Each year a group of retailers throughout the south, including SummerHouse, get together to learn best practices from each other so that we can bring the very best service and products to our customers. We decided to give you a little behind the scenes to the incredible retreat because after all, we go to them for you.. our customer!
This year the retreat was at Couchwood just south of Hot Springs, Arkansas. Couchwood was the summer home to Harvey Couch. If you’re a history buff you can click here to learn more about this historical home… very cool!
Lisa Palmer and Marty Smith of SummerHouse were amongst retailers Dixon Smith Interiors in Baton Rouge, Atchinson Home in Mobile, Revival Home in Chattanooga, Cobblestone and Vine in Little Rock, and Brendan Bass Showroom in Dallas. Not only did they learn a ton from each other but they invited Bondi Coley, Marketing Manager, and Denise Gilbert, Operations Planning Manager of Lee Industries, a vendor all of the retailers on the trip carry!
Marty Smith, Director of Operations and Merchandising for SummerHouse, answered a few great questions about their retreat. Check them out along with their dreamy pictures from the trip!
Why are these trips so beneficial?
All of the stores that are a part of this yearly retreat are similar in that we carry a lot of the same lines and have many of the same reps. However, it is awesome to see how we can all take the same merchandise and make it look completely different based on our store’s atheistic.
We talk about different things – marketing and advertising, warehousing, delivery special events, new vendors and lines, new artist to carry, staffing, working together as a group to get reduced expenses such as freight, etc.
It is a time for each of us to discuss our successes and struggles and to see if any of the other stores have suggestions to the rest of the group…. I think it is always great to be able to have an open forum with like-minded retailers who aren’t necessarily your competition and to realize that you aren’t alone and there are others who struggle with the same issues that you face each day as a small business.
When vendors come to visit, they usually talk about improvements they are making in their factories, listen to any concerns that we as retailers are having with their lines, show new products or discuss product development, and discuss potential advertising partnerships.
How do SummerHouse clients benefit from these retreats?
I think it benefits our clients, because we are able to find out about vendors that we may not have heard of before and we are able to bring more products and options to our clients that no one else in our area has. Also, it helps us become more efficient which in turn makes for the clients overall experience (from the moment they see our advertising, then walk in the door to purchase, all the way to delivery) to be the best in our area. Customer Service is at the upmost importance for Lisa and the owners of SummerHouse. Things we take away from these meetings also benefit our staff by giving us ideas to make SH a great company to work for and for each employee to come into a work place that is energetic and fun.
Thanks for stopping by! Have a great weekend!!