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Like Sew Will Support TRS Indefinitely

Q&A with Robert Pirone

We recognize that it has been a daunting decision for many TRS users to consider moving to Like Sew or any other Point of Sale solution. The timing might not be right for some to consider a move from TRS. TRS might be working well for others. In order to support those who would like to remain on TRS, we are delighted to announce that Robert Pirone, TRS extraordinaire, will be staying on with Like Sew indefinitely for this very purpose.

Robert, as most of you know, has been your primary source of technical support for TRS over the last 10 years. Robert has a very rich history working with many of you and is deeply fluent in all things TRS.

We thought you would like to hear from Robert on his decision to stay on with Like Sew, and Robert was kind enough to share a few words with us about this…

Q:
Tell us about your background prior to supporting TRS?
 
Robert:
I've been working in technical support and call centers for just over 30 years. My first two jobs were with the Jet Propulsion Laboratory in Pasadena, CA and the Walt Disney Company. I worked at both places for 10 years each. 5 years into my time at Disney, I married my wife and became a son in law of two amazing parents that owned a Quilting and Sewing store in Pasadena, CA called Bearly Stitchin. As a son in law with computer experience I was asked to help with all things computers and that meant helping with new Point of Sale software they were purchasing from JMM Software. My in laws purchased TRS at version 6. My wife also started her own business in the industry making sewing workbooks and quilt patterns. I would travel with my wife and in laws to some of the conventions and even was fortunate to take three incentive trips. During that time I met many other sewing machine dealers that had been friends with my wife's family for many years. They became my friends as well. In August of 2006, I received an email from Joe Martinez at JMM Software asking me to come and work for JMM Software. I said yes, and 10 years later here we are.
 
Q:
What do you enjoy about working with sewing and quilting stores?
 
Robert:
I really enjoy the relationships that I have built with people over 10 years. The people I help, I have helped over and over again through the years. Almost every call, every email is talking to someone that I've built some form of a relationship with. They've heard me at my best and occasionally at my worst. We've shared our lives together, we've laughed with each other and we've comforted each other when there is sorrow, we've prayed together, and we've rejoiced together. The people I help aren't just customers that I help, they've become my friends.
 
Q:
What is your perspective on Like Sew’s acquisition of JMM??
 
Robert:
Unfortunately most people don't know the back story about the acquisitions and therefore many people think Like Sew tried to bury their competition. I know a good deal of the back story relating to JMM Software. I can honestly tell everyone more likely than not, that JMM would have struggled to continue into the near future had Like Sew not acquired it. Unfortunately the timing wasn't the best as a number of features were not in the Like Sew product. I know that the development team is working relentlessly to add features into the Like Sew Point of Sale. With over 20 years of experience in the software industry I can tell you first hand that development takes time. It's amazing how easy people think it would be to program a feature they want, when in reality it's not. Even what would seem like the simplest of features takes time.
Q:
What is Like Sew doing to continue supporting TRS users?
 
Robert:
Hours after I was told about the acquisition I was contacted by Milo LeBaron, one of the three owners. He asked if I would stay on board until the end of 2015, which I agreed to. In early November 2015, they realized that they needed to support TRS further into the future and Milo asked if I would stay on board until the end of 2016, which again I agreed to. As we’ve worked together and gotten to know each other, we mutually decided to continue the relationship indefinitely. I will be staying on to support TRS and eventually work in other areas of the company. Because I know that Sean, Brian, and Milo have the best interests of this industry at heart, I decided to stay on without hesitation.
 
Q:
What is the biggest challenge you see facing sewing and quilting stores today?
 
Robert:
To me the biggest challenge today, is what the biggest challenge has always been, competition. Early on when I worked with my in-laws, competition came from big box stores like Joann and Hancock's. It's still the same issue but now a lot of that competition comes from the internet. The answer back then is the same as the answer now, you must give great service. Stores need to provide great service and a destination experience for the customer. I will never forget listening to my mother in law talk about classes. Classes were never supposed to be just classes but they needed to be sales opportunities. Every teacher was required to demo one of more products as part of a class. Everyone wants to be part of something, customers need to feel that they are part of a store. Relationships are key to having a successful store.
 
Q:
Should TRS users migrate over to Like Sew?
 
Robert:
Absolutely…when the time is right for you. TRS isn't going to work forever. It's built on older technology. Eventually, Microsoft is going to change something in Windows that will most likely make TRS no longer usable. I remember about 7 years ago, Microsoft made a change to Windows XP and the next day after the update I received a flood of calls because everyone's reports were blank. That was the most miserable two days of all the time I worked to support TRS. Eventually, it will happen again as the technology that was used to create it becomes obsolete. Like Sew is built and based on newer cloud-based technology. You can run it on Windows computers and Macs. What I tell people I talk to is they should make a list of their must-have features in TRS. Then have the team at Like Sew import their TRS data into Like Sew and start to use and learn the software while at the same time making sure that every one of those must have features is in the software and working to their satisfaction. If they do this then when day one of their live switch over comes it will be smooth and easy.
 
Q:
Cloud-based Software model is different than the legacy software license and upgrade model that TRS users have been used to. Are there advantages to the Cloud-based model such as Like Sew’s All-in-one POS & Website platform?
 
Robert:
Yes. One of the things that was always a pain with TRS was we had some ideas for great features. Our developer would program those features into TRS and then we'd have to wait until we did the next major release of the software. Even though we wanted to come out with major releases every year it would normally take 2 to 3 years. That meant that those features were just sitting around waiting not being used. Also, once a major release did happen if someone did not pay to get the new upgrade they didn't get any of the new features. Worse yet, if someone didn't pay to get the new upgrade then any bug fixes that were released they did not get as well. The great thing about the cloud based software that Like Sew uses is that once a feature or bug fix is ready it's pushed out and everyone has immediate access to it. All customers are running the same software. Quite honestly it also makes support a lot easier. With TRS at times I had to support old versions of software that I'd never even seen before. With Like Sew, the support staff is always dealing with the same software day in and day out. The other really great advantage to the cloud based model that Like Sew uses is for people that are running both the Point of Sale and Website products. With Like Sew both of those products are talking to the same database. Over the last two years, TRS had been working with Websites for Quilters to make TRS talk to people’s websites, but in that scenario there were actually three databases involved. TRS and Website for Quilters both had their own databases and each of them would talk to a man in the middle database. It makes for all kinds of errors and issues. Also, when there is a problem, sometimes it can become a finger pointing exercise on the back end with each of the support departments. In the end the cloud based model is much more efficient and really helps stores get their products online and in front of both new and existing customers.

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