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					                                                                                                             June 2009



                                     RETAIL ANGLES

    Make it Local; Make a Difference                                                                  in s iDe t h is is s u e :


I
   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.
                                                                                                      -8
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
members.                                                                                              -11

                                                                                                      www.retail-alliance.com
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



Mailbag
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.

 2
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 jwebber@retail-alliance.com.



                                                                                                                             3
                                                         Speed of
                                                                       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



 4
the Stream
vs. 2008

  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
    sales decline:

  1st Q 2009 vs. 1st Q 2008                              SOUTHSIDE               PENINSULA              VIRGINIA
                                                         - 3.1%                  - 4.9 %                - 5.3%


                                                                                                                   5
-


    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-
    sales increases.
                                                                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-
    Peninsula.
                                                                                     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
                                                                 MacArthur Mall
                                                                Thursday, July 23- Print Co-op Sign up
                                                                Friday, July 24- “Holiday Wrap-up”


     6
           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
                                                                  constant      chal-
                                                                  lenge to provide
                                                                  an excellent level
                                                                  of service when
                                                                  working with a
                                                                  limited    budget.
                                                                  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.




                                                                                                                        7
          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
                                                                  www.goodinrealty.com
                     Law e nforcement Award

                                   e xhibit h all

                                    For more
                                  information
                             contact Ray Mattes at
                               757.455.9321 or
                                  rmattes@retail-
                                     alliance.com
                                                           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.americanindoorkarting.com
 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
                                                                  jwebber@retail-alliance.com.



8
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!
internet
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
for sale.
Wage Wise
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-
sonal mentoring.
Marketing
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.




                                                                                                                          9
 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-
                   ber locations.
                  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!


10
TALX…Automate, Simplify and SAVE!!!
Administrative costs for handling employment and income verifications add up quickly. This tedious,
routine work steals your employees’ time, keeping them from performing strategic tasks. The Work
Number® eliminates this administrative burden, enabling your organization to provide a higher level
of service to your employees at a reduced cost. The Work Number improves the verification process
for everyone involved: you, your employees, and the verifying agencies.
The Work Number is an outsourced service for employment verification. Users are authorized by ei-
ther the employer or the employee to access current employment data to verify employment and in-
come for mortgage and personal credit approval, pre-employment screening, tenant screening,
insurance claims, and social services eligibility. Information is accurate, up-to-date, and available in-
stantly.
Direct transmittal of payroll data each pay period ensures that The Work Number communicates the
exact information clients provide. Easy to set up and simple to maintain, The Work Number eliminates
your manual internal process. Incoming paper verifications and forms are eliminated completely. Lia-
bility associated with subjective comments is also eliminated as The Work Number only tells verifiers
what your employment data says about the employee and no more.
Release of income information through The Work Number is managed by employees who need to
have their information verified. TALX uses the best technology available to ensure employee data is
truly secure and maintains the tightest of controls including independent certifications, firewalls, data
center controls, back-up systems, shredding, encryption, security scans, comprehensive hiring prac-
tices, and physical security.
“There were several reasons for choosing The Work Number for employment verifications. There was
the improved efficiency of our department, the expertise that TALX offered, the cost savings implica-
tions, and most importantly, we could improve service to our associates.”
– Sears
Consumer finance, pre-employment screening and mort-
gage are just a few of the industries that use
The Work Number to speed up their verifica-
tions, reduce their costs and mitigate risk.
And within each industry served, there are
multiple uses. For example, the mortgage
industry uses The Work Number during origi-
nation, refinancing, quality control and loan
default. Imagine the multiple uses in your
own organization and how you will bene-
fit. No matter your industry, your busi-
ness, or whose employment needs to
be verified, The Work Number delivers
the verifications you need. Complete
coverage...rapid results.
Call your Equifax Sales Agent
TODAY for more information at (757)
455-9343.



                                                                                                    11
           500 East Plume Street
                  Suite 500
           Norfolk, Virginia 23510

               (757) 466-1600
             (757) 455-9332 fax

           www.retail-alliance.com

               Our Mission:
                We promise
            to provide our retail
           and business partners
             with dependable,
                responsive,
                    and
              uncompromising
           products and service.




RETAIL ANGLES
                      Welcome New Members and Customers
                                       Abuelo's, Chesapeake                                         MPF Automated Solutions, Roanoke
Managing Editor:
Matt Milhoan            Beach Commercial Finance, Virginia Beach                                           Natural Awakenings, Floyd
                           The Center for Cosmetic Implants &
Writers:
                                                                                                             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-
Progressive
Graphics
                                     tions, Inc., Virginia Beach                                              Post Net, Virginia Beach
                                  E-Tech Funding, Williamsburg                                                 Post Net, Chesapeake
                                  Edible Arrangements, Norfolk
                                                                                                               Print-n-Paper, Moneta
                              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 tprofancik@retail-alliance.com
                           COPYRIGHT 2008 BY RETAIL ALLIANCE®. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. MATERIALS MAY NOT BE REPRODUCED OR TRANSLATED WITHOUT WRITTEN PERMISSION.

				
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