Gift cards have always been a great way to bring new shoppers into your store – but during the COVID-19 crisis, they have become an important way for customers to show their support.  Buying a gift card today is in essence providing a small loan to a favorite small businesses, payable at a later date… Read More


One of the recommended antidotes to anxiety during these trying times is to reach out to help someone, and there are countless examples of people and companies doing just that.  In the gift industry, several of our vendors have pivoted to use their manufacturing facilities for the production of much needed medical supplies. As Caroline… Read More


Dozens of emails from our vendors have landed in my inbox over the past week stating how concerned they are about the impact of COVID-19 on independent retailers.  To be truthful, I am concerned about the impact of COVID-19 on my vendors – but I realize that keeping stores alive will help us both. What… Read More


We are in the midst of an unprecedented crisis for small businesses everywhere, and I am not afraid to admit that I find it scary.  Our shop is closed, like so many others, although for the time being we are able to offer curbside pickup of orders to go. One of our business neighbors, the… Read More


I wrote about the idea of BOPIS (buy on line, pick up in store) a couple of years ago, back when we had no idea that something called the Coronavirus would change the world as we know it.  We’ve been using BOPIS for our wedding registry since then, hosted online by Bridge. We find that… Read More


I’ve noticed that when some friends are feeling very stressed, they’ll post on Facebook that they need people to send cute pictures of kittens and puppies.  With the Coronavirus creating a high level of stress everywhere, this is an opportunity for your shop to be the equivalent of a basket of kittens to those going… Read More


We live so close to our store that I don’t have time to listen to a podcast on my five-minute commute. But if you enjoy listening to informative audio programs when you are in the car or at home, here are some suggestions that might help you improve your retail game. Retail Details is hosted… Read More


It’s easy to get down in the dumps about retailing today, with stories of the “Retail Apocalypse” flooding the news. But despite increased competition and increasing expenses, there are many ways in which this isn’t such a bad time to be an independent retailer.  It’s also not a bad time to be alive – if… Read More


“Free shipping” is one of the great misnomers in today’s retail world. We all know that it is not free to ship anything, even for Amazon.  Someone, somewhere, is paying the cost of delivering the goods to the customer’s door – it may be built into the price, or perhaps assessed in an annual membership… Read More


Walking down the main street in Haight Ashbury on a recent trip to San Francisco, I was struck by how many retail stores seem to be thriving in this colorful district.  Granted, one was the first-ever legal marijuana dispensary in the area – a store called Berner’s that has now been open almost two months. … Read More