We have all been there. Walking by a playground, a college campus, a beach or schoolyard, when we hear the call’ “A little help?”
We all know how to respond. We immediately search the area for an errant ball or frisbee that needs to be returned to the person asking for help. Finding the lost item, we toss, throw flip or kick it back to the owner hopefully with some accuracy.
Often times customers are limited by the number and availability of dressing rooms. So I had to chuckle when I stopped in a Book Warehouse recently. The bookstore had FIVE dressing rooms and nothing to try on. I think a marketing opportunity for the store would be to put up fliers in dressing room lines of other stores in the mall saying “Come for our dressing rooms and stay for our books.”
One of the joys of a good road trip is getting well away from the interstates and onto the blue highways of William Least-Heat Moon fame. It is on just such roads that my wife and I found ourselves on a recent trip to Death Valley.
Klamath Grill (highly recommended for breakfast or lunch)
As we drove through southern Oregon, the clock was approaching lunchtime and we were beginning to feel a bit hungry when we heard a radio ad for the Klamath Grill on Main Street in Klamath Falls. The ad made it sound like a great local place to stop for lunch. We were not disappointed.
This breakfast and lunch spot serves up a nice variety of diner favorites along with some chef specialities such as Swedish Pancakes, Dutch Babies and a Cranberry Club Sandwich.
Waiting for my Huevos con Chorizo to arrive, I picked up a table topper to read. Anyone who has eaten at a small town diner might recognize these simple booklets with local history, bad jokes, trivia and area advertisements to read while waiting for your food.
As I was reading through the booklet, I ran across a reference to the “only solar-powered outdoor store in the US”, The Ledge. Checking my phone, I discovered the store was only several blocks from the diner. So we decided we would walk over to the store and take a look around before heading on to Tule Lake and Susanville.
The former Six Flags Mall in Arlington TX by Timcdfw from WikiCommons
A headline in today’s Seattle Post-Intelligencer proclaimed “The retail apocalypse has officially descended on America.” Quite a dire news story. While the news is of some concern given the shear number of store closures and the job loses they represent, it does not reflect the end or apocalypse of retail. Part of the contraction that we are seeing is the continuing trend of shoppers buying on-line: but another significant issue is the glut of retail space.
I lived most of my life in the Midwest. So when I finally caught up with some friends by moving to the PNW, they excitedly shared their love for Fred Meyer, a regional chain owned by Kroger. There are amazing places similar to SuperTarget or Walmart Supercenters. But truth be told, I really never became a regular customer.
But on our recent road trip, we stopped at a Fred Meyer for some supplies and I was reminded of one thing that I, even someone who has never had children, appreciate in the larger Fred Meyer stores, Freddy’s Playland.
Freddy’s Playland is a drop-off day care offering an hour of free care for children 2 to 5 while their parent(s) do their shopping. What a great service and something that keeps Fred Meyer customers loyal. Kudos.
I will admit that I do not buy as much music as I used to. Part of it may be my age. Part of it may be the availability of music from other sources (Amazon Prime on Echo). Part of it may be that I listen almost exclusively to NPR when I am driving near home.
But one of the main reasons is that I have lost touch with Steve. Steve was not an old friend or a work colleague. He was not a music reporter for some hip website, publication or YouTube channel. No, Steve was just an employee of a record shop I used to frequent in Seattle, Silver Platters, at their old South Center location. I didn’t really know Steve. In fact the time that I ever spoke with him was when he happened to be the cashier that rang up my purchases at the front counter.
Even though we exchanged few words, he did communicate with me and significantly influenced my musical tastes and my purchases. You see Silver Platters used to have a display located at the front of the store that featured music that the staff members were listening to. Over time, I came to realize that of all the staff members, Steve had musical tastes that paralleled mine the closest. If Steve recommended a cd (this was the early 00s), I would buy it. I was never disappointed. I miss Steve and his musical recommendations.
Walking past Sears today and their front of store display caught my eye. The store in our local mall typically features a Lands End display, so this was not out of the ordinary. What took me by surprise was the marketing of Lands’ End clothing to “spring breakers.”
One I think of spring breakers, I do not think of college students drinking and partying in clothing from Lands’ End. The map features the apparent route one would take from Dodgeville, WI, the headquarters of Lands’ End and Daytona Beach, one of the college hotspots. Maybe if the marketing spoke of spring vacation with the kids and the map destination was Disney, it may be more on target.
Almost as iconic as the trademarked curl on the top of their cones is Dairy Queen’s red spoon.
It is a stroke of branding genius that DQ restaurants are beginning to adorn their stores with oversized red spoon as door pulls. This photo was taken last weekend in Bend OR. I always appreciate themed door pulls at specialty stores. The pulls are a great way to create a positive customer impression!
You do not have to take my word for it. The red spoon door pulls were featured in LockNet, the website about doors and locks for businesses. See link below.
This is a sign that retailers in Portland, Oregon are posting on their doors. It is their attempt to give stability in these less than stable times. It is not about politics but about customers. Well done.