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Articles in Category: Retail Operations

Retail Responds: Clothing Stores Put Talents To Work Making Healthcare Worker Masks

Retail Responds: Clothing Stores Put Talents To Work Making Healthcare Worker Masks
Minnesota retailers deemed non-essential and closed under Govenor Walz's stay at home Executive Order are turning their attention to their communities. At the Minnesota Retailers Association we have fielded many calls from retailers asking what they can do to make things better, including calls from clothing retailers with idle tailors. 
With fewer suits to alter, clothiers are putting their fabrics and skilled workers on the task of responding to the desperate shortage of masks for healthcare workers.

“Sales losses due to COVID-19 have hit us hard, resulting in me temporarily closing our Minneapolis men’s apparel store that has been around since 1916,” says Hubert White’s president and CEO Robert White. “As we anxiously await reopening, our tailoring staff has volunteered to make masks with some perfect fabric we have at the store. With the mask shortages we are hearing about, this is something we can put our skills to work on and make a difference in the pandemic fight. I am proud that this is how our team is responding during this very difficult time for our business and all of Minnesota.”

Here is how retailers can help with the face mask shortage:

A critical need for personal protective equipment--such as masks--has surfaced over the last couple of weeks. To make the masks that provides the proper protection, your need a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention-compliant pattern, available here from Sew Good Goods. Masks can be made in two different sizes: 9”x6” adult and 7.5”x 5” child. The instructions call for a tightly woven 100% cotton fabric for the front of the mask and tightly woven 100% cotton flannel for the back.

BlueCross BlueShield of Minnesota has outlined the locations and the process for dripping off masks 9:00 a.m. - 1:00 p.m. through April 5. They ask than when donating masks at one of 14 locations, look for a “mask donation” sign and please stay in your car. A staff member will come to receive your donation.

  • Abbott Northwestern Hospital, Minneapolis
  • Abbott Northwestern Hospital – West Health, Plymouth
  • Buffalo Hospital, Buffalo
  • Cambridge Medical Center, Cambridge
  • District One Hospital, Faribault
  • Mercy Hospital – Mercy Campus, Coon Rapids
  • Mercy Hospital – Unity Campus, Fridley
  • New Ulm Medical Center, New Ulm
  • Owatonna Hospital, Owatonna
  • Regina Medical Center, Hastings
  • River Falls Area Hospital, River Falls, WI
  • St. Francis Regional Medical Center, Shakopee
  • United Hospital, St. Paul
  • Courage Kenny Rehabilitation, Golden Valley

Retail Responds: Store Best Practices For Social Distancing

Retail Responds: Store Best Practices For Social Distancing

Retailers across Minnesota are implementing impressive measures to make shopping as safe as possible for customers & employees.

To assist retailers, here is a collection of social distancing best practices:

  • Use signage at the door, throughout the store, & over your public address system to remind customers of 6 foot social distancing.
  • Evaluate your space and adjust customer flow accordingly.
  • Encourage use of curbside pickup & delivery.
  • At checkout (including self-checkout) & in areas of congestion mark out social distance spacing.
  • At checkout extend space between the cashier & customer with markings or a physical barrier.
  • If practical ask a customer's permission to touch their products or allow a customer to position products during check out.
  • Have employees make a special effort to engage customers to help them find products efficiently & remind them to practice social distancing.
  • Clean & disinfect high-touch surfaces regularly and make hand sanitizer & related products available to customers and employees.
  • Communicate your temporary policy on reusable bags to customers before they arrive at the store or at the door.
  • Thank customers and workers for their focus on safety.

Click here to download a PDF of this flyer.

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9 Pieces Of 2020 Advice For Retailers & Their Key Business Partners

9 Pieces Of 2020 Advice For Retailers & Their Key Business Partners
As the new year hits, we asked MnRA friends to share advice for retailers and their key partners. Here are the top pieces of advice we selected:
"Create a premium brand. Keep your product and service fresh and the best. Treat your employees like gold and tell your customers how much you appreciate them. Leave them feeling always like they have found the best kept secret."
- Insight from Roberta Bonoff, founder, Envision It!
"Ground yourself in the consumers’ experience expectations. How do they want to interact with your brand, then meet them there. Ask yourself how their behaviors and expectations will change, then adapt."
- Insight from Marisa Kinney, Sr. Director, Global Retail, Red Wing Shoe Co.
"The most successful retailer and supplier partners in 2020 are the ones that work seamlessly together to create one-of-a-kind products and experiences that draw in their consumers. Seek out the partners that you are best able to work with to bring these visions to life!"
- Insight from Juli Lassow, Owner & Principal, JHL Solutions
"Focus on execution. Don't fool yourself into thinking execution is something other people in your organization will handle. Require absolute clarity at the intersection between your brand (website or staff) and your customers. Strategic initiatives without flawless execution yield no value."
- Insight from Flora Delaney, President, Delaney Consulting
"Look for opportunities to be proactive on generating incoming business versus waiting for customers to walk into your stores. Go get them."
- Insight from Scott Plum, Founder, Minnesota Sales Institute, LLC
"Harness the power of Neuroscience and Psychology to boost sales and marketing. Neuroscience and Psychology have revealed many insights on how consumers make buying decisions. Those insights can help retailers sell more at lower cost. Watch this 17-minute TED Talk on the unconscious buying decisions:"
- Insight from Terry Wu, President, Neuromarketing Services
"Get active in your local business community! It doesn’t take much. Call your local chamber of commerce or business association and be a part of the conversation shaping the community around you."
- Insight from Savannah Sepic, Government Relations Manager, Minnesota Retailers Association
"It’s not easy, but tell your customers the story of your philanthropic efforts and the organizations you support. And develop a giving strategy and process (it only has to be a few sentences but write it down!) that aligns with your favorite causes to make it easier to say yes and no to charitable requests in 2020."
- Insight from a small business owner
"The trick to surviving the 2020 elections is focusing on people and ideas, not politics. Politics today seems to be all about winners and losers. People and ideas are how we will advance Minnesota and our communities."
- Insight from Bruce Nustad, President, Minnesota Retailers Association



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