Business As Usual

I was in New York this week to meet with customers. That’s my story – it was business as usual. Fly into La Guardia; take the car service to my hotel in Mid-town; grab a quick-lunch; make my appointments. Easy-sneezy.

But New York is never easy. And New York in summer (with all the wonderful tourists) is really not easy. Now I know that for a lot of folks New York is very exciting and a “first time destination” but I’m there several times a year and I’m (usually) on a mission to get there; get it done; get out. It’s not that I don’t like New York – I actually love New York, I just really don’t have time for staring up at the skyscrapers or leisurely walking down 5th Avenue or Times Square – I’ve got to be somewhere; with someone; doing something REALLY REALLY IMPORTANT! It’s just business as usual.

Now what is it that I do actually? It’s a bit of mystery. And I want to keep it that way. Now that I have international accounts, I suppose that you could say that I’m an “International Man of Mystery” (but in the boring world of retail store fixture design, manufacturing, and installation). But that’s beside the point. I’ve “boiled it down” to this – my customers give me “pretty pictures” and I make “pretty fixtures” (no not light fixtures – we build cabinets, counters, racks, display walls – it’s the stuff that the stuff that you suckers – sorry consumers – buy is stacked and hung on). Very important work – without me you wouldn’t experience the joy of relinquishing your disposable income in well-appointed department and specialty stores. You’d be buying your pickles out of a barrel. That’s all I can tell you. How the magic happens must remain a mystery. The truth is: I’m not even sure.

Bryant Park with the New York Public Library in the background

This week in New York one of my customers had a conflict and at the last-minute she cancelled our meeting (we opted for speaking on the phone, which for the record I could have done from St. Louis) so I had a free afternoon. And I walked. I walked from Bryant Park in midtown to Ground Zero downtown. For one sweet afternoon in June it wasn’t business as usual. I actually S L O W E D  D O W N and walked (kind of like a tourist) through some of my favorite neighborhoods (Flat Iron, Chelsea, SoHo, Greenwich Village) and parks (Madison Park, Union Square and Washington Square Park) –  it was such a guilty pleasure!

My day ended with a brief meeting and a great dinner with my best customer (and friend), some great conversation and (a little) wine. Finally we went to a roof top bar on 5th Ave for (a few) drinks. My laugh muscles were sufficiently “worked out”.  That night we celebrated the conclusion of some successful projects. We shared fond memories from the past. And we looked forward to future endeavors. This is how business should be done – in a city that never sleeps, with spectacular weather, with people who you respect and admire, at good restaurants and nice night clubs.

Monday I guess it’s back to business as usual (maybe). But it will remain a mystery!