Monthly Archives: October 2010

I’ll Take the Chinese Crested-in-flambe

No, this is not my Halloween costume, it is our newest plush pet by Manhattan Toy. THIS is the Betsy Johnson dog. Yes, you see that right, Betsy Johnson, THE Betsy Johnson is still creating and now she has arrived in Columbus. I already have a young customer or two sporting a new Betsy Johnson limited edition Chinese Crested-in-flambe in their homes. What can I say? Fashion can be found in the most remote locales!!



Filed under Gift shop, Gifts, Uncategorized

Season Changes…Coming Up Next

Well, another Halloween is about to be, “one for the history books” and we retailers march on to the next season. Yes, I know I’m one of those rare ducks who refuse to put Thanksgiving ahead of Halloween, Christmas ahead of Labor Day, and Valentine’s before the last drop of New Year’s champagne. So, my turkey has booted the black cat to the sidelines and the velvet pumpkins have gone from their witchy glow to one of warmth and family gatherings. In 24 hours Boo will be packed away for another spooktacular season and the store will be filled with pumpkin spice…umm, so nice!

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Filed under Gift shop, Gifts, holiday decorating, home decor, Items

Dress for Success…baby style

Zutano $19.95

I was excited to finally get our new fall baby onesies, especially since I have some new babies in my life. I remember when my “baby” was little, those onesies made my life so much easier. But, 25 years ago they were all a basic white, pink, blue or yellow…YAWN! Now here we finally have some fabulous colors and patterns to choose from. So, this is dedicated to my precious new family members…Emily & Paxton. You deserve all these fun new colors! Hmm, Emily might be donning the Cottage Garden….or, Marigold…or Zoo. And, as for Paxton, I’m thinking It’s a Jungle…no, Monkeys….hmm, or Zoo Too! I can’t wait to see what I end up selecting for my two new family additions….Stay tuned.

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Filed under Apparel, Baby, Gift shop, Gifts

People And Their Pets

Custom Dog Tiles

What is it about people and their pets? The pet industry is continues to grow – even in a down economy. Maybe not the elaborate diamond collars we’ve seen in recent years, but a nice dog bowl, a fluffy bed and maybe a collar a little more understated are still in demand. A pet is like a really good friend. Their love never fades. They never comment on your wearing socks with sandals – they may laugh, or share a giggle with other pets in the house, but they’ll never say a word to you. They love you unconditionally. A cat, dog, whatever your preference, a pet is always there for you. So, many folks I know pamper their pooch. For anyone who’s ever owned a pet, a special pet, this item is for you. The King Charles Spaniel was a special gift for a special person who loves their babies. What baby can we get for you?

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Filed under Country Living, Gift shop, Gifts, home decor, Pets

Oh, THANKS For the “Help”

Why is being an entrepreneur so fun? You get to set your own hours, you get to make your own decisions, you get to do it ALL! Well, sort of….I find you also get to be some sort of IT expert, a plumber, stock clerk, maid, and on a good day…marketer, buyer, merchandiser and customer appreciation expert. What I, the delighted entrepreneur, DON’T need is an assistant who would rather chew, sit on, push under the table, or sleep on all my work. So, dear “assistant” stick to being cute and adorable. Focus on entertaining customers. Keep meandering creatures at a distance. Chase your “doogie” toy…and, yes, even though it does take about 20 minutes each morning I’ll continue to play fetch with you and “doogie”. But, do not send IM’s, open emails and change all my Facebook accounts by laying on my keyboard. The IT expert at this establishment is not all that reliable, especially if she has just cleaned the toilets!

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Filed under Country Living, Gift shop, home decor, Pets, Uncategorized

Our Retail Experts at Work

Every day I, like many other buyers, peruse numerous catalogs. We look at each page, each item, with an questioning eye. “Would this be something Pat, June, Julie or Dianne would like?” Then, we have to decide if it fits with our store overall and price lines we work to maximize an item at the best price. But, sometimes we need a little assistance from true experts! Who wouldn’t want an extra bit of support? Vegas, the original store mascot, is still our best guide in selecting the right items for your pet. (She selected a mouse cat collar for Lenox; we will soon see if she likes it when it arrives.) I’m lucky to have such experts on staff. I’m also lucky they are so cheap!

Oh, and if Temptations would like to send some free turkey bites, we know some “retail experts” would be happy to add a few comments.

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Filed under Country Living, Gift shop, Gifts, Items, Pets

It Takes a Village

Houses $38.95 - $41.95

I was doing an interview the other day about how we reach our customers, and who are those customers. I thought, but did not say, sometimes I feel like your guess is as good as mine as to who they are and how the heck the found us. We have a billboard, we advertise locally, we advertise regionally, we Twitter, we Facebook, we blog and we shake every hand at Los Cabos Restaurant for our traditional Friday night dinner. YOU tell ME what works. But, this is what I believe, it takes all of that – a village of communication if you will – to reach that one customer that stops and shops. In my old PR days, pitching business, pitching reporters, I was told I’d make 100 calls to get one yes. Well, retail ain’t any different folks. Hate to tell you! In our current economy this is really true. But, this is the BEST time (granted it is also the hardest to justify financially) to stay out there promoting and selling your store. There are days I’m wondering if everyone else is doing fine and I”m sitting here to an empty space. There are days I think I got all the customers…yeah! But, the reality is, we all do the best we can. We all work to have something unique that will appeal to our customer -whether this is their 100th visit or first. The super highway of Twitter and Facebook is what really keeps me sane. It is like performing for a live audience, you get instant feedback. The billboard, newspaper and radio, and even my blog aren’t quite so strong on the “instant gratification” stage. But, they help reinforce all I am and all I hope the Silver Barn to be. So, who is my customer? My customer is whoever my merchandise appeals to, and while I have an idea of “her” in my mind, it changes daily. How do I reach my customer? My village reaches that customer one way or the other every single day and my job is to keep that village buzzing. Now, tell two friends so they’ll tell two friends, and so on, and so on, and so on…and we’ll continue to create a great retail environment.


Filed under Country Living, Furniture, Gift shop, Gifts, holiday decorating, home decor