Summer 2008
When Opportunity Knocks By Patricia Norins

It was a really wet spring here in New England. One particularly miserable, wet day had caught me unprepared. I stopped by a local retailer and was relieved to find that she had stocked some very cute ponchos and umbrellas right by the door. This retailer saw an opportunity—and cashed in. I am sure I was not the only customer who picked up an umbrella that day.

Similarly, I read of gift shop owners in Crawford, TX, who stocked up on special souvenirs to commemorate a special Presidential wedding in town this spring. Then there’s Andy Cannon of Discovery Depot in Cookeville, TN. Cannon, who is featured in this issue of GIFT SHOP, is also a retailer who never misses out on a good opportunity. To help boost his store’s sales every holiday season, he starts growing a beard every July and dresses up as Santa! Retailers like Cannon recognize every opportunity when it knocks and they are prepared. After all, every one is a chance to make a sale!

The pages of GIFT SHOP are filled with precisely such features—inspirational stories that help you recognize opportunities when you see them and business strategies that will help you capitalize on opportunities when they present themselves.

To help you sell more this holiday season, we have assembled a few stories together: product trends for the holidays (including a special showcase on Judaica), staffing strategies for seasonal help, display techniques for dazzling in-store trees, and ideas for getting customers to come back during a difficult sales year.

Andy Cannon is profiled in our special section on toys. In addition to the latest trends on educational, specialty toys, this feature also looks at how you can calm customers’ nerves when bad news about products (like the lead scare last year), breaks.

I am proud to announce that like last year, we received many entries to our Ultimate Makeover Contest. We are delighted that Paul Thompson of OneCoast will be implementing the makeover. Stay tuned as we announce the lucky winner on our website. I invite you to read about the execution of the makeover in the Fall issue of GIFT SHOP.

I am also thrilled to announce the launch of our new magazine: GREENRetailer. As all of us unite in our concern for the environment and find new ways to becoming and staying green, I am convinced that the timing for the launch of this magazine could not have been more perfect.

If you are looking for green product ideas or even for ideas on implementing green business strategies in your store, this magazine is just for you. I hope you will join us in our new venture.

Last but not the least, I invite you to take advantage of every opportunity that we roll out for you all through the year. Participate in our Retail Forum by visiting and write us back with feedback and ideas.

So, what will you do when opportunity knocks this season? After all, there are many out there just waiting to be discovered. Here’s to recognizing (and profiting from) every business opportunity!

Patricia Norins

Norins is the founder and publisher of two national trade magazines and two trade shows. Specialty Retail Report, the voice of the specialty retail industry (carts, kiosks and temporary in-line stores) has a readership of more than 75,000 and GIFT SHOP, the magazine for independent gift shop owners, has a readership of more than 60,000. She also serves as consultant to small independent retailers across the country.

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