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Creative Leisure News
306 Parker Circle
Lawrence, KS 66049
Phone: 785-760-5071
Email: mike@clnonline.com


A view of the industry through the eyes of independent and chain retailers.

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What To Do on Your Customers' Summer Vacations

How to entice them into your store for summer fun.

by Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender (July 6, 2009)

We've been hearing the term "Staycation" – a vacation spent close to home – a lot lately. It might be a drag for the tourist industry, but it's good for you! If families are traveling less, and staying closer to home, that means more customers will be looking for things to do this summer to keep themselves and their kids occupied. Here's where you come in:

Make Your Store the Go-To Place for Summer Fun

Julie and Robin Cates are two amazing sisters who own "On the Pot" Paint & Pottery Studio in Salina, KS. If we could bottle their creativity and enthusiasm we'd be gazillionaires. They host in-store events all year long, but in the summer their kid's parties, grown-up parties, studio tours, Ya-Ya Nights, and summer camps book up fast. And then they brainstorm what to do next – there are no bad ideas at On The Pot. Julie and Robin can turn just about anything into an in-store event. Visit them here at www.paintourpot.com.

And by the way, Julie's fun, funky, and functional custom pieces are selling like hotcakes. Or hot Cates. She made a 6' tall clock for the Contemporary Ceramic Studios Assn. Convention charity auction last year; it sold for more than $8,000. To another retailer! You can see Julie's masterpieces at www.thatsfab.net.

Kids Summer Camp

Every July and August Michaels Stores host an in-store Kids Summer Crafts Camp. Kids are divided by age group (5-8 year olds are held daily from 9:30 to 11:30 am; and sessions for 9-12 year olds are held daily from 1:30-3:30 pm). Craft projects correspond with a daily theme: Tropical Day, Game Day, A Day at the Circus, and Bags & Butterflies are just a few of the fun things in store for this year's campers. Visit www.michaels.com/art/online/static?page=store_camp07.

You can do this, too. Fill the days (or afternoons) with a variety of projects, including things that kids love, but are not necessarily sold in your store. If you're a scrapbook retailer, branch out, and let the kids embellish flip-flops or tie-dye T-shirts in addition to creating a "What I Did on My Summer Staycation" album.

CHA's "Craft Till Until You Drop Weekend"

CHA has created a turnkey in-store promotion for retailers called "Craft Till You Drop Weekend." This event is designed to run on the same days as the CHA Craft SuperShow (July 31 - August 2) and it will be nationally publicized. For more info and to download your Craft Till You Drop Weekend Toolkit – everything you need to organize your event all in one place – visit www.craftandhobby.org/promotions.html.

Hit the Streets

We've talked about Bag-a-Craft for a long, long time. Bag-a-Craft involves making your own craft kits, bagging 'em up, and taking them to your local day care centers. Offer to teach a free craft project on the spot, or schedule it for a later date. In addition to a craft project to take home to Mommy, add a coupon good for a free class or a free day at your in-store summer camp. Bag-a-Craft is also a great idea for senior assisted-living centers.

It's All About the Sizzle!

For each event you run this summer, appoint one associate the official "Sultan of Sizzle." The Sultan's job is to put the icing on the cake; the sizzle on the steak – to take your event from fun to fabulous. Give the Sultan a little cash and turn him/her lose; we don't care if its 50 bucks or 500 big ones – give him/her enough to light up the joint!

Here's the thing: Many retailers won't weather the current economic dilemma very well; some won't survive at all. But you will. Because you won't put off what needs to be done today until tomorrow. You won't wait to see what the guy down the street does before you make a move. You won't blame your mall or shopping center or downtown association for not doing enough to help you; and you won't sit on your hands hoping that things will take care of themselves. You'll survive, and maybe even thrive, because you decided to take action.

Upcoming Seminars.

CHA Summer Show, Orlando.

A."4th Quarter Calendar: EVERYTHING You Need to Run In-Store Events that Build Sales!" Mon., July 27, 2:00-3:00 pm. Business Seminar S103

B. "Retail Rescue: How to Find Opportunity in Tough Economic Times," Tues., July 28, 12:00-1:00 pm. Business Seminar S106

C. "Stories of Triumph & Success: Meet Successful Independent Retailers and Learn What They Do Right!" Wed., July 29: 12:00-1:00 pm. Business Seminar S112. Visit www.chashow.org.

(Note: Professional speakers, authors, and consultants, Rich Kizer & Georganne Bender are nationally recognized experts on customer diversity, marketing & promotion, and everything that affects and interacts with consumers in the retail environment. Each year Kizer & Bender speak to thousands through their "Retail Adventures in the REAL World™" keynotes and seminars. Their unique consumer insights are widely featured in the media, including the ABC National News special report, "How Stores Hook You." Their book, Champagne Strategies on a Beer Budget!, has helped thousands of retailers improve their bottom line, and their "Retail Adventures™" Blog is visited by tens of thousands of readers each month. In 2004 they were named two of the "Most Influential People in Retail Today," and their popular magazine column, "Georganne & Rich on the Road," won the American Society of Business Publication Editors (ASBPE) Award of Excellence in 2004 and again in 2006.

You'll find thousands of strategies, tactics, tips. and techniques to help you grow your business on their Retail Adventures™ blog: http://www.kizerandbender.blogspot.com. They mean it when they say to call if you want to talk about your store. They know how tough it is right now, and they're happy to brainstorm ideas with you – they want you to succeed! To read previous articles by Rich and Georganne, click on the titles in the right-hand column.).




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