Bargain shopping, Blogging, Clearance sales, favorite things, Shop Local, shopping

Clearance sale in the jewelry department

My unrelenting quest to find the best deal lead me to the jewelry section of our local Meijer store. It’s the retail store I frequent most often, as it’s my go-to for groceries. Admittedly, though, what ends up in my cart is not always what’s included on my grocery list.

Strolling through the jewelry department, a bright orange sign caught my eye. The big bold letters C-L-E-A-R-A-N-C-E were irresistible. The sale prices were too good to be true. Seriously, check out these price tags … necklaces for $1.60, bracelets for $1.40 and earrings for $1.00. Way too good to pass up, and time to stock up.


I love costume jewelry. I believe a bit of sparkle and glitter is like the icing on a cake to any outfit. And finding such rock bottom prices, well that’s the best ever. Can’t promise there’ll be much selection left (especially after I hit the sale rack), but nonetheless, worth checking the jewelry department on your next trip to Meijer. I’m eager to hear what deals you find. Do share!



Blogging, Marketing, Shop Local, Small Business, Social Media

Five last minute Mother’s Day tips for small retailers


I haven’t shopped for Mother’s Day yet, and I bet I’m not alone. There’s still time! Americans are expected to spend nearly $175 on mom this year, up $10 from last year, according to the National Retail Federation’s Mother’s Day Spending Survey. The Chain Store Age article highlighting consumers’ anticipated spending habits for Mother’s Day claims department stores will be big winners. I contaend small retailers will also win big, assuming they’ve done some work to let people know what they have that mom would want. And considering I’m not likely the only one who has not shopped for mom yet, like I said, there’s still time to capture a slice of the $175 I’m supposed to spend.

Mother’s Day is the third largest retail holiday in the U.S.

  • $1.9 billion: total amount of money spent on flowers for their mothers on Mother’s Day
  • $20.7 billion: total amount of money that will be spent for mothers on Mother’s Day
  • $671 million: total amount of money spent on Mother’s Day Cards annually


According to the list of popular gifts for mom this year, the majority will grab a card of course. So, if you’re a shop with unique, funny, out-of-the-ordinary cards to honor mom let me know. I’ll be looking for two cards – one for mom and mom-in-law. As for how to let me know … Marketing tip for small retailers – snap a photo of your favorite Mother’s Day cards in your inventory and share it with your customers via social media, email, your website, a stand up sign outside your store or even a flyer in your window can grab attention.

Instagram small retailer shout out
Shout it out … let your customers know what you’ve got for Mom. Small retailer Instagram example, extra points for including human and show of excitement… caught my attention if feed.

The next most popular gift may be flowers, obviously — fresh or potted. If you offer anything related to flowers or gardening you can capitalize on this gift by pulling together some floral related merchandise — vases, pots, gardening tools and accessories. Display these items together, take a photo and follow Marketing tip for small retailers above.

Small retailer Mom Day gifting ideas
Gather gift ideas and show them off to your customers. After all nobody really knows what to get Mom. Good job Basketree of downtown Mt. Pleasant.
  • 66% of Americans will shop at boutiques or small retail businesses for Mother’s Day gifts
  • 84% of Americans feel that gifts from boutiques and small retail businesses are more personal and unique
  • 64% of Americans feel that gifts from boutiques or small retail businesses are better quality


Clothing is number three on the list of top items for Mom’s Day. If you sell women’s apparel you surely have some outfit suggestions that would make Mom look good. If possible, have someone model a few ensembles, preferably a familiar face to your customers. If not show them off on hangers or mannequins, take a photo and follow Marketing tip for small retailers above.

Mom day gifts - what's for sale
The Plate Boutique in downtown Mt. Pleasant filled their Facebook page with a countdown of gift ideas for Mom … brilliant idea.


Personal services are the next most popular gifts for Mom. Considering these would most likely be given in way of gift certificates, what does your gift certificate buy… and what does it look like with Mom’s name written on it? Mock up a few samples, take a photo and follow Marketing tip for small retailers above.


Finally, food and beverage are always on the list as the majority of consumers will treat Mom to breakfast in bed, brunch or dinner. If  you’re a restaurant or stock food or cooking items you ought to be showing off your wares to spoil Moms… and, take a photo and follow Marketing tip for small retailers above.

Keep in mind some people will wait until the last  second – even the morning of Mother’s Day to buy (not me, I swear). So one final Marketing tip for small retailers … don’t stop showing off what you’ve got for Mom’s till Mom’s Day is all the way over.

Blogging, Marketing, Shop Local, Small Business

Four marketing lessons learned at a favorite local shop


I spent my lunch hour in a shop in our downtown the other day because, well, I was invited. The owner, a friend & fellow blogger – Kati Mora sent out a Facebook invite for a Friday lunch tasting. I’ve been meaning to stop into her shop and this invite was the nudge I needed to do so, plus it included food. I accepted the invite, which added it to my calendar and confirmed my attendance. (Marketing note to small businesses… if you invite me/customer I’m likely to come.)

Capture plate lunch invite

I arrived at The Plate Boutique to find Kati’s husband donning an apron behind the counter. He’s an even more familiar face, thus prompting me to stay longer than intended. As we chatted between customers I shopped and snapped photos of interesting, unique items throughout the store. Interesting and unique is truly what separates small shops like The Plate Boutique apart from the big box retailers down the road. On every shelf, down every aisle in Kati’s shop is something I cannot find anywhere else in town. And that’s precisely why I shop stores like The Plate Boutique. (Marketing note to small businesses… you are NOT in competition with big box stores, You offer unique, they sell everyday.)

I spent my lunch hour looking over the vast assortment of gadgets, accessories and cooking items that will make my life easier in the kitchen. Included below is a collection of the items that caught my eye. I think you’ll agree each qualifies as unique and interesting, and things you will not find at the big box stores.

I did come away with a couple things I just couldn’t do without. One for my hubby and one that would make my life easier when it comes to getting my wine glasses spot-free (no easy task with the water in our town)

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Cheese Markers for hubby, replacing his handwritten slips of paper on next meat/cheese tray. Polishing Cloths for me to tackle those pesky water spots on my fine crystal wine glasses.

At the register I filled out a frequent shopper card. A standard for most stores these days, serving as an incentive for shoppers and a way for retailers to gather customer information. Rather than a lengthy form and another plastic card for me to carry around and have to dig out of my purse, Kati opted to keep it simple. I filled out a printed index card with my contact info, they filled in amount of purchases, after sixth purchase I receive reward. They keep card on file and purchases added upon visits to store. Easy for me, the customer and the shop owner. (Marketing note to small businesses… create a simple incentive program to keep customers coming back, and collects contact information.)

In addition to the unique and interesting assortment of products throughout the store, one of the coolest things offered is right as you enter, and it’s a shining example of what small shops can do that the big boxes can’t. Kati hosts a cookbook swap, encouraging customers to take a cookbook from the collection and leave one of theirs in exchange. A very cool idea, and a great way to drive repeat customer traffic. It reminds me of the local library – when you’re done with book return it and come get another. (Marketing note to small businesses… what can you offer exclusively to your customers to keep them coming back).


Small retailers like The Plate Boutique are the backbone of communities today and the true spirit of our country. As a small business owner myself, I have a heart for small shops and tremendous respect for those with the courage, confidence and passion for opening their own retail store. Applause to Kati Mora, the others small shops in our downtown and the many scattered throughout other communities. I plan to stop in, say hi, check out your unique collection of merchandise … and I promise to share what I find here on my blog. Stay tuned for future ventures into small shops throughout my community and beyond.

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