A New Concept In Retailing 

Friends for decades, Frankin Karp and Lois Whitman-Hess

Pirch, SoHo, image : O Group

Orit, CEO, The O Group. We worked together in the 70s and remained friends since.

It was not quite a week ago that I received a call from Franklin Karp, COO of AVS Audio Video, and Orit, CEO of The O Group, a branding and creative agency. 

I know them both since the 1970’s. Orit’s award-winning company designs websites and collateral materials for AVS.

They were calling me from a new store in SoHo, NYC, called Pirch. They sounded overjoyed. AVS recently became a strategic partner of Pirch and they wanted me to issue a press release. They said Pirch was introducing a new concept in retailing to NYC and it would soon become a landmark destination.

I took a few notes, Googled Pirch, and wrote the following release.  Make sure you see Pirch in person. It is quite an experience. 

PRESS RELEASE–May 17, 2016 

AVS Teams Up With Pirch To Support Innovative Retailing In Digital Times 

New York, NY — In one of the most progressive moves in the history of retailing, AVS Audio Video has joined forces with Pirch, a revolutionary provider of kitchen, bath and outdoor appliances. AVS will be offering custom networking solutions, as well as high end audio/video equipment, to Pirch customers in the new 37,000 sq. ft. store at 200 Lafayette Street in SoHo, NYC.

 Franklin Karp, Chief Operating Officer of Audio Video Systems, said, “Pirch has been making headlines in the last few days in print, broadcast and on the Internet because its retail concept is nothing NYC has ever seen before. Potential customers will be invited to test the pricey showers, soak in super expensive tubs and cook in lavish, custom-made kitchens. Major personalities, as well as customers who want the ultimate in luxury, have been signing up to experience the possible $100,000 makeovers.

 “AVS is the perfect ‘strategic partner’ in this revolutionary retail concept because we specialize in the integration of all custom systems and control technologies throughout the home. Complementing the Pirch retail concept, AVS will provide the customer with hands-on experience that will include intuitive and seamless controls at the press of a button.”

 AVS will be featuring Sonance speakers, Lutron lighting and shades, Savant control systems, Leon media decor, and Seura outdoor television viewing.

 Pirch, headquartered in San Diego, currently has nine locations throughout the U.S. Jeffrey Sears, CEO and Co-Founder, was recently named “Disruptor of the Year” by the National Retail Federation and one of the “100 Most Intriguing Entrepreneurs of 2014” by Goldman Sachs.  

 Audio Video Systems, Plainview, NY, has been a leading audio/video source since 1977. Karp said, “Technology has changed, but our goal has remained the same. Simplify whole house integration and provide the best customer service.”

One Year And 14 Days Ago

I just don’t know how Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg has been able to function this year. One year  and 14 days days ago, her husband, David Goldberg, then CEO of Survey Monkey, died unexpectedly from a heart attack. The world was in shock, at least I was.

Sheryl and David were the golden couple of the tech industry, or even the world. All eyes were on them. They were happy, prosperous, and cutting edge. Stories about them always talked about their devotion to each other, their children, their extended families and friends. 

I always wondered how this powerful couple managed to be so creative and productive in the business world and yet lead a relatively normal life. I obsessively read every story about them. I couldn’t get enough until that dreadful, awful day when David died.  

I recently read several stories in Mashable that Sheryl was going to address the graduating class of 2016 at the University of California at Berkeley this past weekend.  She finally opened up about how she was able to function this past year while staying completely active in one of the most successful tech companies. 

This was the first time she publicly spoke about the tragedy.”There are three P’s—personalization, pervasiveness, and permanence—that are critical to how we bounce back from hardship,” she said.

The entire speech appears on the YouTube video above. Sheryl appears at the 1:18.54 mark.


Virtual Reality Enters Real Estate 

If you want to know more about the potential of virtual reality in real estate, watch CNBC’s Power Lunch’s feature on the topic. Two Million Dollar Listing Brokers, New York and Miami, share their opinions. 

Shopping for new digs will never be the same. The world of virtual reality is slowly becoming increasingly popular in real estate offices all over the United States. 

A real estate broker friend of mine, Juan Carlos  Zapata, of Douglas Elliman, Fort Lauderdale, FL, got his first taste of what it will be like to use a VR headset in order to sell condos and homes in far away places.

Potential buyers will be able to take a virtual tour of real estate properties without leaving the comfort of the broker’s office. It’s just like being on location. You get to walk and see each room in a 3D atmosphere. Some people get a little woozy with the headset on, but JC said he didn’t have a problem.

Watch his experience below.

My Mother Racked Up “90 Likes” And Beautiful Comments On Facebook 

Every Thursday is throw back Thursday on Facebook, #TBT. I posted a picture of my mother with Muhammad Ali this week. It received over “90 Likes ” and some wonderful comments.

My mother had hundreds of friends. She was a people collector. She would have loved Facebook. Thank you everyone. 

Waterpik Press Tour 

It was an amazing day at Hearst Magazines in NYC. HWH PR arranged a media day for Waterpik Water Flossers at Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, Redbook and Elle. I led the tour with Richard Bisson, CEO, Water Pik. Our mission was to spread the word on the importance of good oral health care. We met incredible editors and had the fortunate opportunity to tour the Good Housekeeping Institute where they test products for the Seal of Approval.  

Richard Bisson, CEO, Water Pik with Patricia Haegele – SVP Group Revenue Officer (Publisher); Laurie Jennings – Deputy Director Editorial; Rachel Rothman – Chief Technologist; Christine Rannazzisi – Assistant Publisher – Marketing Director, and Rich Hencke – Director, Strategy and Marketing Partnerships Good Housekeeping.

The other half of the caption above

Overlooking Central Park from The Institute.

The new Nordstrom department store under construction.

Karen Snyder Duke, Health Editor, Redbook with Richard Bisson, CEO, Water Pik

Megan O’Neill, Beauty and Fitness Editor ELLE, with Richard Bisson, CEO, Water Pik.


I can’t take it anymore. Everytime I click on a digital story, I get interrupted by an advertisement. It pops up out of nowhere. It drives me crazy. 

Sometimes, I even lose the story while trying to close the ad. That means I have to start all over. I once figured it out. Pop up ads can add 30 seconds on to accessing every story. 

Does that happen to you?


Say Hello To Baby Juanita 

The following email is from our Smartours tour guide in Colombia, South America. We toured the country last September. Leon Pardo lives in Bogata with his wife Diana and his baby Juanita. Everyone on the tour fell in love with Leon because he was just a “gute neshome,” Yiddish for good soul. 

He was extremely knowledgeable and went out of his way to provide unique experiences for all of us. Leon’s wife was in the last stages of pregnancy when we were touring. We just wanted to send a gift when the baby arrived.

It took us a little longer than expected because we were concerned about safe mail delivery. It turned out to be a lot easier than we thought. Leon is on tour now, but sent us this thank you email. We were so thrilled to reconnect with him. Thank you for emails and social media. We will stay friends forever.

Just for the record, Colombia was one of the best places we ever visited. Yes, Leon had a lot to do with it. 

Baby Juanita

Baby Juanita



Eliot, Lois, Ruth and Howard at the Coffee Triangle

I Can Finally See You  

lmage: The grommet

image: The Gadget Flow

I think older folks have gone FaceTime crazy. They just love the idea of talking face-to-face with loved ones. 

Some of my friends are on FaceTime several times a day. The problem is that when they call me, I can barely see them. Why do they wait until they get into some dark, dingy place before dialing me? 

I want to tell them about Chatlight, a light that has LED technology with  over 50,000 hours of use and/or you can go up to 90 minutes on a single charge.

Chatlight fits perfectly on any smartphone, tablet or laptop and desktop computers. It can be plugged in to a standard wall outlet or any USB port.

It retails for $29.99 on Amazon.

Modular Pod Tents Form New Trend In Camping 

I thought folks would love this new invention. I’m getting a very mixed reaction. People go camping to be alone. Not to mingle.

Yet, M2C Innovation of the United Kingdom, created POD Tents, a group of tents that are secured together to create a camping compound. Lots of campers can sleep under one connected roof.

I love this idea because I can be in the great outdoors, yet feel safe in a crowd. The modular camping system consists of individual tents that can be zipped together with connector tunnels. This allows you to create a large interior space where you can hang out with your friends and family.

Watch the video for this great new idea.

POD Maxi eight-person tent retails at $780 and the POD Mini four-person tent at $625. The tunnel goes for $140. You can make your purchase here.