The environmental hazards of plastic straws are making headlines at the moment, but the debate about the use of plastic bags by retailers has been raging for some time. It has been four years since California first enacted legislation imposing a statewide ban on single-use plastic bags at large retail stores, as well as a… Read More

If only vendors shipped everything on order every time — wouldn’t that make our lives as retailers so much easier? But the reality is that there are frequently products out of stock at the time a shipment is being picked and packed. When you mark an order “ship complete,” you may never get any of… Read More

Have you considered creating a video for your store?  It’s a great way to promote your business through social media, and to give online visitors a sense of the people behind your business.  We’ve just created a new one for Orange Tree Imports, so I thought I’d share a few tips. Consider hiring a professional. … Read More

This week we celebrate both American Independence Day and Canada Day.  These holidays draw attention the importance of a democratic form of government based on the idea that every citizen should be able to be actively involved in major decisions.  In the early days of our shop we attended a talk by a University of… Read More

We’re hosting an open house for our top 100 customers this week, based on their annual purchases in our preferred customer program.  We plan to serve food samples from neighboring restaurants, and to demonstrate some of our most popular kitchen gadgets. A few weeks ago we asked a few of our sales reps for items… Read More

Making your shop windows and in-store displays “Instagram-worthy” can lead to some free PR on social media, and also give you some great images to post.  One way to pull your visual merchandising together is to work with a theme — and there are more options available for this than you might think. If your… Read More

I like to think of myself as the #1 cheerleader for independent retailers, but I must admit that I get a bit discouraged every time I read of another store closing due to competition from Amazon. The latest casualty here in Madison, WI is Sacred Feather, a haberdashery (or hat shop, to the uninitiated) located… Read More

If you are looking for a new way to promote your town, shopping district or mall as a shopping destination, a shared gift card may be a good option.  We’ve recently created one to help Monroe Street, the part of Madison, WI where our shop is located, survive a year of roadwork. And we sold… Read More

Shopping patterns change when school is out and the temperature rises. I remember as a kid seeing signs advertising “Come in, it’s Kool inside” — a promotion of the pleasures of air conditioned stores sponsored by Kool cigarettes.  Today of course it’s assumed that all stores are cool inside, but that doesn’t diminish the pleasure… Read More

You never know where you may find a creative idea for promoting your shop –  your social media feed might include a baseball team offering a giveaway on Fan Friday. Mine led me to an interesting Fan Friday post by identical twin sisters. Perhaps you haven’t heard of the Harp Twins, also known as Camille… Read More