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Is It Just a Block?

Last night I showed my staff the movie Mr. Magorium’s Wonder Emporium featuring Dustin Hoffman, Natalie Portman and Jason Bateman.

I own a toy store, so the movie hits close to the heart.

For those not familiar with the movie, there are three other characters of note in the movie… a young boy named Eric, the store itself, and a magical block of wood called the Congreve Cube.

Paraphrasing from the movie… a block of wood has a million possibilities, but first someone has to believe in it.

There are things you originally believed when you first got into retail. There are feelings you had of excitement and joy and wonder. When you build a truly magical store, your customers get that same feeling of excitement and joy and wonder when they visit.

But sometimes you lose that feeling.

You get buried in paperwork and staffing issues and ordering and receiving and paying bills. You spend hours staring at computer screens or sitting in your office or rushing from one fire to the next. The magic may still exist for the customers, but you packed your magic into a box years ago. Next will be your staff to pack it in. And then your customers in this downward spiral.

Yet your business still sits there like a block of wood with millions of possibilities unexplored. It just needs someone to believe in it again.

I gave each of my staff their own Congreve Cube last night with the promise that I will not be a this-is-how-we’ve-always-done-it guy. I told them the block of wood represents a million possibilities that our store can still become. I challenged them to explore those possibilities and turn them into realities.

It only took a couple of seconds before ideas started flying. We’ll be running with those ideas today.

Go ahead and watch the movie. You don’t have to be a toy store to be magical and full of wonder. You just have to believe.

-Phil Wrzesinski

PS The first idea was Play More. I think that fits with almost every type of retail. Don’t you?

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