I'm in Chicago today staying at the Hyatt at McDonalds Hamburger U. It is an unbelievably beautiful complex.
But this post isn't about that...
A buddy of mine picked me up to go to dinner with his daughter and granddaughter at the Weber Grill. As soon as we stepped in the door we found a life-size bronze of a guy cooking on a Weber grill. I asked the hostess, "What's with the bronze man?"
She told us how George Stephen purchased a metal shop that made buoys for Lake Michigan. He came up with the idea of the Weber Grille based on those buoys. The went from fabricating buoys to fabricating BBQs.
The food and the service were great and I would tell my friends, "You gotta go there." The servers and the hostess had obviously been well trained but they hired above average people who could be trusted to make it their own without sacrificing the story details that made it interesting.
Contrast that to the All Saints Spitalfields store in SOHO I recently visited. It is an intriguing store design filled with hundreds (thousands?) of Singer sewing machines.
As I looked around I also saw a bunch of rams' horns on the wall so I walked over to a girl who was stationed as a greeter...
"Excuse me," I said "what's with the horns and Singer machines?"
"Oh," she said, "they're just decoration" as she went back to looking out the door.
You don't just buy that many Singers as a stand-in for slatwall. Design moment wasted.
You want to compete? You have a story? Make sure your employees know what that story is, whether it is how you founded the company, your eco/green choices or other intriguing facts or you'll waste the very thing you are using to draw attention to your store.
And if you're ever in Oak Brook, Illinois, make sure to stop at the Weber Grille.
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