Independent Retailers

The (entire) Candy Store, outlined in yellow

Recent television ads about The Shops at Target have had countless independent retailers spinning like a whirling dervish. “Store within a store” concepts have been highly successful for numerous vendors (think: the Coach department at Macy’s, the Kiehl’s counters at Nordstrom, and a bazillion Vera Bradley walls in gift shops everywhere). Incorporating the format into big boxes—using the “local independents” angle, no less—has rattled more than a couple of cages.

The fact Target advertises these “Shops” as “a curated collection of home, beauty, fashion and pet products from…specialty stores” doesn’t help, painting a picture of cozy environments bubbling with delight, nestled between familiar red walls, bursting with exciting designs, catchy displays, oh-my-gosh-that’s-to-die-for offerings.

Well folks, they aren’t. Not even close.

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Most small business owners think decisions by the National Labor Relations Board exclude them—after all, aren’t those the guys that deal with big unions? Yes, but “labor” applies to nearly all businesses, regardless of size, location, and type. If you have employees, you’re probably in the club.

Which is why you need to know about an April 30 deadline coming up–the NLRB requires qualified businesses to post an 11 x 17 poster detailing employee rights by that date.  [click here to continue…]

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A rose is a rose…is not.

by Cinda Baxter on February 6, 2012

in Independent Retailers, The 3/50 Project

The following is a reprise of my 2.7.11 blog post, at the (very repeated) request of brick and mortar florists. Happy Valentine’s, everyone!—Cinda

Yes, the Super Bowl ad featuring Faith Hill and the guy sending flowers was clever (and yes, his girlfriend probably broke up with him over what he wrote on the card). But have you ever wondered just how much of your money actually ends up in the vase when ordering through an online floral site?

Probably not…but then, you probably didn’t see the finished product either.

To understand what’s going on behind the curtain, you first need to know the players: [click here to continue…]


Wow. In under 24 hours, one company elevated their brand…and another shattered their reputation.

A picture says a thousand words. Take a gander at three bays of Crane & Co. greeting cards…at Walmart. Note the clearly branded displays emblazoned with the manufacturer’s logo:   [click here to continue…]


I’ve been pretty vocal on The 3/50 Project’s Facebook page today about the overwhelming risks passage of SOPA or PIPA would have on independent brick and mortars. Here’s a cheat sheet to get you through the muck.

SOPA: Stop Online Piracy Act (the House bill)
PIPA: Protect Intellectual Property Act (the Senate bill)
• Main difference: SOPA extends to also include streaming content
• Main risk: While the initial focus was international pirating of video and music, the bills have been overwritten to include all domestic U.S. sites, including social media, making site/page/blog owners responsible for fan posts and content

A simple example of SOPA overkill making a small business owner responsible for someone else’s unethical behavior: (For the stationery store owners and printers in the group, think: Bride brings in her own graphic or monogram design…)  [click here to continue…]

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Do I agree with last weekend’s Amazon scan-for-credit sale? No.

Do I think it may go down in history as one of the smartest marketing moves ever? Yup.

Jeff Bezos (CEO, knew exactly what he was doing…and he got all of us, present company included, to help him.  [click here to continue…]


Apparently, there’s yet another crazy idea floating around in Washington–and by “crazy,” I mean “no one has stopped to consider the ramifications of this on Main Street.” A bill recently introduced by Rep. David Schweikert (Ariz.) and Rep. Jeb Hensarling (Texas) is aimed at retiring the dollar bill.

Okay. At first glance, the math makes sense, given what paper currency costs to produce.


When you think about it a moment longer, from a local brick and mortar’s point of view, a few glaring realities come to light:  [click here to continue…]


And NOW, kind souls, we change the game.

How many groups and communities out there are publishing lists of independent brick and mortar merchants? (Answer: Not enough) How many consumers actually carry that list around? (Answer: Even fewer)

How do we fix this?

Answer: We give them the list on their smart phones.

Welcome to LookLocal, The 3/50 Project’s brand-spankin’-new iPhone app, connecting consumers to locally owned, independent brick and mortar merchants with a tap or two of a finger. [click here to continue…]