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

4.5 out of 5 stars 15 customer reviews

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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.
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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: #358,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By Robert Morris HALL OF FAMETOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 28, 2009
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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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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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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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
This is the kind of book I would love to write myself. The author, George Whalin, traveled all over the country visiting independent stores that were kickin' butt and takin' names.

Most of the stores in the book I had never heard of before. Some of the stores, though, are right here in my backyard. Gallery Furniture, which I have never visited, is about sixty miles up the road from me. We see the Gallery Furniture commercials all the time. When I have the money to get up to Houston, I would love to go for a visit and look around.
Whalin takes us on a virtual tour of some of the stores by describing the present day store with some detail. He tells us how they got started and, in most cases, the "Secret to their Success."

The book is well-written and entertaining. The book could be read in just a couple of hours, but I took a while because I would go back and re-read certain sections when referenced later in the book.

If you have any retail in your blood, and you will know if you do, you must read this book. If you find yourself walking through stores and fronting and facing merchandise without thinking about it, you must read this book. If you or someone you love is a retail-aholic like me, you must read this book.

Book Review Policy
My policy on book reviews is to give you my honest opinion of the book. From time to time publishers will give me a copy of their book for free for the purpose of me reading the book and writing a review. The publishers understand when they give me the book that I am under no obligation to write a positive review.

If you will look at all my reviews, you will see that there have been occasions when I have written a negative review after having been given a book.
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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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