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: 11/17/2020

    Are retailers cutting their way to profitability or slowly bleeding to death?

    Retailers who close large numbers of stores are thinking of short term solutions, which rarely works. Why did the stores fail? The retailer will say not enough traffic and not enough sales. I have often had the conversation and proved to many clients that stores fail because of poor performance, leading to less traffic and lower sales. People who go to the store go because they either like to shop or want to see and try the item before making the purchase. But what happens when they go into a store with no associate available to help them, or worst yet, a rude associate who can't be bothered? The customer leaves. They may come back one or two more times, but if the experience is the same, they're done. That same customer will tell their family and friends, and when they find a competitor they like better not only will they shop there but most likely so will the same family members and friends they talked to about their horrible experience. So if a retailer wants stores and wants them to be successful, invest in good people. Hire enough associates and make sure they are well trained. Having fewer stores is fine, but every store should be a place that customers look forward to shopping and often return to because of the outstanding customer experience.
  • Posted on: 11/17/2020

    Will Amazon’s new online pharmacy disrupt the U.S. drugstore business?

    I see Amazon Pharmacy being successful; I think it will be a significant disruption to the pharmacy industry. For years, people have complained about prescription drugs' high prices, and very little has been done about them. For too many people, especially those without medical insurance, their choice is simple: pay the high price or don't get the drug, and if it is something needed to survive, what choice do they have? As for the pharmacy industry, there's no doubt that Amazon will become the leading choice for prescription drugs in time, which will force others to lower their prices. If we think back to the earlier days of Amazon when it seemed that all retail was doomed, things did work out, but it took many years for retailers to learn how to compete. However for the consumer, the benefit was lower prices. I predict we will see a repeat of that.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2020

    Are grocers downplaying curbside pickup at their own expense?

    I think that grocers are still learning their business as well as their customers’ buying habits. There’s no doubt that the impulse buyer who’s shopping online may spend less because they won’t have the opportunity they have when in-store seeing an item that might pique their curiosity. However online is here and here to stay, and each week more and more customers are shopping that way. The pandemic forced many customers to shop online for their groceries, and now most of them prefer it. So grocers have to look at all the opportunities and try to figure out ways to get customers to buy more so that sales continue to grow. There are costs involved for home delivery, in-store pick-up, curbside pick-up, and lockers, and the only way to remain profitable is to increase sales. That will come from more customers, but the best option is creating the opportunity and desire for existing customers to spend more. Coupons were once the big item; today, with technology, there are so many other ways to reach the customer, and grocers need to find what’s best for them.
  • Posted on: 11/10/2020

    Will Ulta shops turn Target into a beauty destination?

    I see this as an excellent move and it should be quite successful. Store-within-a-store has proven to be an excellent concept for many businesses, and this should be no different. My only concern in reading the article is the training. Target employees are not Ulta Beauty employees and although the intention that Ulta Beauty will train the Target employees is excellent on paper, it seldom works. Typical things that could happen would be:
    • The Target employee scheduled to work in the Ulta Beauty Shop may be called by the manager to work elsewhere due to a staff shortage.
    • New employees hired at a later date may not be trained by Ulta Beauty staff but by Target employees.
    • There will be differences in how the two companies operate as well as employee job requirements.
    So time will tell. Hopefully they will iron out any potential problems and allow this concept to be the big success it should be.
  • Posted on: 10/29/2020

    Will J.C. Penney be renewed under new ownership?

    I think Kohl’s is already successful being different from Macy’s and I think it’s been Macy’s at times trying to be more like Kohl’s. JCP has an opportunity to be unique perhaps as the department store of the future assuming they can figure that out and stay committed. But I see your point and agree with you.
  • Posted on: 10/29/2020

    Kohl’s triples down on active lifestyle categories

    I agree with Kohl's strategy of increasing its athletic brands and assortments. The article mentions that department stores typically focus on introducing new fashion. Whereas that might be true for more traditional department stores, Kohl's is unique because they're not what one thinks of when thinking of a department store but more of a large store selling clothes. They have a loyal customer, and they've been successful for years. They know their business, and they even managed to weather the COVID-19 pandemic. So I trust they know what they're doing. Years ago I worked with them when they expanded their jewelry departments and decided to carry diamonds. Kohl's selling diamonds? This can't succeed, the critics said. Yet it was extremely successful because they were less expensive, and Kohl's found their market. Here again Kohl's is attempting something different, and I see it as being a success.
  • Posted on: 10/29/2020

    Will J.C. Penney be renewed under new ownership?

    I am pleased to see that J. C. Penney has been given another opportunity to survive. I’m an old retail guy, and watching all these stores closing, many I grew up with, is sad. That said, whether J C Penney can survive long term is another question. First, J. C. Penney has got to figure out who they want to be as a department store and commit to that direction. Just being the same store they’ve been is not going to work for them. We have a Macy’s company that is doing reasonably well. We need something different, and that’s what J. C. Penney needs to figure out. Is it more stores within their store? Is it more technology? Is it different and higher quality merchandise? As for me, I think it’s all of these and more. The second issue is that I’m not sure if Ms. Soltau has the skill set to lead them long-term. She didn’t have outstanding success at Jo-Ann Stores and since she’s been at the helm of J. C. Penney, I can’t say that she has that much for the company. So time will tell. I hope for both Ms. Soltau and J. C. Penney that they turn things around and succeed.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2020

    COVID-19 Essentials is a startup designed to end with the pandemic

    Do you see opportunities for COVID-19-focused retail concepts to be successful in markets across the U.S.? Well for them to be successful, the pandemic will have to last a very long time. So, my answer: I hope not. This pandemic has not only caused over 200,000 deaths, but it has destroyed many people's lives. Suicide rates are up, bankruptcies are up along with depression and an increase in the divorce rate. But a business solely based on the pandemic's needs makes me see this as an ominous reminder of what each of us is dealing with every day during these difficult times. Will it be successful? I'm sure it will make money in the short term, but hopefully, by mid-spring 2021 will begin to see the light at the end of the tunnel with COVID-19 and, if so, I can't see this idea and business investment as being that wise.
  • Posted on: 10/21/2020

    Will Lowe’s customers ‘gift’ their homes for the holidays?

    I think this idea is brilliant, and I commend Lowe's for their ingenuity. This year retailers have to think out of the box more than ever, and Lowe's is doing just that. The holidays are going to be very different this year because of COVID-19. Who is afraid to join us for Thanksgiving dinner? Who doesn't want to come over Christmas Day? All of these new, unprecedented are about to occur and they will harm our holiday spirit. Lowe's is wise to offer an opportunity for those afraid to go out to enjoy a lovely holiday while staying at home. I see this as being very successful and, probably very soon, a few other retailers will follow.
  • Posted on: 10/14/2020

    Bed Bath & Beyond CEO’s turnaround plan may just work

    Time will tell, but Bed Bath & Beyond has for years suffered from poor store performance due mainly to poor customer service if we look back to pre-pandemic. You could walk into a Bed Bath & Beyond and have a fantastic and positive shopping experience. But then you could visit 10 other stores and they could all be a disaster with no one around to help you look for something you wish to purchase, no one to answer your questions, and long lines at the register when only one cashier is working. Where are all the store associates? They have always had plenty of them. But where are they too often? In the back room. They are mostly doing tasks, and even those on the sales floor are doing a successful job of avoiding the customer. Sadly, it’s not a difficult problem to fix. But rather than address that, Bed Bath & Beyond spend too much time attempting failed concept stores, buying other companies, and experimenting with a failed subscription program in hopes of eliminating their never-ending coupons. Looking at Bed Bath & Beyond today, assuming Mr. Tritton is aware of what is taking place at the store level and can successfully correct it, I see a retailer with a great future. The one benefit they have had for years is that they are the only chain of their kind. So they should be successful!
  • Posted on: 10/14/2020

    Is a new store concept the start of something big(ger) for Aldi?

    Partly due to the pandemic, partly due to the changes in shopping (meaning more online) and partly due to the retail differences with so many businesses experimenting, I see this as another "let's try it and see." It has as much of a chance to be successful as it does to not be. I commend Aldi for taking the risk because, most of the time, until we try, we will never know. Aldi will learn two things: How customers will react and how it will change their operation. If customers are eager and store traffic is good, they'll be off to a good start. However Aldi must still measure store traffic and purchases against operating costs. Only time will tell, but I am pleased to see that Aldi has introduced the concept, and I wish them well.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2020

    Apple removes other brand audio products from its store shelves

    Apple wants and insists on control, and that goes with the products they sell as well. Apple has been branching out in audio for the last few years and their products are quite good. I recently purchased two pairs of the Apple Buds and the large over-the-ear Beats headphones. They’re excellent and as good as anything else I’ve used. So why have competition in their stores? I can see their point. Most Apple customers are loyal to Apple products, so I see this as a profitable business decision. The few customers who purchased non-Apple products in the Apple stores do not make up for the vast number of loyal Apple customers who believe in "ALL" Apple. Sorry folks, I’m one of them -- and I have no complaints.
  • Posted on: 10/07/2020

    Retailers say the new stimulus plan can’t wait until after the election

    I believe that something needs to be done now and should have been done in August. But saying it means nothing. Today both parties remain on opposite sides of most critical issues. Somewhere the American people and the needs of the American people have become forgotten. When you see a newly elected politician who starts with a modest bank account and a few years later is worth millions, we know something is very wrong with the system. We can say we need term limits, but we already have them by voting. Unfortunately, 95 percent of incumbents get reelected. We do not take our elections seriously, and there lies the problem. So whether President Trump demanded action immediately as he did in August, or whether he says the next stimulus plan should be delayed until after the election has very little meaning because it is up to Congress to act. As long as they remain miles apart as they have been, I would not count on much to get done now. I would expect it after the election, and, depending on how the election turns out, most likely next year.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2020

    Walmart reimagines its supercenters

    Overall I think the new store design concept is a wise move on the part of Walmart. Consumers will respond enthusiastically; however as with all technology, there will be some issues. Walmart will still find customers needing human assistance to answer a question or to help them with a need. If they can incorporate meeting this need into their new store design and include store associates to assist customers, I am convinced they will have a big win. There is no doubt that today's customers prefer to do more of their shopping in-store alone and enjoy finding what they want and deciding for themselves about the purchase. Walmart is already a self-serve store, but when you find yourself stuck and the technology provided is not giving you the solution, nothing replaces a well-trained and engaging store associate.
  • Posted on: 10/01/2020

    Is it time to hit the ‘panic button’ as women leave the retail workforce?

    Maybe it’s me, but I see this as another flawed study. Everything has been up in the air due to the pandemic, but I am convinced that we will eventually return to our “normal” way of life because, at some point, this will be behind us. What is different about COVID-19, unlike other pandemics and scary viruses, is this one received unbelievable media coverage and awareness. I’m not saying that was a bad thing or good. It is a fact. In 1968 we had the Hong Kong flu, which caused 3 million deaths in our country and, more recently, in 2009, we had the Swine Flu that had over 60 million Americans contracting the illness. Neither of those times did we have the media coverage, the press conferences, and the lockdown. However like those other periods, this too will end. I have said that all businesses need to proceed with caution with what they invest in and how they adjust because this will eventually end. So women are leaving retail in droves, and what should retailers do? By this time next year, we will see other problems, most likely how to rebuild our economy and retail businesses from the damage caused by the COVID-19 lockdown. We had no choice doing what we did, and thankfully the lockdown saved many lives, but we will get back to our “normal” way of life.
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