It’s easy to get discouraged about the state of retailing — and I bet you wouldn’t have trouble coming up with a list of the ten worst things about being an independent shopkeeper. But it’s better for our businesses, our employees and our customers if we stay positive – so here is my list (which started out being just five things, but I once I got into the spirit I had to keep going).

  1. Creativity. I love working with craftspeople to come up with exclusive merchandise, and putting together enticing displays both in the windows and in the shop. Even buying is an outlet for creativity, since your store’s assortment is unique to your business.
  2. Great Environment. It’s fun to spend your time with enthusiastic employees and energetic sales reps. Every day is different, which in my opinion is a big improvement having a desk job in the same cubicle day in and day out.
  3. Customers. An ever-changing array of people walk through our doors, which also makes every day interesting. And I love it when customers get excited about what we’re selling, and say how much they appreciate our store environment and customer service.
  4. Merchandise. It’s great to surround yourself with items you like, and to share your enthusiasm about these products with your staff and customers.
  5. Flexible Schedule. Even though it’s important to maintain standard store hours, we are usually able to adjust our own schedules, and those of our employees, so that we have time for buying trips, vacations and important life events.
  6. Giving Back. I’m grateful that we are in a position to donate to large and small causes in our community. It feels good to know that others appreciate what we do.
  7. Providing Employment. Jobs are essential to the economic viability of our cities and towns, and even though retail doesn’t provide the highest wages (I wish it did), our sector is one of the most significant sources of employment in the country.
  8. Working with Your Spouse. I realize that this one doesn’t apply to everyone (although the term “Mom and Pop shop” is in the dictionary), but I’ve really enjoyed creating a business with my husband, and having our kids work in the store when they were younger.
  9. Colleagues. We are part of a dynamic business neighborhood, and it’s great to be able work cooperatively toegether to encourage and support each other.
  10. Economic Benefits. I put this last, because there are easier ways to make money than owning a retail store, but many of us make a good living at it, in addition to enjoying the other positive aspects listed above.

So that’s my top ten. What are yours?

Happy Retailing,
Carol “Orange” Schroeder