Make it Local; Make a Difference in s iDe t h is is s u e :
n July join Retail Alliance in celebrating the The public will learn about the campaign
impact of small independent businesses on through a series of electronic public service A Message from the
our economy and help encourage consumers announcements and media opinion pieces. President
to participate in protecting the backbone of our Members are encouraged to write their own -2
communities. letters of support to their local media.
Small independent businesses are a primary Throughout the year, working with local Benefit Brief
economic driver in Virginia and the nation. elected officials, Retail Alliance will conduct Event Schedule
Small businesses pay 45% of the total US pay- events demonstrating the importance of -3
roll and have generated 60-80% of the net new shopping locally and sharing stories with
jobs every year for the local media.
past decade. Large Speed of the Stream
businesses have cut em- The results could be -4, 5
ployees; small busi- impactful.
nesses are holding their
own. Small businesses
Speed of the Stream
More than 99% of
with fewer than 100 em- continued
Retail Alliance mem-
ployees provide work for bers are small inde- Christmas in July
41 million Americans. It pendent operations. -6
is estimated that of $100 According to Busi-
spent with a locally
nessWeek, such buy- Member Spotlight
owned business, $68 re-
local campaigns help
mains in the community
not only businesses, The Gym Downtown
in the way of wages, -7
but communities as
taxes, advertising, contributions etc.
well by keeping much-needed tax dollars in
the area, by keeping cities vibrant, and by Save the Date VRLPC
Beginning July 1, Retail Alliance will run a cam-
strengthening employment since local busi-
paign educating consumers about the important Retail 2 Retail
role small independent businesses play in our
nesses are likely to employ local residents.
economy and encouraging them to make a
choice to spend their money where it will do the One recent survey (January 2009) showed
most good – with their friends and neighbors. that for independent retailers in cities with Plastic Bag Recycling
The campaign, “Go Where the Locals Shop,” will buy-local campaigns, holiday sales declined Kick Off
launch in conjunction with National Independ- just 3.2% from the prior year, compared to a
5.6% decline for those in cities with no buy- -9
ents Week (July 1-7) and continue throughout
the year. local campaigns, and a 9.8 % drop nation-
wide. SML News
All Retail Alliance members have received door -10
clings identifying them as small independent For more information and the latest co-op of-
merchants. Postcards offering discounts at par- ferings, click on the “Go Where the Locals
ticipating merchants have also been mailed to Shop” icon at www.Retail-Alliance.com. Creditline
A message from the President
Put On Your Big Boy Face
Many years ago I worked for one of the nation’s 20 largest banks. At every
opportunity we told customers, investors and analysts that in spite of our size, we em-
braced small company values and customer service goals. This seemed almost con-
tradictory to our practice of aggressively acquiring other financial institutions to gain
the considerable economies of scale enjoyed by big companies.
It seems the opposite scenario is playing out among many Retail Alliance
members…most truly are small independent businesses with disproportionately high
operational expenses and trying to compete with large national entities. The business
owners enjoy the intimacy of running a smaller enterprise, but are frustrated that their
overhead is burdensome.
Retail Alliance Membership Chair Kathie Strauss (Prime Outlets) suggests that’s where Retail Alliance
comes in: the organization helps small businesses operate like their larger counterparts, while maintaining the
intimacy of a smaller operation
Volume is what drives prices down. Retail Alliance, representing well over 1,000 members (potential
customers), approaches vendors and service providers expecting the lowest possible fee on retail-essential
products and services. These volume driven savings are then passed along to members, so in many cases
rates and fees are comparable to those enjoyed by big businesses.
Add to the mix the ongoing professional representation among state and local elected officials, and
every Retail Alliance member benefits.
The economy is more than challenging. Paying higher-than-necessary charges just makes the equa-
tion more difficult.
To amend fashion icon Giorgio Armani’s theory, “In the end, the customer doesn't know, or care, if you
are small or large as an organization,” they just want quality, service and value.
In short, Retail Alliance helps even the playing field for smaller businesses. No business has to take
advantage of the savings, but why wouldn’t you?
Susan L. Milhoan
Calls and Letters from Members and Customers
Dear Retail Alliance
I have been a member of retail Alliance for a couple years and in business about a dozen.
The economy is making me crazy. I have trimmed inventory, cut back employee hours and
reduced my salary. In looking at my expenses, I am wondering if my membership is some-
thing I should keep.
s trapped in s uffolk
Dear s trapped:
Although we sympathize, sometimes that’s just not enough. You are absolutely right to examine every ex-
pense for its ability to improve your bottom line…every little bit helps. Before you make a decision regarding
your membership investment, however, we would suggest you consider the savings you can realize with Retail
Alliance products and programs and how you will compensate when they are no longer available. Have you
gotten the free credit card analysis (if we can’t save you money, you get cash), have you looked at ad co-ops,
discounts on e-mail marketing, free visibility through Retail Alliance promotions and free education and net-
working events? If the answer does not justify continued membership, we will be here when the economy im-
proves and welcome you back. We will miss you, however.
Benefit Brief: re t ai l al l i an c e ®
2009 e vents
Credit Card Processing ChRist MAs in JuLY
JuLY 13 - 24
Retail Alliance® in 2007 developed a credit card acceptance Celebrate the 12 days of Christmas with Retail Alliance and
program through First National Merchant Solutions (FNMS) learn how to get geared up for the upcoming holiday shopping
that likely allows your business to reduce expenditures with- season. This special promotion includes seminars, networking
out jeopardizing the level of service you expect and deserve. events, online opportunities and plenty of great ideas to make
the holiday season more profitable
FNMS, an established leader in the payment processing in-
dustry, has a proven record with numerous other associations
Ret AiL t RAininG inst it ut e At MACARt huR Cent eR
across the country. The advantages of our program include, All classes are held at MacArthur Center, exact locations
but are not limited to: within the mall are TBA. Parking is only $1 for the first 3 hours
in the MacArthur garage. To sign up for a class please visit
Discounted group rates on Visa and MasterCard transac- www.retail-alliance.com and click on the TCC Retail Training
tions Institute icon. All retail training classes are FREE to Retail
Alliance members and MacArthur employees/ $35 non-mem-
No monthly minimums; no hidden fees bers.
Lo ss PRevent io n – s ho PLif t inG, Ro bbeRies , AnD t hef t
Free loyalty cards July 22 • 8AM - 10AM
This course teaches strategies to address shoplifting, robbery,
Quick payments on transactions and internal theft. The course provides resources to develop a
pro-active, customer-focused plan designed to deter and pre-
vent theft through training, safety, and risk management
Value added services include: debit card acceptance, in- strategies. Training participants should also attend the Retail
terest bearing accounts, check verification/guarantee serv- Alliance Annual Loss Prevention Conference on August 20,
ices, and EASY on-line account access 2009.
Co AChinG f o R PeRf o RMAnCe
Beat your current rate or receive $500 August 5 • 8AM - 10AM
Learn the fundamentals of coaching and development, setting
expectations and performance standards, monitoring perform-
FNMS is a recognized service provider of Retail Alliance®. As ance, motivational strategies, and giving effective feedback.
a member of Retail Alliance®, members are entitled to re-
ceive a FREE confidential rate consultation from FNMS that Co AChinG f o R Cust o MeR s eRviCe e xCeLLenCe
August 19 • 8AM - 10AM
will help you identify exactly how competitive your current ac- Learn to effectively coach, manage, and motivate customer
ceptance program is in the marketplace. service employees to reduce turnover, deliver better service,
Please call FNMS directly at (800) 354-3988 if you wish to build a stronger customer care culture, and save money.
take advantage of this membership benefit. Be sure to let MuLt iCuLt uRAL Cust o MeR s eRviCe
them know you are a valued member of Retail Alliance®. september 16 • 8AM - 10AM
Ken Woolard, owner of Way Back Yonder Antiques and Re- Learn effective communication and customer service strate-
gies that include cultural awareness and sensitivity and
tail Alliance Board Member, took advantage of this member addressing language differences to create a welcoming envi-
benefit and offered this testimonial: ronment for all customers.
“I highly recommend First National credit card services. After
receiving my first monthly statement, I quickly compared it to 8t h AnnuAL v iRGiniA Ret AiL Lo ss PRevent io n Co nf eRenCe
my last monthly statement from the previous provider. Con- Retail Alliance is the only resource in Virginia offering a
statewide conference dedicated to helping retailers and busi-
sidering we paid freight for our new machine and a few minor nesses reduce losses from theft. This is the oldest and most
set-up fees, my old provider was 3.0% of our credit sales and comprehensive event of its type on the east coast. This year’s
First National was 1.9% of our credit sales. The staff at First conference is guaranteed to entertain and educate, while pro-
National is professional and eager to assist you on a personal viding retailers with the tools they need to avoid potential
level. Training on the new terminal was superior and when I losses.
asked for additional training materials for my staff, the mate- August 20 • 8:30AM - 4:30PM
rials arrived the next day. Upon opening my old provider's Location: Norfolk Airport Hilton
statement, I noticed a host of new fees and charges. It is en- Cost: Free ticket for each Retail Alliance member business/
couraging to know First National and Retail Alliance will re- additional tickets and non-member pricing $40 before July 31.
Reservations recieved after July 31 will be charged at an ac-
view the agreements every six months, to avoid hidden celerated rate.
charges and excessive fees. Thank you Retail Alliance® and
First National!” Electronic invatations have been sent to all members. For
more information please contact Jen Webber at
757.455.9323 or email email@example.com.
1st QUARTER 2009
H. Blount Hunter
H. Blount Hunter Retail & Real Estate Research Co.
As a retailer, you know the sales trend for your individual business. Your monthly, quarterly, and annual
sales trends help you evaluate how well your business is performing and enable you to make future
plans for inventory purchasing, staffing decisions, even decisions about opening or closing stores.
How did your sales pace for the 1st quarter of 2009 compare by city and category?
s outhside (Millions) 1st Q 2009 1st Q 2008 Ch An Ge
Clothing and Accessory Stores $ 160.8 $ 197.3 -18.5%
General Merchandise Stores $ 567.5 $ 552.8 +2.7%
Furniture/Home Furnishings Stores $ 65.1 $ 76.6 -15.1%
Electronics/Appliances Stores $ 100.2 $ 100.2 +0.1%
Building Materials/Garden Stores $ 129.5 $ 159.0 -18.5%
Gas Stations $ 28.2 $ 29.4 -4.0%
Motor Vehicles and Parts Dealers $ 71.7 $ 70.5 +1.7%
Sports/Hobby/Books/Music Stores $ 62.1 $ 75.6 -17.9%
Food & Beverage Stores $ 419.0 $ 406.3 +3.1%
Restaurants $ 332.8 $ 334.6 -0.6%
Health and Personal Care Stores $ 49.8 $ 47.4 +5.0%
Hotels $ 52.6 $ 60.0 -12.4%
Total Taxable Sales $2,850.3 $2,940.5 -3.1%
Peninsula (Millions) 1st Q 2009 1st Q 2008 Ch An Ge
Clothing and Accessory Stores $ 98.9 $ 102.4 -3.4%
General Merchandise Stores $ 279.8 $ 274.9 +1.8%
Furniture/Home Furnishings Stores $ 32.2 $ 39.3 -18.1%
Electronics/Appliances Stores $ 43.2 $ 39.2 +10.2%
Building Materials/Garden Stores $ 64.5 $ 81.7 -21.1%
Gas Stations $ 10.9 $ 12.3 -11.6%
Motor Vehicles and Parts Dealers $ 30.3 $ 33.0 -8.0%
Sports/Hobby/Books/Music Stores $ 35.5 $ 40.2 -11.6%
Food & Beverage Stores $ 198.2 $ 192.5 +3.0%
Restaurants $ 158.6 $ 156.4 +1.4%
Health and Personal Care Stores $ 19.6 $ 16.7 +17.0%
Hotels $ 45.0 $ 51.2 -12.1%
Total Taxable Sales $1,311.1 $1,378.2 -4.9%
1st Q. 2009 (Millions) n orfolk va. b each Chesapeake Portsmouth s uffolk
Clothing and Accessory Stores $46.5 $70.0 $39.4 $3.4 $1.5
General Merchandise Stores $138.5 $179.4 $177.1 $22.2 $50.3
Furniture/Home Furnishings Stores $10.6 $35.2 $13.5 $3.3 $2.5
Electronics/Appliances Stores $7.8 $46.4 $43.7 $1.3 $1.0
Building Materials/Garden Stores $28.3 $37.9 $47.2 $6.7 $9.4
Gas Stations $5.2 $8.9 $4.7 $2.9 $6.6
Motor Vehicles and Parts Dealers $14.9 $29.8 $19.4 $4.4 $3.1
Sports/Hobby/Books/Music Stores $11.6 $34.5 $14.9 $0.5 $0.5
Food & Beverage Stores $75.8 $200.2 $84.1 $33.1 $25.9
Restaurants $82.1 $149.6 $65.8 $18.7 $16.6
Health and Personal Care Stores $11.7 $24.5 $7.7 $3.6 $2.2
Hotels $17.8 $21.5 $9.1 $2.6 $1.5
Total Taxable Sales $655.3 $1,096.5 $743.9 $199.5 $155.1
1st Q. 2009 vs. 1st Q. 2008 n orfolk va. b each Chesapeake Portsmouth s uffolk
Clothing and Accessory Stores -23.5% -15.3% -19.5% +15.4% -21.2%
General Merchandise Stores +4.6% +2.7% +0.7% +3.9% +3.7%
Furniture/Home Furnishings Stores -16.3% -20.8% -12.9% +24.4% +82.0%
Electronics/Appliances Stores -41.5% +2.6% +10.2% -7.0% +94.5%
Building Materials/Garden Stores -14.4% -20.6% -19.5% -13.4% -19.8%
Gas Stations -3.5% -8.2% -10.0% -10.5% +11.0%
Motor Vehicles and Parts Dealers -7.1% +5.0% +2.8% -2.3% +17.9%
Sports/Hobby/Books/Music Stores -13.1% -19.2% -15.1% -45.2% -48.1%
Food & Beverage Stores +0.8% +3.3% +2.3% +9.0% +4.8%
Restaurants -2.2% +0.4% -0.6% +3.6% -4.4%
Health and Personal Care Stores +0.4% +3.1% +21.0% +5.4% +3.6%
Hotels -4.2% -23.3% -9.7% +209.3% -37.6%
Total Taxable Sales -7.7% -4.2% -4.9% +40.5% -4.2%
1st Q. 2009 (Millions) h ampton n ewport n ews James City York Gloucester
Clothing and Accessory Stores $14.4 $35.6 $38.6 $2.5 $1.8
General Merchandise Stores $58.9 $107.5 $12.0 $73.8 $26.4
Furniture/Home Furnishings Stores $5.1 $17.3 $5.6 $2.3 $0.9
Electronics/Appliances Stores $2.5 $35.5 $0.8 $3.8 $0.7
Building Materials/Garden Stores $18.7 $17.4 $4.9 $13.4 $10.0
Gas Stations $2.5 $3.1 $1.3 $2.9 $1.2
Motor Vehicles and Parts Dealers $9.0 $13.5 $1.4 $4.4 $2.0
Sports/Hobby/Books/Music Stores $11.1 $15.3 $3.3 $3.1 $0.4
Food & Beverage Stores $46.4 $60.6 $34.0 $30.3 $14.2
Restaurants $41.1 $57.8 $14.9 $21.9 $7.9
Health and Personal Care Stores $4.6 $8.8 $2.1 $1.6 $1.1
Hotels $4.7 $9.0 $5.4 $12.4 $0.6
Total Taxable Sales $296.6 $496.2 $164.9 $202.3 $79.4
1st Q. 2009 vs. 1st Q. 2008 h ampton n ewport n ews James City York Gloucester
Clothing and Accessory Stores +9.5% -19.1% +22.3% -53.8% -16.4%
General Merchandise Stores -3.3% +1.3% -13.9% +10.7% +1.1%
Furniture/Home Furnishings Stores -10.8% -13.4% -32.4% +79.0% -29.6%
Electronics/Appliances Stores +13.8% +1.5% -10.8% +510.0% +13.6%
Building Materials/Garden Stores -11.4% -24.3% -42.4% -18.3% -20.9%
Gas Stations -18.9% -4.5% +1.5% -5.0% -32.6%
Motor Vehicles and Parts Dealers -1.1% -4.4% +30.9% -25.7% +7.5%
Sports/Hobby/Books/Music Stores -8.8% -16.2% -16.8% +14.4% -25.6%
Food & Beverage Stores +3.9% -1.4% +8.6% +1.2% +5.7%
Restaurants +2.2% +2.0% +13.1% +0.2% -6.8%
Health and Personal Care Stores +2.6% +8.0% +62.7% -5.2% -9.3%
Hotels +16.1% -11.7% -30.0% +35.4% +3.4%
Total Taxable Sales -2.2% -6.6% -3.9% +0.7% -7.6%
t otal taxable retail sales in the s outhside and on the Peninsula declined at lower rates than the state’s
1st Q 2009 vs. 1st Q 2008 SOUTHSIDE PENINSULA VIRGINIA
- 3.1% - 4.9 % - 5.3%
Continued from page 5
h ighlights of 1st quarter results:
Total U.S. retail and food services spending declined
by approximately 10 % in the first quarter of 2009 com-
pared to the same quarter of 2008. The three major cat-
egories showing the greatest declines across the
country were auto dealers (-26 %), furniture stores (-14 During the month of July, Retail Alliance is offering a
%), and building materials stores (-11 %). Local sales complete calendar of activities and events to get mer-
mirrored these national trends in terms of categories chants geared up for the holidays. The time between
suffering the greatest declines. Thanksgiving and Christmas can make or break a retail
operation; for many retailers the sales during this time
Sales declined in all major
represents half of all yearly sales. There is no denying
cities and communities with
that the holiday season is critically important to retailers
the largest declines occur-
and although it may still be months away, the time to
ring in Norfolk (-7.7 %) and
start planning for a successful selling season is now.
Newport News (-6.6 %). York
County (+0.7 %) and
For the Christmas in July program, Retail Alliance is
Portsmouth (+40.5 %) were
providing 12 days of holiday training from July 13- July
the only communities with
24. The schedule consists of networking events, sem-
inars, online training, early registration for holiday cam-
Building materials/garden paigns and co-ops, and more. For additional
stores experienced large sales declines on the South- information visit the Retail Alliance website (www.retail-
side (-18.5 %) and on the Peninsula (-21.1 %). This cat- alliance.com).
egory experienced a significant sales decline in the
fourth quarter of 2008 as well.
Furniture/home furnishings stores experienced a de-
cline of 15.1 % on the Southside and 18.1 % on the
Monday, July 13- Sign-up for Holi-
day Window Works
As this report is being written, auto manufacturers are
paring their dealer networks. Some loss of dealerships Tuesday, July 14- SML Council Meeting/Visual
can be expected in Hampton Roads. Sales of motor ve- Merchandising Seminar
hicles and parts stores fell by 8.0 % on the Peninsula
Wednesday, July 15- Interior Design On-line Video
but increased 1.7 % on the Southside
During the first quarter of 2009, sales increased in Thursday, July 16- Visual Merchandising
food and beverage stores as well as restaurants on the Seminar-Spring Hill Suites
Peninsula. Food and beverage stores reported a 3.1 % Friday, July 17- Pilots Game
increase on the Southside, but restaurant sales there
dipped by 0.6 %. Health and personal care stores reg- Saturday, July 18- Online Holiday
istered a significant sales increase on the Southside Commercials
(+5.0 %) with a more robust increase on the Peninsula Sunday, July 19- Sign-up for Holiday
(+17.0 %). Sales Watch
Hotel sales decreased by 12 % on the Peninsula and
on the Southside. Virginia Beach (-23.3 %) and New- Monday, July 20- Special Holiday
port News (-11.7 %) suffered the greatest losses. e-newsletter
Hampton and Portsmouth both experienced hotel sales Tuesday, July 21- Retail 2 Retail
increases. “Race into the Holiday’s”- AIG
Wednesday, July 22- LP Retail Training
Thursday, July 23- Print Co-op Sign up
Friday, July 24- “Holiday Wrap-up”
MeMber Spo t l i g h t
The Gym Downtown
Fitness is an essential component of living a healthy The Gym Downtown is a boutique fitness club housed in a
lifestyle. Exercising can produce numerous benefits not traditional NYC loft setting; above retail businesses on the
only in physical appearance, but also health, second and third floors, so a big challenge
mind and overall well being. We all make ex- tends to be exposure to the sidewalk traffic.
cuses for not working out, but finding a gym Although the prime location allows The Gym
that offers an array of unique fitness pro- to reach out to several businesses, pedestri-
grams at an affordable price, in a convenient ans tend to overlook it.
location, could make all the difference.
“While I am excited about the trend of people
The Gym Downtown was established in Feb- wanting healthy and organic foods, I wish I
ruary 2002. This city-inspired fitness club is had known back when I started this business
located in historic Downtown Norfolk on that over two-thirds of Americans would be
Granby Street. Owner, Bobby Wright and his overweight, comfortable with being out of
team, offer numerous fitness programs from shape and not interested in working out,”
personal training and aerobics classes, to said Bobby, “People are now finally starting
summer Bootcamp and 20-minute full body wake up and address the battle of the bulge,
workout sessions. The Gym Downtown cre- resulting in one of the best years our busi-
ates a pleasant workout environment with ness has ever had.
high-end equipment, a motivational staff and
a picturesque view overlooking the city. There are several advantages of owing your
own business, for Bobby the best part is
When Bobby began developing the gym, he helping clients achieve their goals and mak-
knew a prime location would be extremely important to its ing everyday a positive experience for their members. The
success. He was drawn to the historic aspect of Down- Downtown Gym has a passionate staff eager to help mem-
town Norfolk, and a Granby Street location could generate bers set, reach and maintain their goals. “Acquiring a
traffic by attracting downtown professionals and residents. knowledgeable group of individuals committed to chang-
“The gym is busy all day, early morning hours, during ing people’s lives, leading to greater self esteem, confi-
lunch, and late evening hours are our busiest times,” ex- dence and hopefully a longer life,” has been Bobby’s
plained Bobby. greatest success.
Plus, the Granby location benefits members as well as Although busi-
local merchants. “Our members are serviced by the sur- ness is going well
rounding retailers, and in turn boost local retail sales,” said for The Gym
Bobby. Downtown, it is a
lenge to provide
an excellent level
of service when
working with a
Bobby offers the following piece of advice to those who are
thinking about starting a retail business: “Keep emotions
out of business decisions, be confident that the product or
service you’re offering is in demand, make sure your mar-
keting plan is focused and on-point and that you are capi-
talized to weather the storms that will always come.”
For questions or more information please visit www.gym-
downtown.com or call 757.321.4963. The Gym Downtown
is located at 259 Granby Street, Norfolk, Virginia 23510.
e ighth Annual Retail2Retail
June n etworking
New people, new ideas, light hors d’oeuvres,
beverages and more! Join Retail Alliance from
6 p.m. - 8 p.m. on the first and third Tuesday of
every month as we bring retailers from around
Hampton Roads together for an evening of
August 20, 2008 networking.
7:30 a.m. - 6:00 p.m.
n orfolk Airport h ilton
1500 n orth Military h ighway
n orfolk, vA 23502
Mock Robbery t uesday, July 7
Customer s ervice as a t heft Deterrent Goodin Realty
t he Latest Loss Prevention 10 San Jose Drive, Building 4,
t echnology Newport News, VA 23606
Law e nforcement Award
e xhibit h all
contact Ray Mattes at
t uesday, June 16
Monthly Council Calender American indoor
July 1 Smith Mountain Lake, West Lake Library
July 8 Portsmouth, Towne Bank Center Karting
July 22 Williamsburg, Prime Outlets Food Court
July 28 Hampton, Pheobus Coffee House
2884 Airline Boulevard
Council meetings are FREE to Retail Alliance mem-
Portsmouth, Virginia 23701
bers. For more information please visit
www.retail-alliance.com and click on the Councils Retail 2 Retail is free to ALL Retail Alliance members.
link under Member services. if you are interested in attending or have any ques-
All Council meetings start at 8:30 a.m. tions, contact Jen Webber at 757.455.9323 or email
When Times Get Tough
Why not access a little free help?
When times get tough, businesses begin to question every expense. You may make some minor changes, but you don’t want
to risk damaging your business…so what makes sense? Here are some resources that can help you get more bang for your
buck and best of all, they are FREE!
Give yourself a pat on the back if you have a website. Congratulate yourself if your website has been recently
upgraded…those that are a year or more old begin to look dated and lose functionality. To get an unbiased opinion about
your webiste’s effectiveness (and compare it to those of your peers), visit www.WebsiteGrader.com. Here you can deter-
mine simply ways to get more visibility in the all important area of search engine optimization. Your site will be examined for
easy modifications that should increase traffic and you can see how your site compares with others.
The granddaddy of all such sites is Google Analytics (www.google.com/analytics/index.html ) where you can analyze the prof-
itability of your site, improve online results, test your site and increase views to clicks to sales.
To view your website in comparison to others, you can visit www.compete.com for a summary. Additional services are also
You want to keep your employees and you value their contributions to your business, but what is adequate compensation?
What are peers paying? Visit www.PayScale.com for free reports and seminars.
b usiness t raining
Everybody can improve their skills through training, but who has the time? Retail Alliance has established a partnership re-
lationship with SCORE, Counselors to Small Business, the recognized experts in peer business consulting. Visit
www.SCORE.org and take advantage of 26 free online workshops presented whenever you have the time. Learn more
about finances, marketing or assess your business. For additional free help, contact a local SCORE chapter for free per-
You may be involved in advertising plans or managing an effective direct mail effort, but what about news coverage? Peter
Shankman operates a service called Help a Reporter Out (HARO) that connects journalists with sources. Three times a day,
five days a week subscribers can offer their expertise and be considered a source for a variety of stories. To subscribe, go
to www.HelpAReporter.com. Be careful not to pitch an unrelated story or you might be banned.
If you do have a story to pitch, visit www.PRLog.com to have your news releases distributed free. If you are uncertain about
your writing, visit www.YourPitchSucks.com for a free critique…however, more hands-on help will cost you.
e liminate o ld b ooks, Dv Ds, etc.
If you need books, DVDs or games; or you have some to dispose of, consider www.SwapTree.com. This site enables users
to swap what they have for what they need without fees. Or, if you just have a lot of books to move, visit www.cash4books.net.
Here you can list unwanted books by International Standard Book Number (ISBN) and immediately see what you will be
paid…selling 10 or more books gets sellers free postage as well.
PLASTIC BAG RECYCLING KICK-OFF
The Virginia Retail Federation, the statewide lobbying arm of Retail Alliance, succeeded in passage of General As-
sembly budget amendments that provide funds for two plastic bag recycling projects, The projects will launch in Isle of
Wight County and the city of Alexandria. Isle of Wight, considered a statewide model by legislators, will kick off its pilot
project in early August. Alexandria will follow in September.
On August 1, Retail Alliance and the Isle of Wight Economic Development Department will kick-off their recycling
project that will serve as a model for future state recycling endeavors. “Isle Be Green, the county’s initiative, will be lo-
cated at the Smithfield Square Shopping Center and other convenience centers throughout the area.
S. L. Nusbaum Realty is overseeing the shopping center project. Trex, a Winchester, VA, based company that manufac-
turers decking and other materials from plastic bags, will provide recycling bins for the locations. A plastic bag collection
survey will be initiated as part of the project to provide data on the quantity of bags collected. “Isle Be Green” will also im-
plement a poster contest and plastic bag recycling education program in the county public schools.
Smith Moun t a i n L a k e N e w s
f ishing e xcursion
Here’s great news about this season at the Lake. There are 15 weeks as opposed to the normal
13 weeks to Shop * Dine * Play * Stay in beautiful Smith Mountain Lake. Since June 1 the Re-
tail Alliance Council of Smith Mountain Lake has engaged shoppers in a “Fishing Excursion”
to drive retail traffic and generate visibility. All one needs to participate is a retail “fishing li-
cense” which is available at all participating RAC member locations. Consumers need to
“catch” a minimum of 15 different fish/stamps from participating RAC member locations.
They can then “cast” their license into receptacles found at any participating RAC mem-
Once shoppers collect 15 stamps and submit their fishing license to a participating
merchant and they are entered into a contest to win one of three prizes ranging from
$250 to $500. The best part of this promotion (from a retailer’s perspective) is prizes
will be awarded in the form of gift certificates that will be honored at RAC member lo-
cations ONLY. Not only does the winning consumer win, but several RAC members
will benefit by stimulating the local economy. Change will be dispensed in the form of
a gift certificate unless the balance is under $10. No purchase is necessary.
Added b o n u s : Be sure to check www.SMLretailalliance.com for new member loca-
tions. An additional $100 will be awarded from the drawn completed licenses with a
minimum of 7 different fish/stamps from NEW members (not listed on the fishing license),
for a chance to win the “Over the Limit” prize. Again, no purchase necessary.
Entries will be drawn live on Lake Radio WSLK on September 9. Winners will be notified
within five (5) business days. The odds of winning are a function of the number of com-
pleted fishing licenses received. For more information, listen to Lake Radio WSLK
880AM or visit www.SMLretailalliance.com .
Deal of the Day
One of the biggest obstacles that SML merchants face is the tendency of
Lake residents to look outside of the local market for goods and serv-
ices that they may not realize are available locally.
To meet this challenge, WSLK is running a continuing promotion
called “Deal of the Day”. Each participating merchant one or more ir-
resistible deals good for one day only at one business only. Ideally,
this is either a free giveaway or a combined offer of a free premium
with a minimal purchase. Each day, WSLK will announce a different
deal at a different merchant on the air throughout the day.
The only cost to participating merchants is the cost of whatever discount or premium
you plan to offered. WSLK does not bill the retailer to be a part of the deal of the day. All
they ask is only that each merchant offer a deal that is just too good to pass up.
Many merchants are taking advantage of this promotion. Their aim is to help advance a healthy busi-
ness environment at the Lake. The worst thing that could happen is that no one comes into your place
of business ON that day to take advantage of your “Deal of the Day” and you still have your name all
over the radio ….. all day long. That’s FREE advertising!
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to provide our retail
and business partners
products and service.
Welcome New Members and Customers
Abuelo's, Chesapeake MPF Automated Solutions, Roanoke
Matt Milhoan Beach Commercial Finance, Virginia Beach Natural Awakenings, Floyd
The Center for Cosmetic Implants &
Oxymagic, Virginia Beach
Restorative Surgery, Virginia Beach
Susan Milhoan Penhook Boat Dock, Penhook
Jen Webber Coastal Import Repair, Ltd., Norfolk
The Coffee Shoppe, Portsmouth Peninsula Council For
Printer: Workforce Development, Newport News
Commonwealth Employee Benefit Solu-
tions, Inc., Virginia Beach Post Net, Virginia Beach
E-Tech Funding, Williamsburg Post Net, Chesapeake
Edible Arrangements, Norfolk
Electronic Systems, Virginia Beach
Fairfield Flowers Inc., Virginia Beach Rines Management, Chesapeake
Keeling-Jefferson Insurance Agency, Inc., Salon One, Moneta
Virginia Beach Stone & Company, Martinsville
Mary Kay Cosmetics, Portsmouth Turf & Garden, Inc., Chesapeake
Matthews Market, Mappsville
Your dues keep our association strong. We appreciate your continued support.
Send your suggestions and comments to firstname.lastname@example.org
COPYRIGHT 2008 BY RETAIL ALLIANCE®. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MATERIALS MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED OR TRANSLATED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.