“See what the world’s creating” is the motto of b8ta.com, a young company reimagining the way that new products are brought to consumers in a brick and mortar store. They had a large presence in the lobby area of the recent International Home and Housewares Show in Chicago, and I was intrigued by their innovative… Read More


This has been a long, harsh winter in our part of the country, and we’re eager for signs that it is over. The change to daylight savings time coming up for us next weekend means one less hour in the day, but it’s worth it to know that snow and ice will soon be behind… Read More


Whoever said “humanity runs on coffee” was not far off the mark. In our shop, humorous magnets with a coffee theme sell well. Coffee mugs sell well. Coffee grinders and coffee makers sell well. But for some stores, there is retail salvation to be found in a cup of java. On a recent visit to… Read More


Rarely has such a short time produced such a dramatic change in the retail scene. A 2018 article in The New York Times includes the shocking statement that “a survey conducted by Douglas Elliman found that about 20 percent of all retail space in Manhattan is currently vacant…compared with roughly 7 percent in 2016.” This… Read More


An offer of $100 off an order, with free returns, sounds tempting – but for some reason we didn’t follow through on the emails we got from some of our vendors saying that we could get this heady discount if we ordered their merchandise through Faire. I’d never heard of the site, and frankly the… Read More


Galentine’s Day started as a joke on the TV show Parks and Recreation nine years ago. Amy Poehler’s character Leslie Knope suggested that single women celebrate themselves on February 13. This is what park director Knope had to say about Galentine’s Day: “Oh, it’s only the best day of the year. Every February 13th, my… Read More


Japanese merchants have an efficient way of getting rid of odds and ends of merchandise at the beginning the new year – and it would be great if it caught on here. A fukubukuro, or lucky bag, is a grab bag filled with merchandise with a value of at least twice what the customer pays.… Read More


“There’s been an armed robbery!” The phone call every store owner dreads came last Monday afternoon. The employee who called assured us that everyone was safe, and that the police were on their way. Fortunately we live only a couple of blocks from our shop, so we got there within minutes. The police were already… Read More


Self-service kiosks are popping up everywhere – even McDonald’s – as retailers and fast food chains struggle to adjust to raises in minimum wage without increasing prices. Walmart is even using robots to monitor stock levels and send photos of empty shelves to employee’s phones, according to a recent AP story by Christopher Rugaber and… Read More