Student of the Week: Lucas Smelser of FITniche

When did you first know you were on the right path in the specialty retail industry?

Since I was 16 years old, I haven’t really ever known anything but the restaurant business. Then in 2014, my wife and I moved to Florida. She had been hired as a professor at the local college and I was jobless for the first time in over two decades. I have always had a passion for running and decided to take a shot in retail at our local run specialty shop, FITniche. From the first moment I was introduced to the store, I fell in love with the guest experience, knowledge and genuine care for every single person that walked through the door. It was something that I desperately wanted to be a part of.

What’s your favorite part of your job?

As a former business owner, I did my fair share of interviews. One of the questions I would ask was, “What was your favorite part about your last job?” The overwhelming response was, “The people I work with.” I couldn’t agree more. I enjoy coming to work to have the opportunity to interact with my colleagues. They are encouraging, likeminded people that drive me to be the best I can be every day.

What’s the most valuable lesson you learned through Mann U?

Even Lebron James needs a coach.

Give us one pointer for developing a genuine relationship with your customers.
Listen. Listen to every single guest as if they are your best friend in need of help. Developing trust with the guest is a key component to loyalty.

Your bumper sticker would read, “I’d rather be… ___.”

 “I’d rather be…with my wife.” No joke. Every activity, event, social or family gathering is enhanced with her by my side.

What was your favorite part of working with the Mann Group?
The real life scenarios, the honest feedback and the sincere interest in developing each person to become better than when they walked in on day one. The environment Dan and Leslie created was professionally casual and unintimidating.

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