|Dana Norman and Michele Rothberg bought discount card store CardSmart in Plainview, N.Y., because they thought there was an opportunity to sell to a more affluent clientele.|
The business partners recognized immediately that CardSmart's merchandise needed to expand. They have added moderately priced giftware such as picture frames, hostess gifts, scarves and jewelry. "You have to maximize every inch of space
"That's the difference between a Party City and us," says Norman, a former cardiovascular ultrasound technician. For instance, CardSmart's hometown has many children who attend sleepaway camp. It's common to have "Welcome Home" balloons for them at the end. Norman and Rothberg, living in the area and having kids of their own, knew that and were prepared. "We did not run out. Party City did," she says. 3. Get to know your customers.
"We've been here six months, we probably know 50 to 100 customers on a first-name basis. It's cliche, but everybody knows your name here," she says. To follow Laurie Kulikowski on Twitter, go to: http://twitter.com/#!/LKulikowski