“We know you have a choice of airlines when you fly, and we appreciate you flying with us” has become a bit trite through repetition, but the truth in that statement is timeless: customers have countless choices as to where they can spend their dollars, and we need to let them know how much we appreciate them spending their money with us.

I am truly thankful for customers who come out in the snow to get to our store instead of shopping online in their PJs.  I especially appreciate those who make a point of telling us how much they enjoy the experience of visiting a specialty shop, and mention how much they value the locally owned businesses in our community.

I’m also grateful to the retail employees like our own staff who go the extra mile to make the shopping experience pleasurable and efficient.  We can never say thank you enough, especially since retail wages are not what we wish they could be.  Kind words, small treats and gifts, and flexible scheduling are good ways to let them know we appreciate their work.

This month I’m thankful to American Express for the effort (and money) they put into promoting Small Business Saturday, paying for national advertising, creating videos and ads for us to share, and giving out huge numbers of welcome mats and tote bags for free.  Does American Express do this in order to promote their brand? Of course.  But I still appreciate the fact that their “shop small” message can reach thousands more than the quiet voice of small retailers.

I am grateful to my fellow shopkeepers, especially those on our street, who help create a viable business district that attracts customers for us all.  When we work together to promote Monroe Street we are more effective than when we work alone — and I enjoy living and working in our vibrant, interesting community.

And while I’m giving thanks, I want to also express my gratitude to Caroline Kennedy, editor of Gifts and Decorative Accessories magazine. She has been with the magazine for an impressive 30 years, including the past 7 as editor-in-chief. During that time she has been a constant champion of specialty retailers everywhere, as well as the companies that sell to us. It is my pleasure to be a regular columnist in the magazine, and I appreciate the fact that my blog is forwarded to the wide world every week via email in Gifts & Dec Direct.

And lastly, I am grateful to those of you who read my column and blog, and wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder