When it comes to fashion, the web site Quora states “Color blocking isn’t for the faint of heart…or for the short of stature.” Happily neither of these cautions apply for retailers wanting to use color blocking in window and store displays —  good news for those of you, who like me, are not very tall!… Read More

An excellent image of your storefront can be useful in so many ways: on your Facebook home page, in your print advertising, on your web page, in entries in competitions such as the Gifts and Decorative Accessories Retailer Excellence Awards, and even on your business cards. Professional photographer Peter Patau recently took the stunning photo… Read More

Looking for a way to experiment with owning your own shop, for a short foray into retailing, or for a way to test (or introduce) a new product line?  Perhaps instead of using a kiosk or cart, you could open a pop up shop. These temporary retail outlets often take advantage of vacant storefronts (which… Read More

BABY ON BOARD With Mother’s Day coming up soon, this is a good time to take a look at your store’s maternity leave policy.  Ideally you should have a policy set in your employee handbook before you need it, and you should think about including adoption and paternity leaves too. Your goal in creating a… Read More

Customer service is one of the most important factors contributing to the success of independent retailers. And of course a cornerstone of good service is product knowledge.  You won’t find in-depth information about merchandise in most big-box or discount stores (if you can find someone to help you, that is).  But online retailers provide access… Read More

The celebration of Earth Day on April 22 dates back to 1970 — and clearly progress is being made on many fronts, including the way retailers run their businesses.  I wasn’t in business quite yet, but even in the mid-1970s I know we didn’t have products made from recycled materials, low-energy light bulbs, and many… Read More

Americans are increasingly using bicycles as a means of transportation for work and errands — in fact we’re making progress in some cities towards catching up with Scandinavia, where the Danes average three bike rides per day (according to the Cycling Embassy of Denmark). What are you doing to make your store bike friendly? The… Read More

TRADE-IN TIPS    “Cash for Clunkers” (officially known at the Car Allowance Rebate System) was designed to help stimulate the U.S. economy — and even if you don’t have $3 billion to spend, you can use the trade-in idea to help stimulate your sales. Not only will this type of promotion bring customers into your store,… Read More

Note: I am very pleased to bring you this insightful guest blog entry written by Robyn M. Perrin, co-owner of Focal Flame Photography of Madison, WI. Imagine your favorite childhood storybook. Now try to picture it without any illustrations. Not the same, is it? As a retailer, you are creating a story of your business… Read More

Who wants to be a Millionaire? I must admit that the hyperbole in the title of Joanna “Jody” Bradshaw’s book Be a Millionaire Shopkeeper put me off a bit, because those of us who have been independent retailers for years know that achieving millionaire status is fairly unlikely.  But her subtitle, How Your Independent Shop… Read More