NORWALK, Conn.-Fifteen years after leaving the retail side of the business to get into the manufacturing end of tabletop, Bob Funabashi ventured back into selling when he bought the specialty store Dining In two years ago.
"Gene had worked for my father in the late '60s and early '70s, and was doing work with International China at the time, and he came to me and asked me to buy Dining In. My first thought was, `Do I really want to get back into retailing?"'
Despite the competition that has been brought in by the openings in the area of such stores as Williams-Sonoma, Bed Bath & Beyond, Linens 'n Things and Kohl's in the last two years, Funabashi has seen an increase in sales at Dining In since taking the reins.
In addition to taking traditional routes to drawing in customers, Dining In sponsors such promotions as the recent signing event with Portmeirion designer Anwyl Cooper-Willis.
To reach more customers, Funabashi is in the process of taking Dining In online.
* Speaking of attending events, dining outs, dining ins
, farewell lunches and other ceremonial to-dos, if you're a social butterfly, making the scene like Melissa Rivers on a happy pill, you're bound to pay between $10 and $35 a pop just to get in.