This summer marks the 20th anniversary of the Americans with Disabilities Act, which seems like a fitting time to review whether shoppers of differing abilities have access to all areas in your store.  When the act was made law in 1990, the movement towards “reducing barriers” was already in progress across the country.  Shops like… Read More

“Is this the best price I can get?” is the one question that Gary Darwin suggests that all buyers be encouraged to ask when placing an order.  I had asked Gary, now vice president at Zrike, for advice to include in my book Specialty Shop Retailing.  And frankly, his answer surprised me — because even… Read More

There is a scene in Freeman Hall’s memoir Retail Hell that does at least sound like Retail Purgatory.  He is being trained, together with a group of other newbies, to use the cash registers at the store he calls “The Big Fancy” (a thinly disguised Nordstrom).  Here is Brandi, the store’s operations manager, providing the… Read More

If someone were to ask you “what’s happening?” at your store, would the answer be “not much”? If so, it shouldn’t surprise you if sales are slow.  You need to give shoppers a reason to come in and shop — and you don’t need to spend a lot of money to make that happen. Social… Read More

We all face many challenges in operating a small business, especially in today’s economy. (I’m really looking forward to the day when I no longer have to use that phrase!)  And few shops are so flush with capital that they always have enough money on hand for expenses and inventory.  So you may think it… Read More

The buy local movement has been a great boon to independent retailers and restaurants during a time when small businesses need all the help they can get.  Are you doing all you can to take advantage of the positive impact of this movement? One new way to help brand yourself as an independent that has… Read More

A catchy name for your store can take you far, and a catchy name for a non-profit can help it stand out in this crowded field. Instead of referring to their organization by its proper name, Count Me In for Women’s Economic Independence, this organization uses the “Make Mine a Million” slogan that catches everyone’s… Read More

Summer is here, and I hope you’re going to get a chance to get away from your store for at least a short vacation. And no, that buying trip to Atlanta doesn’t count — unless you extend it by a few days and go hike nearby Stone Mountain, or visit the University of Georgia college… Read More

We went to a concert last night by a chamber music group with the unusual name of Bach Dancing and Dynamite Society. (Their name isn’t the only unconventional thing about this group, an ensemble of talented musicians willing to take risks with everything except their exceptionally high performance standards.)   One of the things that B… Read More

You may not love sauerkraut (we certainly ate our share Memorial Day weekend at Madison’s Brat Fest, on top of the 200,000 bratwurst served).  But that doesn’t mean you can’t take a promotional tip from the contest being sponsored by Frank’s Sauerkraut, inviting its customers to submit photos of themselves to be put on the… Read More