Once upon a time (in fact, when I was a girl), Tupperware was sold exclusively through home parties. It’s still done that way in many places — the hostess invites her friends and provides the refreshments.  The Tupperware representative brings games and little prizes, samples of all kinds of Tupperware, and of course lots of order… Read More

We all know that the near future is going to be rough going economically, but what if your community adds street repairs to the challenges you are already facing this year?  The Small Business Advisory Council here in Madison, Wisconsin (where there are said to be two seasons, winter and road work) has issued a… Read More

Have you ever felt that no one really understands how hard it is to be retailer, especially today? Do you wonder whether your customers appreciate all that you do, and whether your employees know how hard you work to keep them employed?  Cheryl Karpen knows, from personal experience, and she wants to reassure you that… Read More

“Cause marketing” is a formal term for the concept of giving a percentage of a sale to a non-profit organization.  While doing good pays a moral reward in itself, the idea of marketing the fact that you are supporting a good cause — as with this eye-catching display at Kohl’s — is a valuable promotional… Read More

There will always be brides, no matter how dire the economy becomes, so the wedding gift business can be a real boost to your sales during the summer months. (And keep in mind that while June and August still host the most weddings, September and October are also popular.)  The average wedding has 175 guests,… Read More

You may not have to look very far to find a good source of customers in these challenging times —  just reach out to your family and friends.  Be sure to include the family and friends of your employees as well, and to be generous in your use of the term "friend."  (Facebook has made… Read More

Unless you really are a sole proprietor, you have a least one other person on your staff who needs to know everything you know.  After all, you can’t be in your store all the time. And you don’t want customer service to suffer just because you are off on a buying trip, doing the book… Read More

The pickled pig feet were probably the worst.  Some of the bottles in another shipment on the common carrier’s truck broke, spilling broken glass and a fragrant liquid all over our boxes of gift merchandise. The trucker who delivered our shipment wasn’t much happier about it than we were. But damaged and defective goods are… Read More

A beautiful store window is a true work of art, and I never tire of looking at the photograph of this wonderful New York shop.  Retailers wear many hats, including visual merchandiser, but not many of us have artistic training.  Learning a bit about the design elements that go into a good painting or sculpture,… Read More

As independent retailers, we are always on the lookout for unique products that won’t be found on the shelves of our big box brethren. Now there is a new resource to help us locate the regional artists and crafts people we like to support as part of the “buy local” movement.  We can also use… Read More