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Business Cents kicks off with review of pandemic lessons

 8 March 2021     Michael J. Knell 

BOWMANVILLE, Ontario – The second season of Business Cents, an ongoing series of conversations on topics of interest with Albert Marrache, president and founder at Phoenix AMD International, kicks off by tackling the single most issue facing Canadian society at this moment, the COVID-19 pandemic.

Specifically, Albert and I attempt to articulate what lessons we have learned from the pandemic and how it has changed us both as businesspeople and as human beings.

He begins with a straightforward declaration.

“I think the first thing is I’ve been incredibly humbled by the whole situation,” Albert says. “I watched not only my own organization but my customers and the industry as a whole…I admire these entrepreneurs who have managed to survive and, in some cases, really been able to shine throughout this whole thing.

Albert Marrache, president and founder of Phoenix AMD International.“We’ve overcome an enormous amount of fear, we’ve learned a lot of different lessons and we need to go through the different lessons that are there,” he continues, “If you had of told me this was going to happen and this is how things would look a year later, I would of told you you're crazy, that three-quarters of the business would be gone – and yet it’s pretty week the opposite.”

Among the business lesion Marrache has learned, two in particular stand out.

“We really need to look at is how much wasted staff we had,” he says, adding when moving people from the office to working at home, forced him to make ensure everyone on his team was truly engaged with the business and its goals. “All the retailers that we’ve been working with have told us they’ve operated with less staff and have managed to do a lot more than they ever did before. One of the lessons that I’ve learned is we have to have people who perform. If they don’t, you can’t afford to have them because it kills not only your overhead but your production. We need to have more focused, better people working for us. You don’t necessarily need as many you just need to make sure they are happy and they produce really well.”

The other lesson concerns culture and building one that works.

“I think that any organization that has or has built a culture has done really well.” Marrache believes, adding it’s critically important to keep everyone of the team connected.

“I think the other part that I have found frustrating is that our industry, especially at the retail level, the technology has not kept up with where a lot of other industries are,” he says. “A lot of retailers do not have computers set up with speakers or cameras, so doing Zoom meetings or Team meetings are much more difficult. I think these are important because in the future, even if it’s not with a supplier, consumers are getting very used to these tools.”

CLICK HERE to listen to my entire conversation with Albert Marrache devoted to  ‘Lessons from the pandemic’ on HGOtv’s Business Cents.


Sealy Canada
Phoenix AMD
This HGO article was written by:
Michael J. Knell
Michael J. Knell

Michael is the publisher and editor of Home Goods Online. A seasoned business journalist, he has researched and written about the furniture, mattress and major appliance industries in both Canada and the United States for the past three decades.


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