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INDUSTRY INSIGHTS

  • 27 Sep

Rog Day 10

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I left my hotel at 10am in a taxi, and after the driver made a complaint that everybody in the States is in too much of a hurry, he proceeded to drive like Lewis Hamilton in a bid to get me to the airport as quickly as possible – unreal!

I was soon through security and sat at the gate for my flight to Chicago, where I was going to meet Jack who would board the same connecting flight to Hartford, Connecticut. People talk about internal flights in the US being like taking a bus back home, and how true that is. The whole experience was just so easy and hence it made it pleasurable, not like catching planes at home or in Europe where it’s just completely the opposite. The flight to Chicago should have taken just over 2 hours, but the pilot landed us after just 1 hour 30 minutes.

After meeting Jack, who charmed the lady on the United Airlines desk and got us upgraded seats, we were on the flight to Hartford. Jack pointed out the fantastic Chicago skyline, dominated by the Sears Tower and of course, a Trump Tower – does any city in America not have one of these?! I never realised that downtown Chicago was so close to Lake Michigan, and as we flew away from Chicago the sheer size of this lake became apparent – it was actually like looking at the ocean! Jack told me that it was circa 100 miles long, and 100 miles across, so no wonder.

Again, the flight came in early, and Jack and I were soon at the Car rental depot picking up a huge Chevrolet Tahoe – a bit like a Landrover Discovery, only bigger! Jack actually grew up in Connecticut, and still has friends in the area. First stop was one of Jack’s closest friends, JR, who lived on the 27th floor of a fantastic Apartment block in downtown Hartford – the view was out of this world. We then drove to one of the suburbs of Hartford to meet another of Jack’s friends, Tony, his Wife Mary, and 4 year old Daughter, Eva. Jack and JR had started to tell me about the house I was about to visit, which had cost in the region of $2m, which is about £1.3m. When we arrived I can only describe the moment as jaw-dropping! I’ve never seen a house quite like it, and the view of a mountain from the back of the house was just spectacular. After drinks on the rear deck, we headed to Max’s Oyster Bar in West Hartford for Dinner. I took the opportunity to get a lift in Tony’s Jaguar XK convertible, and despite him being a bit chilly (to me it was a lovely summer’s evening!) he kindly put the roof down and we went in style.

After a great evening of chat with Jack and his friends (Mike, another of Jack’s friends later joined us, and he was a fascinating guy that does event management for Lego – needless to say I told him about my 2 boys and our love of the stuff), it was back to the hotel to catch up on a few emails before turning in for the night. I’m very excited about tomorrow and my first face to face meetings with US retailers…

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