DECEMBER GREETINGS!

Wishing you a blessed holiday season with lots of time for family and friends.

The Christmas and Holiday season easily outshines other times of the year in sales, but it can also be the most exhausting. With proper planning and preparation, it can be not only a successful and memorable season, but in the most positive sense of the word, an enjoyable one for owners, managers, staff, and certainly customers.

LET’S START . . .

• Having all salespeople read company ads, catalogs, literature, Facebook, Twitter and Blogs before customers come in with questions and inquiries. An uninformed salesperson is bad for business. Also check out everything about the competition.

• Establishing dress codes for employees and enforcing these dress codes. (Even if there is a uniform, clean, neat, etc.) Employees are the representatives of the business and should project the image the business wants to convey.

• Greeting everyone who walks through the door. Coming up with different greetings — so customers don’t hear the same greeting over and over when shopping in the store.

• Making it comfortable for customers to shop. Adjusting the thermostat because customers may be wearing coats and the staff can wear a sweater. Perhaps a rack for customer’s coats and a place to check their packages. Offering the customer a basket or shopping tote makes it easy for them to buy more.

• Having employees identify themselves when answering the phone. This adds a professional touch and provides the caller with a person to identify with on the other end of the line.

• Cleaning up the cash-wrap area as-you-go and putting everything in its place. Customers are concerned about transaction accuracy and your services, i.e., shipping, if this area is a mess with clutter, drinks and food.

• Listening, really listening to customers. If you don’t really listen and show customers the wrong merchandise — they will assume you don’t have what they are looking for and leave.

• Having all cash registers open when the store is busy. An extra staff member can mingle with the customers in line — making additional suggestions.

• Getting everyone on board. Ensuring that everyone in the organization understands what the winning advantage is and what their role is in supporting it.

• Getting to know what other merchandise and services are offered around town. Keep customers shopping in your community by knowing what all is available. The customers will be thrilled, always come to you first and will let the other businesses know you sent them.

• Build your database and use social media. Use email marketing and social media platforms such as Facebook, Pinterest, Instagram, etc. Keep your brand in front of your customers at all times.

• Stocking and cleaning during hours when the store is not open. Doing these chores when the store is open is inconsiderate to shoppers and doesn’t convey a professional image. Instead have the staff mingle with the customers and help with suggestions.

LET’S STOP . . .

• Trying to get a head start on store closing times. Vacuuming while the store is still open is rude and should be done after the business closes.

• Helping phone inquiries while other customers are in the store waiting to be helped. The customer in the store should take precedence. Have someone besides the cashier answer the phone.

• Running out of sale items or advertised specials early on the first day of the promotion. A product should not be advertised unless there is sufficient stock.

• Using the store phone for personal calls.

Thank you Barbara Wold for the information provided in t  Barbara Wold is an internationally known speaker and authority to the retail and consumer industries. More than 40 years of firsthand retail experience in executive and sales management, marketing and repositioning have made Ms Wold as one of retail’s most sought after speakers and consultants. Ms Wold is an authority on building business through customer driven strategy and maximizing human assets.

Her areas of expertise include customer experience, CRM, marketing strategy, consumer buying patterns, image, sales and service quality, public relations, redevelopment and tourism, which truly make Wold a master in the retail and the consumer industries.

Barbara works with airport retail, the airlines and duty-free. Ms Wold also works with many downtowns and historic cities that are going through revitalization in an effort to boost their economic viability. Barbara is a representative for the International Council of Shopping Centers and has taught in over twenty countries.

Follow Barbara on twitter http://twitter.com/barbarawold
Connect with Barbara on Linkedin: http://www.linkedin.com/in/barbarawold

CELEBRATE THIS DECEMBER FIRST FRIDAY HOLIDAY AT THE MARION CIVIC THEATRE

Opening night of A Christmas Story at The Marion Civic Theatre will be this Friday, December 5th!  Curtain call is at 7:30 p.m.  Before the play, Santa will be taking Christmas wishes from 6:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. in the Marion Civic Theatre lobby.  Elves will be assisting Santa and snapping photos for FREE!  Concessions will be available for purchase through the Civic Theatre.

If you haven’t seen the play A Christmas Story yet, this is a must see!  Humorist Jean Shepherd’s memoir of growing up in the Midwest in the 1940s follows 9-year-old Ralphie Parker in his quest to get a genuine Red Ryder BB gun under the tree for Christmas. Ralphie pleads his case before his mother, his teacher and even Santa Claus himself. The consistent response: “You’ll shoot your eye out!”

If you can’t make it for opening night, other nights to enjoy the show are the 6, 7, 12, 13, & 14 of December. Fridays & Saturdays 7:30 p.m. Sundays 2:00 p.m.

This blog post is brought to you by Main Street Marion is an independent nonprofit downtown association that inspires, unifies and champions the Downtown Marion Experience. Our local Main Street office is your direct connection to the social and business hub of downtown Marion, and we are 100% funded by your donations!  For more information, visit mainstreetmarion.com.

On behalf of both the Marion Civic Theatre and Main Street Marion, we thank you for helping us make a positive difference in our community.

BIKE FOR VETS AND MAIN STREET MARION HOST CHILI-POTATO BAKE DINNER

Bike for Vets and Main Street Marion, have teamed up to bring you a Chili – Potato Bake Fundraiser Dinner, Friday, Dec 12th, 2014 from 6 – 8 p.m. at the Marion, IN AMVETS Post #5. Please consider taking some time to come out, eat some good food, enjoy the entertainment, and support these two great organizations. The cost for dinner is only $6.00 per person and Children 6 and under are $3.00.  For more information, join the event page http://www.facebook.com/events/325003087702047.

Bike for Vets advocates on behalf of Veterans in Grant County. The people of our County have a strong history of supporting our men and women in uniform and their goal is to help raise money for those, or those groups, who are going above and beyond to do this.  For more information, go to bikeforvets.webs.com.

Main Street Marion is an independent nonprofit downtown association that inspires, unifies and champions the Downtown Marion Experience. Our local Main Street office is your direct connection to the social and business hub of downtown Marion, and we are 100% funded by your donations!  For more information, visit mainstreetmarion.com.

On behalf of both Bike for Vets and Main Street Marion, we thank you for helping us make a positive difference in our community.

SHOP SMALL ON SMALL BUSINESS SATURDAY, DOWNTOWN MARION UNITES!

Help make a lasting impact in our community on Small Business Saturday®, November 29th, 2014.  Small Business Saturday (#SmallBusinessSaturday) is an American shopping holiday held on the Saturday after U.S. Thanksgiving during one of the busiest shopping periods of the year. First observed on November 27, 2010, it is a counterpart to Black Friday and Cyber Monday, which feature big box retail and e-commerce stores respectively. By contrast, Small Business Saturday encourages holiday shoppers to patronize brick and mortar businesses that are small and local. Small Business Saturday is a registered trademark of American Express Corporation.

In other words, Small Business Saturday is a day to celebrate the local businesses that help make our neighborhood great — and anyone can join in, from business owners to shoppers to government officials. This year, Small Business Saturday is Nov 29.  Become a part of a new rewarding holiday shopping tradition of celebrating and supporting small businesses and all they do for our community.

Some of the participating small shops from downtown Marion (#DtMarion) include:

  • 2 Sisters Fitness
  • The Centrum Suites and Boutique Shoppes
  • Nebraska Street Barbershop
  • Clique Images
  • Lighthouse Custom Framing
  • Marion Music & Sound
  • Constance Boutique
  • Jerry’s Leather Shop and Shoe Hospital
  • Claire Clark Beauty Lounge
  • The Pink Elephant
  • Vintage Steam Punk Jewelry & Accessories
  • Refunk My Junk
  • Folkie’s Tavern
  • Fierce Red Lipstick

This blog is brought to you by Main Street Marion, an independent nonprofit downtown association that inspires, unifies and champions the Downtown Marion Experience. Our local Main Street office is your direct connection to the social and business hub of downtown Marion, and we are 100% funded by your donations!

Thank you for helping us make a positive difference in our community starting at our core – downtown.

Downtown Hotel and Fine Dining Restaurant Temporarily Closed

Hotel Marion and Vada’s, downtown’s only hotel and fine dining restaurant, are forced to close after their main heating unit caught fire and melted crucial pieces of the unit.  While the close is not meant to be a permanent one, the hotel staff says it will take time to make necessary repairs and get a new unit installed.  A reopen date has not been scheduled yet.

Quilter’s Hall of Fame Open House!

Join us for the Quilter’s Holiday Open House at 926 S. Washington St downtown Marion this Saturday between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m.  This is a great opportunity to take a tour of the Marie Webster Home Quilt Museum at no charge!  Their holiday decor, immaculate quilt collection, and colorful atmosphere will amaze you!  On display now, Eleanor Burn’s personal collection of favorite applique quilts.  The gift shop will be open too!! More info at quiltershalloffame.net.

Other things to do downtown on Saturday, November 22 include:

  • The Downtown Artisan Fair will be held at the Foundry United Methodist Church at 624 S Adams St downtown Marion. The Artisan Fair will commence 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. and feature handmade high quality gifts from local craft artisans from approximately 20 vendors.  Vendors include professionals from Marion’s Open Air Market, Mary Kay, and 31. There will be handmade knit items, jewelry, wreaths, candles & tarts, Mama Pearson’s Soaporium, handmade Christmas decorations, and homemade baked goods for your Thanksgiving dinner! More info on Facebook at Marion Artisan Craft Fair.
  • Stay downtown for the Christmas City USA Lighted Parade, which will take off at 7 p.m.  It will start at the Washington Street bridge near the YMCA, and travel north to the Highland Avenue bridge.  More info on Facebook at Christmas City Walkway of Lights.
  • After the parade, adults can venture to Folkie’s Tavern and enjoy the music of Rattleuce – Marion’s favorite home grown band!  More info on Facebook at Folkie’s Tavern.

Family Service Society Hosts Open House for Connie Rose

As previously announced, Connie Rose will be retiring from her role as Executive Director of Family Service Society, Inc. at the end of this year. Connie has given 40 years of dedicated service to Family Service Society and will be greatly missed.

Family Service Society invites you to join them in saying farewell to Connie by attending an Open House on Thursday, December 11th from 4-6 p.m. at their office, 101 S. Washington St, Marion, Indiana. Light refreshments will be available for those who attend. Connie will be sharing a brief message at 5 p.m. This event is open to the public and no RSVP is necessary.

Questions regarding the Open House can be directed to Becca Fleischer at 765-662-9971×106 or bfleischer@famservices.com.

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