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November 2008 | Vol. VII - No. 11




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Retailing Tips: Networking for Holiday Success

How Partnering Up and Reaching Out Can Boost Your Christmas Cash


“We also always donate gift cards, so people have to come in our door.” Chuck Harper, Explorations Inc.
Working with other retailers, taking advantage of traffic during special area-wide holiday events, and embracing creative ideas may attract new customers for the holidays. Here’s what specialty retailers recently told TDmonthly Magazine they do within their communities to give sales a hand:

1. Share Expenses. For 35 years, Mud Puddle Toys of Marblehead, Mass., has been participating in a town-wide Christmas Walk the first week in December that allows the store to reach customers without breaking the bank. “Radio ads are bought with other stores,” said Co-owner Samuel Pollards. A certain number of spots is purchased, and radio stations rotate the different store’s ads. Organized by retailers, the event includes music, a barbershop quartet, hayrides, street performers, decorations, treats and special offers.

2. Remember the Needy.
“We do a lot of fundraisers for schools, a lot with the local elementary schools and PTO,” Chuck Harper, owner of Explorations Inc., in Granger, Ind., told TDmonthly. “We give donations as a percentage of sales the schools get from people they bring in the door. We also always donate gift cards, so people have to come in our door.”

3. Be Creative. For Kazoo & Co. of Denver, that means working with a local business association for new ways to sell its toys. Located in a high-end neighborhood, the store has partnered with the Museum of Outdoor Art. “We have a huge window, and they're going to put an 8’ bronze puppet theatre in front of the store, with a video camera that opens and closes curtains, as a video attraction for children,” Owner Diana Nelson said. Recently, the store also gave the local school system 300 kazoos with Kazoo & Co.’s logo and website to hand out during a weekend tennis program.

4. Hit the Road. “I do a big flea market on the weekends, ‘The World's Biggest Flea Market,’ where over 10,000 people come past our booth,” Susan Corselli, owner of Not Just Dolls in Dallas, told TDmonthly. “So, we attract people who don't usually look at dolls.”

5. Use the Internet. “We're turning more to the Internet and Google local,” added Harper of Explorations Inc. “We're popping up when people are looking online, and then they come in the store to see the toy.”

Innovative ideas and business partnerships can contribute a lot to the annual holiday push, broadening customer interest, traffic and (hopefully!) purchases in the season that counts on them most.



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Terri Hughes-LazzellWriter's Bio: Terri Hughes-Lazzell is a freelance journalist based in Ossian, Ind. After spending nearly a decade as a daily newspaper reporter, she has worked as a freelance journalist for more than ten years, writing about a variety of topics. Her work appears in newspapers, magazines and specialty publications nationwide. Read more articles by this author

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