Few communities in America have escaped the decline in retail businesses that has resulted from the changes in the marketplace over the past few years. A study this month states that 20% of the retail spaces in Manhattan are either currently vacant or about to be, a phenomenon also hitting shopping streets and malls across… Read More


Leave it to the Leprechaun Village at Milwaukee’s Irish Fest to be up to date with the latest small business trend: multipurpose retail spaces. The challenges of online competition are making it essential for independent shopkeepers to do everything they can to give customers a reason to come into their store. This is especially true… Read More


“People don’t know what they don’t know,” Shark Tank’s Daymond John said in a recent profile in Chain Store Age. “Find people around you whom you can ask for advice,” he suggests to entrepreneurs. We are hard-wired not to ask for help, but good mentors can play a significant role in your store’s success. This… Read More


The cost of shipping goods to your store is a major factor in determining the profitability of each line of merchandise. Unless you can take greater than keystone markup, you may actually lose money on goods that come with a high freight cost. It’s a worthwhile procedure to look at every invoice and calculate the… Read More


There are 500 million active daily Instagram Stories users, according to TechJury. This is the social media marketing medium of choice at the moment, and if you’re not posting stories regularly you are missing out on an inexpensive way to promote your shop. But wouldn’t it be even better to have others post some stories… Read More


Five years ago I wrote about the Canadian company Shopify as an up-and-coming option for stores wanting to build an online shopping presence. The firm was already ten years old at that time (which, as I pointed out, was a ripe old age for a tech startup). But in the past five years it has… Read More


Move over, Amazon Prime Day: Forbes magazine recently declared “The time is ripe to explore how small independents are reclaiming their status as a major competitive force, and as crucial components of a thriving community!” One of the ways you can help lead the charge is by celebrating July as Independent Retailer Month. Tom Shay… Read More


Apps such as BringFido reflect the current cultural shift towards allowing dogs to accompany owners wherever they go. Instead of “Service Dogs Only” signs, you now sometimes find a canister of canine treats behind the counter. One of our business neighbors reports that offering dog biscuits has led to an increase in customer visits initiated… Read More


“Don’t let inventory become family” is one of my favorite retail sayings. We all know the feeling of bringing in merchandise because we love it,  hoping that just the right customer will come in who loves it too. It’s sometimes hard to accept the fact that it is costing the shop money to hold onto… Read More


A decade ago I posted some of my top advice to retailers – this blog was only a year old at the time, but I already had over 30 years of experience as a shopkeeper.  I thought it might be fun to revisit the ten points that seemed important back then, and am pleased to… Read More