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Meet Joe Gajda

Joseph Gajda, a Principal of Practical Decisions, has more than 30 years of building and operating companies. Joe was most recently the founder and President / CEO of Museum Enterprise Partners, Inc., a first-to-market retail, catalog, wholesale, and e-commerce licensing operation with first year revenues of more than $35 million. Joe developed the concept and implemented the operating plan for this start-up, which provided a broad range of operational and merchandising services to cultural and non-profit institutions under long-term licensing arrangements. The company was awarded the prestigious Silver Award by Catalog Age for creative excellence and financial performance.

Prior to Museum Enterprise Partners, Joe was recruited as President / CEO to turn around Pic 'N Pay Stores, Charlotte, NC, a troubled retailer with 1,000 stores in the southeastern U. S. with a history of substantial losses and significant erosion in market share. Joe led the most successful retail turnaround of the period, consolidating operations, developing innovative new formats, restructuring the company's real estate portfolio, and reducing indirect expenses by more than $8 million in his first year. The company led its industry in sales performance and improved its margins, becoming profitable within just one year, and was sold to a new buyer within 2 years.

Prior to that, Joe was the President of the Licensed Division of J. Baker, Inc., and its predecessor Morse Shoe, Inc., with responsibility for retail licensing in 1,500 locations throughout the U. S., and was responsible for the consolidation of 2 competing divisions when J. Baker acquired Morse Shoe. He also was Vice President and Director of Morse Shoe International, with offices in Europe and throughout the Far East, responsible for product development and all overseas direct sourcing.

Initially trained as a buyer with Associated Dry Goods, and then in field operations and merchandising with several national specialty store chains, he spent more than 10 years running and developing store organizations, including visual merchandising, store design and operations, and merchandise replenishment. In addition to more than 10 years in apparel, he has specialty store experience in the pre-recorded music, footwear, toy and gift industries.

Joe has extensive experience in field operations, distribution and fulfillment, overseas sourcing and transportation, direct marketing, organizational development, business development, finance and P&L management, and strategic planning. In addition to restructuring failing companies, Joe has consolidated operations of merged competitors, and has advised start-ups, as well as small and medium sized companies.

Joe holds a B. S. in Economics from Canisius College in Buffalo, NY, and is an Executive Associate accredited by The Institute for Independent Business.