In the retail sector, we’re pretty good about holding our store managers accountable.  We crank out all kinds of objectives and measurements to make sure that each location can ‘hold its own’ as a separate business unit … and heaven help the Store Manager who isn’t up to snuff!

But are we just as diligent in holding District Managers accountable?  Generally speaking, the answer is “No”.

With summer quickly coming to an end and we look ahead to the biggest, most important selling season in retail, we wanted to ask you, who’s leading your team to battle during this make-it-or-break-it time of year?  (And yes, that’s our fearless leader, Kevin Graff, suited up and ready to win at this crazy game we call Retail!)

All joking aside, retail is a battle. 

Relax … we’re not talking about you personally!

In looking through some old newsletters this week, I ran across one that we wrote more than 13 years ago.  I couldn’t help but laugh at how I wrote back then.  But, the story we wrote about resonates as well today as it did back then.  The retail market is more competitive than ever, and we’ve seen a number of well-known brands bite the dust.  So, sit back and enjoy a real life story from 2004!

We talk a lot about the importance of celebrating successes with your retail teams.  There’s no right or wrong way to do this; just make sure you’re actually doing it and making it a part of your regular daily, weekly and monthly operations in the store.

How many of you believed (as I did when I was a toddler) that the Stork brought the new baby home?  Conveniently, that fable left a lot of details out … and saved a lot of blushing!

So, what has the Stork brought to your store?  You see, your new employees are much like new babies (hang in there with me if you’re a new employee … I’m not calling you a baby!)

I love the quote, "If you think you know everything, how smart can you be?'   I'm not sure who wrote this, however, I agree!   Often, when people arrive into a position of power and responsibility, they fail to realize that continued growth is essential to success as a leader. People often confuse busy with growth; busy just means busy.   Busy doesn't even mean that you're not possibly bored. Heck, we're all busy these days.

I had a recent girl’s day out.  Long overdue and naturally, it included a little retail therapy in one of my favourite clothing shops.  Typically, retail therapy doesn’t end up being relaxing on any level for me.  I have a hard time being a “regular customer” without assessing the entire customer experience through my retail expert goggles!  I want to tell you about all the amazing goodies I found that day, but you know I have bigger story to tell, right?

Yes, I'm writing this while sitting on the dock on a beautiful morning up north. There's not much better than a morning on a dock, coffee in hand and the sun slowly rising. It gives you time to think and appreciate the small things in your life.

So, it got me thinking about all the often overlooked things that we don't appreciate enough about working in retail. We spend so much time complaining, worrying and being stressed out that we can forget what a great "place" retail is.

No, your significant other didn’t write the title for this blog.  Nonetheless, it’s likely not the type of title that gets you excited, but give it a minute of reading.

How many times have you said or asked some or all of the following:

In the roles I’ve played in my retail career, I’ve had the pleasure of working with Retail District Managers in various capacities.  As a Store Manager, I’ve reported to District Managers.  As a Marketing Director I’ve relied on District Managers to help execute campaigns in their stores.  And now, in my role at Graff Retail, I collaborate with DM’s on rolling out and sustaining new training programs at store level. 

In all of these roles and through all of these initiatives I’ve learned that there are 2 kinds of District Managers; one is The Pencil Pusher and the other is The Sales Driver.  There’s a big difference between these two types of DM’s.  Let’s take a closer look. 


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