As we get closer to the next decade, I’m pleased to present another view of the future of our industry.  These insights come from Steve Johnson, Principle and Market Director of Johnson Waters Marketing. Steve’s rep firm, based in Minneapolis, serves 2800 customers across 8 states in the Midwest.  Our shop is one of those… Read More


Business to Business (B2B) websites and marketplaces are having a major impact on many industries, including ours.  In 2018, there was an increase in sales of 11%, bringing the total to a staggering $1,082 trillion. Earlier this year I wrote about the growing popularity of the wholesale marketplace Faire, a B2B site through which retailers… Read More


With just a few weeks left in the second decade of this century, I decided to reach out to a very select group of leaders in our field to find out what they’re thinking about the future of our industry.  I’m pleased to share the first response with you today, from editor-in-chief of Gifts &… Read More


It’s time to start planning for this year’s Small Business Saturday, the “Shop Small” event that will celebrate its 10th anniversary on November 30, 2019.  According to the Small Business Saturday Consumer Insights Survey, 104 million shoppers spent a record high of $17.8 billion locally on that day in 2018.   Business Wire reports that communities across… Read More


Have you ever ordered ice cream from room service?  We haven’t – and yet when we saw this note on the desk of our hotel room last night, we gave it serious consideration.  The reason?  The Monaco suggested it. We all know that Amazon has perfected the trick of suggested additional or alternate products. They… Read More


It’s hard to avoid the proliferation of products featuring CBD oil – everything from candles and soaps to toothpaste and bitters.  Because CBD oil can be derived from both marijuana (which is not legal in every state) and hemp (which is), there is little regulation regarding cannabidoil. It has been hailed as an anti-inflammatory, sleep… Read More


My first memory of a Food Hall was the magical temple of comestibles by that name at Harrods in London.  With its Art Deco decor and endless aisles of artfully arranged food, this culinary mecca dates back to 1902.  And unlike most American department store, even today Harrods features a Fresh Market Hall that is… Read More


The perfect in-store promotion is one that draws customers to the store and makes them feel good about shopping. That’s why we’re excited about participating in Socktober this year. We know that our customers love a charity tie-in that helps our community at the same time that it helps a locally owned business. Socktober is… Read More


How do new customers find your store? This is an important question to ask shoppers from time to time so that you can evaluate your marketing efforts.  Do most of them come in because they happen to be in the area? Do they see your ads on social media or in print publications?  Are radio… Read More


What does the image above have to do with spices?  If you are a fan of Penzey’s Spices of Milwaukee, Wisconsin, you would know that their public persona is as much about their politics as it is about their products.  Those who sign up for their newsletter, Voices of Cooking, receive recipes, tips, and “reminders… Read More