In this month's issue, you’ll find WholeFoods’ 34th Annual Retailer Survey. There’s lots of good news to report. Smaller stores, those under 2,600 square feet, which have struggled the last few years, showed signs of strength, reporting higher sales, profits and larger basket sizes. Overall, two main trends emerged from the survey.

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Nothing is more frustrating than managing staff members who cut corners, do the bare minimum and contribute little to the team. You can’t force your workers to be as passionate as you are about your business, but you can do a lot to motivate them.

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How can you attract Hispanic shoppers? For insight, I spoke with Sue Hamby, Ph.D., owner of Discover Natural Foods, in Temple, TX, a 3,000-square-foot store focusing on vitamins, supplements and natural foods. Dr. Hamby realized that her trade area had become so diverse; she needed a culturally relevant marketing plan, and began to research the Hispanic market.

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Having appropriate signage plays a huge factor in a store’s success, so it’s important for managers to understand how signs can impact sales and your bottom line.

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As you think about your future, you may be wondering what your store is worth. When it comes time to sell, if you are realistic about value, you’re more likely to succeed. Many natural products retailers I know run into trouble because they confuse the emotional value their stores hold for them personally with the dollars-and-cents value in the eyes of the buyer.

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The business world is competitive and marketing is everything. Promoting your store is crucial to drawing in consumers and developing your reputation. Advertising and marketing don’t always have to put a strain on your budget; there are cost efficient ways of promoting your store that can really make a difference in your consumer relations.

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If you are like most natural products retailers, you order weekly from many wholesalers; large distributors, direct vitamin companies, and more than a few small vendors of miscellaneous brands. And as you know from experience, it is easy to blow a hole in your checkbook by overbuying. Here’s a simple rule-of-thumb to help you keep your inventory in line with your sales and your checkbook in the black.

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How can community service help natural products retailers?

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When I was seven, my dad took up club sports-car racing. Two-seat, open-air roadsters from England, Germany and Italy began to appear in the U.S. Marques like Alfa Romeo, Austin Healey, MG, Porsche and Triumph, as well as Ford-engined AC Cobra and Chevy Corvette made the weekend trek to Lime Rock raceway in northwestern Connecticut for drivers to test their skills.

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Body language is a key element in sales...and many times we don't even realize what message we're giving off!  Read here to find out how to give your customers the best possible signals when they come to your store.

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