Last week’s blog marked the start of 30 days of small changes that hopefully will make your store more successful.  If you missed the first seven days of suggestions, you can find the post (along with over 600 others!) at www.specialtyshopretailing.com. Here are this week’s seven ideas.  Feel free to add your own, and to… Read More


We’re probably all falling into a bit of a rut as we head into the second year of the pandemic.  And really, February and March aren’t very exciting months for most retailers under the best of circumstances, especially in the colder climates. So over the next four weeks, I encourage you to participate in my 30… Read More


A recent article in The New York Times talks about why stores in SoHo and other parts of Manhattan are failing, while those in Brooklyn survive.  Between February and October last year, the article states that nearly 30,000 retail jobs were lost in New York City alone.  The pandemic was to blame, of course, but… Read More


Artificial intelligence, or AI, is a term that came into usage just 65 years ago. In the retail world,  AI enables computer systems to work together to create a personalized customer experience through recommendations, forecasting, inventory management, targeted promotions, and much more.  We recently watched the excellent Netflix film called The Social Dilemma. According to… Read More


The world of improv comedy is not usually where retailers look for inspiration – but we all know  that nothing is as usual this year.  I recently came across the concept of “Yes, and” as it relates to theater, and am hoping to adopt it when negative thinking about the current situation creeps in. According… Read More


I just came across my store to-do list from last March, and was not surprised to find that nothing that seemed urgent then seems important now. Who would have thought that about a year later, one of the most pressing issues for our shops would be flu vaccines? The roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine is… Read More


It’s easy to get lost in the day-to-day details of running a store – checking to see whether the staff got to work on time, whether the day’s shipments arrived complete, whether the roof is leaking. (If your store isn’t located in a place where ice dams are a problem, you can probably cross that… Read More


The first commercial Valentine cards in the United States were printed in the mid-1800s – and I suspect that in the long history of the holiday this will go down as being a particularly challenging one for retailers.  When we packed away what was left of the Valentine’s Day inventory on February 15, 2020 we… Read More


I’m probably not the only one who is a bit disappointed that so far 2021 is a lot like 2020.  Aside from the excitement of the coming vaccine, little has changed in terms of the way COVID-19 is impacting our businesses – and our lives.  The handy data tracker provided by the Centers for Disease… Read More


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