Looking over our assortment of Wisconsin-themed products made me think of a wonderful song by the Madison-based songwriting duo Peter and Lou Berryman.  As they explain about the writing of “Your State’s Name Here”, they perform around the country but usually their songs only feature their home state of Wisconsin.  The song was an attempt… Read More

Housewares buyers talk about creating a “dominant assortment” in various categories, but this term (and concept) isn’t very common in other retail fields. Thinking about creating a well-balanced assortment can be very helpful in making buying decisions, and in creating a store with a focused look.focused look. Before considering how you plan your assortment, you… Read More

“I haven’t been in your store for years — it looks great!” is a bit of a backhanded compliment.  And yet it’s not uncommon for someone to remark that although they have been in our store in the past, and were favorably impressed, they somehow neglected to come back until something reminded them to do… Read More

For most businesses, Facebook is a social media that supplements a free-standing web site.  Whether you are engaged in e-commerce or not, having your own web site allows you the most options for representing your business to the world. You can present the information about your store in a style that is in keeping with… Read More

Challenges or opportunities? It’s a matter of perspective. Applying energy and enthusiasm will go a long way towards overcoming these obstacles in the path of running a successful store. 1)Lack of capital – Managing a shop’s funds is always difficult, because it’s often impossible to predict sales (and thus income) accurately. But controlling your inventory… Read More

Independent retailers know the year-round challenges of competing with chain businesses such as discount stores and online behemoths.  It’s only fitting that we get an annual holiday — Independents Week — to “recognizes small businesses’ contributions to the community.” This quote comes from the founder of Independents Week, AMIBA (the American Independence Business Alliance), a… Read More

A schedule that is both fixed and flexible is one of the most important perks we can offer our employees. This may seem counterintuitive, but in reality retail workers want predictable hours (and income) along with the ability to adjust their schedule to fit it around other life events. Some of our big box counterparts… Read More

The old-fashioned way of looking at a store’s brand was limited to a catchy store name and logo, but today’s concept of branding goes way beyond that.  A brand now often includes a tag-line that describes the store in just a few words, and as well as a web site, a font and certain colors… Read More

“T-shirts are the business cards of our time, at least in San Francisco,” remarked Danish entrepreneur Mikkel Svane in a recent talk about his successful startup Zendesk.  He was referring to his company’s creative use of t-shirts imprinted with customer complaints that were used as part of the company’s apology for an unpopular and unexpected… Read More

It is an acknowledged fact that the location of a store is key factor in its success.  You need proximity to an adequate pool of potential customers. Transportation and parking are important factors in getting these customers into your shop. But what about the question of whether you should lease or own your store’s location? … Read More