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: 06/03/2020

    Is the future of retailing going dark?

    I have said before that stores of the future will be smaller and will be for display only, giving the customers a chance to see and try the product before purchase, but most, if not all, purchases will not take place at the store level. We saw the early stages of this before the COVID-19 pandemic. One benefit from the shutdown was allowing stores to take this concept to the next level. I still believe that the future of retail will be fine; however, it will involve smaller stores, much more technology, and the customer accepting what I stated: seeing, touching, and trying the product but not buying the item at the store. This concept will better help control inventory, which will reduce costs. Moreover, with smaller stores, we will need fewer employees, which is another savings. Most importantly, as technology continues to improve, purchases will arrive at the consumer’s home just as quickly as if they brought the item home from the store themselves.
  • Posted on: 06/03/2020

    Can outdoor dining save restaurants?

    Outdoor dining is an excellent opportunity, and the many restaurants that provided that service long before COVID-19 have done well with it. However, it is not significant enough to replace the profit of indoor dining; it won't even be close. Providing outdoor dining now is an excellent first step for businesses who are doing their best to survive and is undoubtedly a bump up from take-out only, which is what restaurants have been limited to, but we need to get back to indoor dining as soon as possible. Even when that happens, the number of restaurants that will be closed permanently will be very high, which is most unfortunate.
  • Posted on: 06/02/2020

    Will dollar stores be the biggest post-COVID-19 winners?

    Before the dollar store, it was flea markets and "Five and Dime" stores. People always want to find bargains. The dollar store has evolved into a hugely successful retail industry, one that is recession-proof. There is no doubt that the dollar store will find great success when the lockdowns are removed, and people all over the country can return to stores. Off-price stores will also do exceptionally well for the same reason. The simple reason is that money will be tight for many people and, although everyone likes a bargain now with nearly 40 million people out of work, bargains will be a necessity for many Americans.
  • Posted on: 06/01/2020

    Retail ensnared in nationwide protests

    The whole situation is unfortunate. George Floyd was horribly murdered -- and I don’t even say killed -- I say murdered because the officer, Derek Chauvin, had absolutely no justification for his actions other than his own stupid hatred toward a black person. That said, legal action was pursued almost immediately; the cop has been indicted, and this time it is reasonably sure will be going to jail. What I don’t understand is the reason to riot. I didn’t say protest; I said riot. The cities that people live in, work in, and socialize in are being destroyed. If Mr. Chauvin was not indicted and if the city took the position that he was doing his job, then I would understand emotions running wild, but that is not what happened. What can retailers do? What can any of us do? I hope that things calm down soon and return to normal as we are still waiting for our lives to recover from the pandemic. It just seems that 2020 has been a year like no other where we are tearing our country apart for all the wrong reasons. This is not right, and we will all be paying the price for years to come.
  • Posted on: 05/22/2020

    Who wins/loses if Amazon pushes Prime Day to September?

    This year is challenging with many unknown factors and decisions taking place every day that are affecting business as we knew it. I think Amazon would be wise to push Prime Day to the fall. I’m sure if they had Prime Day now, it would be a huge success, especially because so many consumers are shopping online and at Amazon. The question is, does Amazon need to have it? Their sales have been extraordinary, so what is Prime Day going to do for Amazon that they aren’t already achieving? From a consumer’s point of view Prime Day is excellent, but they’ll shop at Amazon without it. I assume if things are somewhat back to normal by September, Amazon may have more success. It’s a win for Amazon no matter when they offer Prime Day, but it makes sense to run it when the company will get the most bang for their buck. Other retailers may see that as an advantage and offer a counter promotion early, but they’re still not going to succeed in taking much business away from Amazon.
  • Posted on: 05/21/2020

    Is Kohl’s a stronger retailer as it reopens stores?

    I commend Kohl's for weathering the storm as well as they have. Every company has been faced with unprecedented business conditions, and unfortunately they are far from over. Kohl's showed good leadership and reacted quickly. Yes they have lost tremendous revenue, and building the company back up will take some time, but I believe they also learned a bit more about themselves and their customers. The fact that they have obtained many new customers online is a definite benefit for them and one they can build on. Years from now, we will look at this period and all businesses, including our government, will assess if we handled it correctly and what we might have done differently. Hopefully not just companies but all of us will learn from this experience to be better prepared the next time we are faced with a global issue of this magnitude.
  • Posted on: 05/21/2020

    Was the $3.3 billion Walmart spent on Jet.com worth it?

    The question of whether or not the purchase of Jet.com was worth it on the surface may appear to be a no, but when reading the comments made by Doug McMillon, it may have made sense. It’s not uncommon for a business executive to defend a corporate move no matter what the truth might be, but McMillon made some compelling points that could show that the short-lived investment paid off in the long run. Walmart continues to do well, even during this challenging pandemic period, so I think they know what is best for them. In time, we may learn that others may disagree with the Jet.com purchase, and the money may have been better spent on other investments, but until then, I accept Mr. McMillon’s comments as being a valid argument.
  • Posted on: 05/15/2020

    How can brands support shuttered independent retailers?

    It is nice to see how many businesses are working together to help one another during the COVID-19 pandemic. Brands supporting small independent retailers is another one of those kind gestures, and it makes sense. At some point, this will be behind us. No doubt many small independent retailers will not make it, and that’s unfortunate. However, the ones that can make it through this will do so much easier by having brands supporting them. Longer payment terms were a great start, but seeing the many brands helping small independent retailers by partnering with them with a way to share proceeds is outstanding. It’s not only generous; it’s smart. Anything a brand can do to help the little guy survive will prove to be a big win when this is all over. The independent retailer won’t forget and, most importantly, neither will their customers. Everyone will come out ahead, and I commend all the participating brands attempting to help the small independent retailer get through this.
  • Posted on: 05/15/2020

    Are Amazon’s at-cost face shields an act of goodwill or predatory behavior?

    No matter what the deed is, there will always be someone complaining. It’s just the way it is. The fact that Amazon is providing needed protective face shields for frontline healthcare workers at a fair price is a nice gesture. But the critics can’t leave it there. Will Amazon make a profit? I’m sure. Is Amazon a business? Yes. Don’t businesses need to make a profit? Yes! So maybe we can look at this as a small opportunity for Amazon but a big win for the frontline healthcare workers and others able to finally get a much needed protective face shield.
  • Posted on: 05/14/2020

    Does a Neiman Marcus and Saks hookup make sense?

    A merger between Saks and Neiman Marcus definitely makes sense if the two companies can make the business work. Department stores are struggling and things are and will continue to be worse during this shutdown period. A merger whereby they can reduce the amount of overhead with fewer stores, fewer employees, and fewer operating expenses can help these two companies become one more robust company. Of course the problem with these deals always comes down to who runs the new company and how to run it. If we find a CEO at the helm only interested in short-term success so he or she can move on to the next job, then we’ll find a company run only on cutting costs and maintaining profit for the stockholders. That never works long-term and has destroyed many companies. If they do merge and find themselves a motivated CEO and executive team who genuinely care about reinventing the upscale department store business with a commitment to long-term success, then I see this is not only as the right thing to do but a brilliant strategy.
  • Posted on: 05/14/2020

    Should grocers keep paying their associates like heroes?

    It’s effortless to give something to someone but very difficult to take it away. Employees who received that additional hourly wage are not going to easily accept it being taken away, especially when the process of reopening our country is not cut and dry, and many people are still afraid of contracting the virus. Walmart did it wisely because a bonus is a one-time payment. Employees will accept it gladly, but the reward didn’t become part of the weekly paycheck. Now when employees working for grocers will see their paychecks reduced, they are not going to be happy. And the fact is, we’re still practicing some precautions to avoid the virus which varies by state, but surely grocery employees will always be in the high-risk employment category as the pandemic continues. Lastly, I have to point out the substantial price increases on products. Sure they start with the companies who sell their goods to the supermarkets, but there’s no doubt that the grocers themselves are also enjoying the opportunity to increase profits. Adjusting employees’ paychecks back to pre-pandemic conditions is going to be very difficult. Moreover, I expect some employees to jump ship to another grocer who is still paying top dollar.
  • Posted on: 05/08/2020

    Gap plans move into non-apparel categories

    I don’t see this move Gap is making as being successful. Gap is guilty of taking what was once a good thing, over-expanding and then after taking their eye off the ball losing their edge, which caused them to decline significantly in sales. Most of us remember when Gap was “the” place to shop, but soon after they added another chain, followed by another chain until they had several. Having more apparel chains was only causing competition for the main brand. I know this is the current plan that big retailers employ, but it never works and it always leads to failure. So yes much money was made, but that’s not the case now. We have seen this pattern time and time again. Gap is not the first retailer to attempt to expand with other categories, but that too rarely works. Gap would be best served consolidating their brands and starting The New Gap, where all their successful lines can be found under one roof. This plan would cut their expenses tremendously and allow them to rebuild their company, which will also require reinventing themselves with apparel that is appealing to the younger generation and once again is in demand.
  • Posted on: 05/08/2020

    Will mall owner’s $5 billion revitalize retailers weakened by COVID-19?

    Brookfield’s $5 billion program will definitely be a help to many struggling retailers but, unfortunately, the $250 million annual sales requirement will leave many small retailers out. That is not good news. Also we need to remember that all of these loans have to be paid back. So retailers that were struggling before the pandemic will now have things even worse. The damage from the COVID-19 long-term is still unknown, but we are already seeing retailers like Lord & Taylor calling it quits and Neiman Marcus filing for bankruptcy. I predict that this is just the beginning. The big companies like Macy’s and Kohl's will survive because they have access to vast amounts of cash, but I see many of the small and independent retailers not coming back and for some that do, within a short period, not surviving. Is there an alternative? No, what’s done is done and now we have to pick up the pieces and rebuild our country, including the retail industry.
  • Posted on: 05/07/2020

    Is it time to move beyond ‘now more than ever’ COVID-19 commercials?

    I think it's time that we all focus on getting back to business. Everyone is aware of COVID-19. Half the population supports doing everything necessary to protect ourselves against the virus. The other half disagrees, and they are becoming more vocal. Facts go back and forth with most people uncertain what is real and what is not. It's time for businesses to get back to business, and that starts with advertising. I'm not saying companies need to ignore what they need to do to protect their employees and customers, but it's okay for a brief message merely saying, "as we are attempting to reopen our country, our company is taking the necessary steps" and then get into the ad. We have many great ads thanking all the important people that have helped save lives, and we should never forget them or their contribution, but we have to start to get the economy rolling again, and positive ads with good messages about products, price, and service is a great way to begin.
  • Posted on: 05/07/2020

    Is curbside pickup just getting started?

    Curbside pickup is nothing new and has already proven successful for many retailers. The pandemic has forced retailers who have not offered the service to get in the game. That said, when things return to normal, whenever that is, I see curbside pickup continuing for most retailers. Moreover, it will be more significant than it was before the pandemic because more customers who had not used the service before will, because they will learn to like it. However there will still be that percentage who love going to stores. Once that group becomes comfortable walking inside stores, and they are allowed to do so, I see store traffic resuming. There will be a few less retailers after this is all over, definitely a lot less stores and most likely some different ways that consumers will be comfortable shopping. We’re heading into a new phase of retail. This new phase was brought on not just because of the pandemic but also because of technology. Retail will continue to evolve, and it will survive.

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