How One Store Eliminated Makeup Lessons

Monday, August 24th, 2015

(And Made Everyone Happier In The Process)

By Michael Raine

Carol CookMusic lessons are an integral part of the business at The Music Room in Palatine, IL, as they are at many MI stores across North America. With 22 teachers on staff and between 400 and 500 students at any given time, scheduling, unsurprisingly, can get complicated. But then there’s this staggering number: between August 2013 and July 2014, The Music Room had 2,500 lesson cancellations. That is 48 cancellations every week, not accounting for holidays.

So what did store owner Carol Cook do about it? She banned cancellations and rescheduling while creating a system that worked better for everyone.

First, let’s take a look at what the policy was before the big change was made in January of this year. Previously, students were able to make up missed lessons within other students’ cancellations. (more…)

An Internship Insider

Wednesday, June 24th, 2015

Creating Mutually-Beneficial Partnerships For Retailers & Students

By Michael Raine

What has your experience been with interns in your store? If you answered “non-existent,” you’re not alone. Having high school, college, or university students intern at MI stores seems to be a rare occurrence in this country. From my experience speaking with Canadian MI retailers, and even searching for a Canadian retailer to speak with for this article, I’m surprised by how resistant many are to the idea, or have simply never considered it. South of the border, however, it appears to be the opposite situation.

Kim wanglerI would say we have more of an issue recruiting students who want to go into the music products industry,” says Kim Wangler, M.M, M.B.A, director of Music Industry Studies at the Hayes School of Music at Appalachian State University in North Carolina. Every one of Wangler’s students must find a full-semester internship in the music industry, and many of them go to MI retailers, from large chains like Guitar Center and Sam Ash to independent local stores all over the U.S. “I have many situations where I have retailers and manufacturers calling me and saying, ‘Hey, we need people.’ Of course, I go out to the NAMM Show and everybody is looking for bright, young individuals looking to go into this field.”


Do Your Store Hours Make Sense?

Thursday, April 23rd, 2015

What are your store hours and how were they determined? You may have given some serious thought to what hours make the most sense for your specific location and customer base. Then again, a “they are what they’ve always been” mentality may have crept in, as it often does. Do you open at 9 a.m. just to drink coffee and surf the web for two hours until traffic picks up, and then find yourself having to push people out at the end of the day because it’s closing time? There are a number of factors to consider when determining the most profitable and sensible hours for your location. It’s important to keep in mind, however, that store hours can be very specific to a given store and location. What makes sense for a music store in one area may not make sense for a music store in the neighbouring community. Nonetheless, here are some things to consider.

Michael Leblanc Tracy LeenmanWhat Is Mandatory?
Before you can get into what are, quite frankly, the more interesting considerations, you first must ensure you’re meeting the regulatory and lease obligations for your location. “So when we think of regulatory, you’re thinking of both the province that you’re in and the municipality within which you operate. You have different operating rules, like Sunday openings on the east coast, for example,” begins Michael LeBlanc, senior VP of marketing and digital retail at the Retail Council of Canada, who has over 20 years’ experience working with both large and small retail companies and also serves at the publisher of the organization’s publication, Canadian Retailer. (more…)

What Advice Do You Wish You Had When Starting

Wednesday, March 11th, 2015

At the recent NAMM Show in Anaheim, thousands of MI retailers took the opportunity to further educate themselves through the wide array of NAMM U sessions. As every top-end professional in any industry knows, you can never stop learning because the world never stops changing.

But while the designated experts on stage at NAMM U are a fantastic source of knowledge and advice, sometimes the best lessons are learned through experience. It can be practical lessons about customer service, broad philosophical ideas about running a business, or simply learning how to maximize your strengths.
With that in mind, Canadian Music Trade spoke with some experienced MI store owners and managers in Canada and asked them one simple question: What bit of advice would have made your work life easier when starting in the MI industry?

Here are some of their responses… (more…)

Shrinking Your Shrinkage Part 2 External Theft

Tuesday, December 23rd, 2014
Stephen O'Keefe

Stephen O’Keefe

Before getting into preventative measures specific to external theft, we should first reiterate one of the main points about internal theft from Part 1, as it is also one of the major deterrents of external theft: employee engagement.

The way in which employee engagement deters internal theft is somewhat obvious because, as Stephen O’Keefe succinctly put it, “People don’t steal from people they like.” The way in which employee engagement
deters external theft is a little more nuanced, but still fairly self-evident. Essentially, engaged employees are more alert and therefore more likely to notice if something is missing, notice a customer acting suspiciously, and more likely to act proactively to protect the interests of the store.

Shrinking Your Shrinkage Part 1: Internal Theft

Monday, November 3rd, 2014
Stephen O'Keefe

Stephen O’Keefe

It is not fun to talk about or even think about, but theft is a fact of life for all retailers. In fact, retail theft – either by customers, employees, or vendors – is a $4.8 billion problem each year in Canada, according to Stephen O’Keefe, VP of operations for the Retail Council of Canada. It can range from the five-dollar capo that gets pocketed by a customer to the $5,000 guitar that an employee rings in for their friend as a $500 guitar. Losses due to theft or fraud, also known as “shrinkage,” come in all shapes and sizes and there is no way to prevent 100 per cent of it. But there are measures retailers can take to greatly decrease its likelihood.