“The big lesson from A&P is that businesses have to keep changing, and when a business stops changing, it’s sentencing itself to death,” Levinson said. “By the late '50s, A&P was not the low-cost retailer. It was just another retailer.”
My husband sent me the article from the Washington Post about the bankruptcy of A&P. It was the store where he shopped while in college at Auburn. Evidently, closer to campus than Kroger. The above statement ended the article and I found it so true for all of us in business whether large or small.
Now, let's be careful about what exactly we are saying about change. We are not talking about a change in what a business stands for, not a change in it's beliefs or it's morals. We are talking about keeping up with the times as far as appearance as in updating the physical appearance of our businesses and updating the operating systems of our business. We are talking about moving with trends of the times as long as they are in keeping with what we are trying to do and say in our business. As a Christian Retailer, I certainly try to keep items in the store that bring others closer to Christ and I have to constantly check myself not to get caught up in all the "outside of our marketplace items" that, well as they may make a buck selling off the front counter, are not really a part of the message people come to the store to receive. But, we do try to really work to find items that meet the needs of our customers. We also try to have buyers meet and interact with some of the customers at some point so they will understand their needs. How do we know what to buy if we do not know the people for whom we are buying?
Anyway, we are not perfect and we are constantly learning but we try to stay open to change. Actually, one of the most frequent lines from our customers is "Oh, you've changed this area, where is the merchandise that was here?" Makes them walk around to find things and in the process discover new merchandise. So...shake it up retailers! Get some new goods, enhance technology, move things around, work for your customers. It may drive them crazy at first but it really will help keep our businesses fresh and different and inviting.