If you look at our high-density commercial zones in our hoods, you should notice there is almost zero accommodation for customers to feel entertained or even feel good about shopping. The feeling I get shopping in the hood is a “get what you came here for and get the hell out!” type of atmosphere and that’s why brothas and sistas run out to the suburban malls. Our generation of brothas and sistas has to think different and focus on making the hood more hospitable to help bring economic activity back into our community and make our commercial zones an attractive place to do business.
Elements of Hospitality
Throughout Europe, Middle East and Asia, the high density urban commercial zones are transforming their shops not only as a place to buy but a place to relax and feel comfortable. We are talking about store designs you would find at high line flagship stores in large cities where they have lounge chairs, large signage and displays and in some cases, resemble an art gallery. Dining areas that look like lounges where you can sit and talk for hours after you paid the bill. Banks and mobile wireless centers with the latest interactive displays and latest technology to play with.
What these retailers are discovering is a dramatic increase in profits and sales as a result of incorporating hospitality in their stores. This is why you hearing about these luxury brands and places like the Apple Store doing unbelievable sales numbers during this economy and why the Lego store is so popular among kids because it allowing people to go in and enjoy themselves as well as shop.
Starbucks and McDonald’s
McDonald’s has been doing hospitality elements for the longest time. Maybe you live somewhere generic but if you live in a big city or a tourist city, then you know there are specialized McDonald’s like the old Rock and Roll McDonald’s in Chicago. The whole indoor playroom in the McDonald’s is the perfect example of hospitality and it works, the little kids love it, taking off their shoes and start playing in those tunnels.
Now you see McDonald’s is looking to compete with Starbucks to attract people to hang out. McDonald’s is really the bigger player than Starbucks in town that understand hospitality and the reason why they are worldwide. No matter where you travel in this world, nothing is like sitting down at a McDonald’s and eating and handling your business.
Starbucks is announcing they are going to start selling beer and wine along with cheese at some of their locations. While this may sound crazy, it is not because Starbucks realized something that we brothas and sistas need to realize about stop being a one-trick pony business in the hood. The funny thing is when I date these super-duper awesome fine Ethiopian and other African sistas, they like going to Starbucks around 8pm – 10pm and have coffee with a brotha.
Now if you think about it, when you just watched a play or a movie with a date and walking downtown Los Angeles or Seattle, yall can go to Starbucks and just have some wine. In addition, that person you met online, yall can hang out at Starbucks in a more casual setting on first meet instead of paying for an expensive dinner and realize you met a jerk and an @$$hole off the Internet who don’t even look good like the pic they posted online.
But the reality is, now Starbucks has a new demographic of customers to serve at late hours and they repurpose their store to accommodate a new revenue channel. And that’s exactly why I’m writing this article and hope brothas and sistas understand why incorporating hospitality in the hood is a must and should be seriously considered.
Hospitality Design Inspiration
There are two places that come in mind if you want to consider incorporating hospitality in your business operation in the hood. I think of the auto dealers and the hotel lobby as places of inspiration as they are both in the business and have decades of experience in this field. Look at their designs and realize how they work to make sure people are comfortable at their place.
These concepts are exactly what we should be looking at doing in our hood where cats can decide to shop in our community and enjoy themselves and feel comfortable and be around their own people. I traveled worldwide and will be traveling more and there are plenty of pictures on the Internet about these types of hospitality models. The funny part is the Apple Store is using this same hospitality design and winning and entrepreneurial cats haven’t picked up a clue.
Now, the first thing you going to hear naysayers and side haters who ain’t going to do a damn thing but run their mouth say is cats in the hood is going to f*ck the place up like a pack of roving wild baboons. They got our hoods all figured out as if all the hood do is rob and kill and shoot 24/7 in the commercial zone with dead bodies piling up behind the dollar store for daily pickup to the morgue. That’s how these speculators got our hoods all figured out.
First thing first and you need to realize anybody who say anything about how violent our communities are and it don’t work does not have love for our community and been conditioned to think of our community in a negative light. The truth is these are the kind of cats who are talking and many of us held ourselves back from these negative words from these coward punks who won’t make things better.
You guys should automatically know this blog is already working on security technology to help our hoods become safer to shop. In addition and here is a little secret – our hoods have never been designed as a place to go enjoy ourselves and do shopping. All these years, it was just cats telling us what we can’t do and just want to see us fail so they can feel like they right. Don’t let negative cats who ain’t part of your community or ain’t doing anything in your community tell you about your community.
This is something that is know, the more people shopping in our community then the safer that shopping area will be. Cats do not act a fool when everybody is out and know each other – they only do that crap when there is hardly anybody around and it is just strangers. Second, as I stated with the technology tip, we will have high-definition camera that are automatically programmed to detect cats with cats and hood on and automatically focus on their face close up. This is a future article on creating “smart cameras” so I’m not too worried about the security angle because me and the 30 Rotten Dissidents already working on something to deal with that.
How to Design Hospitality
The good part is most designs for hospitality can be designed by cats in the hood for the hood. If you didn’t catch a clue and I keep telling you over and over, this is how someone in the hood can create jobs for dozens of cats, including ex-cons is to start building out this kind of furniture where you can get the materials from Home Depot or Lowes or a fabric store.
Strip Bar. A strip bar is basically a counter that allows people to sit down on a barstool. Cats can check their online account on their mobile phone while they can wait for a take-out order or they can wait for a specialist to bring a product to demonstrate for them if they want one-on-sale sales consultation. The Apple Store Genius Bar is an example of this.
Lounge Sofa. These are basically sitting areas that let people sit down. There is absolutely nothing wrong with people just sitting down in your store. It makes your store safer, believe it or not. But these kind of lounge area should be in areas where there is just an exhibit and you can showcase items. In some countries, they hire attractive people to just lounge out at these locations but I think that is not necessary in the hood – the cute ones will hang out for free if you set it up right.
Interactive Wall. The point of sale project for the hood may have an interactive wall component and it is not hard for an expert like me to build out. The real work is building out a furniture case that can hold the flat panel screen and possibly a web camera or a Kinnect interface to respond to QR codes and gestures.
I want to make sure all African-Americans who reading this article and visiting Dream and Hustle for the first time have a full understanding of where we at right now. Right now, we got a Black President from the South Side of Chicago handling his business running this country. Right now, you are reading a blog from a technology expert from the West Side of Chicago who handling his business in this tech game. I say this because some of you cornballs are waiting on someone White to tell you how to save yourself and your hood when me and President Obama is telling you that you are the change you been waiting for.
We at Dream and Hustle already been worldwide and trailblazing specifically on innovative solutions for our hood – we talking about stuff here that Fortune and Inc has not picked up a clue about yet. And when there are stories about innovation, I go deep into that story at levels these other journalists cannot go because I’m a real tech expert as well as an entrepreneur and business professional in this game. It may break your heart, but I’m read by and deal with plenty of high ranking executives at many firms worldwide based on post I written on Dream and Hustle, haters can get over it.
You brothas and sistas already have your economic empowerment and your billion dollar empire right in front of your face in your own hood. The problem is you cats have been brainwashed and mentally conditioned not to believe in yourself and believe you cannot make change happen around you to benefit you. Cats been doubting on you and putting doubts in your head all your life because they are scared of the day you finally realize your full potential and realize you got nothing to lose and everything to gain when you get the backbone to go and get yours and what God intended for you to have in this world.
We can turn our hood communities into vibrant retailing and commercial zones that attract thousands and thousands of our own people a day to shop locally and help us create jobs and support our community locally through economic distribution of wealth. If cats decide to create a cluster of small businesses that attract people to travel and hang out in the same fashion the malls were designed as a hangout spot, then we got customers who can put food on out tables and help us stack paper for ourselves.
The one thing we brothas and sistas never done in modern times was create our hood to make it enjoyable place to shop and feel good. We allowed fear of some punk thugs, negative stereotypes by outside suburban middle class not from the hood cats who are cowards and our own mental blockage preventing us from doing things our way and for our own people benefit. It’s time to change that and there will be a focus on making sure our hoods are just as much as an enjoyable place to shop and have fun than any flagship shopping district in a major city.