Ten years ago, The Mann Group took to the murky waters of specialty retail with a mission: to bring high-quality training to retailers large and small to help them reach more customers and their full potential.
After working with over 750 retailers and manufacturers, from megabrands like Vans and Patagonia to the small bike shop down the road, it’s safe to say The Mann Group has successfully turned the tide in the specialty retail industry. With consulting and strategic planning services, personalized training programs, and even a book, ORBiT: The Art and Science of Influence, The Mann Group offers inestimable benefits to our industry and dispels those myths that retail is dying. Perhaps most successful of these programs, however, is Mann U.
This three-day course, set in the rolling mountains of The Mann Group’s own Asheville or the retailer’s hometown, offers insight into retailers’ most pesky and subtly troublesome hiccups. From redirecting hiring snafus to identifying important personality delineations, the course is an incredible opportunity for retail leaders to grow and bring incomparably useful knowledge back to their company.
Recently Mann U has found footing in new settings. Retailers around the country have begun to host Mann U courses not only for their own employees, but for their larger community. Specialty retailers have started to host large Mann U sessions that they open to other retailers in their town, resulting in a melting pot of leaders who all receive an incredible opportunity to grow together.
The advantages of hosting Mann U for your community are innumerable. It cuts costs or even proves profitable for the host, since the cost is divided among other businesses, and it brings together a variety of business leaders within a community. Most importantly, it holds to a sentiment The Mann Group has long championed: we’re stronger together. When a community has strong leadership across retailers, the entire local enterprise is stronger and shoppers are happier (and spend more money).
“Most small retailers think they are pioneers. The reality is that we all have the same problems in our stores, but we all fix the issues with varying degrees of success,” says Chad Pickard of Sioux Falls’ Spoke-N-Sport, who just hosted a community Mann U. “Working together, we can solve problems quicker and be more efficient and create a better environment for our clients in our respective stores.” Pickard worked together with The Great Outdoor Store and 605 Running Store this year to train all of their staff on the art of selling and creating the culture that Sioux Falls welcomes.
After bringing Mann U to Next Adventure and the wider Portland market, Andrew Sullivan could immediately sense a change in his own store and city. “The investment in Mann U is a win-win for our staff and company,” he notes. “Attendees learn valuable skills that play a role in both their personal and professional life, and then, through buy-in and commitment, they put those skills to use creating a stronger community and bringing value to our company.”
The lessons learned at Mann U, regardless of the context, are genuinely practical and implementable and have a true impact. “I really appreciated the concrete solutions that we left with,” says Maile Spung of Ute Mountaineer, a recent Mann U grad. “We have attended plenty of management seminars that work on big ideas and lack actionable solutions to take home and implement. I felt like when we came home home from Mann U we could put what we practiced to use right away.”
Recently redesigned for optimal learning, Mann U is an integral course for specialty retailers across the country. Strengthening the leaders at the top of your business has a trickle-down effect, reforming your entire store atmosphere for your employees and clientele alike. Visit us at OR Summer Market show or check out mannuniversity.net to schedule your own Mann U!