Outta Sight

Savvy ideas to boost your sales.

Yes, location is important when you're running a retail business, but the good news is that, even from a less-than-ideal location, you can still market your way to success.

Just ask Bonnie Segel. When she opened her 1,035-square-foot gift basket shop in Columbus, Ohio, in 1984, she chose a less expensive location on a side street off the main drag.

Her secret to drawing customers to a low-profile location? For starters, she helps fellow shop owners refer customers to her by leaving stacks of her promotional postcards at neighboring businesses. She also publishes a newsletter to keep clients updated on her merchandise and local events. Advertising in other newsletters and synagogue bulletins has been a cost-effective way to attract new customers for Segel, who also participates in charity events and donates her gift baskets to silent auctions. And if customers can't make it to her shop during regular business hours, Segel will open early or close late to accommodate them.

"Word-of-mouth is how we survive in this neighborhood," says Segel. Apparently, the word on Baskets by Bonnie is good: This month, Segel is relocating her shop to the main thoroughfare--not because she's disenchanted with her current space but because the business is doing so well, she needs more room.

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This article was originally published in the October 1996 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: Outta Sight.

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