78 Degrees and Sunny
80 plus small specialty retailers from all over the country checked in to the Westin Maui Hotel this week as a reward for their 2008 sales increases over 2007. The thing they have in common is they all sell Brighton merchandise. They were treated to a week of dining, socializing, learning and playing; with all expenses paid by Brighton. How many vendors do you know that do something like this for their customers?
Pam Chambers and I Arrive
Pam and I have been honored to speak at numerous Brighton functions in the past 6 years. We arrived at the same time Sunday evening and were greeted by the Brighton Welcoming Committee, and given lei along with a bag of “goodies.”
Evening Arrival Reception
The fun started with a reception at the Aloha Pavilion by the beach. As usual, no expense was sparred when setting out the food and drink.
The following morning a lavish breakfast buffet was set out for all to enjoy. Everything you can think of that makes a great breakfast was there, along with excited people.
Brighton founder and owner Jerry Kohl kicked things off with his “Shame on You” message aimed at the big retailers who were advertising shameless discounts in an attempt to make their holiday numbers, and placing an added burden on small retailers that want to maintain their integrity and hard earned profits.
Jerry Knows Numbers
There’s no one any better at numbers than Jerry Kohl, and he was able to display facts that showed how Brighton fared the difficult holiday season better than the giants, while maintaining the integrity of the Brighton brand and refusing to play the “discount game.”
Pam and I then met with the store owners twice. The goal was, “Finish by noon and then go to the beach.” My message was on “Success in Challenging Times.” Pam talked about what she looks for and expects as a customer. We were both thrilled with the attention and interest of the attendees.
After the morning information meetings, and before heading to the beach, Laura Young outlined company campaign plans for 2009 starting on Inauguration Day.
Dinner Sign Ups
Everyone was invited to sign up for dinners the following evenings at 1st class restaurants including Lahaina Grill, Longhi’s, Roy’s, Leilani’s, Merriman’s, Hula Grill and Tropica at the Westin. Pam and I hosted the 1st night groups at Leilani’s in Whalers Village and Tropica at The Westin.
Lunch with Jerry and Terri
Jerry and Terri Kohl then took those of us available and sill hungry to lunch at Hula Grill, where whales could be seen a few hundred yards away.
There were so many great meals to choose from and whales to watch at the same time. Terri made it easy for me; she knew the menu and my tastes. This seaside meal was quite a treat, especially for those from the colder states, which was just about everyone except for Pam and me.
Work It Off!!!
By now I was reaching my food limit, so with dinner at Leilani’s coming up tonight, I decided to hit the gym at The Westin. It offers a pretty relaxing “work out” while watching TV and looking down at the pool and out to the ocean.
My Table of Stars
I hosted this great group at Leilani’s on the Beach. In addition to a fabulous dinner, we had a lively discussion about how these small stores in Texas dealt with the last two hurricanes. I was really impressed with the grit and generosity these people showed during those tough times.
All of this was on Day 1.
After a second day of food, fun, classes and information, Laura assembled everyone for a review session. Ideas were exchanged and commitments expressed. The enthusiasm was heartwarming.
Following are some more of the photos that I took at different meals and meetings. Enjoy the sights, and for any of you that were there who want more photos than this, just send me a note and I will zip up a folder full and send them to you.
Aloha and Mahalo to Jerry Kohl and Laura Young for providing this memorable experience.