PROFILE

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.
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  • Posted on: 10/18/2018

    LabCorp deal brings blood testing to Walgreens’ pharmacies


    I can see an opportunity with some customers who are interested in the healthcare services Walgreens will be offering. However, I don’t see it as a vast market. What happens overall with healthcare in this country will have a lot to do with it. Moreover, even though we are becoming more health conscious as a society, we ourselves only tend to be aware of our own health just after we discover some issue after a diagnosis. Indeed, the patient who visits the doctor and learns they have high blood pressure might be more inclined to check their blood pressure in the store if available, but not the average customer. It’s good to encourage people to take better care of themselves, so only good will come out of this, but I don’t see it as a significant game-changer for Walgreens.
  • Posted on: 10/18/2018

    Will rising costs throw a wrench in e-commerce operations?

    Retailers will survive because they always do. It was only a matter of time before e-commerce would start to experience their own lists of headaches like brick-and-mortar retailers have dealt with for years. Instead of the constant rent increases now e-commerce is coping with higher costs of shipping. Instead of retail store location competition now e-commerce is dealing with the limited warehouse space. Every industry will have their problem and as e-commerce has blossomed into a vast mega sector having issues to deal with is part of the game. However, they will survive. They will find ways to deal with the extra costs. Some of the added expenses will mean customers will pay more, while other expenses the e-commerce companies will absorb, and they will find different ways to save money. Expect now to see the warehouse building boom. But one wonders if in 10 years we’ll see, from too much construction, warehouse space becoming cheap as warehouses start closing from lack of tenants. It’s all part of what takes place as the industry needs change. But retailers, whether they be e-commerce only or both e-commerce and brick-and-mortar, will survive!
  • Posted on: 10/17/2018

    New c-store concept is high-tech inside and out

    I’m all for new ideas and concepts, and there are some good ones here, but many are already in the works elsewhere such as an app to order and pay in advance. Using it for gas purchases would be smart, and if the company provides rewards for purchase, it would be nice to have everything in one place. However, investing in electric car chargers and providing services for customers while they wait for their car to charge, I think is not wise. For starters, we have had electric vehicles on the market for many years, and they still haven’t caught on as the next big thing. Distance is the biggest problem, and the length of time for charging is the second. Developers realize it’s not a bigger battery but a different way to charge the car and many are experimenting with dual batteries allowing one to charge while the other is in use. If electric cars are the cars of the future, we would have to assume that a dual-battery system would be the way to go. If we can’t get a customer to stand a few minutes online to pay at the register because that’s an inconvenience, there is no way we’re going to have customers wait hours for their cars to charge no matter how much money they save.
  • Posted on: 10/17/2018

    Eddie Lampert is the worst

    Without knowing the man and his intentions other than what one can read, it’s hard to tell whether he was a ruthless, methodical asset-stripper and only interested in self-gain or a very poor leader. I suspect it’s a bit of both. It’s hard to imagine Lampert not seeing the financial gains he would achieve as he sold off key assets, so it’s easy to agree with the methodical asset-stripper concept. At times it was odd that he would put in his own money to keep the company going. Perhaps that was part of the plan, and Lampert did it for nothing more than for show. Many will say that Lampert did all he could but that it was Amazon and the new wave of shopping online that destroyed Sears. Unfortunately, that excuse is becoming tired and is the new norm to say that when a retailer goes out of business-like Toys "R" Us or Bon-Ton. The truth is that years ago Sears lost its direction and became a sleeper company. Lampert failed when he had time to reinvest in their stores and to keep up with the times. Do you know anyone who has bought clothes at Sears in the last ten years? I don’t. Sears just lost their edge and did nothing to get it back almost as if they just kept assuming tomorrow things would get better, but they did not. So now we have hit the inevitable, and most likely the chain will not survive. Whether Lampert is the ruthless, methodical asset-stripper or poor leader is irrelevant because he will be the fall guy. However, with all the money he has, does he care?
  • Posted on: 10/12/2018

    Is Amazon on the right path to improved product discovery with Scout?

    It’s nice to have unlimited funds and be able to spend money on anything you want. Sometimes I wonder if Jeff Bezos does that more for the publicity rather than the result. I don’t see Scout as a big win but instead another wasted attempt for an idea driven by expensive and unproven technology. The article used the keyword when pointing out the pitfalls of this concept: Inconvenience! I don’t know when retailers across the board are going to wake up when it comes to technology and realize what is right for them may not be good for the customer. I don’t see this as successful, and I’d rather see Amazon invest their money in something more practical.
  • Posted on: 10/12/2018

    Will comics, movies and music take tween retailer Justice to new heights?

    The idea is excellent, and no doubt Justice has a tween audience. The key here will be how they integrate their entertainment division with their stores. That can make or break this program. Plenty of in-store promotion, discounts and two-for-one offers along with other buying opportunities are essential as well as direct merchandise tie-ins connected to the media content Justice will be developing and selling. If Justice can motivate the tweens to come into to their stores to take advantage of buying opportunities after downloading the entertainment product, and equally when the Justice customers are in-store they are provided buying opportunities for when they visit the Justice entertainment website, they’ll have a win-win.
  • Posted on: 10/10/2018

    Will Best Buy’s golden years strategy deliver long-term success?

    Best Buy is wise to recognize the needs of the senior citizen market and the opportunities they offer for more business. Technology changes rapidly and the older we are, the harder it is to keep up. The seniors are the ones that usually have more money than the younger generations. However, why should a senior purchase a 60-inch 4K TV when they don’t know how to program it? Now with Best Buy’s assistance, it's no longer a problem. Moreover, beyond consumer electronics, many items can appeal to seniors including medical devices. The list goes on and on with how Best Buy can assist seniors. All retailers should recognize the importance of the older generation and be thinking of options to offer such as larger typeface on websites and apps and better methods for assistance. Let’s start with a senior citizen retail helpline that has a human on the phone rather than a computer -- older people would definitely prefer that.
  • Posted on: 10/10/2018

    Will Starbucks prosper or suffer under a hedge fund’s influence?

    The old phrase ”money talks” applies here. Nothing at Starbucks will change now and probably will not going forward as long as the company produces and makes their shareholders money. However, if they do not make enough profit or fail to make any profit at all, then watch to see what happens with their investors most likely led by Bill Ackman. These people can’t help themselves. They don’t make their money by working, they make it from investing and that’s an entirely different mindset. They demand a quick return on their investments, and they expect to see substantial gains. So only time will tell.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2018

    Will foodie culture save the mall?

    The food culture is already changing in some malls, and the trend will continue. New malls have a more natural opportunity to improve their food court design and selection than existing malls. However, The Garden State Plaza, a 60-year-old mall, already has numerous places where one can eat, and those establishments are doing very well. We are becoming more health conscious as a society, but change is slow and not everyone is aboard. So we need a more eclectic approach with food selection and for the most part that is what I see when I visit different malls throughout the country. Keep in mind, the economy is the strongest it’s been in years, and we have an 18-year high consumer confidence level. Traffic is beginning to come back to stores and malls because customers have more money to spend. So changes we make should be gradual because nothing lasts forever. Cater to the majority with lots of choices and you’ll have a great chance of success.
  • Posted on: 10/09/2018

    Is it too late for a new store concept from Barnes & Noble?

    Barnes & Noble may say they’re focusing on the in-store experience but saying it and doing it are two different things. What is their in-store experience? Barnes & Noble the once-upon-a-time store we all used to enjoy has lost its edge. This has happened in part because of e-books and the internet but also because they haven’t kept up with the times. So now Barnes & Noble are opening a 17,000 square foot store that will feature a bigger café. Is that much different than the stores that already have cafes? Barnes & Noble need to get in touch with readers. The best place to start is with children, and the best way to do that is by partnering with their schools. A “You Need To Read” program for children supported by teachers and parents can help young people find the joy of reading and with the right program will get young people and their parents into the stores. Then as part of the program, Barnes & Noble can offer Saturday morning reading workshops, as well as feature children’s book authors to come in and speak with the children. Add the café and a few other incentives and Barnes & Noble would see an increase in traffic and business. It’s just a matter of being creative and trying out new ideas. Cutting staff isn’t the solution, finding a new audience and growing it is.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2018

    Are retailers getting too political with voter registration campaigns?

    I think “get out and vote” campaigns are fine however it is essential that every participating retailer remain 100 percent neutral and keeps their own politics out of it. We are a very apathetic society with little voter turnout and, worse than that, too many of those who do vote don’t take the time to learn about whom they are voting for and rely on family and friends to tell them. We need to improve our government by electing candidates who deserve to be there, leaders who will do what is right for our town, state and country and not just themselves. So the campaign is an excellent idea for awareness and has a chance of doing much good as long as we keep it neutral and let the voters decide.
  • Posted on: 10/05/2018

    Is Target ready for Amazon and Walmart this holiday season?

    Target has not only managed to have great success, they did it the right way -- which was figuring out how to have success using their stores. Target has listened to their customers, has experimented and has not been afraid to shift gears if something wasn’t working. However, all along, every move they made kept the store customer in mind. As a result, look at their success with comp store sales. I have said it before, and I’ll repeat it, retailers need the in-store presence and the online presence. Too many retailers have been spending money and at times wasting dollars chasing the internet and home delivery without focusing on their most significant asset, their stores. Target is winning big because they understand the value of having stores and continue to figure out in this new world of technology and convenience how best to use them.
  • Posted on: 10/04/2018

    Can a new CEO revitalize J.C. Penney’s business?

    First and foremost, I think J. C. Penney needs to figure out exactly who they are and whom they want to be. Do they want to be Kohl’s, or do they want to be Macy’s? Then whatever they decide they need to build a brand that will offer customers something different from competitors and give them a reason to shop. When I take the time to walk through a J. C. Penney, I see a store with tremendous potential, but I don’t feel as if I’m in a J. C. Penney -- just a big store with no uniqueness. Today with so much competition brand identity is essential. As for Ms. Soltau at the helm, I have mixed feelings. Nothing comes to mind that stands out as a great success while she was CEO of Jo-Ann -- another chain that is having its own issues, many of which began under Soltau's leadership. So the jury is out and we’ll just have to see how she does, what changes she makes, what strategies she introduces and within a year or so, we’ll see how it is going. The advantages Ms. Soltau has in addition to her experience is a booming economy that is helping retailers across the board and showing definite signs of increasing retail store traffic. More customers coming back, especially to malls, should help Ms. Soltau find some success.
  • Posted on: 10/04/2018

    Toys ‘R’ Us to rise from the ashes of bankruptcy, but should it?

    To me, it’s going to come down to one thing: the experience. If the new owners are planning to compete on price and only price, I see that is being very difficult. However, now that the old Toys “R” Us is behind us, a chain that became a dinosaur, new ideas with new strategies have a chance. If there is a new Toys “R” Us, the store needs to be the toy store of the future, such an incredible place to come and shop. The store has to be all about "experiencing" toys, opportunities to come and play with products as well as with other people, exciting and enticing promotional concepts and anything that will make the new Toys "R" Us stand aside from all toy competition. The new Toys "R" Us should also be a place for vendors to introduce new products and get instant feedback from customers who have come in to see them and try them. There are plenty of opportunities here if done correctly so only time will tell if the new owners can make it work.
  • Posted on: 10/03/2018

    Will the Kroger/Walgreens pilot lead to something really big?

    I can see many possibilities here as well as additional partnerships with other retailers. We’ve already seen success with Amazon partnering with retailers so why not include brick-and-mortar opportunities? The victory will come from how both retailers use this program, how they market it and provide incentives for customers. Cross-promoting both brands is the first that comes to mind so for example, if I go to Walgreens to pick up my Kroger items, perhaps I can receive a coupon for the next time I shop in both Walgreens and Kroger. Moreover, when I visit Kroger, they could promote the partnership with Walgreens and give a coupon for something available in a Walgreens store. Sharing traffic and using promotions wisely can help both parties increase sales.

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