Becky McCray and Deb Brown both come from small (very small) Midwest towns, and have seen what has happened in rural communities over the past decades. They’ve created a company called SAVEYOUR.town because they “believe small towns can best be saved by their own people using their own resources.” They offer a weekly newsletter for… Read More


In her comments about the future of retail for this blog, Gifts & Decorative Accessories editor-in-chief Lenise Willis stated that mobile payments are steadily increasing. “Consumers already rarely carry cash, favoring credit or debit cards, but in the next decade they may even abandon their plastic. Mobile payments aren’t just more convenient — with fewer… Read More


If you decide to close your store – whether because you are retiring, or going out of business for some other reason – you may have someone recommend bringing in a liquidator.  Happily I haven’t had any personal experience with this type of company, but many years ago a store in our neighborhood hired one… Read More


Back in 2014, I wrote a blog post called Vision Casting that talked about how to make sure you’d meet your store’s goals by 2020.  Certainly the past six years have brought us challenges that we couldn’t have predicted back then, including huge increases in rents, wages and health insurance – and the growth of… Read More


It’s been over two decades since the founding of OneCoast, a sales, marketing and technology services company in the wholesale gift channel. OneCoast is, according to its website, “the largest and only national wholesale provider of gift, garden, home decor, and fragrance products to retailers throughout the United States.”   John Keiser has been CEO… Read More


We went into the new Starbucks on Michigan Avenue in Chicago a couple of weeks ago looking for a cup of coffee – and learned an important lesson for independent retailers while we were there.   The welcoming brochure for the Chicago Starbucks Reserve Roastery states that it is all about The Experience, The Spectacle, The… Read More


As the countdown to 2020 continues, I am pleased to present more wise words about how to make the most of the coming decade.  These insights come from a veteran in the gift industry,  sales rep Gina Lempa of Gina Lempa and Associates.   Gina represents  Melrose International, Vickerman Co. and Tripar International in the… Read More


According to Deloitte’s predictions for this holiday season, 60% of all gift buying will come from high spenders.  These shoppers are defined as those who spend over $2,100 on holiday gifts. The majority of them, the Deloitte retail survey shows, have an average household income of over $100,000.  The percentage of purchases being made online by… Read More


With 2020 on the horizon, I’ve invited a few leaders in the gift industry to talk about their predictions for the coming decade.  This week I’m pleased to feature Caroline “Keb” Kennedy, a dynamic woman I’ve known since she was my editor at Gifts and Decorative Accessories.  I continue to enjoy her leadership as the… Read More


“Piracy is not a victimless crime.”  We see this meme-worthy phrase every time we watch a video – but had you thought about the fact that it has special relevance for Amazon shoppers?  The Parcel Pending blog reports “A staggering 11 million homeowners have had a package stolen in the last year, according to August Home… Read More