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Tag Archives: shop local

  • 5 Ways to Instantly Improve Your Gift Shop's In-Store Experience on a Budget

    As with most aspects of life, you don’t have to spend a lot of money to make a big impression. When designing your retail store layout, it’s more important to be efficient both in terms of cost and space than it is to blow your budget on unnecessary displays and products. Here are five simple ways to easily improve your in-store experience without breaking the bank.

    Less is more

    If working with limited square footage, it may sound counterintuitive, but decluttering your space will actually help eliminate overstimulation. Shoppers’ eyes are drawn toward cleaner displays that allow artisan gifts to shine, cutting down on the need to fill empty shelf space. This principle can be applied throughout the store, including at the register and in the window display.


    Light it up

    Drawing attention to you displays can be as simple as adjusting the lighting throughout the store. In addition to making sure all bulbs are working, the use of uplighting, spotlighting, and track lighting can all guide the customer visually to promotions and displays of featured products.


    Engage the senses

    Visual appeal is naturally at the top of any shop owner’s list, but don’t discount the other four senses that encourage customers to engage with the products, down to the music that pipes throughout the store. Free samples that you can touch and even taste are a small investment that go a long way, and you don’t have to be a parfumerie for your store to smell like anything other than cleaning products.


    Use resources you already have

    Chances are, you have accumulated a lot of creative packaging while stocking your store with wholesale artisan gifts. Rather than purchasing expensive shelving or display cases, put those empty crates and boxes to use by setting up a display or end cap, or even use old picture frames, corkboards, or hooks to display products in an eye-catching way.


    Think signage

    Printing and reprinting new signs for every promotion or sale can be an unexpected cost, so instead invest in chalkboards or even an electronic lightbox to display your rotating messages. What’s more, use QR codes for customers to scan to learn more about a product on your website rather than printing out bios for every new artisan.

  • 5 Ways to Train New Retail Staff

    Proper staff training is really a win-win-win for the employees, management, and customers alike. Training staff doesn’t have to follow an outline for a set period of onboarding time, but rather should be ongoing with the goals of ensuring consistent messaging, improving employee morale, and reducing employee turnover— all while increasing sales. Here are five effortless ways to train new staff beyond the book.

    Image provided by Getty Images

    Consider personalities

    Beyond the interview process, getting to know your employees will not only create a comfortable and supportive working environment, but it will also help to understand the best way to train to their personalities, whether that’s by reading a manual or by doing.

    It’s easy to forget that everyone learns differently, and feedback is best received when it is personalized rather than prescriptive.

    Reward good behavior

    Strong employees aren’t necessarily top sellers (although they could be). Good employees engage with both customers and other employees, while looking for opportunities to improve and offering suggestions.

    Measures for success shouldn’t go unnoticed but can be as simple as relaying a positive customer experience or even online review during a staff meeting.

    Pop quiz

    It doesn’t have to be anything formal, but asking new employees throughout the day to look up pricing or whether a product comes in a different color will help keep them on their toes for when those questions arise from customers throughout the day.

    Also be sure to ask employees for feedback on new products, or procedures, to empower them and make them feel invested.

    Continued education

    Training doesn’t end after the first week. In fact, employees should be briefed on new products and procedures as they are rolled out, perhaps in a weekly staff meeting, so that everyone is on the same page.

    Create a community of learners who are excited to tell customers what’s new on shelves to position your employees and, in turn, the store as experts in your field.

    Lead by example

    Setting expectations while modeling good behavior both internally and with customers sets everyone up for success. Set clear guidelines for what you expect from them, and give them the tools with which to succeed.

    Treat employees as equals, and look for ways to motivate them individually and as a team.

  • The Power of Small

    “We all succeed when small businesses succeed.” You heard this line ad nauseum throughout the election cycle, but practically, outside of a sound bite, what does that look like?

    It starts by looking something like this.


    We are Jules Pieri and John Venhuizen, the CEOs of The Grommet and Ace Hardware and we are bridging local store owners, Makers – and you, to help small businesses thrive.

    We passionately believe that there is power in small. The small business. The little guy. The dreamer. The inventor whose vision could be the next big thing. The folks who wake up every day with a chip on their shoulder because they have to duke it out against the shackles of bureaucracy and the Goliaths of business every day. We believe that there is a liberating strength and might in our collaboration.

    We share many of the same goals. We want to strengthen Main Street. We want to amplify the maker movement and launch a new and different kind of industrial revolution. We’re working together to bring more early-stage businesses into your backyard. This creates jobs for people you probably know, gives you higher quality products and bolsters your local economy.


    We believe in the consumer. We know that consumers yearn for more than cookie-cutter, commoditized, generic stuff anyone can get from nearly every store. We know that consumers still believe in discovery, values-driven brands and a local face behind their retail purchases.

    We firmly believe that there is more to the shopping experience than just faceless interactions and drone delivery. Together, Ace and The Grommet, we can offer our customers more of what we believe makes America special, the unbridled creativity of the local entrepreneur.

    And we’re not budging. We’ve seen the business landscape stacked against the underdog for too long. The way we can tip the scales is by investing in innovation. So we will. And we hope you join us.

    You play a vital part in this success. We humbly ask for your continued support. Visit your local Ace, try these innovative products from the Grommet. It takes tenacity, guts and grit to build a company and help it grow. Learn more about our collaboration that’s putting Grommets in Ace stores in your neighborhood, including more than 170 locally-owned Ace Hardware stores just last month.

    Thank you for your support, for supporting small.


  • Motivation for a Successful Small Business Saturday

    This is an exciting week. Yes, it’s Thanksgiving, but more importantly, it’s Small Business Saturday—your Super Bowl. Since the day is fast approaching, we’ve got a few motivational words to help make this your best Small Business Saturday ever.


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  • Joining the Local First Movement Can Help Your Bottom-line

    If you haven’t already done so, joining the Local First movement is a great strategic step in promoting your business and increasing your revenue. Local First organizations are non-profit networks comprised of independent businesses that educate consumers in your community about the economic benefits of shopping locally.

    Local first

    You and I know the importance of supporting local businesses, but some consumers remain unaware that independent retailers return three times more per dollar of sales to the economy compared to chain stores. I mean, it’s hard to blame them. With the exaggerated ease of online shopping and discounted prices of large chains, if you’re not paying attention, it’s easy to forget what a neighborhood would be like without independent businesses.

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