Seeking Your Unique Content for MSA Blogs!

June 5, 2017

By The MSA Membership Committee

MSA is always seeking relevant content for our weekly blog, and we hope you are interested in sharing your skills and experiences with the MSA community. All of the members of our community are trained professionals and experts in the field – and have interesting, personal, and relevant material to share with their peers. One of the defining characteristics of our Association is their unflagging willingness to assist each other — and a blog post offering info, suggestions, and practical steps is a way to spread that word across our community!

We also revamped the MSA blog to include a photo of the MSA blogger’s business and an image of the author to personalize the post. I hope you will all consider this as a way to shine at your own institutions and businesses; publishing your expertise in a blog for your association of 1,400+ members shows the knowledge and willingness to contribute that makes you an industry leader.

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3…2…1…Museum Store Sunday Launch!

May 22, 2017

by Susan Tudor

MSA believes the time is right to amplify the sharing of why museum stores matter. If you were in Pittsburgh for MSA Forward 2017 or read Executive Director, Jason Harbonic’s email announcement, you have heard about MUSEUM STORE SUNDAY (MSS). But are you still wondering what it is all about? I am super excited to share the latest information about this ongoing initiative launching November 26, 2017.

 MSS Background: Every year, consumers are encouraged to participate in shopping campaigns for Black Friday, (11/24/17), Shop Small Saturday (11/25/17), Cyber Monday (11/27/17) and Giving Tuesday (11/28/17). Consumers plan their holiday purchases to coordinate with these days, and participating retailers see a resulting patterned spike in sales. The Museum Store Association has developed a similar shopping campaign, sandwiched in the middle of these events called MUSEUM STORE SUNDAY.  MSA’s launch of the first Museum Store Sunday is scheduled for November 26, 2017 and will span this country and abroad. MSS participation is available to all nonprofit retailers whether MSA members or non-members. MSA members will receive special marketing information, event and publicity assistance. If you’re not an MSA member, join MSA today to take advantage of these members-only opportunities.

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Visual Display Tips for the Non-Artist in Each of Us

September 19, 2016

Shoppers are visual human beings. Their first impression in your stores is driven by sight. Familiarizing yourself and your staff with a few basic design principles is all you need in order to start making a better first impression. You do not need an art background or visual merchandising experience to improve your store visually. This last thought is what I wanted to explore.  My intern, Annelyse Juin, was my willing visual display student. Annelyse had no previous display experience and is currently an advertising major at the University of Florida. With just the following tips, she was able to create the sample displays used to illustrate this blog.
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You think you’re planning for the future – BUT…

Sept. 12, 2016

I oversaw deCordova’s museum store for many, many years – and then, a few years ago, I took over as the new Deputy Director for Operations. The Store (and other revenue and operational departments) are under my supervision – and I am incredibly fortunate to have very talented professionals at the helm of each division.

And then of course – change happens….

Many of us see our lives through the lens of work – but life itself contains so many uncontrollable elements that we cannot anticipate. I had a very stable staff in place for some time, and then I was faced with some large-ish gaps and shifting responsibilities. People move on, retire, move away…and the best and safest option is to plan for change. But do we??

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Insights on a New Museum Store as Part of a Major Museum Expansion

August 22, 2016

Is your institution considering a new store or store re-model? There are countless decisions that go into executing the design of a new museum store. Whether managing critical conversations with administrators and architects, or grasping the key issues and facts to consider when assessing a significant change in a store’s design and layout, careful planning is your key to success.

It has been almost a year since we completed a 50,000 foot new wing at the Columbus Museum of Art which includes our new 2,000 sq. ft. Museum Store. Below is a briefing on our process and some of the early results.

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Stachow_Museum Shop 2

Updating Job Descriptions for your Store Employees

August 15, 2016

We all have job descriptions but how often do you update them? Last month I was tasked with updating the job deceptions for the Museum Shop employees. They have not officially been updated since 2011. A lot has changed in the Museum since 2011 and our staffing is much smaller while our rolls have expanded. With that in mind, I am fascinated by larger museums that have buyers for different categories of the store, multiple managers, warehouse people and merchandisers. We have two categories of employees, a Museum Shop Associate (basically the assistant manager) and Museum Shop Sales Assistants. Our job descriptions have four sections; the position purpose, responsibilities, qualifications and working conditions.
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Michel_lobby store

By the Numbers

August 8, 2016

As museum store professionals, we are always concerned with the age-old question, how am I doing? While there are several ways to approach a real answer to that question, the purpose of this article is to discuss Key Performance Indicators (KPI’s). The most recent edition of the Museum Store Association Retail Industry Report offers some great comparatives on many financial categories. This is a great place to start, as you determine exactly where you stand.
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Merchandise Themes for a Focused Museum Store

August 1, 2016

Museum Stores in the 21st Century reflect their times as assertively as they do their disciplines.   The dynamic ways your store can propel your institution’s energy and heritage in the marketplace will be evident in a finely focused merchandise assortment.  Supported by key factors including customer service, ambiance, merchandising and signage, your carefully curated merchandise selection contributes to making your store a unique, valued, and essential destination for partisans of your institution and beyond. An excellent way to focus your product assortment is to develop clear merchandise themes.
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Building and Defining a Retail Culture

July 25, 2016

Culture is intangible. It’s hard to define, it’s difficult to understand, and yet it shapes behavior and structure of an organization. The word “culture” comes from the Latin word “colere” which means to tend to the earth and grow, or cultivate and nurture. Everyone belongs to multiple cultures. You have a work culture, a culture you grew up in, a culture with friends, and with volunteer organizations. But have you ever thought about defining one for your retail operation? And why do you want to do such a thing? Because culture shapes behavior and because that behavior can be changed.
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Embracing the Ordinary

July 18, 2016

In a recent interview for a possible article for the Museum Store Magazine, I was asked about the importance of providing an excellent customer experience during the holiday season.  Yawn.  Was I about to write another blur of words regurgitated by almost every retail store about how they give “outstanding customer service” by offering up what almost every other retail store does?  When “everyone” is doing it, it makes it rather ordinary, I thought.
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