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Find Something New! Pop-Ups at Mesh

Wednesday, April 05, 2017
Find Something New is a Pop-up Event featuring the products of local artisans and entrepreneurs- makers, designers and developers alike.  

Mesh is located at 242 Linden Street in the heart of Old Town Fort Collins. We provide pop-up vendors with electricity,  water and restroom facilities. We require our vendors to provide their own tables and equipment. Times are subject to change but typically our pop-up's run from 12:00pm-9:00pm on Friday & 10:00am-4:00pm on Saturday. Mesh charges a booth rental fee per day based on the amount of sq. footage each vendor uses as well as a percentage of sales.

Upcoming Dates:

  • April 7th & 8th
  • May 5th & 6th
  • June 2nd & 3rd
If you are a vendor interested in participating, click here to apply!


10 Amazing Ways to Motivate Your Retail Sales Team

Thursday, September 01, 2016

10 Amazing Ways to Motivate Your Retail Sales Team

Tuesday, October 11, 2016
4:00 - 6:00 pm
Innosphere
320 E. Vine Drive
Fort Collins, CO 80524 (Map It!)


It's true. 30- 40% of most retailer's sales are done during the Holiday season.
Are you ready?
Have you set the goals for your team?
Thought of contest ideas?
How do you engage your sales team to sell more?
What will set your store apart from your competition?


We will talk about these questions and more when we explore 10 amazing ways to motivate your retail sales team to have the best holiday ever. Be ready to engage with your fellow retailers in this interactive, fun session about how to make the holidays a very special, rewarding season for you, your team and your customers.


Our Presenter

 
Annette Pedersen - Summit View Retail Solutions 


After spending over 30 years in the specialty women's and men's apparel business, Annette Pedersen decided to take her passion for training and retail knowledge to independent retailers throughout the United States. As a regional vice president for a national women's retailer she was responsible for up to 120 store locations and prided herself in building revenue and sales by focusing on the development of teams, providing training in leadership, merchandising/display, hiring/training, mastery of customer service, marketing and inventory management. Having graduated with a Masters in Organizational Leadership, she has much to teach and share with others. Additionally, she can relate firsthand with the struggles of independent retailers since she owns her own better women's consignment boutique. Her retailing consulting firm, Summit View Retail Solutions, strives to build financial security for independent retailers by providing them the best expertise in the industry.




Top 5 Business Real Estate Tips

Friday, February 12, 2016
by Kat Rico

Our first 2016 “Small Business After Hours” event drew another great crowd! Presenter Andy Smith of Chrisland Real Estate Companies gave us some valuable information on expectations for leasing real estate for a retail business. In case you missed it, we wanted to give you a recap of what was discussed!

Andy gave us definitions for nearly 30 common real estate terms, a few worth noting are:
Baseline rent – This is typically the advertised rent cost for a property. Lessee beware though, this may not include all of the property fees, such as maintenance, snow removal, parking arrangements, etc.
Triple Net/Net Lease/NNN – A type of lease that includes the tenant paying maintenance, real estate taxes, and insurance premiums.
Rent escalator – The agreed upon amount of increase for costs associated with the lease, including rent. A common rate for a rent escalator is 3%.

Along with all of the great terminology, here are the top 5 tips we’ve pulled together from Andy’s presentation:
1. Everything is negotiable - This includes everything right down to the tenant finish costs; can the landlord front the cost for any finishing and add it to the monthly cost of the lease? It’s worth asking!

2. Find a real estate broker to represent your interestsThe landlord has a broker, but that broker is working for the landlord’s best interests. You want to have a broker working for your best interest. If you engage a broker, your broker has a fiduciary duty to you and only you. Worried that the landlord will not want to work with your broker? Actually, it’s the opposite; most landlords prefer to work with someone (like a broker) who already speaks their language.

3. Think about your timeline, now double itThese things take time! The days of 2-3 page leases are gone, most are more like 20-30 pages now. Along with a broker, it’s recommended that you retain an attorney to review and interpret the lease for you, so you know what you’re getting in to.

4. Location, location, location - Is the space you’re looking at good for its convenience or as a destination? If it’s for convenience, it’ll probably be easily seen from a major street and have ample parking and your customers will be going there for you. If it’s for a destination, your customers will go to the area as an attraction. Destination spaces tend to have a higher rent premium. 

5. Parking and pedestrian traffic - Does your lease include specific parking spots for your customers or employees? Is the parking in front of your business leased to another nearby shop? Clarify these details before signing a lease. Also, the city should be able to provide you with vehicles per day and pedestrian counts for the area you’re looking at leasing, but you have to ask.

Of course this doesn’t encompass every question that was asked last Tuesday, but hopefully it gives you a good idea of what was covered. Are you looking at leasing a space? Meet with an SBDC consultant to discuss what that means for your business before you make the leap! Schedule an appointment by calling 970-498-9295, or send us a request at: http://www.larimersbdc.org/consulting.

Larimer SBDC Success Story - We're a Little Bit Cheesy

Friday, November 20, 2015
Story: Kat Rico
Photography: LifeStorm Photography

What do cheese and art have in common? Both excite the pallet and have rich stories, according to The Fox and the Crow owner Tina Mooney, a cheesemonger and art history major.

The Fox and the Crow brings artisan cheeses and meats to mid-town Fort Collins. They understand that the world of artisan cheese can be intimidating and have crafted their shop to welcome people who may stumble in serendipitously. Little signs like: “We cut the cheese,” and “Please refrain from tapping on the glass. It scares the meats,” let customers know that while they take cheese seriously, it’s fun too. They regularly host wine and beer pairing classes, to bring knowledge, fun and taste together.

When asked about her passion, Tina said, “Cheeses really speak to me because they all have stories, especially artisan products.” If you point to any of the products in their cases (without tapping on the glass, of course), staff will give you a breakdown of where it came from, how it was made and how it will taste, before offering you a sample. “I give all of my new employees a cheese textbook. They do everything from cooking to serving to retailing, so I want them to be personable, knowledgeable and sincerely love cheese.”

As a first time entrepreneur, Tina began developing her business idea at the Small Business Development Center (SBDC). “I looked online for business classes, and the local chamber referred me to the SBDC. I kept getting the last open spot in all the trainings I sought, so the timing lined up perfectly. It must have been fate!” Through the SBDC, she worked with several consultants, took business courses, and learned how to listen to customers. SBDC consultants helped her with projecting financials, marketing, connections for financing, and setting up a commercial kitchen. She went to San Francisco for cheese school, to learn how cheeses are made, as well as how to properly cut and package cheese. Tina made it from idea to open in eleven months, officially opening in November 2014.

“The biggest surprise has been catering. At first, we didn’t really know how to do it. Now we do events and platters, that I like to bring an artistic touch to,” says Tina. The shop also has a devoted fan base of customers ranging from age 18 to 95, another surprise that has allowed the business to establish lasting relationships. “Last year for Easter, I made these seven pound monster meat pies. They pre-sold, so I didn’t even save one for my family. One of our customers heard, and they made us one and brought it to the shop. That’s the kind customers we have. It’s really like that!”

Looking to the future, they are excited to be, “Drowning in cheese money.” This will allow Tina to provide her employees long term benefits. As much as Tina loves cheese, she looks forward to the day when she can step back and let the cheese wheels turn on their own.


For more information about the Fox and the Crow, 
check out their website!


10+ Retail Holiday Boot Camp Takeaways

Tuesday, September 29, 2015
Our Small Business After Hours series is proving to be a hit! Nearly 30 people representing a wide variety of retail shops throughout Fort Collins attended our September 22nd event.

Alyson MacMullan of Peak Retail Group gave us some great takeaways for retailers to remember as they enter their holiday planning period.
1. Lay all your key dates from November through January (yes, January) on a physical calendar
• Sometimes you may see correlations on paper that aren’t obvious in a digital format.• Small Business Saturday is November 28th this year!
2. Determine your goals for the holiday season
• Do you want more sales in dollars or in transactions? Do you have targets for how much inventory you want to move? Are you aiming for less January markdowns?• If you don’t have data from last year to drive your goals, make sure you begin collecting it this year! What works? What doesn’t?
3. Pick a color pallet for your store displays and stick to it!  
• Highlight high margin inventory in your displays.• Hint: It doesn’t have to be red and green, in fact, your store’s brand colors work very well! 
4. Consider all elements for the in-store experience: Sights, sounds, smells 
• Offer extras like a free stocking stuffer, free gift wrapping and bounce back offers with every purchase.• Do everything you can to keep shopping stress-free and easy for your customers. 
5. Proper staffing is a challenge for retailers during the holidays
• Signs are your silent salespeople. Make them informative and interesting so customers can answer their own simple questions.• Arm your salespeople with mobile payment options so they can help customers avoid lines at the register.
6. Social media is your friend!
• Post every day! Use a planning/scheduling service like SnapRetail, Hootsuite or SproutSocial to help you plan out several days in one easy shot.• People love contests and flash sales, utilize these techniques!• An image is worth 1,000 posts. Show your staff decorating the store!
7. E-mail is your friend too, but be cautious
• Find an e-mail template and stick with it for the season. It will make your life easier and your customers will recognize your communications.• ONE offer per e-mail only, and keep it clean and concise. People are already stressed during the holidays, your communication should make it easy for them.
8. 12 Days of Christmas Promotions are very effective!
• Drive traffic into your store by offering serious discounts (50-75% off) on a high margin, highly stocked item each day.• These are top secret deals! Resist the urge to reveal the promos early. Pre-schedule deal communication to save yourself a headache.
9. Your merchandise assortment shouldn’t vary dramatically during the holidays; the majority of your stock should be tried and true items 
• NEVER run out of your top sellers, that’s a missed opportunity!• Don’t accept late deliveries from your vendors. Communicate clearly and directly when you need your merchandise by and if they can’t meet your deadlines, don’t accept deliveries.
10. Restock key items for January and mix up the look of your store

Sound like a lot of information? We assure you, this was only the tip of the iceberg! 

Thank you Alyson for all of the excellent information you provided!

If you’re a retailer and need help digesting and applying this information, we encourage you to schedule with a Larimer SBDC consultant now to help with planning out your holiday strategy!

Retail Holiday Boot Camp

Thursday, August 27, 2015


Retail Holiday Boot Camp

Tuesday, September 22, 2015

4:00 pm - 6:00 pm

Speaker: Alyson MacMullanPeak Retail Group

You’ve done your merchandise buying. The calendar is ticking away. You know the biggest retail season is just around the corner. Once you get all that amazing merchandise, what’s your plan for it? Display it and hope for the best?

That’s where our Retail Holiday Boot Camp is here to help.

Join us on for another “Small Business After Hours” event targeted at our retail client businesses. Alyson will present great information that we’ll use to help you establish a real plan you can use through short interactive breakout sessions. Some of the topics we’ll be focusing on will be:
• Laying out your holiday marketing calendar
• Getting creative with your promotions
• Message targeting store displays (like gifts for teachers)
• Learning how to create strategic shopping partnerships with complementary retailers, as well as service providers and restaurants

The holidays are a stressful time of year even when you don’t own a retail business, get ahead of the game this year and register for our Retail Holiday Boot Camp!
  



Inventory Control 101: Understanding Retail Cash Flow

Thursday, May 28, 2015

Inventory Control 101: Understanding Retail Cash Flow

Tuesday, June 9th

8:00 am - 10:00 am

Retail is a blend of art and science. As the store owner you understand your customers and what they want: you provide a point of view and a 
taste level, the ART. The SCIENCE involves understanding how to maximize the merchandise you bring in to support your vision and your business.

Inventory control is the best investment you can make for your store: Poor inventory management is the #1 reason retailers fail. About 1/3 of stores that fail are actually profitable but don’t have enough cash flow to run the business.

We will talk about too much inventory, not enough inventory, gross sales, what percentage most retailers spend on merchandise, and inventory in relation to total assets.

This class will walk through the basics of running a retail business and you will come away understanding:
  • The difference between net profit and cash flow
  • The 4 Pillars of Retail
  • How to more accurately forecast your sales
  • What an Open-to-Buy is and how to create one for your business
  • How to create a cash flow projection