business news in context, analysis with attitude

The Chicago Sun-Times had a nice story the other day about niche retailers in its market that “epitomize the profitable, small player.”

One is an audio retailer, the other a used bookstore -- both of which are doing a “bang-up business” even in an environment dominated by big box stores.

“Part of their success is the cocooning trend,” writes the Sun-Times. “Since the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks, people are staying home and spending more on themselves and their surroundings. Part of it is the desire for something different--different from the dreary sameness of products and the lack of properly trained sales help at chain stores and department stores.

“And part of their success is an eclectic, even eccentric, atmosphere and attention to detail that only entrepreneurs can provide.”
KC's View:
This is soooooo important -- creating a differentiated product selection, environment and culture that is unlike the competition.

And it will become more so in the coming months and years, and not just for the independents and niche retailers. We believe that a number of the major retail chains will have to take similar steps to differentiate themselves from the biggest of the big. And while it can be more difficult for these chains to be differentiated, it will become evident that such a shift in priorities will be necessary to remain relevant and vibrant.

The Sun-Times piece was about an audio retailer and a bookstore. But the lessons have a transcendent truth,

In fact, the only thing we didn’t like about the piece was when the reporter accurately quoted the founder and editor of MorningNewsBeat…but because her notes must have been messed up, inaccurately identified that person as Michael Sansolo (of the Food Marketing Institute).

We’re not sure how Michael feels about the new job…though he’s welcome to climb aboard the MNB bandwagon anytime!