Sara Levine Petroff and Steven L. Petroff, co-owners
Toronto, Ont., Canada
Have you reduced your inventory levels? What needs to happen before you will feel comfortable increasing your inventory levels?
Overall, we have reduced inventory. Since early 2008, we have decreased some artists’ works, but have increased others. We have purposely ordered more often, with smaller orders, rather than risk stocking too much work.
What indicators do you need to see before you’ve decided that the economy is indeed improving?
We have already seen signs of improvement, although slowly. Increased traffic and clients with specific needs are evident. We have also been more conscious about price points, as people have psychological boundaries that they do not want to go beyond. This time has made us more attuned to clients’ needs and budget restrictions.
Are you advertising consistently?
We have used our advertising dollars more effectively. If an outlet wasn’t working, we’ve moved on. Radio advertising and increasing our charitable donations have certainly increased our name recognition.
What are a few other ways you’re preparing for the rebound?
We have worked very hard to keep the best staff possible, and we continue to follow up with every client request. We have also increased our online presence, and have revamped our website. It has absolutely helped with international buyers.
What have you noticed in terms of consumer confidence?
Consumer confidence is steadily improving. Our large-ticket items have certainly helped us during these times. People are starting to feel that they are able to free up dollars for their home. People are realizing that the sky is not, in fact, falling.