Friday, January 27, 2012

"A day for the little guy" an Associated Press story


In the era of big boxes, a day for the little guy

CHAGRIN FALLS, Ohio (AP) — It began
quietly, as an email to 40 friends.
But when a steady stream of customers
began coming through the door before
the family-owned Chagrin Hardware
had even opened for the day on
Saturday, it was clear that it had turned
 into much more than that.
The idea started with Jim Black, a resident
of Chagrin Falls, a close-knit village in
Cleveland's eastern suburbs that is part
artist colony and part bedroom community.
Black posted the email to a group of his
friends. "Let's show our support for one 
of our local businesses," he wrote. "I 
challenge everyone to spend AT LEAST 
$20 at the hardware on the 21st."
Although his email referred to the idea of
a "Cash Mob" or the notion to "Occupy
CF Hardware," he really had no political
agenda. And it wasn't meant as a protest
against the big-box stores that have
created an ever-tightening circle around
the community.
It was just a way to thank Chagrin Hardware's owners for a beloved
shop that has been a fixture in the village since 1857.
"These are good people who needed our support," Black said. "It's just
that simple."
The store, overlooking meandering Riverside Park and the Chagrin River
in the middle of town, has been run by the Shutts family for the last 72
years. It passed from uncle to father to older brothers Rob and Kenny
and the three youngest, Steve, Susie and Jack, who run the store today.
Black's note was forwarded and forwarded and forwarded again. Calls
started coming in from folks out of state who wanted to make a
purchase over the phone.
And when the day came, so did the shoppers — one by one, with dogs
on leashes and children in tow, hour after hour until the hardware
was teeming with customers.
"This is small-town America," said resident Martine Scheuermann,
a bag of pet-safe ice melt in her arms and her Springer Spaniels
tapping their toes on the worn wooden floor at her feet. "This is
a special family business in a town where everybody knows you."
The store has seen its share of tough times. Road construction on
Main Street at the store's front door some years back crippled
business for a time. More recently, the weakened economy and
the big boxes have stolen away customers.
On this day, though, those storylines were forgotten.
By 10 a.m. the place was jammed. By 1:30 p.m., the credit card
machine was overloaded and had to be reset. "This is so cool,"
said Steve Shutts, a mix of joy, wonder and happy exhaustion
spread across his face. "I've seen people today I haven't seen
in years."
The line at the checkout stretched in two directions as people
with snow shovels and light bulbs and fireplace grates and
vintage movie posters and horse shoe caulk — yes, horse
shoe caulk — waited to pay.
Chad Schron, 38, came with his 8-year-old son Robert. "We
didn't have anything we had to get, but we found things we
had to get," he said. As he spoke, Robert clutched an Ohio
State desk lamp and two flying monkey toys to his chest.
"When I was a kid, my Mom would send me down here with
a note to let me buy BB's," Schron recalled. "Lots of kids did
that back then. The notes still are in a drawer over there," he
said as he pointed past the register to a wall of wooden
drawers containing everything from old springs to screws.
In the drawer still labeled "BBs" were stacks of crumpled
notes dating to the '50s, from mothers just like Schron's
When the final customer had finally left well after closing
time with her fuzzy dice and floodlights, Schwind and Steve
Shutts tallied the day's receipts. Shutts shook his head at
the wild and unexpected ride.
He wouldn't say how much the store made that day, but
was clearly pleased with the outcome.
"Thanks to Jimmy Black," he said. "Thanks to everyone.
Thanks to Chagrin Falls.
"What a place to live."

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Call for sewing machines!

Do you have an unused sewing machine?

Together Yes, a local non-profit organization focused on sustainability, has been working with the FNC to develop a series of events to coordinate with Earth Day in April .


During a preliminary meeting, Susan Clare, the group's founder, mentioned how they are on the hunt for sewing machines.

Mending and re-purposing clothing is a truly green activity and Together Yes has a plan to offer sewing classes for this purpose.

If you have or know of someone who has a sewing machine (in working order) to donate to a worthy venture, please contact Susan at Together Yes!

Probably a little newer than this! 
A donated sewing machine can make a difference!

Confirmed vendor for the Farmers Market!

Great news! The Farmers Market Board has been at work securing farmers and merchants to display at the market coming this June. It's now that the work needs to happen to make Norwood's Market a success.

Fresh Catch has signed on to participate!
Support local business! Eat local! Enjoy Downtown!!

See you at the Market in June.


(More exclamation marks for the Farmers Market!!!)

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Walking downtown

Yesterday was quite the day to visit Downtown Norwood! With temperatures nearing 60, I took advantage of the sunshine and walked through the center.
FNC photo: view of Antiques Roadhouse
 Downtown was busy and has so many things to offer.

FNC photo: view from 473 Washington Street 
How many towns have a cobbler? What a wonderful service Norwood can boast (and quite environmentally aware to resole and fix your shoes!) 


FNC photo: view of Eagle Shoe Repair
Yesterday in Norwood Center made me think of spring. It's not that far away!


FNC photo: view from 700 Washington Street



Thursday, January 19, 2012

Farmers Market 2012 update

Beginning the first Tuesday in June 19, 2012 and continuing through October 30 the Farmers Market will return to Norwood Center!



This year, too, the Norwood Farmers Market will be in Downtown Norwood on the Town Common! A new location taking advantage of Norwood's beautiful downtown resources.

This year's market will offer new farmers and new choices!
Starting each Tuesday market day at Noon and ending at 6pm, rain or shine.


Something for all of us to look forward to since we're only in mid-January. Soon enough it'll be time to work in the gardens again.

New Year with new eyes


On a recent drive through Norwood Center I enjoyed peering in to the stores at twilight and seeing the diverse offerings of our Downtown. The time of night when lights glow inside and the sky is darkening provides such an inviting glow from within. 
FNC photo of downtown Norwood, winter 2012

I got to thinking about a post from "Retail Visioning" by Christine Moynihan, a retail marketing expert who offers weekly posts about all-things-retail which I love to find in my email in box. 
The gist was that it's a new year and therefore it's time to examine our offerings to the public with new eyes. Here is a list of things she's recommending we consider:

How does my store look from the outside?   Good signs? Clean windows?
How do my window displays usually look?  Great … or not so much?
Does the first thing my customers see when they come in the door excite them?
Does my visual merchandising make them want to walk around, shop and BUY?
Do I have the right product mix at the right price point for TODAY?
Has my customer base changed?  Who are my BEST customers?
How do I want to grow?   Am I up to date on my marketing plan?  
Is my website attractive, informative and easy to find in a search?
Have I learned about social media enough to USE it? 
Do I update my Facebook page every week?
What can I do for my community that will be good for us both?

As a business-owner, what have you done to refresh and renew for 2012?
As a business-supporter, what would you like to see from your Downtown Merchants in 2012?

Please share your thoughts! 
Thank you, Kim Weineck

Thursday, January 12, 2012

Merchant advice from "Retail Visioning"


FIRST…a website.

written December 2011
by ChristineMoynihan
 
I am all for Social Media.  I love Facebook and Twitter. But first you need a good looking and search engine optimized (SEO) website.  Too many retailers have jumped over the need to have a good website and headed straight to a Facebook page or Twitter account.  For ease? For cost?  Whatever the reason, if YOU skipped this step I would encourage you to rethink the value of a website.   Research shows that the website is where it all begins!
Social media certainly appears instantly valuable to small businesses like retail stores because it is FREE and because you control it, pushing offers out to “followers” or “friends” when it suits YOU.   Social media does help build loyalty – a desirable yet elusive characteristic of customers these days – but it does not reach NEW customers.   Recent research shows that in early 2011 social media accounted for only 1% of the information people got about local businesses.  If you include restaurants, nightclubs and bars that increased to 3% but that is still fairly insignificant.   For more information you can read an article about this athttp://www.marketingpilgrim.com/2011/12/research-says-social-media-is-not-the-place-people-get-local-business-data.html
So where do they get information?   Search engines.  Google, Yahoo, Foursquare, etc. are STILL the places people go to find what they want.  And how do YOU get found through these search engines?  With a website that understands and makes good use of the words customers will search for!   There are other website characteristics that will also move your site up in Google or Yahoo rankings.   Some of those include how long you have had your website up, how rich the content is (with images, videos, etc.) and how many links there are to your site (even a link to Mapquest for directions to your store will help!) – but start thinking about what customers might be looking for and be sure those KEYWORDS will direct people to your site.  The more specific you are the higher the likelihood will be that the “searcher” will convert and become a customer.   For example from weak to strong:
Apparel…Women’s Apparel…Women’s Large-sized Apparel…Women’s Large-sized Apparel Newton, MA
I would encourage you to pay attention to what social media tools might work best for you and learn about how you could link a Facebook page or Twitter account to your website and make offers to those customers who DO find you.    But check out your own website for good quality SEO and help them find you FIRST!  For more information about keywords talk to your web developer or check out www.wordtracker.com or www.wordstream.com *
*Any suggestions to investigate resources for more information should not be construed as an endorsement of those sites, publications or products by either Christine Moynihan or RetailVisioning.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Downtown census

Friends of Norwood Center is developing a data base of Downtown businesses. 

We'll be coming around this month to gather information. 

The feedback we receive will help us direct our energies where it's most needed. Using the Downtown Steering Committee's commissioned Master Plan suggestions as a starting point, events will be catered to the specific needs from business and resident feedback. 

FNC photo of recent building improvements at the Washington Street/Cottage Street corner block.
Storefronts include Common Cafe' and Patisserie, Charles Barber Shop, Funky Nails, and House of Style Premier Salon. 

As a business owner: What would help you most?
As a resident: What do you want in your Downtown?


We want to know!

Comment on this blog or email norwoodcenter@gmail.com

Thanks for your time and information!

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

2012 Resolution for FNC

The Friends of Norwood Center is starting 2012 filled with excitement on what is possible for the new year. In a recent interview, Kim Weineck, FNC's Downtown Manager, was asked her wish for 2012.

FNC President, Jeanne Babel, discusses Downtown Norwood with some Perks customers
"Friends of Norwood Center wishes for a strong a involved membership of both residents and business for our inaugural year. We hope to bring people downtown through community events for everyone's enjoyment."
Downtown Norwood, December 30, 2011
With your help, we'll have a vibrant and relevant Norwood Center!