A reader emailed me a few weeks back asking how to find stores to buy their line of greetings cards. After replying to his email, I realized there are probably more producers out there asking the same thing. So, here are some of the tips I emailed my reader.
There are a couple different ways to locate possible gift retail outlets that will be interested in your line of products, but they require some ‘leg work’. When I first started my sales rep business, I found the best way to find gift stores is to actually walk the downtown or the ‘historical’ section of town to see what stores I could find. Of course this works if you are already in a particular town, but not very effective if you are not on the road.
Looking in the yellow pages of the phone book under Gift Stores should give you a good list of shops that would be worth talking with. Often times, if you talk to one store that is not interested in your products, they will be able to give you the name of a store that is interested.
The local Chamber of Commerce office can be a great resource if you stop by (or call them) with your inquiry. Depending on the town and the Chamber employees, you can glean lots of information about the area and the local gift shops. The down side of the Chamber office is they will often only refer you to Chamber members rather than ALL the possible gift stores in the area.
Another option to finding gift stores is to search via the internet, try http://www.yellowpages.com/. If you enter in gift store and the city where you are looking, you will get a good list of stores in those towns.
If you have friends of a network of friends that are selling to gift shops in the area, you might ask them for referrals. But don’t be disappointed if they chose not to help as they may see you as competition!
Locating gift shops is no easy task, but starting with some of the options above will help you get started!