Empty space is an enemy of small town retail stores. Empty shelves and empty space make customers think you don’t have much to sell. They already think you don’t have much because that’s the stereotype of small town stores.
You can combat this perception easily: fill all empty space, floor to ceiling.
Secret: You can fill with anything relevant to your business.
- Use gift bags with tissue paper to fill the top shelf
- Fill lower shelves with empty merchandise boxes
- Hang themed items from the ceiling
- Use “shop small” decorations like banners and pendants to fill in
Use whatever works in your business. One paint store used empty paint cans to fill the top shelf. They didn’t even have labels, but they filled the space!
The kitchen store in the picture used all kinds of vintage kitchen items to fill empty ceiling space. Almost any business can find some vintage-themed items to display.
It’s better for your rural store to feel a bit crowded than to feel sparse. You’d rather have customers thinking, “They have a lot of stuff” than “There wasn’t much in that store.”
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Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town business people. She and her husband have a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.