‘The Profit’ Season 4: At Bowery Kitchen Supplies, It’s Divorce Anger Over Business Survival (VIDEO)

“The Profit” lands in the heart of Manhattan at Bowery Kitchen Supplies, a well established shop on the west side of the borough, also part of Chelsea Market. You know how we’ve seen a whole host of family run establishments this season? What happens when the family is split up by a divorce, yet still running a business as before? UPDATE/RECAP posted below.

Here’s what happens, and it’s not pretty. Dysfunction takes precedence over business sense. Take a look at the video preview clip posted below. Robyn and Howie are still working together as co-owners of a business that is cash-strapped and no longer driven by what’s best for the company. Marcus Lemonis invests, but isn’t sure he can get the bickering couple to save themselves and their finances.

Howie cannot wait to take the check Marcus Lemonis writes,  even looks at him when he gives the usual warning, “I’m 100% in charge”, then gives Marcus a blank stare when he says, “What does that mean?” It means you applied to be on “The Profit”, know how it works, and seen businesses saved because Marcus has final say on how his investment is spent. Sheesh!

Bowery Kitchen Supplies gets high marks on social media site Yelp, for both its ambiance and its enormous stock of items for pro and non-professional kitchens and cooks. There is a difference in what some customers call good prices vs. high prices for the merchandise, but no one has a negative thing to say about it being the one-stop shop for kitchen and food prep items.

UPDATE

Well, Marcus Lemonis is now in the kitchen supply business, at least he was when the episode ended, but if you saw the episode, you might get the feeling that the truce between Lemonis and Howie was temporary. The saying ” You can’t teach an old dog new tricks”, comes to mind.

A guy who takes eight weeks vacation, which Marcus found outrageous for a retail business owner, admitted that he relies on the people who make the place run, even in his absence, then criticizes them when he returns and takes back the reins of power, isn’t going to change overnight.

The personal dynamic between Howie and ex-wife Robyn makes him reflexively turn down her suggestions or ridicule her ideas. He’s married to his knife collection, including a machete, despite them taking up more retail space than they deserve, based on results. While it’s not our style to critique someone’s physical features, Howie’s wide-eyed, head-tilted stare when someone says something he disagrees with, was almost too much to take throughout the episode.

Marcus agreed to invest $350,000 for what got bargained down to a third of the business, making him an equal partner with Robyn and Howie, but was “100% in charge”. The business was awash in debt and stale inventory, with past-due invoices to suppliers and loans that were going to be difficult to pay down.

Lemonis used Howie’s absences to boost Robyn’s confidence and insisted she act like a partner, not someone who Howie didn’t consider a partner, demeaning her shares based on him giving them to her when they were together, not because she earned them. The store liquidated inventory, reaped $300.000 in cash to keep the business going, as whatever was left, including fixtures were dumped to make way for a redesign, new products and the space’s first organized merchandising plan.

A POS system was installed to supplant Howie’s eyeball test and prime window and wall space was devoted to items that would sell, and increase business. The whole deal almost blew up a couple of times, due to Howie’s refusal to play ball, or his passive-aggressive action towards Marcus. Somehow he finally got it, at least for the moment, that Lemonis wanted to open other locations around the country, making him worth much more than he is right now.

Thoughts?

CNBC Primetime airs “The Profit” Tuesday nights at 9 p.m. ET/PT    Image/video credit: CNBC, used with permission 

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