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Retail Superstars: Inside the 25 Best Independent Stores in America Hardcover – May 28, 2009


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Portfolio Hardcover; first edition (May 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1591842603
  • ISBN-13: 978-1591842606
  • Product Dimensions: 6.3 x 0.9 x 9.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (15 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #800,538 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

I simply love Retail Superstars! While it is an incredible collection of great stories of wildly successful independent retailers, the truth is that a chain-store CEO or a regional director, or a training or accounting department boss, can learn invaluable lessons from these pages. Bravo to George Whalin for a superb job! ---Tom Peters, business guru and bestselling author

George Whalin's passion for retailing shines through on every page of this terrific book, as he takes readers on a magical tour of the twenty-five greatest independent retailers in America. If you're in retail, Retail Superstars is must reading. If you're not, you're going to love the ride. ---Bo Burlingham, editor at large, Inc. magazine; author of Small Giants: Companies That Choose to Be Great Instead of Big

What a great service George Whalin has provided to the retail industry! As only he could do, Whalin is raising the bar on all retailers everywhere. Now takes his challenge: make your store the 'distinguishable and remarkable' twenty-sixth superstar! ---Patricia M. Johnson and Richard F. Outcalt, cofounders, The Retail Owners Institute(R)

About the Author

George Whalin, founder of Retail Management Consultants, died on January 10, 2012, of complications from chemotherapy. He had advised retailers and manufacturers for more nearly 25 years. Prior to his consulting career, he spent 25 years as a store manager, owner, and retail executive. He lectured widely and appeared frequently in the media.

More About the Author

George Whalin died on January 10, 2012, from complications of chemotherapy.

George's experience in retail was extensive and first hand. He started his career on the sales floor and worked his way up. In the 1960s, he opened and managed the original Guitar Center on Sunset Boulevard in Hollywood, California. He sold instruments to the Beatles, Rolling Stones, Jackson Five, Grateful Dead, and many more well-known and not-so-well-known musicians. After leaving the musical instrument business he became the senior training manager for a 125-store consumer electronics chain.

In 1987, George founded Retail Management Consultants, which provided business-building services to retail companies and industry suppliers all across North America. He worked with a wide range of companies in every area of retailing from single-store merchants to leading national chains. His clients also included retail trade associations; buying groups; franchise organizations; and some of the world's best-known consumer products manufacturers, distributors, and suppliers.

George's book, Retail Superstars: Inside the 25 Best Independent Stores in America, is available for Kindle and other electronic readers. His first book, Retail Success! Increase Sales, Maximize Profits, and Wow Your Customers in the Most Competitive Marketplace in History, has been used as supplemental reading in several university retailing courses.

As one of the nation's most highly respected retail experts, George was regularly quoted in USA Today, Wall Street Journal, Business Week, US News & World Report, CNNMoney, and numerous trade magazines as well as newspapers across the country. He was a regular guest on radio and TV newscasts commenting about current retail and consumer issues.

As a "student" of retail George visited thousands of stores every year talking with front-line employees, store managers, owners, and customers. This in-store research gave him a unique perspective on retailing, stores, and consumers that he passed along to his audiences and readers.

George had a passion for retail and everything he did from consulting to speaking to writing reflected that passion.

Customer Reviews

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I bought this book and could not put it down!
Suzie Wallard
I was surprised by how interesting I found this book to be.
Joel Kotin
Most of the stores in the book I had never heard of before.
David E. McClendon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Initially, both James Cash Penney (The Golden Rule in Kemmerer, Wyoming, in 1902) and later Sam Walton (Wal-Mart Discount City in Rogers, Arkansas, in 1962) opened one retail store that eventually became a major chain. The same is true of others such as Home Depot, Staples, and Walgreens. Of course, not all chains have fared well, nor have most so-called "Mom and Pop" stores as well as franchisees of major chains. In this volume, George Whalin focuses his attention on "the 25 best independent stores in America." He asserts, and I agree, that reports of the demise of independent retailing are greatly overrated. "Wal-Mart's growth certainly contributed to the failure of weaker retailers, but the strong ones did just fine. And strong, well-run independent retail businesses continue to thrive today."

During the course of the research that preceded the writing of this book, Whalin "discovered common characteristics and some startling differences. They all share an extraordinary passion for their businesses and an obsessive commitment to serving customers." One of the most surprising revelations emerged when Whalin asked owners and CEOs if their companies had been built based on a business plan or a set of guidelines. They "invariably answered no, their growth was guided by what customers wanted and expected from their stores, what the marketplace dictated, and how they could best serve their customers." In the National Retail Federation's most recent survey, the 100 largest U.S. retail companies operate about 148,000 individual stores. "In most cases, as the number of stores increases, customer service decreases.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By David Wahl on May 28, 2009
Format: Kindle Edition
Just like the stores it profiles, Retail Superstars stands out from the crowd of business books. Instead of giving you a list of rules for what makes a retail store work, George Whalin wants to inspire you to do something different.

Each business in the book has defined itself so clearly that it's impossible to forget them once you visit. They don't just inspire customers to spend money, they create passionate followers who make these stores an important part of their lives.

Leave the homogeneous mall stores behind and visit Archie McPhee, Powell's Books and Jungle Jim's. Once you read the book, you may plan your next vacation around visiting them.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Sharon E. Ferguson on May 29, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I love George's great descriptions of the one of a kind stores. He makes me want to do a road trip and go visit these unique places. The book is well written and very factual since George visited them all. The stores are a real inspiration for improving costomer service and new ways to attract customers. It is a fun read about very unusual stores acoss the country and includes the bits about the history of each place. Looking to open a new business? This book will give you lots of ideas on ways to make your retail business not only unique but very successful. Want to shop in some really oustanding stores? Check this book out! You are going to love it.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Bryce E. Jones on July 7, 2009
Format: Hardcover
If you find the retail business interesting, this is the book you want to read.

It's obvious that George Whalin is extremely knowledgeable about the retail business and his passion for the exceptional craftsmen of this art is apparent. Georges's writing style is from the heart and he connects instantly with the reader. Try it, you'll love it!
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Marc M. Drasin on July 20, 2009
Format: Hardcover
Retail Superstars is one of the most insightful books that I have read recently on the retail industry. Instead of the normal, theoretical stuff you see, Whalin has made the industry come alive by giving real life descriptions of how unique and successful stores have made it, and survived, in the retail jungle out there. It's fresh reading, and a real pleasure to go through his one of a kind case histories.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Joel Kotin on July 18, 2009
Format: Hardcover
I was surprised by how interesting I found this book to be. It made me want to visit every store he described, not only to browse the goods, but also to see how excellence can be achieved and maintained in today's cynical world. Even if you only read the chapters on subjects that interest you, it's worth your time to search out this book.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By AirDevil76 on August 26, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Don't waste your time with this book. Here is what you are buying.... A brief five or so page review of all the superstar companies. Now if you were like me and you were expecting some "secrets" as to how they built the empires they did you will be sorely disappointed. Basically it seems the author went to each business spent a day with them and wrote a chapter to his book. There was no attempt to explain how they did what they did. If you are looking for a brief non-indepth review of each company go ahead and buy the book; if you want to learn something though don't waste your time. Signed. A small business owner.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Tirelli Daniele on October 27, 2009
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
I appreciated very much the choice of collecting 25 chapters, one for each company. The reader can have a global view of some of the best case histories in retailing. Usually you find big books or nothing at all on specific chains. Here you have the essential and also many suggestions for further researchs.
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