I am happy to see that there is a
heightened sense of awareness
regarding the importance of small
business to economic recovery in
this country. I have always been a
firm believer that independent specialty retailers are very important
to the health of our industries, and
supporting their information needs
was the primary motivation for
starting this publication.
Independent retailers everywhere
have had to fight hard to remain
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relevant in the changing face of retail. Numerous
“category killer” concepts plus increasing e-tailer
competition, together with less consumer spending,
have presented a real sales challenge. In order to
survive and continue to thrive, independents need to
focus on what they do best. They need to give their
customers what they can’t get elsewhere – friendly
service, knowledgeable staff, niche products that fit in
the retail theme, merchandising that is tailored to local
demographics and locally produced products.
Recent research indicates that consumers are choosing
quality over quantity, and they are trying to connect
more closely with their local economy by patronizing
local businesses. In food, we see this phe-
nomenon in the Farm-to-Table Movement.
In retail, we are likely to see a renewed
interest in shopping at locally owned and
operated independent stores. Be sure
to read our story in this issue about the
program from American Express (p. 21)
as further evidence of the recent tide of
support. Independents, make no mistake
about it, now is your time to shine.
I hope that suppliers also answer the call
and think carefully about how they can
help their independent specialty trading
partners be more successful. We need to
realize the importance of this channel.
Without the support of specialty stores,
niche products and new trends will never
have a chance of gaining acceptance.
On behalf of all of the staff at Gourmet
Business, we wish you a very happy and
profitable holiday season.
Publisher, Gourmet Business
President, HousewaresDirect, Inc.
Vice President of Sales
Gourmet Business LLC is a division of
Gourmet Business & HousewaresDirect, Inc.
PO Box 700
Weston, MA 02493
Gourmet Business is a digital publication
serving the gourmet gift retailer. Gourmet
Business relies on product information
submitted by the manufacturer, distributor
or other representative in the featured
editorial content. Gourmet Business is not
responsible for any errors in the descriptions or prices appearing in the magazine.
Gourmet Business is distributed free of
charge to qualified professionals in the gift
and housewares industry.
The Road Ahead
Independents have held their own during this economic
downturn. And now, buoyed by the movement of shopping
local, it would seem the decade ahead could be decidedly
We checked the pulse of some leading independents who continued to grow and thrive over the past few years. Over the
next two issues, we’ll share their thoughts on the year ahead.
“Being an independent means that I can be flexible and
respond, react to changes in the market quickly and
efficiently,” Dean Eaton, owner of Your Kitchen Store in
Keene, N.H., remarked. “If we see something new and
we like it, we can bring it on without having to go through
buying protocol of the chain stores.”
Eaton, an 18-year veteran of the kitchenware business,
doubled his size this year, moving to a new location. More
evidence of the strength of independents, but that strength
is something Eaton’s known for years.
“All my radio spots say we’re not only local, but locally
owned,” he noted. “People know the importance of buying
local, sometimes they just have to be reminded.”
Eaton’s tagline remains, “Buying locally owned and locally
grown builds a better community.”
This year he found that more shoppers seem to be focused
on spending their dollars locally. His shift to an independent
location on Main Street – out of an enclosed mall space –
has made him even more aware of the demand. Eaton’s
employment roster is evidence to support the U.S. Chamber
of Commerce statement that locally owned businesses
are the heart of a community – growing from five full- and
part-time employees to 17 full-time staff and a crew of 30
for the holidays.
“We took a risk during uncertain times and it paid off,” Eaton
said. “The sense of community is really what people are
looking for – businesses around me say I have become the
anchor for growth and other businesses are expanding their
hours downtown. Personally, I see great things ahead based
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