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

Time clocks will soon have gone the way of the buggy whip (although as specialty retailers, we realize there is probably still niche market somewhere even for those).  Now that all of our employees have smart phones, the modern way of scheduling and tracking employees seems to be through a mobile app, sometimes combined with… Read More