retail news in context, analysis with attitude

There was an interesting story the other day in the New York Times about a small, two-decades old Brooklyn school supplies store, Teachers Choice, that apparently is part of a dying breed - there used to be 3,000 such stores around the country, and now there are fewer than 300.

The Times makes the point that while pretty much everything available in the store probably could be bought online, teachers who go into the store are captivated by “a head-spinning selection of learning charts, themed name plates, achievement certificates and novelty pencil-top erasers, among other items,” especially bulletin board sets.

Vickie Sellick, who manages the store, tells the Times that she “prides herself on knowing her regular customers on a first-name basis. And she makes sure to listen to their requests to keep the store’s inventory up to date,” especially those bulletin board sets.
KC's View:
Teachers Choice has a couple of other advantages - the guy who owns the business also owns the building, and he has a thriving dance school upstairs that helps to support the teachers’ store.

It’d be pretty to think that this model is sustainable. But it isn’t where I would place my bets.