During a Rotary members’ vocational meeting, three local business people shared their strategies for their continued success in today’s economy.
The overall message was that a successful business needs to be attuned to their customers.
Dr. George Henry introduced Wednesday’s Rotary program by giving a brief history and stating the purpose of vocational talks. He said that the talks provide opportunities for the club members to hear about the different businesses and professions that their peers belong to. The talks are also a way in which members get to know each other better. Henry then further defined the day’s program.
“And a third purpose is to focus today’s program on the theme of local small businesses meeting the challenges of a major recession in our nation, state and region,” Henry said.
Henry then introduced the first of the three speakers, Mike Stevenson, the manager of Adecco Employment Service.
Stevenson introduced himself, explained that his company was the largest temporary employment agency in the country and then went on to relate the starting and running of a small business to that of a roller coaster ride.
“You have the small ups and downs but while running your own business there is no safety bar,” Stevenson said. He went on to describe today’s job market as being unfriendly and that, “If you have an opportunity to give advice to someone who is looking for a job, get them to use the Internet.”
Stevenson’s company specializes in providing temporary help in industry and administrative work.
April Gantner, manager of Stephens Exclusives, emphasized that creativity was the key in helping to keep their business thriving in today’s economy. Gantner gave one example of how store coupons were hidden in plastic eggs throughout the store and customers engaged in an Easter egg hunt, the event was a huge hit and generated a lot of excitement. She then told of their next big event at the store.
“We also came up with the idea of putting on a Wish List Party which everyone has a fit over! It’s probably our largest event of the year and it is coming up in a few weeks, actually Nov. 8th. Martha and Tom Prikle make their famous eggnog and everyone gets to see Christmas decorations out in the store and make wish lists, it’s a ton of fun,” Gantner said.
Gantner said that she also puts extensive research into the products that are finally selected for the store and that listening to what their customers want to see in the store is always very helpful.
Amy Warren, from An Affair to Remember, also stressed the importance of listening to what the customer wants and using her front windows to her full advantage.
Warren opened her business when she had noticed that LaGrange did not have a bridal shop. She has since moved from her original location and is now located on the Square at 119 Ridley Ave.. Warren also shared that by keeping her shop window current and creative she’s able to catch the attention of both men and women.
Times may be difficult for businesses and consumers alike, but these three presenters gave great examples of the quality of merchandise and service that local LaGrange businesses have to offer. Now more than ever it makes sense to shop locally and support LaGrange businesses.