TOP RETAILER

Iris at the Basin Park

Iris and Rick Feutz, co-owners
Eureka Springs, Ark.
479-253-9494
How do this year’s sales compare to recent years’? Are you seeing a consistent decline or a slow improvement?

Sales in 2009 as compared to 2008 are down about 10% thanks to a stronger October, but lag 2007 by 13.5%. Our business is tourist-based and can be influenced by factors other than the economy; this year’s weather contributed to lower sales. The trend of the last six to eight weeks seems to be a slow improvement both in customer count and sales, which bodes well for next year.

BEST CUSTOMER NEWSLETTER

Hanson Galleries

Art and Donna Milstein, co-owners
Houston, Texas
How do this year’s sales compare to recent years’? Are you seeing a consistent decline or a slow improvement?

This year’s sales are down a single digit. We’ve experienced a slow, but consistent, decline over the last several years. We definitely believe that sending a monthly e-newsletter for the last two-and-a-half years has kept this decline to a minimum.

TOP RETAILER

Crescent Moon at The Cotton Exchange

Joan and Mike Loch, co-owners
Wilmington, N.C.
How do this year’s sales compare to recent years’? Are you seeing a consistent decline or a slow improvement?

We are below last year approximately 22% and approximately 32% behind 2007. Starting in July of this year we have seen a consistent improvement, and we anticipate making up for the sluggish first part of 2009 during the upcoming holiday season.

BEST MUSEUM STORE (tie)

Alternatives Museum Shop,
The Delaware Center for the Contemporary Arts

Whitney Marsden, retail manager
Wilmington, Del.
Have you reduced your inventory levels? What needs to happen before you will feel comfortable increasing your inventory levels?

I began reevaluating Alternatives Museum Shop inventory last fall at the beginning of the economic crisis. I’m not interested in portraying the concern we all have about the economy with bare shelving and stale inventory. Rather, my goal is for patrons to be inspired by the ever-evolving environment. Consequently, I have chosen a diverse selection of functional and wearable items created by local, regional and national artists.

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.