Hopefully your store is filled with customers as we head into the home stretch of the holiday season. It’s ironic that for many of us, the busiest time of the year is followed by one of the slowest times – so it’s essential that you take a bit of time now to think about how… Read More

Which Christmas cookie do you like best? Most of us find the opportunity to give our opinion irresistible – a friend posted this question on Facebook just 12 hours ago, and already 75 people have weighed in on the issue. And he didn’t even specify who made the cookies, or why he wanted to know.… Read More

Here’s a great idea for an in-store or online promotion: combine cause marketing with BOGO, the popular “buy one, get one free” concept, to offer Buy One, Give One.  A few big companies have been doing this for years, specifically the shoe company TOMS. Their promise to give a shoeless child in Africa a pair… Read More

“The customer is always right” and “Give the lady what she wants” are both quotes attributed to Marshall Field, who established the eponymously named department store in Chicago around 1860. Field bucked the tradition of the time by providing an exceptionally high level of customer service and quality merchandise. The business survived being burned to… Read More

Gift cards are a great way to bring customers into your store, especially after the holidays. And they may also be a source of unexpected income, because according the advisory company CEB TowerGroup, quoted on MarketWatch, about $1 billion of the $130 billion gift cards purchased each year are not redeemed. Many people who do… Read More

Fidget spinners made quite a splash in the gift world, and there are still a few manufacturers coming out with new styles and colors. But how do you know if it’s still a hot category – short of investing in inventory and seeing how it sells? It turns out that Google offers a trend chart… Read More

How will you be celebrating Small Business Saturday this year? The 9th annual SBS will be held on November 24 – the Saturday of Thanksgiving weekend. Last year, according to Business Wire, an estimated 43% of American adults shopped or dined small on Small Business Saturday. Why wouldn’t you want to be part of this… Read More

There’s an origin story behind every retail shop, and ideally you tell yours in the “About” section on your website. But chances are good that you won’t have the opportunity to tell it in a hard-cover graphic memoir issued by Workman Publishing Company. Julie Gaines and her husband David Lenovitz of Fishs Eddy in New… Read More

“Advertising moves people toward goods; merchandising moves goods toward people” is a great quote from businessman Morris Hite. As independent retailers, we know the importance of offering an inspiring selection of merchandise displayed in an enticing manner. But deciding about the most effective way to spend advertising money can be more puzzling. There was a… Read More

What role does your shop play in your community? Supporting non-profits in your area is an opportunity to build ties and to enhance your store’s reputation. It’s also great to be in a position to give back to those who support your business – and getting involved locally helps set your independent store apart from… Read More