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

“Don’t let inventory become family” is one of my favorite retail sayings. We all know the feeling of bringing in merchandise because we love it,  hoping that just the right customer will come in who loves it too. It’s sometimes hard to accept the fact that it is costing the shop money to hold onto… Read More

A decade ago I posted some of my top advice to retailers – this blog was only a year old at the time, but I already had over 30 years of experience as a shopkeeper.  I thought it might be fun to revisit the ten points that seemed important back then, and am pleased to… Read More

Time clocks will soon have gone the way of the buggy whip (although as specialty retailers, we realize there is probably still niche market somewhere even for those).  Now that all of our employees have smart phones, the modern way of scheduling and tracking employees seems to be through a mobile app, sometimes combined with… Read More

Family funds, bank loans, credit cards – where do you turn for money to finance your inventory? These have long been the big 3 sources of financing for independent retailers. In fact, many of us haven’t ever heard of fintech. The term (short for financial technology) refers to companies providing financial services to businesses using… Read More

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… Read More

A frequently asked question by retailers is whether it is legal to charge a customer a processing fee for the convenience of using a credit card. And the flip side – it is legal for our vendors to add a surcharge to their invoices when we pay by credit card? We all know that accepting… Read More