A Pivot...

Formerly The Visioneer

I started The Visioneer six months ago because I wanted a creative writing project and I also wanted to help business owners. In the process, I found that there was a particular type of business owner I frequently featured and, given my background, that makes sense.

I grew up a Main Street brat, with parents, grandparents and uncles owning businesses in the commercial district (think four square blocks) of our little town. It was an awesome way to grow up and I learned so much about customer experience from those hours spent at the appliance store.

Being a small business owner is never easy, though, particularly in retail. I watched my parents put in long hours. I remember my mom falling asleep in the recliner with a ledger on her lap. (For my Gen Z friends, that’s a thing people used to do accounting with. It was paper.) And the struggles created when Walmart started selling appliances in the next town over had a profound effect on me.

Eventually my parents closed shop for reasons beyond Walmart, and these days the Main Street of that little town is fairly vacant. There’s been a small amount of revitalization, but I can’t help feeling like some sense of community got lost right along with those mom and pop shops.

Our world needs more small retailers. Especially those of us in small towns and rural areas. Amazon might be convenient, but it never sponsored your kid’s little league, did it?

So here’s where we address the pivot. The Visioneer was a great idea, but it wasn’t specific enough because, well, I was still figuring out who I wanted to serve. My hope is that Click and Mortar becomes a guide for helping local retailers thrive online. I want to build a community for businesses that support their communities.

With my background in ecommerce and marketing, I’ve seen the challenges of operating and growing in a digital and physical world. I know it’s not easy. But I also think it makes our businesses better when we meet our customers where they are already at - and today’s customer is everywhere. They expect you to be, too.

And if that overwhelms you, don’t sweat it. We’re going to do this together.

Stay tuned next week for a new format. Every issue will offer something you can try to increase your store’s online presence. I know you’re crazy busy keeping shop, so don’t worry. We’ll take baby steps and eat this elephant one bite at a time!