Spring 2013
Doing Good By Stephanie Vozza

Easy Ways to Give Back

Meredith Hite, vice president of corporate communications for the Dallas Market Center, encourages retailers to give back to their communities and adds that the efforts don't need to be complex. She offers these four simple ideas for contributing.

Hold a canned goods or toy drive and offer shoppers a special discount for participating.

Encourage your staff to volunteer their time in the community. It doesn't have to be about raising money, says Hite; goodwill is just as important.

Implement a program like Keep the Change, where storeowners ask shoppers if they would like to donate their change to a charitable cause. Hite says storeowners can get shoppers involved in selecting the receiving charity via social media.

Offer your store as a space for hosting fundraising events. Hite says it's easy to forget that charitable organizations need locations.

Giving back to your community is not only a feel-good exercise, it’s a strong marketing tool in your arsenal. See how two winning retailers do just that.

What goes around comes back around. Gift shops have been giving to charitable causes for a long time and the Next Big Give at the Dallas Market Center recognizes such outstanding retailers with their annual competition.

“So many specialty retailers are giving back and we wanted to share those stories,” says Meredith Hite, vice president of corporate communications for the Dallas Market Center. “We believe their stories will inspire other retailers.” Hite says the Dallas Market Center receives dozens of applications from across the U.S. and narrows candidates down to 10 finalists. Two grand winners are chosen and receive a complimentary trip to the Market in Dallas.

This year’s winners are Mary Liz Curtin of Leon & Lulu in Clawson, MI, and Jean Haller of Journeys of Life in Pittsburgh, PA.

“Mary Liz does a ton of charitable work thorough her store,” says Hite. “She’s very inspiring and the take-away I hope other retailers get from her story is that we can all be doing more.”

“Journeys of Life is an inspirational story about someone taking an awful situation and making it positive for others. It says a lot about Jean when you learn how she used a tragedy to creating something positive.”

Hite says it’s important for retailers to give back. “Customers care about that,” she says, “When I’m shopping at different stores, I will consider what they are doing in community. It affects how I see and view them in the community.”

Stephanie Vozza

Stephanie Vozza is a freelance writer based in the Detroit area. She specializes in business and real estate. Learn more at stephanievozza.com.

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