This “best of” Specialty Shop Retailing blog is updated from a popular past post. There was a time when supporting the arts meant that you were really rich (and therefore probably not a retailer!).  In fact, art patronage originally referred to the financial aid that kings or popes provided to musicians, painters, and sculptors.  But… Read More


Elementary school teachers around the world are using a tool that we may find useful in the day-to-day management of our shops. It’s called a catastrophe scale, and it’s a measurement system that helps children put their problems and feelings into perspective. Much like the ubiquitous pain scale now used in medical settings, the catastrophe… Read More


This “best of” Specialty Shop Retailing blog is chosen from popular past posts. Summer time may mean picnics, swimming and camping to some folks, but to shopkeepers it means it’s summer trade show season. Of course it can be expensive to travel to a show, so you may be tempted to take a pass. That… Read More


The buy local movement has been essential to the success of independent retailers over the past decades, helping us square off against big box stores like Walmart and then take on Amazon and other online giants such. It is a concept that is embraced by farmers, environmentalists, makers, and all those who take pride in… Read More


This is the second of the “best of” biweekly blogs based on popular past posts. Please let me know if there’s a topic you’d like revisited! We recently held an all-staff meeting, and it was so nice to gather everyone together and get excited about what is coming up next at the store. Food is… Read More


Feeling isolated? If you want to get in touch with other retailers – and have some time on your hands – the social forum Reddit might be for you. A disclaimer:  I don’t have any extra time at this point, so I don’t use it myself – but I’m curious. I see Reddit referred to… Read More


Note: The Specialty Shop Retailing blog has been weekly (more or less) for over 15 years. I’ve recently been considering changing it to biweekly, but instead decided to alternate new posts with some of my favorites from the 750 already online. I’ll update them whenever necessary, of course. Do you have a topic you like… Read More


They didn’t teach anything about profit and loss statements or budgeting when I studied for my MA in Danish literature here at the University of Wisconsin. Like many independent retailers, I never took a single business course.  I learned most of what I needed to know through trial and error, which was one reason I… Read More


Consumer consumption is undoubtedly not the best thing for the environment. But those of us who are independent brick & mortar retailers can take pride in the fact that we offer an alternative that is better for the planet than online shopping. Returns are one example of something local shopkeepers do better than Amazon and… Read More


MasterCard and Visa recently reached an estimated $30 billion antitrust settlement to limit credit and debit card processing fees for merchants, according to Reuters.You may well be wondering what that means to you as an independent retailer. “Merchants have long accused Visa and Mastercard of charging inflated swipe fees, or interchange fees, when shoppers used… Read More