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Last Update: Wednesday June 23, 2021

Key Idea: Infuse Fresh Thinking

There is no back room so all inventory is on display and tracked with bar code technology.

Key Question:


Yes.  George knew nothing about art supplies.  He proves that not knowing about a specific business can be an advantage as long as you hire some experienced people to guide you.

Why has George been so successful with a product line he never handled? What does George have in his business to make up for his lack of experience?

Being naive -- a fresh set of eyes and an open attitude -- sometimes helps you solve problems in new ways. Also, in general the art supply business is behind other retail sectors in their application of technology and new business practices; George is able to introduce processes and practices which have proven to be successful in other retail environments and he often sees an immediate, enthusiastic response. George sees himself as the creator of a delivery system that bridges the gap between the manufacturer and the customer. With this vision, he could be selling any product.

Employees who are artists themselves know the art materials business. George is the generalist looking at the big picture while his people are the experts on the specific products. Here, the staff is taught to ask a question rather than simply give the customer what they ask for. The reason is customers might not know what products are available and The Art Store employees ask what the artist is trying to achieve then recommend products. This results in happy customers who go out with the right product; they achieve their desired result; they come back to shop again; and they often tell, and sometimes bring, their friends.

We grow up learning the basic comparative analysis -- good, better, best -- but what is the best? Can anything ever be perfect?

Even though nothing is totally-and-in-every way perfect, we all still know it can can always be better. This is a subject near and dear to the heart of our executive producer, Bruce Camber. He has made a study of the physics and theology of perfected states for over 25 years. He found that throughout all of science and all religions, each in some manner shares the three conditions that define the continuum of perfection. This is what he has found:

The most simple perfection is order; here there are continuity conditions. A higher perfection is defined by a relation and here that relation is experienced as a symmetry.
A transformative perfection is within real time; it is a dynamic moment that is experienced as harmony.  Along that continuum, the possibilities approach infinity for higher or transformative perfections. Or as your Mom always said, "There is always room for improvement."

Think about it

Where can you go to get fresh ideas?  What could you learn from business owners in other industries?  Who gave you your last great idea?

Clip from: The Art Store

New York City, Los Angeles, Boston, San Diego: In this show you meet George Granoff, a corporate executive turned entrepreneur and small business owner. He bought and turned around a failing group of art supply stores. Ever since graduating from college, he's worked in huge retail companies. He learned a lot. Then he took those years of experience to apply to a bankrupt chain of retail shops, The Art Store.
George's extraordinary business experience taught him much about scale, critical mass, and volume. Having run huge retail chains, George just couldn't imagine a business that is so small you can't enjoy the benefits of size.

To start a business from scratch would be too slow for George, so he bought an existing business in distress. The Art Store was a bargain. Like George, you don't have to start a business from scratch. Buy a business!

The Art Store

George Granoff, Owner

1844 India Street
San Diego, CA 92101

Office: 6196870050

Business Classification:

Year Founded:

Infuse Fresh Thinking

GEORGE: Well, I actually think that to a certain degree not being in this business and not having the background in art supplies has been a benefit to me, because I don't necessarily have to accept the way things have been done for 10, 15, 20 years. In some cases the art material business is behind the general retail curve regarding scanning, bar coding, just-in-time delivery . . .

HATTIE: So you're not stuck in a rut.

GEORGE: I believe that many times during the past year and a half my lack of knowledge in the art material business has helped me focus on an issue that otherwise has become accepted practice and just the way things have been done forever.

HATTIE: It's fresh eyes.

GEORGE: And I've had a chance to say, `Well, wait a second. That's really not the best way to get this done.' What's in my mind for future is growth. And we have really two avenues of growth that we're currently analyzing. The first is to support internal growth with which we could open one or two stores a year from cash flow and grow this company over the next four or five years to two or three times its current size.

We operate and maintain an enormous level of in-stock, with no back room in this operation.

HATTIE: (Voiceover) What do you mean, no back room?

GEORGE: There is no back stock. All the inventory that we own in this building is on the floor.

And we fill this store sometimes weekly from certain suppliers, sometimes twice a week from certain suppliers, exercising sort of the just-in-time delivery strategies that I saw developed in bigger retail companies during my prior life.

It is an enormous challenge to stay in stock in 17,000 different items, day in and day out, with no back room and no warehouse.

And there is virtually nothing in this building besides what you see on the floor. And I think that that is a credit to my organization and technology.

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