My grandfather served on the USS Arkansas Battleship in WWII. Fought at D-Day and Okinawa. Shortly after the war, with three kids and nowhere in town to go for toys, he opened our store.
The original Toy House was not in the best shopping location, but rent was cheap on the edge of downtown near the residential neighborhoods.
One of his friends told him, “Phil, you’re crazy for going there. The neighborhood kids will vandalize the heck out of your store… when they’re not in shoplifting you blind.”
Oh, my grandfather was crazy. Crazy like a fox.
Every morning he raised the flag outside the store. Every evening he lowered the flag. And he did it with all the pride and honor of a decorated WWII veteran. Oh yeah, and he included all the neighborhood kids in the routine. Taught them how to say the Pledge of Allegiance, how to stand at attention and salute, how to fold the flag and pay it respect. Showed them how to raise the flag quickly and lower it slowly. A true adolescent color guard.
At first there were a couple kids involved. Then a few of their friends joined in. Pretty soon it was a small crowd of young patriots standing at attention with their hands over the hearts.
Vandalism? Never a problem. Shoplifting? Are you kidding? He had an army of young men that took pride in the success of Toy House. No one was going to hurt the store on their watch.
How are you reaching out to your community and getting them to stand behind your store?