Insanely Popular Ways to Waste Your Life

Insanely Popular Ways to Waste Your Life

My Dad would always say "you only live once!" and "live everyday as though it were your last". Such good advice and is so often ignored. Taken for granted is the fragility and length of our lives.  In our youth we believe we are going to live forever. We reach a point where we seem to coast quite aimlessly. The next phase seems to be waiting. Waiting for what? To die? NO! Don't forget how little time you each have (if you are lucky enough to grow old). Are you guilty of wasting your life? Here are some common ways to waste a life:

1) Meaningless distractions. Social media, video games, television, drinking, etc. can bring fun, relaxation and joy BUT can also take us to the point of allowing the endless, numbing noise to eat away a life. 

2) In a state of overwhelm. Try doing one thing at a time with full focus, no distractions. 

3) Constant indecision = stagnation.  

4) Fearing Failure. The right thing to do and the easy thing to do are rarely the same thing. You have to be willing to fail forward.

5) Being busy (but not productive). Don't confuse motion with progress. 

6) A lack of self-discipline. Sacrificing immediate pleasure and excitement for what matters most in life.

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Suzy Safety Says...

Suzy Safety Says...

April is Alcohol Awareness Month!

Drinking too much alcohol increases people’s risk of injuries, violence, drowning, liver disease, and some types of cancer. This April, during Alcohol Awareness Month, Attract encourages you to educate yourself and your loved ones about thedangers of drinking too much.  12 people per 10,000 are killed by DUI in Polk County annually.

If you are drinking too much, you can improve your health by cutting back or quitting.  Here are some strategies to help you cut back or stop drinking:

  • Limit your drinking to no more than 1 drink a day for women or 2 drinks a day for men.
  • Keep track of how much you drink.
  • Don't drink when you are upset.
  • Avoid places where people drink a lot.
  • Make a list of reasons not to drink.

If you are concerned about someone else’s drinking, offer to help.

Up Next...

Up Next...

It's the calm before the storm! We have a lot of exciting projects about to hit and get the "gang" back together again. Here's a sneak peek of what's up next:

Jackson & Polk

Additional shelving and perimeter systems needed. Small face lift to the original San Fransisco store Attract did a couple of years ago -- on Stacy's lawn!

Gigi & Rose - Women's & Children's

Owner of Jackson & Polk is also relocating her women's Gigi & Rose and children's Gigi & Rose stores. They will need perimeter shelving, tables, cash wraps, and miscellaneous decor. This will be a great project to showcase Attract's capabilities and style!

World Kitchen

2016 store program for World Kitchen: approximately six new stores with additional items for remodel stores. Includes new cash wrap, customer service kiosk, video walls, and potentially perimeter showcase bookcases.

Wilder Cafe

Wilder Cafe is a new restaurant opening sometime around May. Its a 1,800 square foot renovation with new tables, bars, and booths. Attract is leading the design and project management along with providing the furniture for the restaurant. 

That Time of Year

That Time of Year

It’s that time of year again! Our “slow” season. Those of you that are veterans in our industry will rejoice in this time of year. The time to chill, the time to get organized, the time to implement change, the time to get to designing, thanking customers, quoting and selling new projects. The time to get ready for another crazy summer. The time for a little ice fishing.

For those of you that are new to this, you are probably freaked out! Where did everyone go? What will happen next? What will you do??? Fear not! FOCUS. Take some time for yourself and then GET TO WORK!!!

Take this time to jump into high gear…to take care of all of the things you have been meaning to,to reach out to your customers and vendors for "thank you's" and "what's next?" conversations and to take care of that dentist appointment you have been meaning to make. Those involved in sales and quoting, you are busy as can be and this is prime time for that.

For the rest of you, get organized and rest those bones. Great job on a stellar year!!! More to come so enjoy it while you can!

Theatre 101 for Dealing With Customers

Theatre 101 for Dealing With Customers

Customer service. You either love it or you hate it, but we all have to deal with it at some point. Whether it’s directly communicating with our clients, working with vendors, or chatting with a truck driver — we all encounter a need for customer service.

As some of you know, I have a background in theatre. I minored in Theatre Arts in college and worked for 2 years at a successful community theater in Duluth previous to working at Attract. And while I thought that my theatre background was going to be useless as an adult, it’s actually come in incredibly handy in the arena of customer service. Not to say that you have to be a good actor to succeed in this area, but it helps you understand the mentality of customer service faster and maybe just a little better.

Here are 5 tips from the mind of a semi-thespian that can help you get in the customer service mindset.

  1. The show must go on. Also an epic Queen song, this saying goes a looooooong way. No matter the setbacks, no matter the screw ups (on our part or theirs), the show must go on. You’re in front of a live audience, you can’t give up, even if you want to. Once in high school, I played Mama Bear in a comedy called The Trial of Goldilocks (NO, I will not bring in photos), and I knocked a ceramic coffee mug off a table with my butt during the middle of a production, shattering it into a million pieces. What did I do? I kept going. I didn’t give up or break character. You have to. Same with customer service — never break face.
  2. Learning how to say something even when you forget your lines. It’s called improv. I do it all the time. Being the person with the least amount of production experience on staff, I have definitely learned how to BS my way through a conversation a time or two. It’s that mentality of thinking on your feet that will improve your customer service skills. We always want to be putting our most professional foot forward, even if we are known for our fun and quirky company personality. 
  3. Knowing how to have a phony smile even when you’re hating the world. We all have those days where the last thing you want to do is be or sound pleasant. This is where the acting comes in handy. After spending copious amounts of time on the phone with patrons buying tickets — I have dealt with some of the most ignorant (or sometimes just straight up dumb) people. But instead of letting them hear the annoyance in my voice, I go in to “Actor Mode” and put a smile into my voice. How do you do that? Its easy — smile when you talk. You can literally hear a smile in your voice, I shit you not. It makes a world of difference.
  4. Knowing the applause is for everyone. While it might seem that they’re only cheering for the faces they see on stage, just remember that it takes dozens of people to produce a show — from the director to the spot light operator to the dude that glued feathers on the lead actress’ costume. No matter where you are at in this company, success is attributed to each and every one of us, not any one person.
  5. You’re providing an experience, just as much as you are providing a product or service. Working on the ticketing side at a theater really taught me that it’s about the entire experience, not just the final production or product. If you have a sucky experience with a loud audience member or a (pardon my language) bitchy ticket seller, it can crap on your whole night no matter how fantastic the show was. Keep that in mind with every person you encounter along the road of a project — even if you’re just the guy they walk past on the way to the bathroom when they’re visiting our facility — your contribution and attitude shape their entire experience. 

To be honest, the biggest thing having a theatre background has taught me is to be present and self aware. Be in the moment — really be there. Not just physically, but mentally too. And realize that you’re representing a larger whole, no matter what your role is. Customer service is the “stage” and the customers are our “audience.” Let’s give them a performance they won’t forget.

Thrifty Valentine Gifts

Thrifty Valentine Gifts

I will admit it – I am thrifty!  I have been called cheap but that doesn’t actually reflect my views.  I LOVE to spend money, but I would rather have 10 items that I love for $100 than 1 item that is great.  Some of my favorite clothes come from the thrift store and some of my favorite items in my house are “repurposed”. 

That being said, I cringe at the thought of Valentine’s Day gifts - roses by the dozen, fancy dinners, and jewelry items outrageously overpriced for this romantic holiday.

My suggestions for you:

  1. Flowers. Never spend over $20 on flowers.  You can get a beautiful bouquet of long lasting flowers for this price.  If you insist on roses, limit the number, they only last a short time.  Carnations, daisies, etc. last much longer and are less expensive.  Many grocery stores have great selections around Valentine’s Day.
  2. Dinners. Do you have a favorite food?  Can you cook it at home?  Add a candle and a glass of wine to a favorite dinner at home for Valentine’s Day.  Go out on another night when prices aren’t jacked up for the holiday.
  3. Jewelry. Shop Amazon for Sterling Silver items – they last a long time and are a great alternative to expensive gold.  Or find a place that sells local artisan crafted jewelry to find a great piece in their favorite color.
  4. Romance. Hand-write a list of “10 reasons I love you”.  This doesn’t even need a card!  Write their name on an envelope with the list enclosed – and draw little hearts on it.  Note:  Girls like to keep this stuff!
  5. Movie. Make it a “snuggle night” with comfy pajamas, a romantic movie (or 2), popcorn and some M&M’s.  We could all use a little down-time, right?

In conclusion, spend whatever you are comfortable spending for Valentine’s Day, but little things all through the year to show romance are the best things in my opinion.  Give your partner time to do something they love or help clean up the house when needed.  Say please and thank you to each other and be respectful - that’s what makes a love story!

Fatten Your Paycheck

Fatten Your Paycheck

Did you know that in addition to your everyday responsibilities, you are also a commissioned sales person for Attract?  “Whatchya talking about Willis?” 

In the summer we created a commission payout for all employees if they bring in a new customer to Attract.  It’s quite simple…all you have to do is call the people you know and tell them about Attract.  If we end up doing work with them, we pay you a commission based on the profitability of the project. 

I understand everyone isn’t comfortable with sales.  For those that aren’t, you can give me (Kevin) the contact info and I can connect with your lead.  If the lead turns into business, you still get your commission.  Brilliant!

Thank You And Thank Each Other

Thank You And Thank Each Other

Like most of you, I have been in and around production for a very long time and there are a few observations I thought it would be fun to share this week, because it has been a crazy one!

1) Teamwork is incredible. It is amazing what can be accomplished when people work together. 

2) Stretching is helpful. It is earth shattering to see what happens when people go above and beyond, step outside of their comfort zone or push past their boundaries, break through barriers and just act in sync as a team.

3) Treat obstacles as expected. Plan for problems before they come because they will come! Don’t be afraid to communicate early and often. Ask others for help when you get stuck. Work together to solve them.  Walk through them together. They will pass. Learn from them.

4) Understanding contribution is vital. It is very important to respect the different skill sets and contributions of our colleagues. Sometimes (especially in times of hard work and stress) it is easy to assume that you do more than someone else or that your work is more important than others simply because you don’t have an understanding of what their job is like, how it fits into the bigger picture, or how hard it actually is. 

While we are in the trenches this week, I ask you to reflect on this. To consider how you view others here and and how you view yourself. I ask you to put yourself in each others shoes, to help out, no matter what your normal job entails so that nothing slips through the cracks AND so that you can develop a new perspective. I ask you to attempt to ensure that you are giving each of your teammates the equal value in your mind they deserve and the encouragement that will allow us to push though together. 

I am so proud of our team and what we do everyday. I am so proud of each of you. I believe 100% in the equal value and contribution each of you “cogs” are in this little machine. Every person here was hand selected and is AMAZING at what they do. THAT IS WHY YOU ARE HERE! Your ARE Attract. I love how nimble we are and how quickly we jump in to help each other. 

I know that we are all proud of Attract, of our hard work, of our team, of ourselves. Without each and every one of you, we would have never made it this far, and we will never get to where we are going. THANK YOU and thank EACH OTHER! We are a TEAM.