Resources

Location, Location, Location

As we come out of this economic downturn, you may be contemplating a move or a second location for your business. Location is all-important, especially when it comes to retail, so choose carefully and start with these five key criteria to increase your chances of success:

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: How do you handle employee discounts? I only have two part-time employees, but one thinks she should be able to order anything at cost. Is this the norm for retail stores?

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: We recently received many applications for a sales position at our store. I chose the three best-looking applicants (on paper) and invited them in for an interview. The first applicant was one I was really excited about meeting and hoped she would be a great asset. But when she arrived, I was put off by her appearance.

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: I attended your seminar at INATS on cutting costs a few years ago. You talked about implementing an across-the-board pay cut (owners and management included) for all employees in your store. Have you reversed that cut now, and how did you do it?

Greenovation

Greenovation

If you’re like most people, the urge to clean out, refresh, and renew your surroundings strikes predictably in the spring. Call it spring-cleaning fever or just time to make some changes, but remodeling your shop can greatly benefit both your business and the earth when you choose to do it in a green way. Whether it’s major reconstruction, a display face-lift, or just a fresh coat of paint, it’s not as difficult (or expensive) as you may think to make much-needed renovations while also creating a shiny new eco-footprint for your store.

8 Paths to Selling Success

8 Paths to Selling Success

Adding hot new products to your inventory is always exciting, but when you’re an independent retailer with a tight budget and tight quarters, how do you merchandise, introduce, and promote these unknown brands effectively? To help you debut what’s new in your store, industry insiders—from manufacturers and merchants to a feng shui expert and a marketing whiz—share ideas and recommendations for getting your creative merchandising juices flowing.

8 Paths to Selling Success

8 Paths to Selling Success

Adding hot new products to your inventory is always exciting, but when you’re an independent retailer with a tight budget and tight quarters, how do you merchandise, introduce, and promote these unknown brands effectively? To help you debut what’s new in your store, industry insiders—from manufacturers and merchants to a feng shui expert and a marketing whiz—share ideas and recommendations for getting your creative merchandising juices flowing.

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: When pricing items that do not come pre-priced, are there certain prices to avoid and others that are proven to sell well?

Good Business

Good Business

Bad news. Managers hate delivering it—and no wonder. It makes people feel terrible. And it’s too easy to make a mistake in tone that can infect the entire workplace with low morale.

Leaders face a special challenge when times are tough. How do you announce budget cuts, reduction in work hours, layoffs, pay decreases, or benefit reductions and still keep your employees motivated?

The answer is to deliver bad news in smarter ways. Here are some tips for doing just that.

Greenovation

Greenovation

If you’re like most people, the urge to clean out, refresh, and renew your surroundings strikes predictably in the spring. Call it spring-cleaning fever or just time to make some changes, but remodeling your shop can greatly benefit both your business and the earth when you choose to do it in a green way. Whether it’s major reconstruction, a display face-lift, or just a fresh coat of paint, it’s not as difficult (or expensive) as you may think to make much-needed renovations while also creating a shiny new eco-footprint for your store.

Sacred Serendipity

Sacred Serendipity

Profile:

Store name: The Sacred Well
Location: 536 Grand Avenue, Oakland, CA 94610; 510/444-9355
Owners: Rabbit Matthews and Barry Perlman
Date opened: October 19, 2007
Website: www.sacredwell.com
Hours: Tuesday–Friday, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.; Saturday, 11 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, 12 p.m. to 8 p.m.
Number of employees: 6 (3 full time, 3 part time)
Square footage: 1,000 sq. ft. including back office and reading room (600 sq. ft. of retail space)

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: How do you handle employee discounts? I only have two part-time employees, but one thinks she should be able to order anything at cost. Is this the norm for retail stores?

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: I have been asked to be a vendor at an offsite event. There will not be a phone line available to plug in a credit card machine. Is there an easy way for me to accept credit cards and print customer receipts?

8 Paths to Selling Success

8 Paths to Selling Success

Adding hot new products to your inventory is always exciting, but when you’re an independent retailer with a tight budget and tight quarters, how do you merchandise, introduce, and promote these unknown brands effectively? To help you debut what’s new in your store, industry insiders—from manufacturers and merchants to a feng shui expert and a marketing whiz—share ideas and recommendations for getting your creative merchandising juices flowing.

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: I have been asked to be a vendor at an offsite event. There will not be a phone line available to plug in a credit card machine. Is there an easy way for me to accept credit cards and print customer receipts?

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: We recently received many applications for a sales position at our store. I chose the three best-looking applicants (on paper) and invited them in for an interview. The first applicant was one I was really excited about meeting and hoped she would be a great asset. But when she arrived, I was put off by her appearance.

Greenovation

Greenovation

If you’re like most people, the urge to clean out, refresh, and renew your surroundings strikes predictably in the spring. Call it spring-cleaning fever or just time to make some changes, but remodeling your shop can greatly benefit both your business and the earth when you choose to do it in a green way. Whether it’s major reconstruction, a display face-lift, or just a fresh coat of paint, it’s not as difficult (or expensive) as you may think to make much-needed renovations while also creating a shiny new eco-footprint for your store.

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: I have two employees who absolutely cannot get along with each other. Both of them have valuable attributes and offer much to the store. Over the past few months, I have repeatedly tried to find solutions and counsel each of them about ways to work together harmoniously. Age may be a factor.

Achieving Authenticity

Achieving Authenticity

Something new is going on in our world—something big, says Gary Zukav, author of several bestsellers, including the New Age classics, The Seat of the Soul and The Dancing Wu Li Masters. Zukav believes our consciousness is evolving and a new world is being born; we are now in a time when reliance on Spirit is increasing. Whether attached to the prophecies of 2012 or not, the change is as undeniable as it is unavoidable, he says.

Get in the Flow

Get in the Flow

Your business is energy, and it’s meant to flow. Just like a person—or anything else in the universe—a business is an energetic entity. If, as a person, you stub your toe on a pointy rock, you’ll probably feel some pain. The same goes for your business: If even one aspect is out of balance, the whole organization will feel it.

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: As a bookstore in business for 23 years, I am concerned about the huge impact e-books are having on my already stressed brick-and-mortar retail store. Any suggestions about how to either work with e-books or compete with them? We have expanded the gift, card, aroma, and other lines, but I really want to try to keep a little ahead of the game.

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: Yesterday, we had a customer come in and pay for a package of incense with a charge card. The sale was $3.12! It probably cost me more to process the sale than it was worth. Can I refuse a sale on a credit card if it is not at least $10?

The Art of Private Labeling

The Art of Private Labeling

When you think “private label,” you probably imagine high-end, exclusive private stock with a limited offering, or its opposite: your local grocery’s cheap store brand that’s all about budget shopping. Whether high or low end, private labeling may seem out of the domain of small business. True, private labeling is not for every business, but when approached as a strategy and branding technique, it can be a powerful tool to get your store noticed and create customer loyalty.

5 Ways to Stop Theft Before It Happens

Have you ever looked at your store through the eyes of a thief? To the shoplifter, your beautiful displays and ample products are like a delicious bunch of grapes, ripe and ready for snatching. During hours, after hours, when you’re looking, and when you aren’t—all are opportunities for loss.

5 Ways to Stop Theft Before It Happens

Have you ever looked at your store through the eyes of a thief? To the shoplifter, your beautiful displays and ample products are like a delicious bunch of grapes, ripe and ready for snatching. During hours, after hours, when you’re looking, and when you aren’t—all are opportunities for loss.

Achieving Authenticity

Achieving Authenticity

Something new is going on in our world—something big, says Gary Zukav, author of several bestsellers, including the New Age classics, The Seat of the Soul and The Dancing Wu Li Masters. Zukav believes our consciousness is evolving and a new world is being born; we are now in a time when reliance on Spirit is increasing. Whether attached to the prophecies of 2012 or not, the change is as undeniable as it is unavoidable, he says.

Get in the Flow

Get in the Flow

Your business is energy, and it’s meant to flow. Just like a person—or anything else in the universe—a business is an energetic entity. If, as a person, you stub your toe on a pointy rock, you’ll probably feel some pain. The same goes for your business: If even one aspect is out of balance, the whole organization will feel it.

The Art of Private Labeling

The Art of Private Labeling

When you think “private label,” you probably imagine high-end, exclusive private stock with a limited offering, or its opposite: your local grocery’s cheap store brand that’s all about budget shopping. Whether high or low end, private labeling may seem out of the domain of small business. True, private labeling is not for every business, but when approached as a strategy and branding technique, it can be a powerful tool to get your store noticed and create customer loyalty.

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: How do I deal with unruly kids and the parents who bring them into my store to entertain them? I am especially concerned about kids picking up all my crystals, rearranging the shelves, and mishandling the gemstones. What can I do?

The Art of Private Labeling

The Art of Private Labeling

When you think “private label,” you probably imagine high-end, exclusive private stock with a limited offering, or its opposite: your local grocery’s cheap store brand that’s all about budget shopping. Whether high or low end, private labeling may seem out of the domain of small business. True, private labeling is not for every business, but when approached as a strategy and branding technique, it can be a powerful tool to get your store noticed and create customer loyalty.

Good Business

Good Business

Running an independent business is like having a child. The birthing process for a business is as strenuous as any labor I have experienced. Once born, a child requires 24/7 care, just as a business does. And like a business, while our day-to-day duties as parents change as the child matures, our responsibility is always there.

It’s often said about raising children that it takes a village. This is because a parent by him/herself can’t possibly know everything or have every answer. I believe the same holds true for your business.

5 Ways to Stop Theft Before It Happens

Have you ever looked at your store through the eyes of a thief? To the shoplifter, your beautiful displays and ample products are like a delicious bunch of grapes, ripe and ready for snatching. During hours, after hours, when you’re looking, and when you aren’t—all are opportunities for loss.

Good Business

Good Business

Running an independent business is like having a child. The birthing process for a business is as strenuous as any labor I have experienced. Once born, a child requires 24/7 care, just as a business does. And like a business, while our day-to-day duties as parents change as the child matures, our responsibility is always there.

It’s often said about raising children that it takes a village. This is because a parent by him/herself can’t possibly know everything or have every answer. I believe the same holds true for your business.

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: As a bookstore in business for 23 years, I am concerned about the huge impact e-books are having on my already stressed brick-and-mortar retail store. Any suggestions about how to either work with e-books or compete with them? We have expanded the gift, card, aroma, and other lines, but I really want to try to keep a little ahead of the game.

Shop Talk: Practical answers for tough business questions

Question: Yesterday, we had a customer come in and pay for a package of incense with a charge card. The sale was $3.12! It probably cost me more to process the sale than it was worth. Can I refuse a sale on a credit card if it is not at least $10?

Grass Roots

When I decided to open my shop in 1994, I had three clear visions for it. First, my inventory and displays had to be earth friendly. Second, everything had to be artsy and beautiful (my educational background was in fine art). Third, everything needed to exude a profound spiritual message of some kind.

Grass Roots

When I decided to open my shop in 1994, I had three clear visions for it. First, my inventory and displays had to be earth friendly. Second, everything had to be artsy and beautiful (my educational background was in fine art). Third, everything needed to exude a profound spiritual message of some kind.

Grass Roots

When I decided to open my shop in 1994, I had three clear visions for it. First, my inventory and displays had to be earth friendly. Second, everything had to be artsy and beautiful (my educational background was in fine art). Third, everything needed to exude a profound spiritual message of some kind.

Make Your Mark

Make Your Mark

You’re a cowpoke riding the range, hoping to round up stolen cattle. The sun blazes, your bandana’s caked with trail dust, and there’s nothing but tumbleweeds for miles. Overhead, vultures circle.

Suddenly, a cow staggers into view. With a big “yee haw!” you lasso it, smack the dust off its rump, and reveal your cow’s brand … but wait. Shoot! This isn’t your cow at all! This one belongs to Lazy Z Ranch, your competitor across the mesa—a sniveling varmint known for grain feeding and spending way too much time at the saloon.

5 Savvy Tips to Boost Your Average Sale

Every customer who walks through your door is a spin of the roulette wheel. Left to their own devices, they could purchase $2 worth of incense, a $100 necklace, or just walk out. Here are some strategies that cost little or nothing but can stack the sales odds in your favor with every customer.

Playful Odyssey

Playful Odyssey

Walking into Odyssey Gifts in Williamsport, Md., is like falling into an overstuffed treasure chest. Amber jewelry and other trinkets fill glass cabinets, elaborate puppets dangle from 10-foot-high ceilings, dragons and gargoyles peer between the spindles of the curved staircase in the 150-year-old house. Every corner has a hidden goody.

Grass Roots

In Southern California, where I live, we’re on a strict water-saving regimen due to a drought. We’re allowed to water lawns and gardens only every other day and can actually be issued a ticket (along with glaring looks from our neighbors) if caught hosing down a driveway. These regulations are not easily enforceable (the showering-too-long police never show up), and, other than feeling guilty, most residents aren’t paying much attention to this water diet. It’s just the latest SoCal quandary to file next to our earthquakes, yearly fires, and unemployment. Yawn.

5 Savvy Tips to Boost Your Average Sale

Every customer who walks through your door is a spin of the roulette wheel. Left to their own devices, they could purchase $2 worth of incense, a $100 necklace, or just walk out. Here are some strategies that cost little or nothing but can stack the sales odds in your favor with every customer.

Earth and Sea

Earth and Sea

Close to the very center of the state of Texas sits a veritable vortex of elemental energy, conjured by a team of women who call their shop Sisters of the Earth and Sea.

“I’m ‘sea,’ ” says Joyce Burns, one of the owners. “Laurie Roach is ‘earth,’ and Amber Signs, our newest sister as of March 2009, is ‘fire.’ And,” Burns adds with a laugh, “we have enough air—sometimes hot air!—among the three of us to cover the fourth element.”

Good Business

Have you ever walked into a store and just felt uncomfortable? Perhaps you can’t pinpoint what’s wrong but you sense something is “off.” (Hopefully, you have not had this experience in your own store.) When it’s happened to me, I’ve found, more often than not, it is because the people who work there are unhappy. I have learned to look around and notice whether I see smiles or indifference. When this uncomfortable feeling occurs, I don’t stay long and I don’t often return.

Grass Roots

Recently we had to put our terrier poodle, Sadie, to sleep (who came up with that bizarre euphemism?). She was a rescue dog, so we never knew exactly how old she was, but she let us share our home and bed with her for nine and a half years. She became our “shop dog” with people often coming in just to visit her. Once she was gone, customers who saw her as a permanent fixture in our store asked about her and wanted details.

12 Ways to the Holidays

12 Ways to the Holidays

The leaves are turning and fall is just around the corner—but when you’re a retailer facing the all-important fourth quarter, you’re less likely to be gazing at fall foliage and more likely to be planning ahead to make this a record holiday season for your store.

In the last few years, with the downturn in the economy, consumers have spent less on holiday shopping. The good news is predictions for this year include stronger sales during the fourth quarter by as much as 3-4% according to market researcher Kantar Retail.

Thinking Globally

Thinking Globally

Sam Carpenter is out to change the world. Each day he hopes to introduce or reinforce how much Fair Trade means to artisans in developing countries as well as our own lives.

Pages

Subscribe to Resources