Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Damn Yankees

On the way to the Boston Golf show Saturday morning, the song "Higher" by the late '80's early '90s rock super group "Damn Yankees" came on the radio. The band was formed in 1989, consisting of Tommy Shaw of Styx, Jack Blades of Night Ranger, Ted Nugent of Amboy Dukes and his own solo career, and Michael Cartellone. Presumably inspired by the musical of the same name, Nugent once also explained that he coined the name because whenever someone asked him how he and Tommy Shaw would sound playing together, he would always reply by saying they would sound like “a bunch of damn Yankees.”

I thought the song was well timed because that was the same day that my super group was coming to help. Andy M, Wendy W, and Gina. What a collection of salespeople and golfers in my booth. I have included a pic of Damn Yankees. I also have a pic of my group can you guess which is which?

I would like to thank them, my staff, my wife and father in law for making a brutal weekend tolerable.

New Jersey was Great!

I would like to thank North Coast Golf Shows and the good people of NJ for a fantastic golf show. We had a great time and we sold a lot of clubs. We also had a lot of fun. As usual our trip was not without a lot of adventure. I borrowed my parents GPS system unfortunately, it does not have "Truck" settings on it (I drove in an 18 foot truck). I was probably 12 miles from my hotel and the GPS tried to put me on the Garden State Parkway- NO TRUCKS ALLOWED. I got lost in a somewhat scary part of NJ while trying to follow the Garden State parkway from the side roads. I was not in an Ask Directions kind of place either. I finally reset the GPS to get me to the hotel avoiding toll roads and I was on my way.

As usual the weather was horrible when we went to set up. It was snowing when we left our hotel on Friday morning to get to the Garden State Expo Center. The friendly desk clerk at the Crown Plaza in Clark NJ
directed us to the wrong convention center. We went to the NJ Boat Show. While trying to figure out the name of our expo center we also ran over a giant muffler with our truck and got it lodged under the truck and I tried to get our paperwork for the show out of the back of the truck during the snow storm. Once I retrieved it I could not close the truck again. I was frustrated, frostbitten and furious by the time we got to the Garden State Expo Center. Fortunately, our friends at Linksman golf were just about finished unloading when we arrived so we got their loading bay.

Once we were set up we raced back to the hotel for showers and a quick lunch. I would have settled for fast food but Maureen, our star employee made us order a massive take-out order from TGI Fridays. We arrived at the show 20 minutes after the general public. Nobody stole anything because NJ people are good people.

On Saturday we had a thief. Our booth was right by the loading bays for trucks. The good news was easy move-in and easy move-out and plenty of storage for us. The bad news was one of the bays was broken and it was cold - the broken door could not be closed. There was a semi-backed up to the broken bay to secure it. Some scumbag decided to sneak back there and lower golf clubs out of the broken bay into the parking lot(he was squeezing them between the semi and the wall). We caught him before he could get too much out and I think we retrieved everything. However, we did not catch him. I am a big fan of North Coast Golf Shows but I was a bit upset with them on this one. They had a very nonchalant attitude about what happened. It was a bit like, "wow, that is rally bad.... a thief huh?" "You are right, we should have put a security guard there." However, for the rest of the show they basically avoided me, made no effort to repair the door or secure the area. They did not want to touch the subject or converse with me about what happened. They did point out all of the other unsecured areas that surrounded my booth!

The final challenge of the show was on Sunday morning when somebody hit 8 perfect toe shots with our driver demo. By perfect, I mean off the toe, around the nets and directly into the PVC pipe that holds up our driving range. On the 8th shot the PVC pipe cracked and the range came tumbling down!

All that aside- getting lost, crime, broken driving ranges etc. we had a great time in NJ. We had fun at the show, we enjoyed the people and our truck was pretty empty on the ride home. Apparently NJ loves GRIP and we love NJ!

Saturday, February 23, 2008

End of the Boston Show

I always like to put a positive spin on things but the Boston golf Expo was positively awful. My biggest mistake was not leaving at 4:00 PM on fiiday night and letting my more than qualified GRIP staff handle the 18 people that showed up to the Seaport Expo Center in Boston. Saturday was bad, and Sunday was brutal as well. Not only was it a holiday weekend in Boston but it was alos school vacation week. I still think that there were plaenty of people in the greater Boston area for the weekend but the show was poorly advertised if advertised at all. So, Boo Hoo for all of us that paid for expensive booths (Boston is the most expensive show to attend East of the Mississippi).

GRIP had some additional issues that may cause us to skip the Boston show next year even though it is close to home and technically our "Local" show. Our booth was sold to us as "Near the manufacturers Demo Range and close to the Lady's Golf Experience." When we arrived, we quickly noticed that our booth was burried behind the Manufacturer's demo range and right in the middle of the Lady's Golf Experience. As potential customers came down the aisly they saw a huge sign that said, "Lady's Golf Experience." If the sign did not deter them, the Ping Lady's reps and the Callaway Lady reps would clearly inform them that men's clubs were the next aisle over.

Jim from Paragon Expos reminded me that this was the booth I wanted. I don't actually remember wanting a booth in the lady's section and burried behind a driving range. Jim was convinced that when he spoke to us on the phone we were elated that this booth was avaialble. The truth is that Jim would not commit space to us for almost 2 months. During that time he cut out a nice piece of space for Wildcard Golf that would have worked for us nicely. Wildcard registerd for the show well after us. We know because they told us. I am pretty sure that I am one of many who will require a good incentive to go back to Boston next year.

I would like to thank, my wife, the GRIP staff, Andy, Wendy, Gina, and Paul for helping me at the show, keeping me sane and making me laugh as we watched half the attendees get withing 7 feet of our booth and announce that "this is the lady's section! lets get out of here!"

Friday, February 15, 2008

What Next?

A UPS Trailer exploded. Guess what was on it? You got it a much larger than average GRIP Golf Iron, Wood, and Driver order.

Fire Erupts In UPS Trailer; Packages Destroyed
Posted by roboblogger 1 hr ago
A United Parcel Service trailer carrying packages caught on fire early Friday in southwest suburban Hodgkins read the rest from MSNBC

Tracking Detail

Your package has experienced an exception.

Tracking Number:
1Z 6E8 xxxx xxxx xxxxx


Exception See description below

Shipped To:

Shipped/Billed On:


9.00 Lbs

Local Time
7:00 A.M.

12:21 P.M.
12:49 A.M.
9:03 P.M.

4:02 P.M.
3:09 P.M.

Boston Golf Show

Wow, what can I say...last year it poured on the opening Friday night of the Boston Show and I left feeling optimistic because I had a few late visitors that bought from my timy 10x10 booth that only offered Hybrids, Wedges, and Putters.

Welcome to 2008, new venue, biggger booth, and two employees with me. The show was about as crowded Fenway Park in November. I remember last year you had to make a "Te Time" to get a Ping fitting. Today I saw the Pink reps loafing aroung eating pretzels like the good people at GRIP. Lets hope for a better tomorrow.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Potato man

I am not sure where he came from but we had him in washington and he is in boston with us too.

Boston Golf Show

Last year was my first Boston Golf Show. I secured a booth at the last minute and had a few signs made. I worked the entire 3 days of the show by myself selling Hybrids, Putters and Wedges in a crowded 10x10 space. I rented a minivan and jammed everything I need into the van. Moving in was awful. It was pouring and cold all day and small companies with little booths and tiny vans were not welcome in the garage. I survived and had a pretty good show.

Fast forward to one year later. I now have plenty of help for the show but I loaded most of the truck myself yesterday. My local paper, The Worcester Telegram and Gazette summarized it best in their Headline "Cold, Wet, Wild." Here is a small excerpt summarizing the area by our Northborough Office and Warehouse:

"As much as 6 inches of water flooded some sections of Route 9, including the area near Bertucci’s restaurant in Westboro. Sections of East Main Street at Lyman Street and near McDonald’s also flooded. Crews from the state highway department and the Westboro Department of Public Works worked throughout the day to free clogged catch basins around town. Around 11 a.m., a water main break near Route 140 and Woodland Road in Shrewsbury didn’t help things. Police spent the day redirecting traffic through the residential area, just south of the center of town. "
With out a doubt, the worst weather to load an 18 foot truck in. Man, was I chilly and wet.

Today is a balmy 14 degrees for move-in. I have been here since 6:00 AM paying bills and getting orders ready so we can leave for move-in this morning. Anything is better than pouring rain. I have included a couple of nice pictures of 7:30 AM at our offices. It is nice to have your office over a driving range. Especially when you are in the golf business! By the way, the range is open. You can hit right out into the snow and ice from the heated bays. The grass tees are obviously closed. The Little Suzuki Samuri that you seein the snow is permanently parked in that spot. It is used as a 125 marker. It should be noted that the grass tees move around all summer so sometimes it is as close as 75 yards. When the tees are that close we hear a lot of "Look Dad, I just hit that over 125 yards!"

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

The End of the Washington Golf Expo

The Washington Golf Show ended pretty well. We had a lot of fun, sold a bunch of clubs, ate too much, and our backs hurt.

Packing up to leave was not very smooth. On Sunday we got to the show early in order to secure a loading bay for our truck. Of course I picked the loading bay that had a broken door. Some of the staff at the Dulles Expo center would argue that I broke the door. It is no ordinary garage door it is used for loading and unloading trucks. The door is huge and very heavy. It is not electric either. It is operated using a chain. It was a bit jammed so I pulled on the chain as hard as I could and a giant spring fell off. To make a long story short, we had to load most of the truck with a 3 foot clearance. That was as far as the door would open.

Additionally, we lost a Utility Knife that we borrowed from a Union Employee at the Dulles Expo Center. The gentleman's name was "Moose". The name was actually stitched into his shirt. A male adult who has the name "Moose" gets the name for 3 reasons:

He is Big

He is nice

If you upset him (e.g. lose his knife) he will turn on you and scare you.

We offered to pay Moose for his knife. We were approached by his extremely unfriendly boss (he was unfriendly before both the garage and the knife incidents) and we offered to pay for it. We were then approached by Moose and we offered him money as well but he gave me a death stare and walked off. I am very afraid that we have not seen the last of Moose. I would have paid him double the value of the Knife.

Following the show, Me, Maureen, Mike, and Mike's staff picked up very fatty BBQ take-out and watched the Patriots lose at the Holiday Inn. I was pretty depressed about that. Apparently the rest of the country was not.

Monday, Maureen and I drove our 18 foot truck home for 7.5 hours. In typical Generation Y fashion Maureen retreated to the comfort of her IPOD Touch. I listened to talk radio (no sports) the entire way home because I am 30 something years old and possibly getting duller by the second.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

2008 GRIP Wedges & Hybrids

Here they are folks...some early pictures of our 2008 GRIP Hybrids & Wedges

Friday, February 1, 2008

Road Show

It is that time of year - Road Show! We arrived late last night in Fairifax, VA for the Greater Washington Golf Show. It was about 7.5 hours from our offices in Northborough, MA but we had to stop in Hartford to pick up more clubs from our warehouse and to ship out several orders from our surprisingly successful dead of winter/post holiday driver sale.

A lot of people came up very big for us with this show including:

  • Irene (GRIP Marketing and PR) for organizing, planning, and getting us ready for the shows. Irene planned this show with amazing detail right down to the amount of extension cord we need by inches.

  • Ken from Pin Hi golf Crafters in West Boylston, MA for building 12 sets of irons and a ton of drivers in 40 hours.

  • Steve, our club builder in Hartford for doing the same as Ken (he actually beat Ken by 26 drivers but we are not counting)

  • Maureen from GRIP for bringing a GPS and keeping me company for 9 hours of travel and packing boxes in the freezing cold outside the Hartford Warehouse.

  • John W from Ryder in Auburn, MA for a great deal on a truck for all the shows. It wasn't the most comortable truck but we got here.

  • My wife for taking care of the kids, house, and cats while I sel golf clubs every weekend until late March. Additionally she provides a ton of support for me!

  • Paul from East Coast Golf (where our office are) for always helping out when we need it.

  • The Hyatt Fair Lakes in Fairfax for providing a great place to stay at an amazing rate thanks to Hotwire.com

  • Mike Blair for hooking us up with an amazing Driving range 10'x10'x10' for our booth and Dancin' Dogg for setting us up with a top notch indoor golf simulator for the range.

I thing that covers it. If you are in the Washington DC are we hope to see you at the golf expo.

We have to unload the truck around 9:00 AM in the rain - I hope we get into the garage. I will be posting more pictures and notes from the show...stay tuned.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Driving range

Paul From East Coast Golf cut the PVC pipe that we need to build our driving range. He used the spare pieces , an extra scrap of net and the corners that we will need to build the driving range at the Greater Washington Golf Show to build a small model of what it should look like. The little action figure represents me standing around selling Wide Sole iron sets.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

Charlie Mandel

I had a great lunch with Charlie Mandel from Rankmark. We are looking forward to participationg in the 2008 Rankmark Club Testing

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Escalade golf cart

Now I am being seen in one. I wonder how many people actually drive around in an Escalade golf cart. I am sure it is cool if you are famous to be seen in something like this. What about the average person living in a gated community in Palm Beach or Miami?

On the subject of Cadillacs, I parked next to a brand new Cadillac CTS today. I am know that Cadillac is targeting the "30 Something" market with these new vehicles. If by any chance some marketing genuis from General Motors is reading this, you should probably consider having me drive around in one for free. I am the young him thirty-something entrepreneurial type that you are targeting. When the world sees the President of GRIP golf in this car it will positively affect your sales. I have an IPOD and look how many other people got them too.

I absolutely love the CTS. Much cooler than a Lexus, BMW or any other comparable mid-sized Yuppie sled in the same class. The car is pure cool.

Fancy carts

These carts at the pga show seem like something i should be seen in

2008 PGA Expo Orlando

2008 PGA Show

I arrived at the 2008 PGA Expo yesterday at 4:00 PM via Jet Blue from Boston. Thank you Jet Blue for your fine television services. I did spend most of the time listening to the CNBC and watching what is left of my money disappear in the markets and sending panicky emails to my staff about the 1000 little things that I am worried about (how many wood ferrules do we have left?).

My new friend Dave Frem, the owner of one of my favorite golf courses, Cyprian Keyes in Boylston, MA was on the plane with me. I have traveled extensively for business. Standard & Poor's had me living in NY 2-3 nights a week at one point and my prior job had me on the road 4 days a week. I learned many things including when to let a person relax and spend some time alone with their Ipod and maybe a movie. Dave is a very nice guy with a young family like me - he is probably looking forward to a little R&R during his trip. R&R does not include a guy like me swapping seats to sit next to him and rambling about the golf business for 2.5 hours. He got on the plane wearing the Ipod - when someone does that it means you should say hello and then treat them as if they are invisible until they take off the Ipod and approach you. It is the proper protocol. Dave and I caught up in the airport it was good to see him. We are hosting a tournament at his course this spring.

I felt good arriving in Orlando. I got my bossy emails to my staff over with and I feel ready to stomp around the PGA Expo for a few days. We do not have a booth at the show. We are still sticking to our guns and selling our fine golf clubs directly to our customers. The show is very important for The Savvy Golfer, because we find our new vendors at the show and set up new relationships.

I have several meetings for GRIP including a few media conversations, and a meeting with our new shaft supplier, Swing Science . Mike Blair arrives tonight and leaves tomorrow evening. He schedules a bunch of meetings over a short period of time and jets right back to Hartford. Hopefully he has the final 2008 Hybrid and Wedge samples on him. We are a little behind schedule as always.
We both have full schedules for the show.
Thrifty rent a car upgraded me from a compact to a Chrysler 300C. As cool of a car as it is, I bet it will go through a bit more gas than the little Hyundai I was supposed to get. I have Check out the snap of the "Fly" car.
The Wyndham Hotel in Orlando is fine for $75 per night. Originally they also upgraded me for free to a "Lagoon View Room" but they forgot to mention that it was a smoking room. I was moved to a room with a view of the parking lot, the highway and a liquor store. The room is adequate and it has 2 double beds so Mike can crash here. I have no idea how Expedia gave it 3 stars but it is close to the convention center and fairly comfortable.
Once I settled in, called home and checked email. I ventured out to Subway for a 6" ham and turkey. I finished the night by finally figuring out how to sync my new Verizon Wireless SMT 5800 "Smart Phone" so I can check email at the show today. I am also using the 2 Mexapixel camera on the phone to take my pictures this week.
After a 30 minute workout and a coffee I am headed out the door to the show now. More later...