gpa tobin talking about randhurst
5A home. have no plan to welcome the hour that be for to of people in 'Optimism* Biggest Neighborhood Need, Asserts Retailer "There is nothing wrong with neighborhood retailing that can't be cured by optimism, better attention to customers and intelligent promotion," James F. Tobin, president of Wieboldt Stores, Inc., told neighborhood retail leaders attending a conference on community retail 9 to 6 6) problems sponsored by Chicago Retail Merchants association. Speaking on "The Future of Neighborhood Retailing," Tobin urged neighborhood merchants to concentrate their thinking on how to increase sales and to "think less about what the imagined imagined discounter and other foims of retail competition are doing to us Let's look at what we can do, not worry about what we can't do " Discussing the effect of outlying outlying shopping centeis and dis count stoics on neighboihood business sections in the city, Tobin declaied: "There is a well - known axiom among real estate specialists specialists that the center core of a city acts like a giant magnet. People will travel from their homes towards the center to do their shopping but will not travel very far in the opposite direction. "We find this to be born out by our own studies of where our customers come from," add ed the Wieboldt Stores execu live. * * * As an example he cited the market outlined for Wieboldt at the Randhurst shopping center center as going only to the southern southern edge of Des Flames, three or four miles from the center, but northwest to Barrington, some 18 to 20 miles M e r c h a n t s who represent small organizations hold the greatest competitive tool that can be devised, according to the executive. "Better than rut-rate prices, stronger than big sales events at no profit is the ability that you each have to know your customers and to give them peisonal Interest, p e r s o n a l service, to give that warmth and friendliness that people crave and appreciate." The only reason retail neigh borhoods developed, Tobin continued, continued, was that "only the neighborhood stores could give this kind of friendly, human service the great Loop stores could not give " * * Â» "Dehumanized retailing is the curse of bigness," he added. Tobin charged that in the lush years of business, from 1940 to the middle '50s, the trend was away from friendly, human service "We didn't need it. We became became careless. A s s u r e d l y MEN'S COTTON FLANNEL SPORT some of the neighborhoods c h a n g e d -- old moved away--but this was so giadtial that we were hardly aware of it. We were lulled into the belief that we were teirific. The customer owed us something-." He uiged letail mei chants identify t h e m s e l v strongly wtih the community, adding that neighboihood store owners were an integral and portant pait of a community. Along this line Tobin suggested broader support of all kinds of neighboi hood a c t i v chuiches, PTA groups, schools and boys clubs. * * Â» Commenting on merchandis ing promotions developed bv neighborhood associations, h e praised them as highly desirable, but took the stand that these efforts weie not enough. Exploring areas in w h i neighborhood retailers c o u better identify with their com mumties and at the same time "make it fun to shop in the neighborhood," t h e Wieboldt president outlined ways this could be accomplished It's Important, he told retailers, retailers, to do more at Christmas Christmas than just decorate streets and stores. "What can you do to create the feeling of gaiety and pleasant, pleasant, warm human, activity that should be part of the neighbor- hood'' How about taking one the empty store buildings in neighborhood, getting free rent for a couple of weeks and enthrone enthrone a community S a n Glaus there 9 " he suggested. * * * Continuing on the theme of building up a better neighbor hood image, he urged consideration consideration of plans for promoting Junior Achievement clubs in the area by allowing Achievers to display and sell their products m the stores; advancing the cause of Little league basketball clubs, giving away calendars to customers and other inexpensive inexpensive items as a means of promoting good will. "The things one can do a small store on a limited amount of money are limited only by the imagination of the merchant. Remember, neighborhood neighborhood centers were developed developed by merchants with imagination," imagination," Tobin reminded retailers. retailers. He asked that merchants keep up store appearances, trim win dows often, update e l e c signs, and make interiors bright, clean and inviting. To this he added giving parking stamps city off street parking lots. "I was very much interested in the strenuous opposition resi dents put up against the pro posal that great areas of our near South Side be condemned for the Umveisitv of Illinois' Chicago campus Many of us thought this was a defeated neighborhood -- some thought it a slum "But in the opposition of the residents there was the clue to people's attitudes surrounding surrounding our o t h e r neighborhood centers," Tohin pointed out. "As good m e r c h a n should woi k with the people a community 1o draw upon hurrlan warmth and loyalty I doubt if we aie doing this. In my category theie is no su(h thng as a complete defeat of neighboi hood "