In Traverse City, Michigan, stand two stores nearly side-by-side.
One sells art.
Around the property are some truly beautiful pieces, but I felt claustrophobic.
“NO PHOTOGRAPHY” signs hang all over the long, narrow shop.
“IF YOU BREAK IT, YOU OWN IT!” shouts a sign near the counter.
At the top of the back wall a sign near the ceiling (next to a camera) reads “SMILE! YOU’RE BEING WATCHED!”
Fun while shopping? Not quite.
I hadn’t done anything and all I could think about were the number of people who must have tried to steal from them.
A couple shops down stands Cherry Republic. They have signs, too.
On the door one reads, “ALL VISITORS OVER AGE 21 MUST BE ACCOMPANIED BY A MINOR.”
Once inside, there are several others, including: “CHERRY PITTERS WANTED—PLEASE APPLY IN OUR DUNGEON.”
Cherry licorice. Cherry salsa. Cherry wines and liquors.
Cherry Boomchucka Cookies.
You can buy any flavor ice cream you want, from vanilla (with cherry sprinkles) to chocolate (with cherry chunks).
Water is free, but of course it comes not with lemon but with….you guessed it….a cherry.
Cherry Republic even has a slogan: “Life, Liberty, Beaches and Pie.”
What else do you need? They’d submit: nothing.
No matter that I’m not a big fan of cherries. I smiled my way through one store (Glen Arbor) and then brought my family into the store in Traverse City just after we’d left the art gallery from thieving hell.
Here’s your homework, Stackers:
Invest in single minded, laser focused companies.
Hire hard-working, smiling help.
Have fun with your work.
Be Cherry Republic in your life.
Your portfolio will love you and so will the people around you.
Sounds like a cute store =)
I hate it when some stores are overly paranoid about people stealing or breaking things. I’m sure it happens but threatening signs just make people feel uncomfortable!
Amen, Holly. If you treat your clients like thieves, all they’re going to think about is stealing from you. Treat them like friends and they’ll ask how they can buy more from you.
I don’t get why store/business owners are confused by the fact that if people LIKE to come into your store, they’ll come back, but if they don’t feel welcomed, you likely won’t see them again. Is that so hard to understand?
I think the art store thinks they’re in the business of ART. In fact, they’re in the customer service business, and losing.
Mrs PoP @ PlantingOurPennies
And this is why I would probably buy trader joes or publix stock if they were publicly traded. Both make grocery shopping an enjoyable experience and hire great people!
I was speaking with a woman cleaning up cherry salsa from a sample display. I said, “Cleaning that must be a full-time job.” She smiled and replied, “If you put out free food you’d better be ready for the free lunch crowd!” I know that sounds course, but she had a smile on her face the whole time. Then she whispered, conspiratorially, “I shouldn’t say that….I might get fired.” I seriously doubt that would ever happen to a woman who smiles as much as this woman.
Nick @ ayoungpro.com
It is all about creating a good experience for your customer!
The interesting piece for me, Nick, is how that experience is created. I love to watch the systems great companies use to make sure people love their shops. Cherry Republic does it through product and playful signage (plus by belligerently sticking to their key focus). Bad companies think it’s hiring the right people or a happy accident.
I hate going into stores with the “smile you are being watched” signs it makes me want to turn around and flip off the camera. I didn’t do anything to them so why treat me like a thief. The Cherry store sounds like a fun atmosphere that will definitely attract and maintain customers of all ages.
Maybe I’m of above average intelligence, Alexa (well, that’s an understatement, isn’t it? I’m uberintelligent, if I don’t say so myself…..), but I believe the moment that I walk into a store that they have security cameras and controls. Why ruin 100% of people’s experience when 3% of people will steal from you?
Done by Forty
I just put an add out on Craigslist to help me find a minor to go with me down to the Cherry Republic dungeon. No hits yet, but fingers crossed! 😉
Thanks for the homework and the levity!
I’d just start holding your breath. Then they’ll come runnin’ 😉
Todd - FM
That sounds like a store I would love. Good reminders–and I agree–find stuff that is laser focused to invest in.
Tie the Money Knot
Those stores that have those “you break, you buy” type of signs just don’t engender much loyalty from me. Of course, I guess I only see those in tourist type of areas as well. But those folks with such signs seem so shortsighted. Take it seriously, but have fun at the same time!
I love Cherry Republic and another great “customer service” bonus is that they will ship anything from their store for free if it’s going to a APO military address. You don’t know how many jars of Cherry Salsa ended up in Afghanistan for my son and husband over the last 4 years!
I know so, so, so little about them, but everything about their operation says, “I want to know more.” What an awesome perk to get something like that from home in Afghanistan! Thanks for sharing, Linda.