The 4th season of the popular TV comedy Schitt’s Creek features one of the main characters opening a “wellness” gift shop called Rose Apothecary. David and his partner Patrick start with a collection of local body products and eventually expand into wine, cheese, and home décor.

When business is slow (Season 4, Episode 6, if you want to watch), the two men throw an open mic night to bring in more customers. While it may not be totally realistic to see everyone making a purchase before they sit down to enjoy the music, it did make me think about ways we could use our space to host events that would introduce our shop to new customers.

Our store has a cooking school, which reaches our customers interested in expanding their culinary horizons.  But the cooking school area could also be used for a crafts workshop, a poetry slam, or a talk about bird watching – even though these topics are not closely tied to what we sell.

In the past wedding receptions were held in churches, restaurants or rented halls. But now barn weddings are common (at least here in the Midwest), and even our main library hosts  some 30 weddings every year.  Weddings don’t have anything to do with cows, or books – but they make creative use of existing spaces. Could your store be used for a cocktail reception, birthday party or other social event? How about offering space for a meeting of a book club, or product focus group?

Your imagination is the only limit to the different ways in which you can expand the use of the space you already own or lease. And the challenge of online competition makes it more important than ever that we create opportunities for potential customers to come in to discover all that we have in store.

Happy Retailing,

Carol “Orange” Schroeder