Partnerships Around a Store Opening

Posted on: December 1st, 2017 by Maria Markusen


One of my first business role models was Cindy Musikantow.  Cindy was the VP of Operations for the Western half of the country for Sunrise Senior Living.  A big job.  But she was a master connector and partner builder. Despite being responsible for 100s of properties we talked to Cindy weekly and saw her quarterly.  Cindy is a former social worker, turned nursing home administrator, turned assisted living operations leader.  As a master connector, she always said, “Don’t hire employees, hire partners.”  She often talked about her dinner rule.  If two candidates are equal on the fundamentals, skills, and background then hire the one you’d like to have dinner with.  Not just the fun one. But the person who, after a long, hard day you could count on for dinner, support, solutions and a partnership.  Cindy never thanked people for hard work.  She always thanked us for “our partnership.”

I was reminded of Cindy’s partnership rules lately on a big VGM Retail project.  Last week, we opened a store in partnership with a VGM member in Kettering, Ohio outside of Dayton. The store called Get Active Health & Wellness is a 6,000 square foot store.  The store is a cash-only store with some traditional DME retail products.  In Get Active, our goal is to change the retail DME store dynamic.  Our products serve not only the sick and recovering but those focused on health and performance too.

This location is very unique. There are 54 windows in the space and the store sits on one of the busiest corners of the city.  You can’t miss it.  The retail space has sat empty for at least eight years.  Due to its long-term vacancy, we saw an added benefit of community buzz and excitement upon the store open date. Despite the vacancy and initial hype for a new store, it took a while for us to get a lease signed for the space.  From previous experience, we’ve learned that timing is crucial and there are certain times not to open a retail store; before Thanksgiving works, but after Thanksgiving doesn’t.

Once the lease was signed, we realized we had a short window to open prior to Thanksgiving.  Or we’d have to wait until spring.  So we compressed a 90+ day project into six weeks.  It’s times like these where partnership matters.  Matt Peterson and Les Donahue, the store owners are the perfect partners.  Everyone pitched in the moment we said go.  Yes, we had challenges.  Product was delayed.  The floor didn’t turn out the way we wanted.  The signage at opening was temporary.  But what really made the project work was partnerships.  Whether it was Matt and Les’ community connections, our vendor partner connections or just everyone on the team chipping in no matter the work, we made it work because of our partnerships.

While we can’t thank everyone, here are a few examples of how partnerships mattered to us in this project.  Susan Donahue the store’s marketing director constantly threw us ideas, researched local marketing opportunities and just found solutions when the original plan didn’t work.  Gerry Finazzo from Lake Court managed to get product for us at the last minute.  Scott Farquhar from the VGM team visited on the day of our store opening. Mike Thueson our VGM photographer provided more than pictures during his visit.  Finally, Matt and Les who took a great chance to open a store with our help in a really short time frame.  Thank you for your business and your partnership.

We encourage you, our readers to give our latest partnership a little love and a big welcome to the VGM Family by following their Facebook and Twitter page.    





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