museums&MORE Winter 2010
The Store Room–Winter 2010

Q. If you could have three ‘retail’ resolutions for the New Year, what would they be?”

Bobby Scarlett
Heirloom Gallery
Denton, N.C.
1. Keep inventory rotated in the showroom, as even an old item looks new in a different space.
2. Plant flowers, keep the grounds groomed better and paint the outside of the structure to make it more enticing for customers to stop.
3. Make a customer e-mail contact list and reach more people with sales specials and events.

Andrew BeauChamp
El Museo del barrio
New York, N.Y.
1. Push to have our Web store up and running by Spring 2010. We get so many phone orders and it would be nice to have a place for our visitors to read about our products and then order them directly online. It would give us more time to help our visitors on site and less time on the phone.
2. Resurrect the “NYC Collectors program”. A few years back, me and a group of NYC cultural attractions got together and created a line of products that the NYC visitor could collect as they visited each of our sites; it was like the concept of pin trading at Disney, only it was throughout the city. Each of the locations in the program would promote all the other locations in the program at their site. With coordinating signage created and marked out at the same size space in our stores, it was like merchandise rollouts that multi-unit stores do; only we were all independent retailers.
3. Mentor young artists to market themselves better and to create a business plan. Many young artists come to our museum and don’t have a clue how to make a living with their craft. They are so wrapped up in the “process of making art” and forget that they need to make money to persue their passion. I often dismiss these artists due to the lack of time on my part.

Sherry Simons
G.Wiz Science Museum
Sarasota, Fla.
1. To be a science gift shop and not an ordinary museum gift shop and make sure our items are science-oriented and unique.
2. To keep the shelves fully stocked and be on top of inventory as it is depleting.
3. To keep the staff fully informed on the workings of each great product, so they can relay their excitement to the customer.

Joseph Hammer
Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center
Austin, Texas
Someone once said that retail could be boiled down to two things: the products you have to sell and the people you have to sell them. So I’d concentrate on those two things.
With merchandise, I resolve to ensure that we do our best to find new items that will appeal to our target market and not try to be all things to all customers; to watch the size of orders and required minimums in order to keep turnover brisk; and to stay on top of reordering the top 20-30 percent of our stock, which is the part that brings in the real bucks. Also, I will remember that a buyer is an editor, buying only things that work for our store’s image and presentation abilities.
With staff and volunteers, I resolve to sharpen my communication skills and to never let up on training — especially product training. I will also continue to be our head cheerleader — being positive and always, always expressing gratitude for jobs well done, no matter how small.

Renee Sheakoski
The Butler Institute of American Art
Youngstown, Ohio
1. Focus on the museum’s mission when ordering products.
2. Buy a new P.O.S. system and get rid of our old cash register.
3. Start a grab bag program for student tours since they don’t come in the gift store.

Tonda Rae Silinsky
The Gift Shop of SRHS
Ashland, Ohio
1. I would convert one of my counter tops into a jewelry case. I think that look really helps to sell jewelry.
2. More slat wall. When our gift shop was remodeled, we lost a large percentage of our slat wall to curved glass. It’s pretty, but not efficient when it comes to display.
3. On site storage-the storage area for The Gift Shop is across town, which means taking the merchandise from the location where it arrives to the storage area and then to the hospital after it is unpacked and marked.

Laurie Taylor
Knoxville Zoo
Knoxville, Tenn.
1. Build a respectable online retail store. We have a very small online presence right now and need to move into the 21st century in this regard. I plan to add a selection of our nicer quality souvenir items and pieces across all categories that highlight our signature exhibits and animals.
2. Better product training for sales staff. Because we are a seasonal business, we have new staff every spring and a very short period of time to train them. However, as the economy is still going to be tight for 2010, we need to make the most of every potential customer. We can accomplish this by educating our guests on why the product they are looking at is a sound purchase.
3. Tighter management of markdown dollars. Due to the drastic downturn in the economy at the end of 2008, we had a great deal of merchandise on-hand starting 2009, which resulting in higher than average markdowns. I hope to learn from our experience this past year and implement a more efficient markdown strategy.

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