Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mid-Summer Newsletter & Back To School Special

Earlier this morning, I tried to copy and paste our newsletter onto Blogger but it didn't work so I tried deleting it.  I'm afraid, though, that a link went out anyway, and for that, I'm sorry.  Let's try that again and we'll be back next week with our regular blog posts!

WFS' Mid-Summer Newsletter & Back To School Special

Dear Friends,

We find ourselves at that bitter-sweet junction of summer where we look toward sending the kids back for another exciting semester of school.  We'll explain how we can help you save time and money in the article below.  WFS carries much needed office essentials, too - most of them made out of recycled materials and made right here in the United States - come see us instead of "running down the hill"!  With gas prices still on the increase, it only makes sense to shop locally.

Scott and I attended the California Gift show recently what a show it was!  So many great things we're finding that are American made or made by local companies.  Look for these exciting new products to be delivered from now though the fall season!  We're also in the planning stages with several Altadena artists, and we can expect to see their creations in store soon. 

Things are heating up in Altadena - not just from the summer heat, but from all the great events going on around town!  Never say there's nothing to do here.  From the wonderful Concerts In The Park series from the Sheriffs Support Group to individual events put on by local businesses, there's a whole garden of activities available to enjoy.  This month will see our next Fancy Food Truck Fridays, a joint venture with Webster's Community Pharmacy and Webster's Liquor, on August 12th.  Our wonderfully intimate, humorous and delicious Wine Tastings With's Anne Bannon and Michael Holland continue this month, on August 20th.  Scroll down for all the pertinent information on both events!

July was an incredible month, with such an outpouring of caring and love, exhibited through our collection of canned food items for Friends In Deed! It started early on in July and stemmed from this article in the Pasadena Star News. We'd like to thank them for their help passing the message along with this article and thank you all for answering the call.  We now have a huge box of food that we'll donate to them this week - well done, Altadena!  Just a note to remind you that we take donations of those small toiletries received at hotels or travel-sized, unused toiletries for All Saints Church all year 'round, as well as monetary donations for the Bright Future Scholars via the "Dollars For Scholars" collection jars - look for these collection spots next time you're in the store.

Speaking of good deeds, who hasn't heard about Altadena's canine hero, Brave Paco, the chihuahua that's taking a bite out of crime!  He's ten pounds of lean, mean, burglar-chasing muscle and we're glad he's patrolling the streets of the North Lake Business District!  Your chance to meet Paco and his owner is coming up at the next Fancy Food Truck Friday event - you don't want to miss this paw-tograph op!

We hope to see you soon!

Lori & Scott Webster

Stay Local & Save!  WFS' Back To School Special
It's the time of year for getting your children ready to get back into the swing of the new school season!  We know that times are challenging and that you're all pressed for time, so we're offering you a way to shop locally and save.  From August 1st through the 31st, when you spend $50.00 on back to school items, you'll save 25% - that's our employee discount plus 5%! That's $37.50 for $50.00 worth of school necessities! Tell your friends and neighbors and forward this email to them, so everyone can take advantage of this historic savings opportunity!

From binders and notebooks, to filler paper, composition books, index cards, pencils, pens, erasers, rulers, scissors, crayons, protractors and everything in between, Back To School shopping has never been easier or more fun.  Sip a cup of ice cold lemonade, have a cookie and listen to our classic oldies playing in the background, WFS is THE place for buying your school essentials!  We defy you to find better service anywhere else! This year, we even have paper book covers - yes, we finally found someone who makes these, and they're on our shelves now!


Fancy Food Truck Fridays!
Great Eating, Community Style                            
Every 2nd Friday of the month we have at least six different Fancy Food Trucks in the Webster's parking lot.  A community favorite since its inception in February, everyone looks forward to greeting friends at our tables where everyone eats family-style!  Brave Paco, Altadena's canine crime fighter will be making an appearance so you won't want to miss this opportunity for a paw-tograph!

Our event this month is on Friday, August 12th, from 5:00 pm until 9:00, and the Shops At Webster's will be open for your enjoyment.  Each shop has it's own ambiance, entertainment and/or specials, so please come in and enjoy it all before or after you eat! 

This month's Fancy Food Trucks are:

A Rockin Ice

Look for the event announcement on our Facebook page soon to see what's happening that evening inside the store!

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Sunday, July 24, 2011

Engagement Exercise

What do you get when you combine a fabulous international shopping venue with a retailer that loves to decorate?  You get the most incredible week, and if you've been keeping up with us on our Facebook page, you'll know that Scott and I've been at the California Gift Show.  So many fascinating things to look at, so many places to go and people to see, it truly can be a scramble - but a very exciting scramble it is!  It's always a special treat to connect with the leaders in our industry, even more so to listen to their synopsis of the hot topics affecting retailers today. 

On Saturday, Scott and I hit the Convention Center for a retailer's roundtable discussion with four such ladies.  The group of four was moderated by Marisa Marcantonio, former style editor for House Beautiful and O at Home, an Oprah Magazine, and author of the Stylebeat blog.  She gracefully led the three panelists, Gifts and Decorative Accessories Magazine's editor-in-chief Carolyn Kennedy; Jenny Heinzen York, the editor-in-chief of Home Accents Today; and Traditional Home Magazine's Senior Design and Style editor Krissa Rossbund; in a discussion that was informative, inspirational and touching. 

The discussion centered around what retailers in today's rough market should and could be doing to not only increase their bottom line, but reach beyond that to touch their customer's lives in a positive fashion.  There was talk of target markets and knowing who your customers are.  For those of us who are struggling to make it to the next season, their advice was to engage!  Engagement takes many forms these days, but we retailers should be using all the new sources, such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn to communicate with and grow our customer bases.  But that's not the only way to reach people.  Have you ever noticed that when you tell your kids, or anyone else, a story they tend to settle back and listen?  How many retailers out there are only using the avenues I mentioned to blindly shout "Here we are and this is what we've got!" into the world-wide web without giving your potential followers and customers anything else to identify you with?

Tell them your story, the ladies advised.  Let people know who you are, what you stand for and what you can do for your community!  What a waste of time if you're not thinking of how to impress your brand - your store and your story - into your customer's mind.  I've often told our crew here at WFS that when we're at the store, it's like we're on stage.  Every time we interact with a customer, we should be giving them not only service, we should be giving them an experience (and hopefully, a pleasant one).  We should be giving them something to talk about, so they can in turn tell their friends about you.  In essence, creating a community of people who are willing to come to you, to listen to your story, to recognize your brand and identify it with a positive experience.

In towns and cities across the nation, small stores like WFS are creating communities of people who want to shop with them.  They know the story of the store, what they're about and what they do.  Don't leave them guessing, my friends.  Reach out and touch the people with your story and let them know how you can help them, make their lives easier, and most of all, make them feel they matter!  It's a harsh world out there - a savvy retailer will make sure that her customers are experiencing shopping bliss, even if just for a few minutes.

We'll talk more about engagement and important trends you can take advantage of next week.  Until then, have a wonderful week.  Don't forget, our Fancy Food Truck Fridays is coming up on August 12th, and our monthly Wine Tasting Event (Frosty Whites For Summer!) will be on August 20th!

Lori & Scott

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Believe In Change

As I sit here and type, I'm reflecting on the two days Scott and I took off of work because of Carmegeddon.  While it was fun to putter around the house we see so little of, we found ourselves antsy about not being there.  It's a funny feeling to be away from the business you're running, especially these days, but I'm glad for a little bit of distance.  Perspective is good as is planning, and we did some of both this weekend. 

As we were discussing the very real need for increased business in our store, Scott mentioned some of the online reviews he's read about Webster's, and the many comments he's heard over the years from the store's customers.  He says that the general consensus of opinion about the store was this statement: "If you can't find it anywhere else, you'll be able to find it at Webster's".  No matter what "it" was, people thought that you could find it here.  He's also heard people sat repeatedly "I went to ____ and ____ and couldn't find it, but you have it!"  Scott asked me this question - "Where would Webster's be today if people would've come here first?  Why, if in the majority's mind, we carried everything, didn't they come to us first?"

That's a question that isn't simple to answer and is a moot point anyway, as the pharmacy business is owned by a different family now.  The aura of the Webster's of old still affects us all today, however.  Change is never comfortable, especially with a store that's been in the community so long.  One whose cachet was fading, maybe, and one who was a last resort shopping destination, but was one who was still there - safe and predictable.

Now the game's changed and the store is not the same as it was.  Times have changed, as we all know, and shopping habits are in flux.  The wholesalers who supply what our old store offered are getting more and more difficult for small, independent retailers like us to work with.  The minimum purchase is getting higher and their short terms are not negotiable.  Some small office supply and business product manufacturers have gone out of business altogether, which gives the impression that we've chosen not to carry that item anymore.  All of this together doesn't exactly smack of confident retailing and our dwindling sales are proving it true - you can't sell it if you don't have it.

All of us here at Webster's need your support, because all of us want to be strong enough to support you, the community.  With the anticipated revitalization of the pharmacy, we are placing our hope in your continued goodwill and trust.  Trust us that we intend to bring you the very best shopping experience we can.  Both Scott and I are working with Michael and Meredith to support their efforts to accomplish this because we believe.  We believe in ourselves, our crew and our talents.  Let us show you what we can do - be a supporter of positive change and tell a friend about us!  Your good word of mouth is more powerful than a thousand dollars worth of advertising, so go tell someone about us or share this post - we deeply appreciate it!

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Community In The Works

Last week we celebrated Independents Week, as we discussed in my last post, and I've never been more proud to be a part of the business landscape in Altadena.  Even though times are tough financially, there is an undercurrent running though our community that is so exciting, it's really inspirational!

Scott and I have the honor of knowing so many individuals, most of whom are active with various civic groups in town, that have been working tirelessly to challenge the status quo and improve our daily lives.  From the Arroyo Time Bank and the Altadena Urban Farmer's Market to the Altadena Town Council, Altadena Heritage, and the Altadena Historical Society, these folks are devoting their time and effort to make a discernible difference here.  They're paving the way for a sustainable future for Altadena and along the way, they're also educating our residents how to achieve and maintain it.

On Friday, during our Fancy Food Truck Friday event, we had two such people in the store, donating their time to making the evening more enjoyable for everyone.  Susann Edmonds, owner of A Chair In The Garden and head chef at Jabberwocky Smooth Jerk was there handing out samples of pork roast cooked with the proprietary sauce while local artist HB3 (Hugh Bonar) made magical sounds with his guitar, utterly enchanting everyone who came in.  It was quite a night and I'd like to thank both Susann and Hugh for helping make the event even more of a community party!

The groups I mentioned above, and others that I haven't yet mentioned, all need our help.  Not just some of our money - what they need is your attention and most of all, they need your participation.  You can find out more about them at the websites the links will take you to.  I can tell you that they can't do what they need to do without our caring about them.  In my ideal world, we would all be working together for the common good, businesses and community members alike.  If you live in Altadena, we urge you to take a moment, check out these sites and get invested in the town you live in.....only good could come of it!

Thanks for listening and we hope you all have a fabulous week!

Lori & Scott

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Independents For All!

As America prepares to celebrate Independence Day, communities nationwide are using the occasion to celebrate independent businesses that provide opportunities for personal freedom, local self-reliance and form the backbone of most local economies. Running from 7/1/11 to 7/7/11, WFS salutes all our brothers and sisters in independent businesses!

Public education is at the core of Independents Week. “Where we choose to spend our money plays a vital role in forming the character of our communities,” said Jennifer Rockne, director of the American Independent Business Alliance (AMIBA).  By patronizing locally-owned businesses, we not only can get competitive values, but create more opportunity and wealth within our communities. "The events also help inform government officials", Rockne says. “Many elected officials aren’t aware their hometown businesses provide far greater local economic benefit from each sales dollar than chains. Our role is to help them make more informed decisions.”  If you ever have questions in regard to this subject, please feel free to contact us, we'd be happy to provide you with information!

 Scott and I hope you have a fun-filled Fourth of July!  Remember, next Friday evening is our Fancy Food Truck Fridays event, with star truck Ragin Cajun   Make sure to check for the event notification in our newsletter going out this week and on Facebook!   Our next Wine Pairing event will be held on Saturday, July 16th.  Our theme this month is in honor of Bastille Day, so we'll be pairing French wines with some tasty French-inspired cuisine.  Stay tuned to our Facebook page for further information!

Until next week, my friends!

Lori and Scott

                                                     My Country 'Tis of Thee
                                                     Written by: Samuel Francis Smith

                                                     My country, 'tis of thee,
                                                     Sweet land of Liberty,
                                                     Of thee I sing;
                                                     Land where my fathers died,
                                                     Land of the pilgrim's pride!
                                                     From ev'ry mountain side,
                                                     Let freedom ring!

                                                    Our fathers' God, to Thee,
                                                    Author of Liberty,
                                                    To Thee we sing.
                                                    Long may our land be bright,
                                                   With freedom's holy light;
                                                   Protect us by Thy might,
                                                   Great God, our King!