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Single Store Category: Leisure Living, Salt Lake City

Mark McDonald, president of Leisure Living in Salt Lake City, is following the advice of many business gurus

Mark McDonald, president of Leisure Living in Salt Lake City, is following the advice of many business gurus, life coaches and psychologists. He's not worrying about what he can't control, which in his case is the economy.

Leisure Livings exterior
Leisure Living's streamlined approach helps business grow.
Mark and Sharon McDonald
Mark and Sharon McDonald

“We continue to do the things that got us here,” he said. “We have a good advertising campaign, we have inventory in the warehouse so we can deliver immediately, and we have great sales people.”

McDonald learned that lesson when the 9/11 attacks flattened the economy in late 2001. After emerging from that experience, when consumers didn't shop for much of anything, he vowed to keep his business model simple.

“I think we got too product driven and confusing with our inventory,” McDonald said. “We've been simplifying our inventory and the number of vendors we buy from ever since. By keeping inventory simpler, it keeps the sales process simpler and the delivery process simpler.”

Cutting down on vendors has allowed the Leisure Living staff to focus more on merchandising. Everything in the showroom is accessorized and displayed as a collection, which gives customers a more direct idea of what a sling chair or dining set will look like on their own patios. Streamlined inventory helped the store's customer service effort, which also follows a simple formula.

“We just have fine, quality people, and when you have quality people you get quality results,” said McDonald of his staff of 17 employees. “If you're not focused on the customer, you don't work here.”

McDonald has had more out-of-his-control issues to deal with than just the economy. He said the weather has been just as much of a problem.

“Without a doubt, we had coldest summer ever this year,” he said. “We never got a day to sit outside until June, and we had several snow storms in May.”

But again, McDonald isn't complaining. He is focusing on core initiatives and keeping things simple, which has been enough to keep Leisure Living business solid for the year.

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