing those in a quick and effective manner that don’t serve your image?


  • When filling your sales floor, do you focus on faster selling and higher profit items to show and go?
  • Are you continually liquidating everything over 90 days? This inventory represents cash. You must get over the bad decision you may have made in purchasing some lines that didn’t perform well, clear out the stock and move on. Let it go.


  • It’s a brand you world. Are you coaching and mentoring your team to excellence in delivering the top notch level of service you wish to convey?


  • Do you lay awake at night worrying about your company’s financial health?
  • Are you just getting by and concerned at times you won’t have enough cash on hand to pay the bills, payroll and other unforeseen expenses?
  • Do you want to know how you can provide for future investment and growth in your company?
  • Have you convinced yourself that there’s no profit in retail like the old days?
  • Are you unclear on how to enhance and grow the profit in your business?
  • Do you question why you went into business in the first place when you look at your bank statements at the end of the month and wonder where all the money went?


Your next step? Contact us for more info. or [email protected]

Read more Ignite Innovate Impact articles


About the Author

Renowned Retail Expert and Strategist Geoff Mintenko is the driving force behind the company Retail-Evolution. Geoff consults and speaks to power retailers North America-wide, sparking innovation, igniting positive change and helping companies thrive is his passion.

Geoff’s real-speak, direct approach attitude to business, has garnered him local and international acclaim. The articles he writes and the keynote speeches he gives are meant to stimulate, educate and frustrate - that’s a good thing, it helps business evolve. Helping companies break boundaries, shift mindset and foster a culture of creativity is Geoff’s specialty. He has helped many companies thrive in this ever-changing economic climate.

You can find him at or [email protected]


The views expressed are strictly those of the author and not necessarily those of Castanet. Castanet presents its columns "as is" and does not warrant the contents.

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