How do new customers find your store? This is an important question to ask shoppers from time to time so that you can evaluate your marketing efforts.  Do most of them come in because they happen to be in the area? Do they see your ads on social media or in print publications?  Are radio… Read More

What does the image above have to do with spices?  If you are a fan of Penzey’s Spices of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, you would know that their public persona is as much about their politics as it is about their products.  Those who sign up for their newsletter, Voices of Cooking, receive recipes, tips, and “reminders… Read More

Few communities in America have escaped the decline in retail businesses that has resulted from the changes in the marketplace over the past few years. A study this month states that 20% of the retail spaces in Manhattan are either currently vacant or about to be, a phenomenon also hitting shopping streets and malls across… Read More

Leave it to the Leprechaun Village at Milwaukee’s Irish Fest to be up to date with the latest small business trend: multipurpose retail spaces. The challenges of online competition are making it essential for independent shopkeepers to do everything they can to give customers a reason to come into their store. This is especially true… Read More

“People don’t know what they don’t know,” Shark Tank’s Daymond John said in a recent profile in Chain Store Age. “Find people around you whom you can ask for advice,” he suggests to entrepreneurs. We are hard-wired not to ask for help, but good mentors can play a significant role in your store’s success. This… Read More

The cost of shipping goods to your store is a major factor in determining the profitability of each line of merchandise. Unless you can take greater than keystone markup, you may actually lose money on goods that come with a high freight cost. It’s a worthwhile procedure to look at every invoice and calculate the… Read More

There are 500 million active daily Instagram Stories users, according to TechJury. This is the social media marketing medium of choice at the moment, and if you’re not posting stories regularly you are missing out on an inexpensive way to promote your shop. But wouldn’t it be even better to have others post some stories… Read More

Five years ago I wrote about the Canadian company Shopify as an up-and-coming option for stores wanting to build an online shopping presence. The firm was already ten years old at that time (which, as I pointed out, was a ripe old age for a tech startup). But in the past five years it has… Read More

Move over, Amazon Prime Day: Forbes magazine recently declared “The time is ripe to explore how small independents are reclaiming their status as a major competitive force, and as crucial components of a thriving community!” One of the ways you can help lead the charge is by celebrating July as Independent Retailer Month. Tom Shay… Read More

Apps such as BringFido reflect the current cultural shift towards allowing dogs to accompany owners wherever they go. Instead of “Service Dogs Only” signs, you now sometimes find a canister of canine treats behind the counter. One of our business neighbors reports that offering dog biscuits has led to an increase in customer visits initiated… Read More