Chicago (CBS) — On Black Friday, if brick-and-mortar stores are crowded and the cash registers ringing, it’s no accident.
Stephanie Edwards of Enjoy, An Urban General Store said competing for shoppers is part of the retail game. Most of the the kitschy, novelty items at Enjoy are already available online.
“The challenge is competing with online retailers where you can sit on your couch,” Edwards said.
To compete, management has culled together a more knowledgeable staff, sells more items that customers are asking for and keeps as much on display as possible. It’s a constant effort.
“If it costs us more to do business, it is worth it,” Edwards said.
This is a year when the Chicago area has seen the demise of big box retailers like Carson’s and Sears, major retailers with difficulties adapting to new consumer habits.
“I think because we are a small business, we’re able to adapt and change,” Edwards said.
Anthony Qaiyum of Merz Apothecary agrees.
“As a small business person, you need to be able to have diversified sales channels,” Qaiyum said.
Family owned and operated, Merz Apothecary has sold an eclectic mix of soaps and perfumes since 1875. In order to keep up with the changing times, the pharmacy has cultivated a website and mail-order business that was originally meant to complement their brick-and-mortar operations.
“We’ll probably do 500 to 700 orders out the back door today,” Qaiyum said.
Business in the store is healthy, but now it accounts for only 30 percent of total sales.
“For us, it’s really about how do we take what we do at the store and then do it on our own website,” Qaiyum said.
It means even the mom-and-pop shop on the corner needs to be open to change in a constantly evolving retail environment.