The Second Knob Gifts & Antiques

Goodbye 2014- Hello 2015 ~ New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by  //  December 22, 2014  //  Local Business

By Shana Karn, Owner of Shots by Shana Photography & Co-Owner, The Second Knob Gifts & Antiques

Let it be said that 2015 will bring amazing changes for The Second Knob Gifts & Antiques and Shots by Shana Photography!

As we trudge through the end of the holiday season and into the New Year, we do so with renewed spirit and hope for another successful year. Stagnation doesn’t bode well for any local, small business; customers don’t necessarily want big changes but they do want change. We see it in the responses to a survey we posted on Facebook and emailed to customers last week. In trying to determine how to improve our shop, we inadvertently uncovered a couple of our weaknesses including inconvenient weekday hours, a website that needs a lot of work, better communication with online customers and some changes to our lines of merchandise. Initial survey responses call for a line of gourmet foods, baked goods and candies, fewer gifts for babies and children but more for tweens, teens and men! Customers want us to up our line of women’s accessories, antiques and collectibles. Additionally, there were a lot of votes for adding a gift basket/gift bag service for individuals and groups.

Thankfully, customer feedback was 99% positive, with only one person citing that she feels we’ve raised our prices “significantly” and writing that we are “almost as expensive” as [a shop in Homer] that carries similar merchandise so she cannot afford to travel to Dryden to shop here. Unfortunately, there is nothing I can do to lessen travel costs. I, too, travel to Dryden from Cortland—but on a daily basis—and it is costly. On the bright side, I am delighted that this customer recognizes our prices are lower than our competitors! In all fairness, in order to understand retail and price justification, you would have to look at many, many factors (storefront rent, utilities, salaries, etc.). There is likely a very good reason that our competitors’ prices are higher. Oddly enough, we’ve not had any “significant” price increases even with doubling the size of our store! When merchandise costs increase, we have no choice but to pass the increase onto customers; this is a sad business reality. There isn’t a business around that can remain solvent and not do this. However, when we’ve experienced “significant” cost increases, we tend to reconsider carrying the item or line.

Asking for and responding to customer feedback is both exciting and scary. We want to please every customer’s wishes but, realistically, that isn’t going to happen. It doesn’t mean that we won’t try. Overall, this year, sales were down compared to years past; but this isn’t exclusive to our shop—- all retail reports point to a slow year ending with a disappointing Black Friday. Happily, we bucked that trend—and enjoyed a very successful Black Friday and Small Business Saturday thanks to very loyal customers! So, with a slow year hopefully falling behind us, we’ve set our sights on our website (a complete overhaul) and some changes to our lines (additions, subtractions and new lines).

You spoke, we listened…Most immediate, customers will appreciate that we return to being open 10am-6pm (rather than until 5pm) Tuesday – Saturday, and 10am-5pm on Sundays. We also are delighted to bring back our late night—- beginning January 2nd, we will be open until 8pm on Thursdays!

Photography customers will be excited to learn that the new studio changes are almost complete (renovation began last summer!). In addition to adding studio space, we’ve added backdrops, props and are expecting new soft boxes and additional lighting in January!  Customers will have the option of print packages with their sessions or ordering prints and photo products ala carte.

As we close 2014, we want to thank those of you who have shopped with us, offered suggestions and brightened our days; we absolutely could not have done it without you. While we’d recently toyed with the idea of ending our customer rewards program, we’ve decided we don’t want to! We want to give back to our loyal customers—so the rewards program remains in place for 2015.

Finally, we want to wish all of you and your families a very happy and healthy new year!

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