Winning By Doing

New marketing tactics, traffic-driving events and partnerships with like-minded small business owners are all hot topics for NICHE magazine’s 2010 Top Retailers. But above all, they’re optimistic about the future.

“I’m hopeful that 2011 will be a strong year,” says Don Muller, owner of Don Muller Gallery in Northampton, Mass. And he’s backing up that sentiment with a full calendar of events. “I plan to do more in-store events, including trunk shows,” he says. He’s even committed to increasing his advertising budget as sales numbers improve.

And when it comes to partnerships? Laurie Wickham, owner of Gallery Morada in Islamorada, Fla., Paige Riley, owner of Hillyer House in Ocean Springs, Miss., and Megan Blake-Horst, owner of Absolutely Art in Madison, Wis., are all working with local businesses—including other art galleries—to launch events and cross-pollinate sales.

Other galleries weigh in on social media—is it a viable mode of promotion and advertising? Can you measure the results? The results are mixed, and depend on both a business’s clientele and how much time someone at the gallery dedicates to it.

One thing is certain: this year’s Top Retailers are fighting back by putting new marketing tactics into practice and measuring the results.

This special section opens with coverage of our 2010 Retailer of the Year—and Hanson Galleries owners Donna and Art Milstein aren’t taking the easy route, either. Turn the page to see how they’re pumping up their advertising budget and redefining how they market their stores.

Change Agent
Even at No. 1, Retailer of the Year Donna Milstein is rethinking her marketing strategies for a strong 2011.

Positioned for Success
The 2010 Top Retailers bank on creative marketing campaigns, online engagement and in-store events to spur sales.

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