Art Suriano

Chief Executive Officer, The TSi Company
Art Suriano is a business development executive with expertise in retail sales consulting, business culture analysis, and process improvements. He is a forward-thinking business intelligence leader who knows what it takes to run a business and make it a success. Suriano has had an extremely successful and multi-faceted career path that has been anything but conventional. Suriano’s career has provided him skills as CEO, VP of Sales & Marketing, Patent Owner, Published Author, Award-Winning Composer/Arranger, and Public Speaker. Suriano’s talent includes a keen eye for mining, analyzing, compiling, and presenting data that consistently boosts company value. His patented methodology known as LTraining® has put numerous businesses back on track fixing disconnect, improving performance, consistency, sales culture, sales, and customer satisfaction. In addition, Suriano is the author of “The Ultimate Customer Experience...The Path to Victory for Any Business...Any Size...Any Time.” His leadership style is extremely creative, energetic, motivational, customer-focused, collaborative and ambitious. Suriano began his career accepting work as a freelance composer. Soon he was scoring original compositions for television and radio for such programs as As The World Turns and Another World, and jingles/soundtracks for companies such as Subaru, Ford and more. From his success working for media directly as well as advertising agencies, Suriano soon figured out he could offer clients better and more effective creative campaigns for less than what they were paying. This led to founding his own company, PMI in the late 1980’s, which in time, became a full- service ad agency billing over $5 million annually, with local and regional clients. From the success of his winning agency formula, a few years later, Suriano was offered an opportunity to offer his talent directly to broadcast companies such as WABC in New York and Kiss 108 in Boston. His assignment was helping underperforming clients get better results. Suriano would write and produce a new ad campaign that included custom commercials, and oftentimes, a custom jingle. It was during this period that his peers and clients coined him, “Mr. Fix It,” as every client he was handed began to see improvements in advertising results within 30 days. Suriano’s passion for advertising continued, but as deregulation affected broadcast media and how they operated, he felt the need to move on and in 1994, founded the company he has today, The TSi Company. Starting out as an in-store marketing/advertising program for retailers, Suriano created an exciting program known as RadioPlusTM. Simply a better in-store music program, RadioPlusTM provided retailers with in-store commercials, complete with a custom client jingle, stations calls and personalities, making their in-store sound system appear as if it was the company’s own radio station. Soon, The TSi Company was signing local and regional retail clients who liked the idea of the added opportunities to build sales with customers through Suriano’s effective commercials and concepts. By 1997, Suriano’s creative reputation was growing and clients were asking for his help in what was becoming a strong need: training. He began by creating and producing an in-store “before and after” hour radio program that quickly helped store associates learn about upcoming events, in-store promotions, customer service, and policies and procedures. Starting with Stern’s Department Stores, he was soon asked to expand the product to Macy’s, and other divisions after such as May Company divisions and other retail chains. Next, he turned his attention to part-time employees and created what eventually became his patented training method, LTraining®. Today, LTraining® has been used by over 4 million trainees and consistently outperforms any other training method, scoring over 90% retention after a single session. LTraining® sessions have been created for every training topic necessary from orientation, POS and systems training, product training, sales training, customer service, and more. As time progressed and Suriano recognized the strong results his training method was achieving, he realized that in order to get maximum impact for any business, he had to take it one step further. He began to look at the other areas of a business that, regardless of how effective his training was, would prevent a business from reaching its full potential. Suriano met and spoke with clients and requested the opportunity to perform assessments, asking the right questions from top executives to the field and then comparing answers. Soon he found that every business was experiencing serious disconnect from the vision and objectives of the senior staff and what was actually taking place with lower level employees, especially the employees dealing with the customers. Soon he created his TSi 360TM, which became the footprint for helping clients increase sales, cut costs and improve customer satisfaction. Clients experienced over 15% increases in comparable store sales, saved millions of dollars that were being wasted, and saw increases in conversion of 7% annually. Moreover, clients saw long term growth quarter after quarter due to the improvements in performance and consistency. Today, Suriano enjoys his role as Chief Executive Officer of The TSi Company which has expanded into a full-service company providing branding/marketing, training, communication skills and technology. He also provides his expertise as a consultant, teaching companies what they need to know to grow their business. As the author of “The Ultimate Customer Experience”, Suriano follows the principles in his book that help clients achieve their goals. Furthermore, as a public speaker, Suriano has been asked to speak at various functions and events all over the world including the Intercoifure International event held in Australia. Suriano is an accomplished composer/musician who won numerous awards through the decades for original scores for radio/television and corporate presentations. Today, he is under contract with two record labels in the UK as the songwriter/arranger for Circle of Faith, an up and coming Christian pop band.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2019

    eBay looks to lead a ‘retail revival’

    eBay lost its edge years ago, and this is a smart idea to keep their business alive and continue to grow by using third-party support. It’s a money maker for them and, at the same time, they’re helping small business improve their businesses as well, so it’s win-win on all sides. eBay can continue to expand the concept throughout the country and eventually the world, and it could very well build eBay into an entirely different type of business years from now. I think this is smart and I expect to see only good things coming out of it.
  • Posted on: 02/15/2019

    Will Amazon’s decision to bail cause a New York backlash?

    The loser here is New York. As far back as one could research, big corporations have always been granted sweetheart deals as incentives to moving or opening new offices in a specific area. Smart politicians see the gains with jobs and revenue beyond taxes, and it often makes sense. However, today we are witnessing political chaos in both parties each struggling to get to the microphone to be heard as the next best person to lead, and this time it backfired by the differences of opinion. We used to elect politicians to lead and to govern, but today we have too many that are only in it for themselves putting the very people who voted for them on the bottom of the list. Perhaps the more significant lesson for politicians to learn here is the damage losing this deal will cost the citizens of New York and just maybe it might force them to start working together again and do what they’re supposed to do which is to lead and not focus only on self-interests.
  • Posted on: 02/14/2019

    America has too many retail stores

    Store closures are nothing new. Despite the number of stores closing, there is double the number of stores opening. What really is happening is a shift. The old, tired retail stores are closing in large numbers either from companies going out of business like Bon Ton Stores and Toys "R" Us or they are cutting back significantly attempting to stay in business. There is a surge of new stores coming from once pureplay e-commerce businesses who offer a whole new retail concept and way of shopping. Going forward this trend will continue, and we will also be seeing smaller stores with the sole purpose of letting the customer view, try and purchase the item but not leave the store with it because the purchase will be waiting for them by the time the customer comes home. We are going through a retail evolution with a blend of technology, new concepts, new shopping demands and no doubt many different types of new customers. It’s exciting and fun to watch as it unfolds.
  • Posted on: 02/14/2019

    Will CVS’s HealthHUB concept change what consumers expect of drugstores?

    I think this is a brilliant strategy for CVS. Though it will not be for everyone, it will appeal to those who either have no or minimal health insurance looking for healthcare solutions at a low cost. People today have become more health conscious, and we are all living longer because of it. So this ties in with the needs of today. Moreover, it’s a better direction for CVS than selling cigarettes. I would expect this to be successful and as other HBA/pharmacy chains are already going into healthcare services themselves, I would anticipate greater expansion as time progresses.
  • Posted on: 02/13/2019

    Will the new plan for Sears work any better than the previous ones?

    I have very little confidence in Eddie Lampert as the person to turn Sears around. Frankly, I am puzzled by many of his actions where at times he looks like he cares about the company and wants to do the right thing and then makes a move that benefits Lampert but hurts Sears. So, the jury is out on this one, and only time will tell, but I am not optimistic. Lampert has sold off many of the assets, and as a majority stockholder, he made a tremendous amount of money so what his real plan here is, is something only he knows. I suspect it will be more of the same and within a year or two Sears will be finished.
  • Posted on: 02/12/2019

    Barneys to become first major retailer to open legal weed shop

    I will go out on a limb here and voice my opinion about legalizing marijuana. First, it always comes down to money. Legalizing marijuana will bring in millions if not billions of dollars long-term. However, after dealing with many fellow musicians through the years who were hooked on drugs, many of whom have died, they all started with marijuana. When I see the battles through the years regarding drunk drivers; all the lobbying and legal arguments do we finally have strict laws, yet we still have many people killed every year from those behind the wheel intoxicated. It’s sad that we will now create a new problem once marijuana is entirely legal. We will find ourselves not saying “Don’t drink and drive” but rather “don’t smoke and drive” as they are already saying in Colorado. As a result, we will have created another condition that will take lives, and we’ll be spending years lobbying Congress and battles in courts to get stricter laws. I have to ask -- is this wise? So I’m not in favor of Barneys opening a cannabis lifestyle shop, and I see many problems as soon as more states and retailers support legalizing and selling marijuana.
  • Posted on: 02/12/2019

    Will Marie Kondo de-clutter retail?

    No doubt Netflix has made a significant impact. We do have too much of everything and even George Carlin back in the day would joke about all our “stuff.” Too many of us buy things we hardly or never use and it’s smart to take notice. Whether “Tidying Up With Marie Kondo” long-term will be a game changer is yet to be determined but for now based on the millions of subscribers Netflix has there is an excellent opportunity for many viewers to catch on to this concept and learn how they can become more efficient with their purchases and wiser with the money they spend.
  • Posted on: 02/12/2019

    Is Allswell with Walmart’s tiny house tour?

    I think Walmart using tiny houses to promote Allswell mattresses is brilliant because it’s very different. Tiny houses have become extremely popular no doubt from the shows on HGTV and the many exhibits throughout the country. Now Walmart gets to tap into that market to promote a mattress brand. I don’t see this as a long-term opportunity but for the short term it will create a lot of curiosity and interest and should prove to be successful. It will help build the Allswell name, and if the next step is popups or free-standing stores, it will help them be prosperous.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2019

    Product and promo knowledge won’t make the sale

    There are several outstanding points in this article. For starters, retail training has become a lost art where the focus today is getting the associate on the floor as quickly as possible, often with little or no training. Why? Because the center is on tasks, tasks and more tasks. The author states he receives a greeting about 50 percent of the time. It’s actually far less because most retailers have associates so heavily engaged in tasks, they don’t even have the time to pick their head up to look at a customer. Managers make it worse by telling associates they need to tend to customers out of one side of their mouth while with the other, get that task done as quickly as possible because then we’ll need you to do this or that. It's a game gone wrong. Every retail executive talks about the need for customer service and yet when it comes to investing in the right type of training and enough staff to make that happen, it is completely forgotten. Smart retailers that do invest in staff and the right kind of training are the ones who are successful. As competition continues especially with the internet, the author is spot on that customers don’t need to go to a store to get a product, they go to the store to see, try and learn about the product. If retailers remembered that and invested wisely in staff and training, they would have a win-win with internet sales and store sales complimenting one another.
  • Posted on: 02/08/2019

    Will a new rewards program expand Target’s circle of guests?

    Target has continued to do many things right and no doubt it’s paying off which is why they have been successful. There are many rewards programs out there, and customers have become numb to many offers because they tend to be the same. However, providing an opportunity to earn 1 percent on every trip for redemption is wise and should be an incentive for consumers to participate in the program. Too many retailers require customers to get their credit card to receive rewards, and at a time when consumers are trying to cut down on credit and get away from the 29 percent interest credit cards, Target is wise to provide an incentive that is unrelated to having to obtain another credit card. I see Target Circle as a win for Target, and they should be successful.
  • Posted on: 02/07/2019

    J.C. Penney dumps appliances

    J. C. Penney needs to figure out who they are and whom they wish to be. That’s been the problem with the chain for a very long time. Most department stores dumped their secondary departments and focused primarily on apparel, jewelry, and housewares because it was profitable. However, competition from specialty apparel chains made selling mostly apparel challenging, and many department stores struggled with that model to the extent that several went out of business. I don’t see J. C. Penney as a leader in fashion apparel so if that’s the direction they intend to pursue they need to truly identify what will make them different and focus on that. Selling appliances were okay and would have been successful if the long term plan was to rebuild J. C. Penney as a traditional department store along with furniture, toys, and so on. Unfortunately, J. C. Penney has changed course so often during these few years that they have confused the public and the consumer has little reason to shop them. The big issue isn’t whether or not to sell appliances, but what is J. C. Penney going to be, how are they going to get there and when doing so, will they be a brand the public will embrace? Jill Soltau has her work cut out for her.
  • Posted on: 02/07/2019

    Are legacy retailers on the right track or heading off the tracks?

    All retailers need to keep up with the times, and it’s obvious the ones that did not are gone. However, when we look a little further as to the reasons why more often it’s less of them knowing what to do rather than being able to do it. Look at Toys "R" Us for example. It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see the problems with their stores. They became dated, tired and old school and lost their edge. Modern stores with technology and an indoor playground for kids to come and play with one another while trying new toys would have been a big help. I’m sure the leaders of the company knew that. However, when companies like Toys "R" Us are loaded up with vast amounts of debt due to a private equity purchase and ALL profits must go toward that debt there’s little they can do. Look at how many retailers fell by the wayside because they sold their companies only to find themselves trapped paying off debt rather than reinvest in their business. I see that is a big part of today’s problem. Then there are other companies that could invest in rebuilding their brand, but due to poor leadership, they refuse to bend. HHGregg was one of those retailers who insisted on continuing their 1980s approach to business. Retailers need to have leaders that are innovative, progressive, willing to take risks and backed by the necessary capital. Look at the success of Best Buy as an example because Hugh Joly has been that type of leader. The opportunities are there, and it just takes the right leadership!
  • Posted on: 02/06/2019

    What will Angela Ahrendts’ departure mean for Apple’s retail business?

    Angela Ahrendts made a contribution to Apple as so did Ron Johnson. She will be missed but Apple has a strong culture, and they will be fine. The stores are successful because Apple figured out a long time ago it’s all about the experience and Apple has become the master of delivering a great experience every time. The associates never pressure a customer to buy anything, and yet they are available almost immediately when you need assistance. It’s true you’ll wait in line for tech support which is why it’s best to make an appointment, but when it comes to buying a product, you can get what you need faster than any retailer and pay for it without having to go to a register. Apple understands what their products mean to their customers who are loyal and swear by the brand. It’s a win-win relationship for the retailer and customer and without Angela Ahrendts none of that will change.
  • Posted on: 02/06/2019

    Farmstead taps AI to bring grocery prices down

    Artificial Intelligence is popping up everywhere, and no doubt has tremendous potential. The problem is we are still years away from perfection and for all the good it does in some cases, it causes issues that typically lose business. Regarding Farmstead, it sounds like it’s a winner for sourcing of perishable food and grocery delivery routes as long as the information is accurate. Every time I call a company and I’m forced to speak with a computer which is supposed to save me time, it often turns out into a nightmare because the AI cannot understand what I’m asking, and that leads me to scream the word "representative" several times until they connect me with a human being. The bean counters are thrilled because of the money they're saving not having live operators answering the phones, but do they measure the frustration of the customer and how often they hang up? The point is, AI has a future, and no doubt will be a successful tool for many needs. However, we need to make sure that it will be a success before we burden the customer with it. We also need to make sure that it genuinely provides accurate information, before we rely on it 100 percent, allowing it to make decisions for our business that may turn out, in the end, to be wrong and costly.
  • Posted on: 02/06/2019

    Is Amazon Vine a win for all?

    Free samples are nothing new although the Amazon Vine program does have a few exciting twists. However, I don’t know if long term the benefits will pay off. The program is costly for the vendors and consumers today are so busy as it is, they typically scan the most recent reviews of a product if they read any of them at all. More often, they usually glance at the total ratings. So, I’m not sure if the Amazon Vine program will be worth the time and the investment. I doubt other retailers will follow this model, but perhaps they may come up with one on their own that is less costly.

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