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Put people first, retailer, philanthropist, TV host Marcus Lemonis urges business leaders

May 20, 2019

Real estate is, as the saying goes, a relationship business. But across today’s business world, those relationships have been replaced by other priorities, opined Marcus Lemonis, TV personality and owner of several businesses, including Camping World and Gander Outdoors.

Lemonis was the keynote speaker at Monday’s RECon 2019 luncheon. 

“The problem is that we have all become transactional,” he said, reflecting wistfully on a time when deals were forged with little more than a handshake. Back then, he said, business leaders saw the interests of their peers and employees as being linked inextricably to their own. “What happened to those days? What happened? We stopped trusting each other.”

Being in business is about much more than making money, he said, arguing that we have a responsibility for the advancement and well-being of our teammates, those with whom we do business and the community at large. In the business world, he said, “we are people first.”

Taking the argument further, he noted the real estate industry’s fundamental importance to the health of the U.S. economy. 

Lemonis stars in CNBC’s The Profit, a reality show in which he helps small businesses succeed. He also has launched a variety of charitable initiatives through his companies, including Project Good Samaritan, in which employees at Camping World and Good Sam Club volunteer 32 hours annually to various causes.

To fully execute their responsibilities toward those around them, though, business people must make sure that they are running their businesses properly. And in a comment that seemed directed particularly at the retail real estate industry, he asserted: “I’m not scared of the Internet; you shouldn’t be scared of the Internet; what you should be scared of is sloppy business practices.”

As for the challenges facing this industry and others, he said, “what is happening is that we are not coming up with enough solutions.”

By Edmund Mander

Director, Editor-In-Chief/SCT

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