“Keeper of the Karma”

I had the distinct pleasure of visiting a great independent retailer last week. Being an unabashed admirer of small retail it was a treat seeing first hand of what it takes to survive and thrive in today’s hyper competitive marketplace. The store recently celebrated its fiftieth anniversary and servicing product into the third generation of many families. Skip Beitze bought Hickory and Tweed in 1986 and currently runs it with his wife Michaela. The one theme I heard from both of them repeatedly was their commitment to customer satisfaction. Most independent retailers claim that their customer centric but the reality some just don’t meet the standard. Skip told me he empowers his employees even the high school partimers to resolve a customer’s problem on the spot following a common sense rule, “If you were the customer how would you want it resolved”
Before I left our meeting Skip told me his job description at this point in his career is “Keeper of the Karma”. After our meeting I thought about the definition of Karma and how it applies to a retail business. If you define Karma as the destiny you create by your actions and behavior then his job description is spot on. Skip’s makes sure that every customer and employee understands they are appreciated and valued. To use the current vernacular, “he doesn’t talk the talk he walks the walk”.