You may not have to look very far to find a good source of customers in these challenging times —  just reach out to your family and friends.  Be sure to include the family and friends of your employees as well, and to be generous in your use of the term "friend."  (Facebook has made… Read More


Unless you really are a sole proprietor, you have a least one other person on your staff who needs to know everything you know.  After all, you can’t be in your store all the time. And you don’t want customer service to suffer just because you are off on a buying trip, doing the book… Read More


The pickled pig feet were probably the worst.  Some of the bottles in another shipment on the common carrier’s truck broke, spilling broken glass and a fragrant liquid all over our boxes of gift merchandise. The trucker who delivered our shipment wasn’t much happier about it than we were. But damaged and defective goods are… Read More


A beautiful store window is a true work of art, and I never tire of looking at the photograph of this wonderful New York shop.  Retailers wear many hats, including visual merchandiser, but not many of us have artistic training.  Learning a bit about the design elements that go into a good painting or sculpture,… Read More


As independent retailers, we are always on the lookout for unique products that won’t be found on the shelves of our big box brethren. Now there is a new resource to help us locate the regional artists and crafts people we like to support as part of the “buy local” movement.  We can also use… Read More


We sometimes forget that retailing is really very simple: you need to have what the customers want, be wherever they are when they want to buy it, and to make all your transactions as simple and enjoyable as possible. We sometimes lose track of these principles when we get caught up in the technology and… Read More


One of the keys to surviving this difficult economy is making wise use of every inventory dollar — and that of course means turning slow moving items into cash by clearing them out. Because my nickname is Orange, we’ve always called our spring clearance sale Orange’s Lemon Sale. (One of my fellow retailers once admired… Read More


Facebook fans are having fun with “25 Random Things” lists, and it’s high time that shopkeepers got in on the action. So here are 25 random — and not so random — things you may not know about retailing.  Feel free to add your own in the Comments section below!  1. According to the U.S.… Read More


Can you guess the source of this quote?  “Many businesses also underestimate the importance of an actual “Open” sign. However, it’s vital that you clearly communicate to potential customers that you are open and ready to serve them. If your store is dark or obscured from easy view, passersby may assume that you are closed… Read More


Working in one of Jack Mitchell’s clothing stores must be wonderful.  He and the other members of his family have made an art of making their employees feel appreciated, including personal touches such as knowing the names of everyone’s children and pets, recognizing their accomplishments, and doing everything possible to make them feel appreciated. Jack… Read More