Eileen McClelland

Eileen McClelland

Eileen McClelland is the managing editor at INSTORE Magazine.

Write on Tuesday, 29 July 2014 Published in Best Practices

I’ve been talking to experts and retailers for weeks about social media.

I’ve learned a lot from everyone – which is good! – since I’m writing about it for our September lead story of INSTORE. Sometimes though it’s easy to get bogged down in technical details when trying to tell the story of social media.

Write on Tuesday, 15 July 2014 Published in Best Practices

Do you offer discounts to bridal shoppers ?

Paul Haig, owner of Haig's of Rochester Fine Jewelry & Objects of Art, in Rochester, MI, likes to think out of the box when it comes to event planning. He also has artists on staff who help him to both brainstorm and execute these grand plans.

For the store's 41st anniversary event on July 9, Haig rolled out not the traditional red carpet, but the yellow brick road for his guests when he chose a "Wizard of Oz" theme to introduce a new line of jewelry -- themed Oz charms from Angelica. It also happens to be a big anniversary for "The Wizard of Oz" -- its 75th.

Decorations included a lighted, flying witch -- a full-size mannequin riding a bicycle and mounted on the front exterior wall of his store. A polycarbonate tornado added to the drama. Angelica loaned Haig posters and other marketing materials for the event.

Inside, guests could hear "the voice of Oz" -- behind a curtain, of course -- and a soprano soloist sang "Over the Rainbow" for entertainment.

A yellow brick road scene was displayed in a window and painted on the sidewalk out back.

Haig and his staff invited 250 loyal customers to the event; about 150 people attended, including some curious passersby, who were welcomed in.

Rochester has a strong feeling of community among its downtown merchants, cultivated by a strong Downtown Development Association, which plans sidewalk sales and other regular events, including a Christmas parade and light show. Haig takes part in that, too, by displaying a Santa and reindeer on the front of his three-story building.

So neighboring businesses pitched in by bringing refreshments, offering a wine tasting and donating goods and services to the silent auction, which raised money for Rochester Area Neighborhood House. Attendees also brought tennis shoes and flip-flops to donate to Flip Flops for Families. "We love downtown Rochester, our customers, fellow merchants and the Greater Rochester community. I wouldn't have my store anywhere else in the world," Haig says.

Sales during the 41st anniversary event more than covered Haig's expenses, while also making a splash with new lines of jewelry.

Planning an event of your own?

"Start well in advance with planning," Haig says. "Set a complete schedule and hold people accountable. Have regular meetings beginning three months in advance and make sure the team is following through. Make it exciting, make it different, promote it on Facebook." And don't forget to follow up invitations with personal phone calls.



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Write on Tuesday, 08 July 2014 Published in Best Practices

Do you offer discounts to bridal shoppers ?

If you do, says Becka Johnson Kibby, sales and training manger for the Edge Retail Academy, you’re making retail -- already an uphill hike – even more of a climb financially, while taking the easy way out, sales-savvy wise.

Write on Tuesday, 24 June 2014 Published in Best Practices

I was just half-watching an episode of HGTV’s “House Hunters,” in which a young engaged couple was looking for a first house near Baltimore.

I laughed out loud when the woman said she was looking for a “cookie cutter,” townhouse because she likes uniformity! She likes everything to match.

Write on Tuesday, 10 June 2014 Published in Best Practices

Sally Hufnagle, a former city council member, got out of politics and into a job she loved when she discovered retail jewelry.