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Pet Product News Editorial Blog:

February 24, 2011

Change is Good

By Patrick Donston

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I contemplated this blog on Groundhog Day. As I sat and reflected on the popular movie named after the day, I thought about how much it pertains to us as retailers.

The movie is about a man who, unless he makes changes, is destined to live the same day over and over again. We all experience this to some degree on a daily and weekly basis. The downside is it can lead to complaisance, a "rut" where revenue falters or morale declines. Good business is a process of evolution. Change has to occur over time with your ideas, procedures and over-all look of the shop.

One idea that was suggested at a seminar I attended was to start with one area of your shop. Paint the walls, racks, gondolas, trim, etc. Move in a direction as time allows until you've completed the entire store. Customers won't necessarily know what you did, but they'll start saying; "I don't know what it is, but the store looks great!" We actually did this a few years ago in our dry goods area and the seminar speaker was right. That's exactly what customers were telling us.

Another thing to do is look at some of your livestock displays. Select a few and re-do them. Change the décor and/or fish and try new, updated equipment. Clean them up, get rid of the algae and change that gravel that has paint chipping off. Set up a new display or nano tank on your counter. Make a list of fish you like to carry with facts about them (similar to my last blog on “Creepy-Crawly Invertebrates”). Have a 1- to 2-hour workshop with your staff on a Sunday evening--you provide the pizza. Have fun with your employees; teach them about your list and let them know they'll be tested on it in a week or two.

The point is that living every day the same way over and over again is not healthy for your mind or business. Complaining of outside sources or reasons won't help and are usually uncontrollable. What you can control is the effort you put into your shop. Just like the movie “Groundhog Day”--when he realizes his fate and changes, he finally lives the next day rejuvenated and better for it.

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