Our fall staff meeting was this evening, and it was so nice to gather  everyone together and get psyched for the holiday season. We provided a light dinner (and one of our employees baked a carrot cake for my husband Dean’s birthday).

After some time socializing, and a few general announcements, I asked several employees to talk about two or three favorite (or new) items in their departments.  It was a great way to get lots of people involved and to get a new perspective on some of our merchandise.

As you may know if you’ve read Specialty Shop Retailing, almost everyone at Orange Tree Imports is in charge of some section of the store, ranging from kitchen gadgets to Christmas ornaments. They do the restocking and displays for their area, and sometimes also get involved in buying.

Having the individuals talk about their best selling items at the staff meeting made it clear that they take a lot of pride in their departments.  And I think that hearing the recommendations of their peers probably has a great impact on the rest of the sales staff.  Customers love knowing which items are favorites, so the information will be helpful as we assist with their gift purchases.

At the end of the meeting we drew names for a table full of door prizes, many of them samples or gifs that we’ve received from vendors over the past few months.  Everyone gets to take their pick in the order in which their name is drawn.  We also have a tote of almost-expired food items for them to take home.

We don’t have staff meetings often, but when we do I am struck by how valuable they are — not just for sharing information (we have the store newsletter, and seminars presented by our sales reps for that) but also for creating a sense of camaraderie that will help carry us all through what we hope will be a busy holiday season.

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder