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Welcome to the Blog!

You don’t have to be an independent retailer to find value in these posts (but it helps).

This blog is for you. If there are any topics or questions you want addressed, let me know and I’ll cover them.

Reviews: Good, Bad, Necessary Evil?

October 19, 2018

I remember the first presentation I saw about the power of online reviews. The speaker instructed us how to use our smartphones to take quick testimonials right on the sales floor whenever we had a happy customers. I looked at my notes from the presentation and read … “Get them… Read more

Payroll is Not Just a Line on Your Profit & Loss

October 18, 2018

My dad was a journalist. Got his degree from University of Michigan in 1965 and started writing for the Jackson Citizen Patriot newspaper right out of college. He worked for his future father-in-law at Toy House all through high school and college to pay for that degree and even worked… Read more

Two Forks in the Road for Sears

October 17, 2018

In 1988 Walmart opened their first Supercenter in Washington, Missouri. The Supercenter concept heralded Walmart’s entry into the highly-competitive, low-profit, huge cash flow, repeat-traffic driver grocery business. Two years later Walmart surpassed Sears in total sales to become the largest retailer in America. By 2004 Walmart was capturing one out… Read more

Lessons From Sears – Retail is Always Changing

October 16, 2018

“Phil, you know this store is going to put you out of business, right?” My grandfather heard that first in 1962 when Shoppers Fair, a discount department store chain, opened in Jackson. We heard it when Westwood Mall opened in the 1970’s with a Circus World store (eventually becoming a… Read more

RIP Sears

October 15, 2018

There is a group on Facebook for people who grew up in Jackson, MI. The posts are mostly, “Who remembers …?” so that former Jacksonians can reminisce about days long past. A recent post was about Toy House. A couple hundred people waxed nostalgic about visiting the original store in… Read more

Are Background Checks Necessary?

October 11, 2018

(Note: the last three posts talked about making a character trait list, posting better job descriptions and help wanted ads, and crafting insightful interview questions. You’ve done your interviews. Now what?) I got a phone call. “I’m doing a background check and one of our applicants listed you as a… Read more

Using Character Traits to Write a Better Job Description and Help Wanted Ad

October 10, 2018

I jumped the gun yesterday. I started talking to you about interview questions before we even discussed how to get the right applicants through your door in the first place. My bad. Did you know you can “pre-qualify” your applicants? No, I don’t mean by writing, “Only people with [… Read more

How Your Traits List Affects Your Hiring

October 9, 2018

It takes a lot of guts to tell Harvard you think they are wrong. But that’s exactly what I was doing through the aughts as I was developing my own hiring philosophy. In the late 90’s I read the Harvard Business Essentials book Hiring and Keeping the Best People.¬†Like all… Read more