TOP RETAILER

Don Muller Gallery

Don Muller, owner
Northampton, Mass.
How do this year’s sales compare to recent years’? Are you seeing a consistent decline or a slow improvement?

Sales in 2007 were up from 2006. Sales started declining the second quarter of 2008 for the first time in the 35 years I’ve been in business. Sales in 2008 ended up being down by about 20%. I’ve been seeing a slight increase in sales starting in June of this year, and I’m looking forward to a decent holiday season.

BEST NEW STORE

Craftsman House

Jeff and Stephanie Schorr, co-owners
St. Petersburg, Fla.
Have you reduced your inventory levels? What needs to happen before you will feel comfortable increasing your inventory levels?

We decreased our open-to-buy dollars in 2008. As a relatively new gallery, we did not have to reduce our inventory. More important, we shifted away from higher-ticket items. Most of our artists have worked with us even more in this economy. They have offered increased terms, and most jewelry artists are willing to trade out slow-moving inventory.

TOP RETAILER

Circle Arts

Glenda Burrell, Arlene Kennedy, Simon White, co-owners
Tobermory, Ont., Canada
How do this year’s sales compare to recent years’? Are you seeing a consistent decline or a slow improvement?

Circle Arts is holding its own in these difficult economic times. Contributing factors for fewer visitors to this tourist destination include the new requirement of passports for our American neighbors to cross the border into Canada, the higher cost of gas and, of course, the increasing values of the Canadian dollar.

BEST GUILD STORE

Allanstand Craft Shop

Myra Brown, gallery manager
Asheville, N.C.
How do this year’s sales compare to recent years’? Are you seeing a consistent decline or a slow improvement?

In 2007, Allanstand had one of the best years we have had since the 1990s. This year’s sales are down compared to 2007 and 2008 sales. We are beginning to see a slow improvement this October.