Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

by : 
Kim Perkins
August 1, 2013

Question: This past year i decided to expand our inventory and incorporate merchandise we haven’t carried before but have had an occasional request for. It was my attempt to be open-minded and allow customers to have more choices. What I find, though, is that what I (and my employees) love sells well, and the rest just sits. Now what do I do?

Answer: Your best course of action is to write off the experience as a lesson learned, put the merchandise clogging up your shelves on sale, and discount or donate the items that don’t move. Although your motives were good, it’s best not to try to be all things to all people. Trust your gut when you buy and bring in the things you love and know your staff will love too. Sales flourish when we’re excited and knowledgeable about what we’re selling.

Kim Perkins is co-owner of Elysian Fields Books & Gifts for Conscious Living (, an award-winning store in Sarasota, Fla. Send your retail questions to