I watch Mark Hodesh in the morning from the treadmill upstairs across the street. (He doesn’t know I am watching.) He goes about his early morning routine of opening his store, Downtown Home and Garden, putting out the plant displays, unrolling the awnings, washing down (or shoveling) the sidewalks, getting ready for the customers who stop in for bulbs, birdseed and Zingerman’s.
Mark is the consummate retailer. He has taken what was good about the old Hertler Brothers feed and seed store and grown it into a multi-million dollar business. While other businesses in town were moaning about slow sales, Mark enjoyed a sales increase in 2009. Authentic, quality merchandise, reasonable prices and good old fashioned service were probably responsible.
Mark’s windows match the season, or perhaps the season we are looking forward to. His rain barrels and seed sale are harbingers of spring yet to arrive in Michigan. Today’s display of metal art from Haiti reminds us of his (and Margaret’s) connection to the humanity of the world and the world of art. His values are as much on display as his merchandise. Whether intentional or intuitive, he applies all the core principles of building a great brand.