This year started off like so many others, with inventory day followed by a few slow winter months.  Sure, Amazon was continuing to eat into our market share – but we had a loyal following and the buy local movement here in Madison, Wisconsin continues to be strong.  And then came COVID-19, and everything in… Read More

Penzeys Spices, an innovative, socially active company headquartered here in Wisconsin, just came up with an interesting suggestion for the 2020 holidays.  They’re referring to it as #Xtramas.  CEO Bill Penzey is asking his 700,000 Facebook followers “Can we all unite this year in support of making the time of Christmas gifts a season of… Read More

With the number of COVID cases in the US nearing the 15 million mark, it may be just a matter of time before someone on your staff tests positive. Small businesses have different policies about what to do when this happens. Some notify all staff members, others close for several days, or at least share… Read More

What do McDonald’s Value Meals and cars with both air conditioning and a sunroof have in common?  They’re both examples of bundling – putting together two or more things as a package deal at a promotional price. If you are featuring products this holiday season on your website for curbside pickup, or on social media… Read More

In recent holiday seasons, media reports have proclaimed that consumers were favoring experiences over material items when purchasing gifts. Travel, spa services, entertainment tickets, restaurant gift certificates – all luxuries that are largely not possible due to the pandemic. A recent Bloomberg News story carried the headline “Retailers revel as goods rebound over experiences” –  a ray… Read More

I imagine I’m not alone in feeling rather discouraged as our shop heads into the holiday season this year.  We have a beautifully displayed selection of merchandise, a well-trained and dedicated staff, and a loyal customer following built up over 45 years of retailing.  But the pandemic means that we can’t invite shoppers into our… Read More

Small Business Saturday was founded by American Express in 2010, dedicating the Saturday after Thanksgiving to supporting small businesses across the country. Since its inception, consumers have reported spending a combined estimate of $120 billion.  The impact of SBS in raising awareness of the importance of shopping at locally owned stores over the past decade… Read More

Visual merchandising is taking on new meaning during the pandemic – instead of drawing people into the store to shop, window displays are now an opportunity to help customers make purchases without going into the store.   We all know how easy it is to be tempted by items on display in a shop window. … Read More

This year it’s going to be harder than ever to sell the whole shebang, i.e. all of the inventory you’ve brought in for the holiday season 2020.  With a limited number of in-store shoppers, and an economy suffering from the effects of COVID-19, most of us are going into the 4th quarter with lowered expectations.… Read More

A friend recently posted a photo on Facebook of this cute card, received free with a purchase from Walgreens.   She also showed the message that accompanied it encouraging her to “share a little gratitude with the people who matter the most.” She said she appreciated the reminder to send more cards to friends and… Read More