No one is more important to your shop’s success than your customers.  Without them, the best employees in the world would be superfluous, and you as a shop owner would also soon have nothing to do.  And yet we sometimes treat customers as an interruption, especially when we busy trying to check one more thing… Read More

It’s not easy being an independent retailer these days, and one key to success may be to take the emphasis off the work “independent”.  To paraphrase the Beatles, we do better when we “get by with a little help from our friends.” There are five key partnerships that can help your shop survive and thrive:… Read More

As we got off the airplane on a recent trip, the Delta flight attendants and pilot gathered at the doorway to say goodbye to us in what seemed like a personal and kindly manner (totally in opposition to the rude David Spade flight attendant who made the term “Buh Bye” famous back in 1994).  The… Read More

A recent article by Hayley Peterson in Business Insider states that “the most successful stores in retail have one thing in common — they’re ugly.” And why are these businesses, such as Aldi and Dollar General, so successful? Because unflattering lighting, industrial shelving and mass quantities of every item equate in the consumer’s mind with… Read More

The candle order you placed because a top customer wants more lemon and sage votives arrives with everything except those items.  What do you do?  If you tell your east coast vendor to ship the backordered votives to your west coast store when they are available, you may be in for a big surprise: UPS… Read More

Every year a Pantone shade is selected as the Color of the Year, but for 2016 for the first time there are two: rose quartz and serenity (blue). This could be interpreted all kinds of different ways, from the split we’re experiencing between red states and blue or our communal inability to make up our… Read More

We visited a special “Art in Bloom” event at the Milwaukee Art Center yesterday. In addition to featuring some pretty amazing floral arrangements inspired by specific works of art, the event gave local companies the opportunity to set up vendor booths in the corridors. While many of those exhibiting were crafts people, a few were… Read More

Your preferred customer program, POS or even just your intuition should make it possible to identify those individuals who mean the most to your business.  It pays to give VIP treatment to these “regulars” whose loyalty is key to your success. 1) It seems like a simple thing, but greeting them by name is an easy… Read More

When we went into business in the distant, hip 1970’s, the concept of capitalism was not popular among our peer group.  That was probably one reason we didn’t pay any attention to being profitable — we wanted to run our store in a way that contributed to our community, provided meaningful employment, and brought well-designed… Read More

Hardly anyone seems to remember that Amazons were originally Greek women warriors described by an expert on this topic as “aggressive, independent man-killers.”  Rumor has it that Jeff Bezos chose the name because he wanted something that started with the letter A, which I suppose is as good a reason as any to choose a… Read More