retail news in context, analysis with attitude

As I mentioned yesterday in FaceTime, this has been a busy week-and-a-half. It started with going to Los Angeles, where I taught on Friday morning at the excellent Food Industry Management program run by the USC Marshall School of Business. While all the people taking the class are industry professionals, they also were almost all millennials, which means that they have an entirely different perspective on life and business than I do. I always find that to be both energizing and challenging.

That's why I love spending my summers teaching at Portland State University in Oregon ... it is why I spent time not long ago in the business school at the State University of New York (SUNY) at New Paltz ... and why, whenever I'm asked and scheduling allows, I'm happy and privileged to teach classes at Cornell University and Western Michigan University and the University of Florida at Gainesville and others.

It isn't that I know so much. It is just that maybe I have a different perspective than some of the other folks who guest lecture there. Besides, I have a selfish motive ... which is that I probably learn a lot more from them than they learn from me.



From Los Angeles I drove out to Scottsdale, Arizona, for the Food Marketing Institute (FMI) Midwinter Executive Conference ... then flew up to Seattle for two days ... then took the Amtrak down to Portland for two days .... and as you read this, I'm heading to Chicago for the weekend. Mrs. Content Guy is meeting me there, and Saturday night we're seeing the closing night performance of "Prelude to a Kiss," a revival of the Craig Lucas play in which our son, David, has the male lead. (He gets the girl! Yippee!)

This is a long way of saying that I haven't seen any movies to review this week, nor have I finished any books. (I'm about halfway through the new Reed Farrel Coleman novel, "What You Break," but it doesn't come out until February 7, so I can'y write about it until next Friday. Which I will.

But while I haven't got any movies or books to write about, I am happy to report that while in Seattle, I did what I always do - I went to Etta's and saw Morgan, who I have written about enthusiastically in two books and frequently here on MNB. For newer readers, let me explain it to you this way ... while I don't get to Seattle more than once or twice a year, and sometimes an entire year can go by without visiting one of my favorite cities in the US, I always feel like a regular when I go to Etta's. The first time I went there was close to 20 years ago, I think, when I wandered in off the street on a cold and rainy Seattle evening. I sat at the bar, had a crab sandwich a couple of glasses of wine, and chatted with Morgan. The second time I went there, which had to be months later, Morgan remembered me, poured me a glass of red wine without asking, and that was it. I always sort of feel like Norm in "Cheers," and this is a valuable lesson to every business. The goal should be to make every customer feel like a regular ... because that's one of the best feelings in the world.

So I went to Etta's early this week with my friends Tom Furphy and Mike Burrington, sat at the bar, and Morgan didn't disappoint. He brought out a bottle of the 2013 Gun Metal blend - 50% Cabernet, 43% Merlot and 7% Cabernet Franc - from Washington State's Guardian Cellars, and it was amazing. It was ripe and rich and smooth, and while it may not have been the ideal wine to pair with the crab sandwich I ordered, it somehow was perfect. As was the early evening in general.




That's it for this week. Have a great weekend, and I'll see you Monday.

Slàinte!
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