Martin Melaver, CEO of Melaver, Inc., will discuss and sign brand-new copies of "Living Above the Store: Building a Business That Creates Value, Inspires Change, and Restores Land and Community" April 22, from 6-8 p.m. at Papillote restaurant, 218 W Broughton St.
The book, just released by Chelsea Green, has been called "visionary" and "truly superb work." Paul Hawken, the author of "The Ecology of Commerce," says Melaver "breaks the mold on business writing." Ray Anderson of Interface wrote the foreword.
"’Living Above the Store’ is the right book for these difficult times, when business needs to regain trust," writes Marc Gunther, contributing editor of Fortune. "Melaver starts with specific stories of running a family business, sharing successes and failures, frustrations and joys, and then broadens out to illuminate general principles for running a sustainable business. These stories still stick in my mind, long after I have put the book away."
The economic crash of late 2008 is just the latest evidence of the truth that many have known for so long: that too much of our modern economy is based on a house of cards. We need businesses that not only factor their impact on people and places into their equations for success but also strive to restore the communities and environments in which they operate. How can this be done?
In "Living Above the Store," Martin Melaver provides a roadmap for creating such a business. It’s not only a "how to" but a "why to" that challenges business as usual to change.
"Living Above the Store" brings us into the story of Savannah-based Melaver, Inc., a third-generation, 70-year-old family real estate business, as it evolves toward becoming a thought and product leader in sustainable business practices. It is part business management theory and part case study, where sustainable principles meet sustainable practices, always grounded in day-to-day practice.
Melaver’s grandmother started a corner grocery store in Savannah that became a regional grocery chain, M&M Supermarkets. When the grocery business was sold in 1985, the newly formed Melaver, Inc. turned its attention to real estate holdings. Martin Melaver took over in 1992. The company has a national reputation as a leader in sustainable development, having developed the first all-retail LEED shopping center in the country, Abercorn Common, including the first LEED McDonald’s worldwide. It also developed one of the first LEED certified buildings in the U.S. which is also on the National Register of Historic Places.
"Living Above the Store" demonstrates how to:
· Adopt a business model that provides for economic success while contributing to society and the environment
· Shape a business culture that is restorative to a workforce by helping employees realize their highest potential
· Leverage an ethos within a business that "ripples outward" to foster restoration of both land and community
· Embrace a notion of limits to growth
· Reframe ideas about competition, proprietary knowledge, and business success
"Living Above the Store" is for readers who care about issues of community and sustainability as well as for those who want to learn more about how a socially responsible business can first redefine, and then find, success.
Melaver grew up in Savannah and received his BA from Amherst College. He holds a Masters and PhD from Harvard University and an MBA from the Kellogg School of Management at Northwestern. He is a past Fulbright scholar to Tel Aviv University, a recipient of a Mellon fellowship to Jesus College, Cambridge University, and a Lady Davis Fellowship to Hebrew University in Jerusalem. He is the author of numerous articles on sustainable building practices, is the co-author of "The Green Bottom Line," published by McGraw-Hill. He has been a featured/keynote speaker at various conferences and guest lecturer at Harvard, Dartmouth, and other academic institutions.
Melaver currently serves as the Board Chair of the Georgia Conservancy, is a board member of Urban Land Institute’s Sustainability Council, the Ossabaw Island Foundation, the Savannah Country Day School, the Chatham Environmental Forum and serves as an advisory board member for various other companies and organizations.
Reviews of the book:
"Living Above the Store" is the right book for these difficult times, when business needs to regain trust. Melaver starts with specific stories of running a family business, sharing successes and failures, frustrations and joys, and then broadens out to illuminate general principles for running a sustainable business. These stories still stick in my mind, long after I have put the book away."
-Marc Gunther, contributing editor, Fortune
"Living Above the Store" breaks the mold on business writing. It is a book about the greening of business to be sure, but it is literature first, brilliant disquisitions and narratives that place commerce within the broader context of history, culture, and the cherished human values that bind us together. Martin Melaver has enlarged the vocabulary of commerce and restored it to a place of honor, a timely gift in an era of disillusionment."
– Paul Hawken, author, "The Ecology of Commerce"
"Martin describes the evolution of his ideas and practices with refreshing candor and humility. He is a role model for me, my students, and anyone interested in building a values-based, sustainable business."
– John Vogel, Adjunct Professor
Tuck School of Business at Dartmouth
"The most sustainably growing family business leaders, I find, are philosophers of management. ‘Living Above the Store’ is a compelling example. Further, it is a wonderful story built on wonderful stories. All business leaders will be inspired by the power of connecting driving values with convincing stories."
– John L. Ward, Clinical Professor
Kellogg School of Management and Principal
The Family Business Consulting Group
"At long last, a visionary work that reminds us what businesses once were, and can once again be. Martin Melaver has shared with us the story of his remarkable real estate company, eloquently teaching us how to run a business that is not solely about making a buck, but about building a sustainable society. Mandatory reading for leaders from all sectors – business, NGOs and government – who believe that our work should make the world a healthier, kinder and more prosperous place."
– Eilon Schwartz, Director
Heschel Center for Environmental Learning and Leadership, Tel Aviv
"Martin Melaver’s beautiful retelling of his family and business experience provides valuable professional management directions for realizing ethically based business practices that are crucial to our society’s health. General readers will also be inspired by the author’s advice, personal journey, and approaches to the challenges he’s taken on."
– Michael Singer, artist/designer
"There is a third century teaching that says, ‘Do not separate yourself from the community.’ Commentators since have interpreted this to mean that even if one can accomplish more alone, distancing oneself weakens the entire community. The unique contributions of every individual are critical to the dialogue and discussion which nourish the community. Martin Melaver offers his own commentary on the building and sustaining of community. Each chapter is multi-layered and engaging. Not only does Melaver aspire to connect his actions to a vision of ‘Building a Business That Creates Value, Inspires Change, and Restores Land and Community,’ but he inspires others to do so as well."
– Rabbi Nina J. Mizrahi, Director Pritzker Center for Jewish Education
Jewish Community Centers of Chicago
"Martin Melaver’s ‘Living Above the Store’ about the transformation of his third-generation family business is engaging and informative. It is a story of remarkable change through a thoughtful, collaborative dialogue of discovery with his family, colleagues and community. He challenges conventional tenets and offers a business plan utilizing diversity, shared values, common purpose and a land-community ethic that is restorative for human and nature. ‘Living Above the Store’ is for readers interested in realizing a business’ highest potential and regaining a more authentic sense of themselves or for anyone wanting to develop a life plan for the 21st Century."
– Bob Berkebile, BNIM Architects
"A truly superb work, ‘Living Above the Store’ has challenged my thinking about management, and Southface will be a better organization as a result. Martin Melaver is smart and articulate, and has the courage to be honest. Creating a sustainable economy requires a transformational shift in the thinking of business. Melaver embraces this challenge and his book is a compass not only for businesses, large and small, but also for government, non-profits, and even individuals."
– Dennis Creech, Executive Director, SOUTHFACE
Responsible Solutions for Environmental Living
For more information on "Living Above the Store", visit http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/living_above_the_store
Melaver, Inc. is a third-generation, family-owned business based in Savannah, Georgia. The sustainable real estate developer currently has eight LEED certified projects in their portfolio and developed one of the first LEED certified buildings in the U.S. which is also on the National Register of Historic Places. Melaver Inc. also developed the first all-retail LEED shopping center in the country, Abercorn Common, including the first LEED McDonald’s worldwide. Melaver, Inc. also has LEED consulting and construction divisions.
Contact: (912) 236-0781