profile_picAbout the Author

Hello there. I’m Cinda Baxter, your friendly neighborhood Retail Enabler. In that role, I wear many hats….

Retail Consultant and professional speaker:
Always Upward

Small business champion, networks founder:
The 3/50 Project, RetailSpeaks, Brilliant Ink, and The Print Lab

Media expert on small business:
Quoted in The Wall Street Journal, NBC Nightly News, CNN, yada, yada, yada…. I love to tell the world about the independent little guys

Contributing Editor:
Gift and Decorative Accessories Magazine

Seated member on a number of national
boards, including AmericasMart Atlanta and Gift for Life

and last, but not least:
Chocolate junkie

Some days, I wear all the hats at once. Just goes to show that good chocolate makes all things possible.

For the full-blown-official bio, please visit AlwaysUpward.com.

About the Always Upward Blog

I got lucky. Upon opening a retail store in 1994, I was welcomed into a group of well established store owners who met annually in New York to swap sources, industry buzz, and support. Over the years, much of what helped me become successful came from that group; many of those friendships remain close today.

Most retailers-—then and now-—are without such a valuable support system and information pipeline. They float as disconnected islands in an ever-growing sea of retail options, competition coming from all directions…including, sometimes, from their own vendors.

Thus, my two-part plan.

In 2007, I launched RetailSpeaks, providing a support system for independent, locally owned storefront retailers, connecting them directly to their peers in the gift, stationery, and home accessory industries. RS members are able to talk openly with others who share their concerns, in a private, territory-protected environment (ie, once you join, your local competition can’t). When possible, we meet in person at major shows, building the bonds even stronger.

This blog, the second part of the plan, was initially created to bridge the information gap that exists between storefront retailers, vendors, and reps. With time, and due to a 2009 post that went viral, it’s since broadened, highlighting the pro-local movement while embracing all types of independent, locally owned brick and mortars: Restaurants and coffee shops. Hair salons and dry cleaners. B&Bs. Service providers. Oh yeah—and retailers.

I am not, nor do I pretend to be, a cheerleader for all things retail. Internet-only retailers are not my target audience, and may, on occasion, bristle at my clearly stated opinions regarding such. Home based resellers in particular will have my photo on a dartboard in short order, given my staunch stand against their existence .

Oh well. Just be sure to use a picture with me smiling.

When writing for the magazine, my scales balance carefully between storefront and internet, as must be the case for a publication catering to both. Here, however, you’re in my home, where personal opinions have a place. Feel free to join in the conversation, making the exchange of those opinions more rich and rewarding for all.

Cinda Baxter
Retail Enabler

Rules of the Road

It’s not an all-inclusive list, but here are the high points:

To avoid spamming, all comments are moderated before public posting. The following may/may not be posted at the discretion of the editor:

  • Outbound links or email addresses in the body or signature block of a comment
  • Product/source requests, since that service is available as part of a RetailSpeaks membership
  • Advertisements or marketing messages promoting third party companies, product, or services
  • Comments deemed inappropriate or part of a campaign (product or personal)
  • Comments that are critical of me personally, the blog, or posts submitted anonymously, under fake names, or using fake email addresses (hey, if I’m willing to stick my neck out, you should be too…expect verification)

Footnotes—including, but not limited to, clarification and disclosure—may be added to comments by the editor when appropriate.

By now, it’s pretty obvious this blog aims to support independent brick and mortar merchants. These policies exist to provide a valuable experience for the intended audience. If you’re outside that audience and don’t like it…?

Start your own blog.