A Nice Touch – Williams-Sonoma

While purchasing a new piece  of cookware at William-Sonoma, I was invited to join their rewards program, The Key.  The cashier turned to another employee and asked how to  enroll the person on the register so that the customer does not have to go through the hassle of using the small and glitchy keypad.  ANTImage result for williams sonoma

The Greeting Part 1: That one didn’t count!

The non-greeting

I was out doing some shopping the other day and went to our local outlet mall looking for a pair of athletic pants.  They are nothing more than fancy, dressy sweat pants but they are comfortable and as a matter of fact I was wearing a pair when I went into their makers store.

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I was greeted warmly by the greeter/security at the front of the store as I continued into the store looking for the pants.  There was an employee wandering in my general direction.  As he passed, without making eye contact or slowing down, he asked if I was doing okay. Without hearing my response, he continued on his way.

All I wanted to know was if they had the pants I was wearing in stock and where they might be located.  A transactional customer that was looking to make a quick purchase. Easy money.  But this employee did not have the inclination to greet me in a proper fashion.  In fact, I bet that if you had asked him, he would have said that he had properly greeted me and that I did not need any help.  I would like to think that he had been trained to greet customers as part of his on-boarding.  But his greeting did not count.  Other than giving him the peace of mind that he had greeted me, it was completely ineffective.

( I soon found what I was looking for and quickly made my purchase.)

Shopko Bankruptcy

Update: An additional 139 stores was added to the closure list on February 9th.

Shopko announced today that they had filed for Chapter 11 Bankruptcy Protection.  This was not a huge surprise as the company has been struggling for years.  The company announced the closure of 105 stores.  As is often the case with these announcements, there is a rush to see if “your Shopko (or Sears, Kmart, etc.) is closing.”

On a recent road trip in eastern Oregon and Washington, I traveled through Walla Walla, WA. and visited a Shopko store.  The store is located in the Wall Walla Town Center, a recently redeveloped mall.  Prior to redevelopment it was the Blue Mountain Mall that had opened in1989, was considered a “dead mall” in the 2000s and went bankrupt in 2012. While the Walla Walla store that I visited will remain open, the store itself has the feeling one gets as of late in a Sears or Kmart.

It did not help that it was located next to this Gottschalks store.

Gottschalks went bankrupt themselves in July of 2009.  This store has been vacant for nearly 10 years adjacent to the Shopko.

Location, location, location.

 

Muji in PDX

Muji of Japan recently opened a store in a storied retail location.  The store is located in the 100 year old Meier & Frank building in downtown Portland returning a “department store” to this respected storefront.

The name is derived from Mujirushi (no-brand) Ryōhin (quality goods), Muji is noted by its design minimalism, emphasis on recycling, avoidance of waste in production and packaging, and no-logo or “no-brand” policy.

Inventory includes men’s and women’s clothing, home furnishings, food and stationary items. Also included in the store is a coffee shop and an alteration center.

It’s in my blood.

Ralph & Rachel Kittel behind the counter

Some of my earliest memories are of retail. Or more specifically, the general store that my grandparents owned in Forest, WI.  My grandfather Ralph passed away in 1967 and they had sold the store several years earlier, so my memories are vague at best since I would have been less than 5 years old.  It was a cold water building with an outhouse out back but to me it was the most amazing place.