Sunday, November 11, 2007

Retailers Union?

Two downtown Racine retailers are seeking to organize other downtown businesses such that they cooperate for the good of all downtown retailers. So far, the group has suggested that downtown retailers stay open later on Fridays during the Christmas season and to offer limited Sunday hours. I can support this initiative as I have been preaching, and practicing, the notion that we need to better accomodate our customers with longer hours. So far, so good.

Now I have a sneaking suspicion that this group may offer some suggestions that I will not be able to support. Perhaps it is raging paranoia on my part, but I will not be in the least surprised if they will initiate a program to increase cooperation between retailers by "suggesting" which products or product lines a retailer may sell. It is my sincere hope that they do not take this step.

I very much want to have cordial and cooperative relations with fellow retailers downtown. Yet there are limits to the kind of organized activities that I could support. As a firm believer in freedom, I would resist and oppose any efforts by a group of people to tell me how to run my business. The phrase "mind your own business" seems particularly appropriate in this context.

My hope is that downtown retailers who are struggling will take a hard look at their internal operations rather than mistakenly assume that there is a collective solution to their business concerns. Are your products interesting? Are they displayed in an attractive manner? Are they priced to move? How do you treat your customers? Do you complain to customers about business? Do you manage your employees well? What is working? What isn't?

I want Racine to have a bustling and successful downtown. As such, I want my neighboring businesses to succeed, as it is better to have a thriving business next door than to have a vacancy.

My advice to downtown retailers: Focus more on internal operations and less on collective action.


Anonymous said...

The union would be for your own good. You could sleep at nights knowing the store next to you wasn't selling sarees.

Denis Navratil said...

The store next to me should be able to sell any legal product or service they want without interference from me, you, the government, or a union.

Restricting someone else's right to free trade may help me financially, it is true. But there are things more important than money anon.

Anonymous said...

Calm down. My post was meant as lighthearted - see your post about the deck.
The zoning & planning comm or a union, both reduce choice.

Denis Navratil said...

Sorry anon. I probably confused you with another anon, understandably, as you both are anonymous. I don't have a resevoir of patience for the anon I thought you were. Why not pick a nickname and stick with it so we don't have this problem again?

Anonymous said...

If I owned a store in downtwon and had this group of people trying to help my buisness improve, I would not only support it but i would also do everything i could to help them! Maybe you should look into what they truely do because you seem to be missing the point.