From The Co-Founders


Tips, Tactics & Strategic Insights and Commentary
from The ROI Co-Founders, Pat Johnson and Dick Outcalt
Outcalt & Johnson: Retail Strategists LLC; Retail Turnaround Experts

Honored to Be In Such Good Company


Boy, are we ever impressed.

We've known for years that those who are following and/or involved with The Retail Owners Institute® are resolute, hungry, and determined. But wow! The challenges of the last year have brought out the very best in many of you.

We've heard back some of the most resourceful survival stores that we've ever heard. Here are just a few examples:

  • A boutique owner in West Virginia was very quick to rent a big white tent to place in her parking lot to enable her customers to keep shopping with her, safely and with confidence. (And she was just as quick to cancel orders, all very early in the pandemic.)
  • A Muslim woman in New Jersey had launched an e-commerce business featuring her designs of modest fashion apparel, including Islamic fashion. In the midst of the pandemic, she made the choice to also open a retail location. Her bold decision to grow her brand via a brick-n-mortar store, plus her success in focusing on this growing niche market ($283 billions in 2018, projected to grow to $402 billion by 2024) was featured in Forbes magazine. 
  • Conversely, here's an example of pivoting from brick-n-mortar to the online world. The owner of three long-established high-end luxury linens stores on the West Coast with a growing private label collection seized on the opportunities of the pandemics to accelerate his focus on a Direct-to-Consumer model.
  • Folks operating a gift shop inside of a hospital in Massachusetts gained permission to stay open during the pandemic, and demonstrated the "community service" aspect of many retailers. "We have struggled in many ways, but the morale boost that us being here has brought to hospital staff has been such a reward. They have been so grateful to us. Our holiday sales number was competitive with last year, with half the foot traffic, due to their loyalty." 

But the crowning story, especially impressive to us, was a casual one-liner from our previous client in the Rio Grande Valley. It went like this:

  • "Oh yes. By the way, we also opened two more stores which we filled with nothing but brands with the highest GMROIs."
  • Us: "You what?! Man, have you ever been paying attention!"

Resourcefulness. Resilience. Perseverance. Decisiveness. All qualities shown by these retailers and many others like them.

No whining. No one-size-fits-all efforts here. Instead, thoughtful and courageous choices to go beyond just surviving. 

You sure an impressive lot.

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