A fellow retailer recently asked if we’d like to split an order of custom merchandise intended to promote a political viewpoint she knew we shared.  I gave it some serious thought, but decided to stay with our policy of not using the store to promote a specific candidate.  It is important to me that we… Read More


Back in March, many of us hoped that the pandemic would only be a problem for a few months.  It’s clear now that most of 2020 will be impacted by COVID-19, and perhaps even the first half of 2021.  And while there are some stores doing just fine during this challenging time, most of us… Read More


Sarah Artz, the owner of Good Day Shop, is one of our dynamic young retail neighbors on Monroe Street in Madison, WI. She not only runs a creative studio and retail business, but also produces pop-up event experiences, and develops and sells custom products online. She describes herself as “a connector, doer, why-asker and big… Read More


It’s been almost two weeks since I got word that my husband – and business partner – had suffered a heart attack while biking with friends.  Although Dean is still in the ICU, thankfully it looks like he’ll make a full recovery.  But our mom-and-pop shop is going to be without “pop” for quite a while,… Read More


It’s always been important to bring in fresh merchandise so that shoppers have a good reason to come into your store frequently.  Even though our shop is limiting customers due to COVID-19, we are still working hard to constantly update our selection.  But without frequent visitors, it’s a challenge to share the excitement of the… Read More


So many special occasions feel less special this year – but as retailers, we have the opportunity to help make our customers feel celebrated.   Our shop keeps a record of the birthday month of customers joining our rewards program, and we offer them a wrapped, quality gift if they bring in the postcard we… Read More


“We have heard from small businesses that what they need most right now is customers back,” Elizabeth Rutledge, CMO at American Express, said in an article on CNBC.com. “With this in mind we are launching our largest-ever Shop Small offer and are rallying our global community of cardmembers to support their local businesses and shop… Read More


Consumer racial profiling is the antithesis of the welcoming behavior that most independent retailers take pride in, and yet there is no doubt that it happens.   “Shopping while Black” is a phrase often associated with this type of profiling – African-American customers sensing that they are being treated differently because of their race.  One of… Read More


In his book All Marketers are Liars, marketing expert Seth Godin famously said “Perhaps the reason price is all your customers care about is because you haven’t given them anything else to care about.”  Pricing is one of the hot issues facing retailers as we reopen during the COVID-19 pandemic.  Should we lure our customers… Read More


“Nothing is so painful to the human mind…as a great and sudden change.”  It would be hard to find a less likely source of retailing inspiration than Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein. But there is no doubt that shopkeepers everywhere have found their personal and business lives subject to a painful, seismic shift due to COVID-19. We… Read More