katieburke_pomegranatewarehouse

Facing the Strange

June 19, 2017

By Katie Burke

Pomegranate will celebrate its 50th anniversary next year. This is a little bit mind-blowing, even for those of us who have been in it for the long haul. On reflection, I’ve been pondering this question: how do we all maintain energy for our jobs without burning out or feeling like we’re continually pushing a Jeff Koons sculpture up a never-ending hill, a la Sisyphus and his rock? Even ardent passion for our profession can wear down against political, social, and economic issues, from within our own institutions to our local communities to the world at large.

The word that comes to mind is adaptability. Sticking to the tried and true can work beautifully—don’t fix it if it ain’t broke—but it can also become a rut. Change—in procedures, in vehicles of communication, in presentation, in content—can keep us engaged and nimble.

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pittsburgh-skyline-3

How Effective Is Your Store’s Customer Service?

May 8, 2017

At MSA Forward 2017, we were surrounded by colleagues and connections so willing to offer insight, guidance and open minds. Some of those individuals sat next to us during the educational sessions and some led the discussion from the podium.

To close out MSA’s 62nd annual Retail Conference & Expo, we welcomed Louis Roden, founder and lead facilitator of Inspire Consulting Group, to the stage during the Closing Keynote Session, sponsored by Popcorn Custom Products. His presentation, “Creating Customer Loyalty for Life!” resonated immediately with MSA Forward 2017 attendees, who walked out of the ballroom buzzing with excitement and inspiration, and striking up conversations with fellow attendees to discuss immediate actions they could implement upon their return to their institutions.

In case you were unable to join us in Pittsburgh, had to catch an early flight or would simply like a refresher on the great material Roden shared, here’s a snapshot of his dynamic insight.

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pittsburgh-river-cruise

Rewarding (and Awarding) the Spirit of MSA

May 1, 2017

Last week, hundreds of MSA members—museum store professionals and vendors alike—had the opportunity to come together to learn, buy, sell, network and explore at MSA Forward 2017, the 62nd annual Retail Conference & Expo.

We were able to catch up with old friends, grab lunch with new connections and discover products that are destined to be top-sellers in our stores. (Many of us even went for a River Cruise or took home a gift or two for ourselves from the Silent Auction.)

The MSA community is a vibrant one—an endless well of ideas and source of support. Chief among the words used to describe MSA members are “creative” and “passionate.”

At MSA Forward 2017, we were able to recognize several of the leaders within the community for that very creativity, passion, hard work and dedication that makes the MSA community so special.

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deland-speaking

Building a Retail Team of Complementary Thinkers

January 23, 2017

By Susan DeLand

The customer’s experience is paramount in museum retail, which means putting together a team of employees that can ensure a positive outcome. There are many aspects to consider when forming a team—and one of them is the individual’s style of thinking.

So, how should strategic thinking play into your museum store’s team?

The strategic thinking mindset is a way of looking at your business for the long term. It’s getting your brain out of the weeds. Moving your business forward is both analytical and creative, and involves systems thinking, focusing on the big picture and identifying leverage.

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2017 Planning: How to Prepare for the Unexpected

December 19, 2016

By Cathy Nagle-Ervin

This time of year always brings about reflections on the year that is just about to come to an end. (As I am writing this blog post, I actually am humming “Auld Lang Syne” in the back of my head!) Our company’s fiscal year has come to a close, inventory counts have been finalized and all the performance reviews have been completed. It seems like the perfect time to review 2016.

If you asked me in February my plan for 2016, I can tell you that my answer then was quite different than my answer was in August. My plan has taken many unexpected turns in the road this year—a few anticipated, but the majority not.

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ayersprice_shopability

How to Put Yourself in Your Customer’s Shoes

December 5, 2016

By Dan Ayers-Price

Shopability—I don’t even think it is a real word. Webster’s doesn’t know what to make of it. But, I dare say that we, as MSA retailers, fully understand what shopability is and the importance it plays in our lives (even if it is a made-up word).

The term “shopability” has been around a long time, and numerous articles have tried to define it. One of the best was authored by Dr. Raymond Burke, where he defined 10 principles of retail shopability. His top four priorities—showing the product, providing visual aids, simplifying presentation and minimizing clutter—all resonated with me for my own stores.

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griffiths_refitting-2-0

Lessons Learned from a Museum Shop Refitting

November 28, 2016

By Paul Griffiths

Those of you who were at the MSA 2015 conference in Hartford, CT, and were lovely enough to attend my session, entitled, “A Museum Shop Fit for a King,” may remember me discussing various issues we had with our new shop at the Mary Rose Museum in England. Well, I am delighted to say, in 2016, we have managed to redo, remodel and resolve many of these issues.

For those of you who weren’t there, let’s recap.

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Challenges and Surprising KPIs of a Museum Store Operation in Laos

November 14, 2016

By Phil Zuckerman

One of MSA’s newest members is Alai Sayawed, the Store Manager at Traditional Arts and Ethnology Center (TAEC) in Luang Prabang, Laos. Last week, while I was in Laos, I had the privilege of visiting the museum, and spending some time with Alai and the museum staff to learn about the operational challenges and successes of having a museum and museum store in one of the world’s poorest countries.

Laos is in Southeast Asia. It is landlocked by Myanmar and China to the north, Vietnam to the east, Cambodia to the south, and Thailand to the west. This has isolated Laos and made importing and exporting very expensive.

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Museum Stores Volunteers and Department of Labor

October 3, 2016

Do you have volunteers in your Museum Store? Recently, our Chief Operating Officer asked us to review our intern and volunteer program museum wide to ascertain if we were in alignment with the Department of Labor. Many of us were surprised to learn that we needed to update our programs. Volunteers and interns have long been the background of the museum world and it’s very important for all of us to be aware of the latest standards. According to the Department of Labor (DOL), interns and volunteers are not employees by definition of an employee/employer relationship.
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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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