Whistle Shop

Turn your store into a destination by making shopping an event.
Magazine Contributor
Writer and Author, Specializing in Business and Finance
2 min read

This story appears in the March 2005 issue of Entrepreneur. Subscribe »

How do you turn a small town of 2,500 people into a destination? Diana Schmidt, owner of clothing Kaylane's Kloset, teamed up with local Karen Cather and Amy Wells to create the Diva Day Away program. Customers pay $20, meet at a lavishly decorated house, enjoy a four-course brunch or , and receive goody bags with gifts and coupons from participating retailers in Anthony, Kansas.

Then, says Schmidt, 45, "We send them downtown, shopping like divas. They get a small gift or special treatment at nine different shops."

Debbie Allen, a consultant and author of Confessions of Shameless Self Promoters, urges other retailers to take cues from the Diva Day Away team to create more entertaining shopping experiences by:

  • Holding relevant seminars or classes on-site. They get potential customers in the door and may become a new revenue stream.
  • Thinking indulgence. Most customers love to feel pampered, even if you're just giving a small token. For instance, one of the Diva Day Away retailers hands out a truffle to each participant.
  • Finding the right partner. "When I owned a fashion boutique, I would bring fashion shows to local high-end salons," says Allen. "It was a low-cost way to showcase my products to the right audience."

Gwen Moran is a writer and consultant specializing in .

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