Positive Yarn

January 14, 2009

Celebrating longetivity

Filed under: Business marketing — heathergooch @ 6:52 pm
Tags: , , , ,

I just came across this article in the Wilmette (IL) Pioneer Press. The profile of a needlepoint shop owner, who is celebrating 35 years at her store, is both comforting and inspiring. I love to see an independent shop thriving in this landscape of “for rent” signs, and love even more that the local media can celebrate it in print.

Profiles can often lead to the sharing of good business ideas, and Sally Volkert’s does not disappoint. Here are just a couple take-aways I gleaned from the article:

1. When Volkert and her late sister-in-law, Mary Gee, were running The Canvasback and raising children, they took turns watching the kids and the counter so that child care was never an issue.

2. Volkert teases that the shop has helped many women through their divorces. While I doubt that “getting you through your breakups since 1974” is on her business card, it’s a reality that many shops’ customers face, and it doesn’t hurt to be sensitive to that market segment. Maybe try holding Saturday night stitch-ins at your shop, replete with a kids’ corner where Disney movies are always on the TV. It can give customers something to look forward to besides another weekend at home. Some of the married customers might enjoy it, too! In a similar vein, I know some shops offer “wine and cheese nights” each month to build customer loyalty and attract some new people who are bored with the club scene and want to do something different and constructive. Of course, if Saturday nights are sacred, give something like the “Tuesday night singles club” a try!

3. Finally, Volkert is bridging the brick-and-mortar and online shops admirably. Her site welcomes visitors and conveys well what you might see when you open the door to her shop. Plenty of project photos and a consistent format regarding what classes are being offered when really makes me wish I lived closer! My only quibble is that the site is still showing a holiday sale that ended 12/31, but speaking from experience I know that it is no small task to stay on top of outdated pages.

Kudos to Volkert for allowing her shop to evolve with the times, and meeting customer needs. I wish her continued success.


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