Elly Valas

Elly Valas
Back to the Future

I’ve recently started cleaning out my file cabinets. I have everything I’ve accumulated since the fire that burned my store to the ground in 1992.

Success Planning Redux

When I last wrote about succession planning in 2010, it seemed to be a looming challenge for independent retailers. Now, though, it’s time to sound the alarm.
In a recent conversation with one of the industry’s banking partners, he estimated that the owners of nearly half of all locally owned appliance, bedding, electronics and furniture companies were nearing retirement age with absolutely no plan for succession.

It's a Numbers Game

When I ask most dealers “how’s business?” they’ll usually say “Great!” or “down about 3% from last year, but the last two months have been smokin’,” or “sales are ok, but margins are tough.” I’ve never heard anything like “inventory is down so turns are better,” or “sales per employee are way up,” or “even though I’m advertising more, as a percentage of sales, advertising is down.”

Rebuilding Consumer Confidence

With all the change we see in the market today, the drop in consumer confidence presents us with yet new challenges in how we approach prospects and get them to buy

Finding the Keepers

How much does it cost you to have the wrong people working for you?

Motivating in Turbulent Times


In today’s uncertain economy, a manager’s most important job is to lead, inspire and motivate his team. It’s no small task to create energy in a chaotic environment. At the same time, though, the greatest leaders in history were created in times of adversity.

Time to Customize


I had an interesting group of family and friends at my home for dinner recently. As I listened to their conversations, I realized just how diverse they were. I also realized that within my close circle, I’d found a pretty good slice of America.

Strategy Guide: 10-Point Economy Survival Plan

It’s pretty clear that what started as a slowdown in home sales and led to a meltdown of financial institutions, followed by a massive Federal bailout, has now begun to hit Main Street. Now, nearly 90 days later, no one is sure how long it will last or how deep the dive will be. That being the case, let’s assume that for the short term, we have to do business with the conditions we have. It’s too risky to wait it out. The biggest change we are seeing relates to credit—both consumer credit and the ability of dealers to borrow for inventory and for

Strategy Guide: 10-Point Economy Survival Plan

It’s pretty clear that what started as a slowdown in home sales and led to a meltdown of financial institutions, followed by a massive Federal bailout, has now begun to hit Main Street. Now, nearly 90 days later, no one is sure how long it will last or how deep the dive will be. That being the case, let’s assume that for the short term, we have to do business with the conditions we have. It’s too risky to wait it out.
The biggest change we are seeing relates to credit—both consumer credit and the ability of dealers to borrow for inventory and for

Strategy Coach: Take the CR Luxury Survey

Private jets. Five-star resorts. Round-the-world cruises. Summers in the Hamptons. Endless spa treatments. High fashion. Fine dining. Concierge service. Rolls Royce. Gucci. Prada. Louis Vuitton. Ritz Carlton. Bentley. Cartier. Versace. Porsche. For most of us, these lavish lifestyles and luxury brands are out of reach and almost fiction-like. Luxury for many may be just a few minutes in a candle-lit warm bath with a glass of moderately-priced champagne. We’re more likely to have time shares in Mexico than fractional jet ownership. Jet skis are more in reach than 200-foot yachts. For a privileged few, though, jet-setting is a way of life. Luxury is defined as expensive

Strategy Coach: Take the CR Luxury Survey

Private jets. Five-star resorts. Round-the-world cruises. Summers in the Hamptons. Endless spa treatments. High fashion. Fine dining. Concierge service. Rolls Royce. Gucci. Prada. Louis Vuitton. Ritz Carlton. Bentley. Cartier. Versace. Porsche.
For most of us, these lavish lifestyles and luxury brands are out of reach and almost fiction-like. Luxury for many may be just a few minutes in a candle-lit warm bath with a glass of moderately-priced champagne. We’re more likely to have time shares in Mexico than fractional jet ownership. Jet skis are more in reach than 200-foot yachts.
For a privileged few, though, jet-setting is a way of life. Luxury is defined as expensive