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WSA Wrap: NSRA Brings in Big Crowd

The packed house at this year’s NSRA Conference at the Tuscany Suites in Las Vegas spoke volumes about the difficult retail environment.

LAS VEGAS — The packed house at this year’s NSRA Conference at the Tuscany Suites in Las Vegas spoke volumes about the difficult retail environment — roughly 275 independents came to seek tips on how to survive the recession.

“When times are difficult, peer-to-peer interaction is extremely important,” said NSRA President Chuck Schuyler. “Quite a few attendees in that room haven’t seen serious downturns before, and they can gain a lot by networking with those who have.”

Store owners started the day’s conference on a positive note.

“Let’s look forward with optimism to the times ahead,” conference chair Todd Lews, director and treasurer of Tyrone, Pa.-based Shoe Fly Shoes, said in his opening remarks, and the rest of the program followed a similar theme.

Titled “Retail Makeover: In Tough Times, It’s Time to Make Changes,” the conference featured a keynote by Scott Deming, CEO and founder of the RCI marketing and advertising company. Deming urged store owners to focus on customer service and creating a solid in-store experience to motivate spending.

“Consumers can get your product anywhere,” Deming told the crowd. “They’ll come to your store because they like you and the way they were treated. And if they have a bad experience, they’ll tell everyone they know.”

The day’s breakout sessions included presentations on how to develop a loyal clientele and improve the customer’s first impression.

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