Saturday, July 30, 2011

Customer loyalty.. do you practice??

This is an often heard lament these days from retailers in our area. The question stems from the rural retail experience for the past 150 years or so and the significant change in customer behavior over the last five years. One of the foundations of the rural community was loyalty—loyalty to your family, your neighbor, your community—including loyalty to local retailers and service businesses. When you looked for a product or service, you looked to your local businesses. Your loyalty was rewarded by a high level of service including an inventory based on your past needs, a willingness to order in special products, fair pricing and extended credit terms if necessary. It worked well for 150 years, but things have changed.

There are many pressures that have changed purchasing patterns, and to name just a few: 1. The focus on price rather than on value 2. The pressure to provide immediate gratification (ie. Customer wants it now—unwilling to wait) 3. Willingness of the customer to accept substitutes (ie. Buy what is offered—not necessarily what you really wanted) 4. Ability of the customer to search further afield (including on the web) 5. Economic uncertainty limiting many customers to purchase only essential items

Does this mean the ultimate demise of the rural retail business? Some undoubtedly have failed or will fail, others have closed because the owners don’t want to carry on under the ‘new’ rules. However, we need not go ‘belly up’ to use a Georgian Bay fishing term. Loyalty in the past was based on physical proximity (your local town) and personal relationships . Today you can get to Toronto, Toledo or even Tokyo to purchase products, and few of us know the owner of Wal-Mart or even Canadian Tire and none of us have been personally served by him or her.

Today, you can build loyalty, but in a different way. Your shoppers are looking world-wide for products, so why don’t you look world-wide for customers? Build loyalty by building a customer base which has an interest (and preferably a passionate interest) in what you offer, what you do, or what you are interested in.

Collect e-mails from customers that show interest in your business, and treat those people as your primary customer base by interacting with them on a regular (but not spam level) basis. Build a following on Facebook or set up a blog attached to your business Web-site. Give your ‘fans’ good solid information, interesting ideas or facts, personal comments and discussion.

Build your customer loyalty around their interest in what you are doing. With luck and some good management, you will find customers corresponding with you, tracking you down from some surprising and very far-away places. Lots of folks come to the southern Georgian Bay region, and from the studies done most of them return more than once. You can build a loyal customer base out of all those folks from around the world who find our region worth visiting. Whenever they return, they will come to visit (and shop) with you in person because you have a common bond with them, and you have been loyally including them in your business life. If you don’t know how to start, please look at the Chamber website for companies and people that can get you going!

Friday, July 29, 2011

It's beading time...

After our Wednesday with Lucy N DVD, we all are inspired to knit with beads. So many ways to add touches of charm, glitz & glam.. makes one's head spin... try it and see how it goes... We viewed the section on lace work too... The Leaves & Bead Smoke Ring had just arrived so perfect timing for a picture.

Pat K is working on a gorgeous cowl in soft white with pearl beads - a gift for a friend... I wonder who''s next on her list??
I'm working on a beaded bracelet pattern for a quick knitted gift... pics to follow..

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Sock sizing - resizing - good fit

Hand knit socks are gems to have. If you knit socks for someone special - this post is for you.

Follow along with Wise Hilda and gather "footsie" measurements. WH is working on better finished sizing for sock patterns.

Check her blog for the email address.

My tape measures are ready for knitting class tomorrow-

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Elvis has arrived...

It's that time of year again when our streets are closed and the sounds of "Blue Suede Shoes" is rockin the speakers...
Yesterday at knit class we celebrated with the famous "Elvis King cookies" made by our local Tim Horton's. Jan Trude and group have been making these cookies for years now. ALL proceeds are donated to the Collingwood General and Marine for their education programs.
It was our summer movie afternoon knit class. The temperatures were soaring outside while we were coolin off with Lucy Neatby DVD viewing. Once again the class discovered new techniques and fun ways to add changes to their projects.
Diane is working away on here EZ denim blue cable sweater. Ruth is working on a secret project for a fall gift. Dallas was knitting on sock #2 using the famous nicknamed "Parrot" Zauberball sock yarn. Heather was just getting started on her Man socks for the fall fair judging contest. Arlene was showing off her beautifully finished Baby Bunting bag for her fall grandchild arrival. I'm designing the last of my retreat weekend kits. Before we know it- our weekend will be here...
So, it's HOT downtown but soon the street will be full of Elvi in glitter suits... join in the fun.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Georgian Hills Winery...

Come to visit our area winery.. have a tasting, or a cheese pairing... the vineyard is in full swing...

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Need A Baby Cardigan book arrives....

It's here- finally the newest Cabin Fever baby book... what a lovely array of patterns... just as cute as can be... My customer Joyce will be so happy when she comes in on Friday... cotton tweed in Oatmeal is back in stock for her sweater and the baby book is here too...

The A-line cardie pattern arrived too... this pattern has been added to my "to do" list.. for the full figured gal who wants 3/4 sleeves, longer length and style- this pattern is for you...

With a call from my customer who lives in South Africa and fabulous customers- today has finished up on a happy note.
Until tomorrow- Elvis is coming to Collingwood... stay tuned..

Summertime in Southern Ontario

I love southern Ontario. It's a wonderful place to live and explore. Our Monday drive took us to our favourite cheese n turkey shop in Listowel. A little turkey and a lot of cheese- Danish cheese at its best!! some blue, havarti, esrom, gouda... all great choices...
Then a little yarn purchase here and there... lunch out in Mount Forest... then a quick drop by the Mount Forest Chamber office... to pick up area info... fabulous promotion of Ontario tourism.. and then back home to Georgian Bay... where you can do just about anything... free Jazz by the Bay in Thornbury every Sunday night.. head for a swim @ our 3 area Blue Flag beaches... or of course shop for yummy yarns at your LYS= Grey Heron... Ciao for now, Karen

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Apple Hat cutie

In keeping with our Apple Pie Trail product line, we have just finished our children's Apple hat.
The pattern will only be available in our hat kit with instructions to make up in sport, DK & worsted weight yarn. The rolled edge followed by ribbing sets off a nice edge.
The sample is made up in Mission Falls yarn.
Look for it on our shelves next week.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

KnitScene winter 2011 also arrived

It's a wonderful issue- hats- cardies- lacework... all just beautiful...
check it out for yourself...

Once again, we are spoiled for choice... The Grand Palais Shawl is my fav... soft natural white- lace trim- slightly chunky yarn... gorgeous over my fall coat... one more one my must do list...

Knit One Knit All... EZ's new book... It's here!!!

I can't believe my eyes. Standing at my shop door this morning was a package with the new Knit Scene mag and the new hardcover book "Knit One Knit All".
Its delightful photos of recipe cards in Elizabeth's hand writing, fabulous pictures and of course outstanding designs- hats, jackets... which one to make??
I am taking orders... call me
Grey Heron 705-444-0370

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Wednesday afternoons with Lucy

I love Lucy... not Ricardo but Neatby!!.. We had such fun yesterday. I planned to host a Lemonade & Popcorn party every Wednesday afternoon with the knit group so we could watch Lucy Neatby DVDs. Yesterday was our first show. How much fun did we have?? TONS!!... so much so they want to watch the same DVD again. The cast ons, & offs followed by the Inc & Dec was so interesting- they want to view it again... The helpful tips and how to/why info combos was such a good fit.
Sometimes one has to get into knitting for a while so when a DVD of info come along it opens the mind to new concepts instead of confusing one.
They are keeners now to try a few of their new techniques. Next week pictures... We were pleased to have join our group Marsha from PA USA. Her husband was on the golf course and she had dropped into the shop the day before, we chatted about the movie afternoon and she joined right in.
If you might think Lucy's DVDs would be interesting- try it you'll like it!!
Ciao for now, Karen

Apple Leaves by Heather

Heather strikes again..this little beauty is covered in apple leaf patterning... the picture is not my best work but when the camera acts up...
It's a cuff down- Shelridge apple green sock yarn... one of our Apple Pie Trail sock kits.... Our standard ribbed cuff down pattern is included in the box... as well the apple leaf pattern or the apple blossom "Tat" pattern...
Brenda Harris designed the plain sock pattern for us-
That's Brenda of the Cabin Fever fame..
If you haven't yet picked up your copy of the Need a Sock book, there's no time like the present. Socks of all shapes & sizes... add this book to your knitting library & you won't need another...
We do have a wonderful selection of sock yarns- stop by & check us out.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Girly Apple Blossom sock..

Well, Heather's been at it again. Using the Shelridge sock yarn in pinks & purpley shades this gorgeous "Tat" sock emerges. Our apple blossom tat is positioned just about the ankle bone. Who needs a permanent tattoo, just make our "Tat" sock and feel cool...
This pattern is part of our Apple Pie Trail sock kit. Check out this trail. It takes you all over our Southern Georgian Bay region. You will have a wonderful day...
Contact for sock kit inquiries.

My new project gets started...

I have choosen Softspun from Briggs & Little to make a beautiful scarf from the latest Knits Weekend mag.
I'm starting the Wheat Field Scarflette by Cecily Glowik MacDonald. It's cute and do-able in a short time, even though cast on is 422sts... no time for chatting while that's happening.
stay tuned for more pics!!

Saturday, July 2, 2011

Knits Weekend has arrived

The new knits weekend edition has arrived at the shop. Oh boy... so many wonderful things to make. I have my eye on a cute little wheat colour scarf...
The sweater shown on the mag front is so nice- side to side - garter - Noro- all great features. This just might have to be my fall sweater...

$15.99 only 3 left... hot item..