Helping small town retailers think out-of-the-box

Downtown Fergus Falls, Minnesota

Downtown Fergus Falls, Minnesota

There’s not many places you can go where the topic of retail shopping is front and center. The big box stores are closing, malls are struggling to fill vacancies and small town retailers are wondering if they’re next.

The good news is that small town retail is poised to succeed. Indeed, for the past several years nationally, small retail sales have increased while mass market retailers are seeing sale drops.

I have tagged along with staff from West Central Initiative to present a half-hour webinar called “The Future of Retail” from Deb Brown and Becky McCray. Deb and Becky, who manage the consulting website “SaveYour.Town,” provide many tips and strategies on retail and explain some challenges and opportunities. I especially like that offer theories on what some call the “retail apocalypse” – the “why” this is happening – and what it means for small businesses.

All the advantages of big box stores – convenience, low price and selection – have moved to the Internet. But one statistic they use in their presentation, which was recorded earlier this year, was that online sales only account for about 10 percent of retail sales. Hard to believe? Me too.

Deb and Becky take on that real world situation and offer insights and ways small business can tap into the digital world. It’s a great webinar if you can make a presentation; we will be in Glenwood the morning of Wednesday, May 30. Stop by!

Scott Kiemle