Kit and Ace – a closure with class

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Unlike the “For Lease” sign from the landlord or a hastily scribbled note taped to the door, when Kit and Ace closed their pop-up shop in Portland they left a strong message.  On the shop window was a professionally printed poster with the message that they had accomplished their mission.  During their short lease, they connected with the community, tested things out, collected feedback and hoped to stay in touch, for now, through their website.  Nicely done.

The Expert – Part 1

EXPERT – Someone having, involving, or displaying special skill or knowledge derived from training or experience.

expertThis is the first in a four-part series on dealing with experts in your retail store from several different perspectives.  For the sake of these posts, when I refer to an expert I am referring to someone who has advantaged knowledge or experience about the products being sold and their usage. Today’s perspective is dealing with a customer that is an expert.

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I was doing a little research today and I ran across an image that caught my eye.  Digging a bit further, I discovered the image source was from Keep Calm-o-matic.

The Keep Calm-o-Matic is the place to express your creativity, dreams and imagination. You can create, discover and shop.

They make a variety of customizable products based on the WWII poster used throughout England to encourage their citizens to carry on in spite of the rocket attacks and bombings from the Nazis. (The website is so easy and engaging I bought a customized poster and a coffee mug and I do not even drink coffee.)  See for yourself at

The Great Unsung Pop-Ups

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I was reading a post on talking about how pop-up shops began to appear in the 1990s and this got me to thinking.  I think this is wrong.

I think the greatest in pop-up shops pre-dates the 90s by quite a bit.  For me, the ultimate examples of pop-up shops are thousands upon thousands of small merchants that set up shops at the local, county and state fairs across the United States during the summer months.  These merchants travel from town to town, setting up their booth, selling their wares for the run of the fair then move on to the next.  These are the true unsung pop-up shops.


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My favorite fair pop-up shop is Steichen’s Grocery & Deli at the Minnesota State Fair. Located in an alley between the Sheep & Poultry Barn and one of the beer gardens,  Steichen’s has been operating at the fair since 1933.  The Steichen Family were long-time Version 2merchants in St Paul were they operated a general merchandise store on University Ave from the 50s to the 80s and later ran a sporting goods store in Roseville (now closed).

But through all those years, the Steichen family has spent the waning  weeks of summer serving the needs of fair-goers in Minnesota.

Is the end near?

As a start to the new year, John-Henry Perera of the Houston Chronicle reported on the potential demise of three former retail power houses by years end –  J.C.Penney, Sears and Container Stores.

This is not necessarily news. For one, the death of Sears/Kmart has been predicted for years while they continue to limp along.  Perera’s column is based on forecast from the corporate research unit of Graphic, FindTheCompany.  Based on the Altman Z-Scores, FindTheCompany predicted the likelihood of these three retailers bankruptcies.  FindTheCompany previously forecast the demise of Aeropostale and Quicksilver using the Altman Z-score.

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Retail @ PDX

I had the opportunity to drive out to the Portland International Airport (PDX) on the December 31st to pick up my wife returning from Vancouver, BC.  Many people dread a trip to an airport particularly if they are not taking off to some exotic place and I would generally consider myself one of those.  I have done enough travel in my time to generally dislike most airports.

But not PDX.  Those of you that have had a chance to use PDX know that it is a pleasant airport with decent parking, a manageable size, quick & friendly TSA security and operated efficiently; all of which adds up to make PDX a great airport.  But you do not have to take my word for it.  Travel & Leisure magazine has named Portland’s airport “The Best Domestic Airport” for four years running and Conde Nast ranked PDX the second best airport for 2016 recognizing it for its local shops.

While in the car, I was listening to Oregon Public Broadcasting that was featuring authors talking about the first adult book the read when they were young that influenced them as a writers today.  One of the interviewed named The Heart is a Lonely Hunter as being most influential to her.  After describing the book, I decided that I would have to get ahold of the book and read it.  Which brings me to the focus of this post.

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