Tuesday, October 02, 2007

What a brutal month.

Time to Change

Sorry I haven’t written in a while. September has been bad, really bad. I lost a layer of management and that hurts. Two of my top people decided to depart, being my General Manager and his District Manager. It was compounded by the way it was done. I call it the double whammy. It has been an emotional month for Aida and I. We did shed a few tears. Life working at AWN is good, really good. I know that by the big picture. Staff love working for us and it shows by the longevity of their employment. Are we perfect? No. Did we learn from this, yes we did. I believe change will be good for us and I welcome it. The strange thing about this is we were in a position to offer the District Manager a huge promotion to head AWN and be the new General Manager. It was declined and not considered. We still can’t figure that one out and never will.

Losing staff no matter who it is always makes us feel bad. It is who we are. When I say we, I’m referring to Aida and I. Generally, we feel it closer in our wholesale division, BMS as we are there every day. When someone leaves us there, everyone feels it. We are almost like a family. I love walking in with my Tim Horton’s coffee in hand saying hello to everyone every day and cracking a few jokes.

My vision started 8 years ago. It was to upgrade our existing 3 stores and to seriously grow the business. To be accepted as mainstream as much as we can. My newly hired General Manager joined us 7 years ago as he read the business plan and saw the future as I did. His job was to execute this vision, and he did it perfectly with some direction from me, but not much as we saw eye to eye on most things. As you know, we now have 11 beautiful stores.

I sit on the plane going to Vegas. It’s a night flight so I was trying to sleep and found a tear trying to break through and trickle down my cheek. I’m glad the plane is dark. The memories were great, but it is over now and maybe that is why I’m sad. It’s the final thing that hurts. Both managers did a ton of things for AWN and hats off to them. They move on and perhaps will be better off and we will too. Their decision had to be hard, and I admire them for it. I am always a very happy person as you can tell by reading a few of my writings. So I hate this feeling.

Sleeping is usually easy for me on plane this time, especially with those two dudes in front of me chirping away. I wanted to do the cartoon thing and whack them both over the head so they pass out. I ended up grabbing my notebook and here I am.
The best and most comforting thing is there are a lot of employees in AWN who are very supportive and love AWN and know we are a solid company and welcome change.
Not standing still, I have selected another person to lead its growth. His name is Troy Heath. Troy brings a world of retail experience to AWN. His title will be Director of Operations. Troy in his last job was responsible for the day to day operations and long term planning of 44 stores with over $80 million in sales and 500 associates. Troy won our hearts with his honesty and straight forward talk.

Troy will start October 9.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Hi Steve,
Sorry to hear about "the departed", especially JT! I wish them both good luck in future endevours.
I hope everything works out with Troy (though it sounds like it will.)
I've always considered AWN "my family in the city", and I miss you all so much!
Take care of yourself!
~T. Dougherty
P.S. When are you opening a store in London? ;)

2:56 PM  

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