What is your favorite thing about being a retailer?
Debbie Dusenberry, Curious Sofa, Kansas City, KS
It would have to be antiquing for merchandise, because that has been a passion and interest of mine since I was a child. To be a buyer, collector, artist or designer (whatever I am) and have a venue to use it is huge. I can buy most things I desire to put in the store (within financial reason) instead of taking them home or leaving them for someone else. Discovering these items for my customers makes me very happy. I have always wanted to be known as a store that sells great, unusual things. I care about the sales, the customer service, the shop protocol and all those business things, but I care about the product and styling of the product more than anything. This is why I am not on the floor much. My job has been done when the items hit the floor. Would you stop going to your favorite restaurant because you never see the owner? No. You stop going when the food is not memorable.
Gene Oberhauser, Imagine Gift Store, Warren, RI
It’s the PEOPLE. There’s a certain inner glow of satisfaction that’s difficult to describe when you’re able to have that perfect gift for your customers. It’s hard work to search out quality products, while at the same time bringing a smile and a thank you from a customer. From little babies in strollers to grandma and grandpa with their walkers, we love them all. It’s really hard to describe the feeling when the same customers return again and again to not only shop, but say hello. Often, we see them away from the store and we’re greeted by name. What a great feeling! When we close our doors on Christmas Eve, there’s a special feeling of pride. We’re tired, we gave it everything we had. But we’re quickly energized when we think of the business we built from scratch, where we appreciate our customers and they appreciate us. We cannot forget our staff, our vendors and the people that support our business. We grow together as partners.
Stephanie Roe, Mima & Co., Doylestown, PA
The question isn’t as easy as it sounds because I can’t say I have one favorite thing about being a retailer. I love going to shows and finding new treasures; but then I also love merchandising the products when they come in. But wait, there is more! When our customers come in and rave about the inventory and tell us how much our gifts are enjoyed, I love that too. We have been shown thank you notes that some customers have received from our gifts. And then there is the interaction with the customers that is really rewarding. We have received holiday cards and baked goods from some of our loyal customers that have become good friends. And then my co-worker is my hubby of 39 years so that is a benefit that makes retailing all worthwhile.