museums&MORE Fall 2013
Editor’s Letter: Why Should I Shop at Your Store?

As retailers, you know there’s a big difference between drawing in customers to walk around and browse and getting them to return yet again for a purchase. Seeing as you are a destination location — one people have to go out of their way to patronize — it’s important that you offer more than simply a product. You have to offer a unique experience.

When looking for stores to feature in this publication, that’s exactly what I look for, too. There are thousands of stores that sell customized T-shirts and coffee cups, but what do you have that sets you apart?

Nature Realm Gift Shop of Metro Parks in Akron, Ohio, uses wood shelving made from repurposed park trees to give the small store a unique ambience. They also pride themselves on offering more than 600 different book titles.

I hope we’re filling a niche that’s hard to find in brick-and-mortar stores nowadays — handpicked, recommended titles on the natural world and local interest that aren’t media-driven,” said Jill Pildner, customer service representative and gift shop buyer. “One of the biggest compliments I can hear is that our naturalists really appreciate our book selection.”

At Shop Too!, the gift shop at the Fort Worth Museum of Science and History, they have the “Bumpersaurus” — a12-foot-long, 6-foot-tall slide is modeled after the stegosaurus dinosaur that’s constructed out of used car parts with headlights for eyes, hubcaps for scales and decorative license plates for siding. Needless to say, it’s extremely popular with the younger guests and creates a lasting impression.

So while you might not have hundreds of book titles or a repurposed dinosaur slide, every store can have their “thing.” Whether it’s odd pairings of inventory, a distinctive display piece or simply an eccentric employee, these details together define your store image, helping it stand out among the rest.

Why should I shop at your store? Let me know at

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