Act one - The store is closed. And yet the place is selling futons.
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Part 1

How Much Is That Futon In The Window? The One With The Hand Rolled Dominican On The Table.

By Bruce Alexander

Act One - Scene One

The store is closed. And yet the place is selling futons.
In front of the well-lit window stands a silhouette. It's a man, a cigar smoker, standing on his tiptoes, peering inside at Beyond Futon's newest, a futon/cigar/leather window display.
Cigarman's car is parked at the curbside. Motor idling. Cigarman continues to visually absorb the display.
The view from without: the wooden humidors, a big ole oversized cigar hanging from the ceiling, some Cigar magazines, ashtrays, leather futon covers, oak (futon) sofa and matching tables and chairs. He puffs on his fat stogie, stares, puffs again, turns away, climbs into his car, then motors into the night, possibly inspired.
Next day, he returns and says to Crystal Boswell, Beyond Futon's sales rep: "I want it exactly like you have it in the window." Thirty-five or forty minutes later, the oak sofa frame, the futon mattress, the leather futon covers and the oak tables on display - Sold. Throw in the ashtray? A $2,000 sale.
Cigarman says: "Perfect!", and strolls out humming to himself, eminently happy.
Charlotte, NC's window sales champ strikes again.
Windows. Your store-front. The best advertisement and image maker possible. Your company's soul: out there, on display. Do your windows work for you?
Is your window a sales champion, a sales generator like Mike, Pat, and Rachel Dortch's displays in boomtown Charlotte? Do they stop traffic? Grab attention? Are they the subject of discussion? If not, perhaps we can all learn something from a laid-back ten year-old retail company in North Carolina - futon professionals down to their heels.

Act One - Scene Two

Same store. Same window, another night. Car cruises by. Window display blazes into the mind of an out-of-towner, a motorist who is about to become a consumer. Brakes are applied. Car door slams. Store closed for the night. Man stares at the cigar motif inside. He can't quite get a whiff of the aroma of oak, of leather, of cigars - or maybe a snifter of brandy? He smells none of the futon maleness of it all. But he can see it. He experiences it. He knows this is something he's never seen before. Before he came to this city that is.
He too returns, and buys four cigar pillows the very next day. The Motorist then heads north to Virginia. Stoked, stogied-up. Manly! A consumer: "Keep me informed what else you are up to, now," he says as he leaves. Oh yes: score yet another for the window display champion. Women aren't the only buyers in the world. Some guys buy, too.

continued on next page

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