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The New Main Street

The other day I published Chapter 1 of "The Long Goodbye", which is a conversation about what is happening in the small retail world, from the perspective of an owner. It speaks to the prevalent message these days of businesses closing and the impact of online living in the small retail business.

My article does not say I am closing the store. It says I have considered closing it but have not been able to say that out loud, because I believe there is another way forward. But the way forward is to leave the past practices behind in search of the new Main Street.

It's buying season now. Retailers go to market and buy things for the next season - in order to stock their store shelves. They try to guess what's going to sell. And then it arrives, and the hope is that is it will sell in order to pay for it. And when it doesn't, it is usually put on sale because of cash flow. And while that product is sitting on the shelf, it might be pretty, but it's a liability. The retailer accepts the risk every season and the rewards, if there are any. In the past four years, the rewards are not a prevalent as the risks.

Most businesses now need to operate online, even if they have a brick and mortar store, because very little shopping happens via main street (walking into a store with a door). Before the pandemic, while the Internet was a factor in competition, there was more in-person shopping. And that made the boutique experience on Main Street valuable - because even if a product was available on a supplier's website or shelf somewhere, it wasn't in that moment anywhere but where the customer was standing.

Since the pandemic, people are living online and the Internet is the new Main Street. Through social media, they are continuously being inundated with products.

So it comes back to the process. In the retail business model, what no longer works is buying from a pool of products that are being sold. So when I say, it's a process, not an event, I mean that in order to change from the current business model to a new one, the old has to go.

And that's what The Long Goodbye is all about.

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