Carolyn Luce, owner
Winter Park, Fla.
How do this year’s sales compare to recent years’? Are you seeing a consistent decline or a slow improvement?
As is true of other parts of our country, Florida has been very deeply hurt this past year by the economic collapse. Last fall, we began to partner with our artists, our landlord, our advertisers and our customers to find the most effective ways to get through these times.
January brought the first gallery-wide sale Timothy’s has ever had in order to recoup monies to go forward, and a timely rent cut from our landlord for 2009 has been a true gift.
Are you projecting more positive numbers for 2010? What are you doing now to keep customers shopping?
This year has been even more challenging than 2008. But, we knew it would be and planned accordingly. We focused on bringing in lower price points, spreading our budget among as many of our artists as possible and consigning with higher-end artists. This has been win-win all around, especially since Timothy’s continues our commitment to represent ONLY American craft artists—our margins don’t allow for much elbowroom.
Have you tried any new promotions in the last two quarters?
More than ever, Timothy’s has EVERY artist’s face and short bio next to their work because our customers respond to their stories and understand that these artists are their neighbors. So when you look into a case in Timothy’s, you see a sea of smiling American craft artists!
Our advertisers have been calling us and working very hard to give us options to continue working with them. After 20 years, we are finding that the business base we’ve built with others will get us ALL through the hard times by spending less, but more focused, with those who will collaborate. We have been doing less direct mailings and more e-mail blasts offering incentives to customers.
We expect 2010 to be increasingly less worrisome, but our thoughtful, collaborative business efforts will remain the same; it’s what has saved us thus far in very difficult times!