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Posted Date: 01/4/2016

Exclusive Q&A with Christmas-is-Everyday

Deanna Schleifer has always loved Christmas, although she can’t exactly explain why. She and her husband owned a bowling center in Texas for 15 years and to indulge her ardor for the holidays she took one room and transformed it into a jolly oasis. When they sold the bowling center, they began looking for a place to live and happened upon Waynesville, NC, where they established roots and found the perfect place for Deanna to become a merchant for all things merry…every day.

SCD: How did Christmas-is-Everyday get its start?
We’ve been here now since September 2000, so it’s been 15 years! When my husband and I sold our bowling center in Texas, we made many trips to this area trying to find a place to live. When we hit this street in Waynesville, it just spoke to me. I had been in touch with the downtown association and it turned out that the building was up for lease and it was as if God had answered my prayer. That was how we came to open the store.

SCD: Can you describe the store for us?
The building was built in 1904 as a bank, so the whole front is open and the back has an upstairs and downstairs. It’s about 1200 square feet and it fits my retail aesthetic perfectly.
  
SCD: How would you describe your product mix?
I carry a mix of Jim Shore, Enesco, Kurt Adler, Dickson, Ne’Qwa Art, Pavilion Gift and Midwest-CBK, among others.  I have tons of ornaments…more ornaments than anything else. I also carry German cuckoo clocks and Adora dolls, plus lots of Santas and snowmen, but the ornaments are really what I’m known for and what people come to me for. Over the years, I have learned to listen to my customer and when they ask for this ornament or that ornament, I make a note and when I go to market that’s what I look for.

SCD: What shows do you attend?
I only attend the Atlanta market and just in January. I have to close the store to go since I’m the only one here to run the store.
  
SCD: How do you make buying decisions?
Other than listening to my customers, I always try to find off-the-wall ornaments. I want to offer lots of unique ornaments for the shoppers who are looking for something to give as a memorable gift.

SCD: How do you merchandise the store?
I have some trees to display ornaments, but I’ve also gone to the round displays that rotate. I have utilized the upstairs windows by putting peg boards in them. That has worked really well. I used to do baskets of ornaments under the trees, but that didn’t have the same impact. You have to get them to eye level.  

SCD: How do you promote the store?
I am on Facebook. I tried doing a newsletter, but with only one person here, I just don’t have enough time. I rely a lot on word of mouth. Once in a while I will advertise in the small local magazines that they give out for free.

SCD: What has been the greatest business challenge and how have you overcome it?
Trying to find the right things to purchase is always a challenge.  Then there are issues like gas prices and one year there was a rockslide…things like that can – and do – impact business. So, I just keep doing the same thing and try to find interesting things to buy for the store.

SCD: You have a website and an online shopping cart as well, how do you manage updating the site and maintaining the online store?
I brought my www.christmas-is-everyday.com with me from Texas. I added the shopping cart after I had been in business here for about five years. I found that my point of sale provider also offered a website that is interlocked with my POS. I upload my inventory to my website every night and that way if it is not in stock in my store, then it’s out of stock on my web page. I work on my website myself, adding all the product and pictures, then shipping. Depending on what time the order comes in I either get it out same day or next day. As for educating myself on this, I do a lot of reading and I have a lot of determination when I want to get something done. But when I get stuck, my POS website provider offers troubleshooting. Now my biggest challenge is to get my webpage mobile friendly.

SCD: What would you like to tell other retailers about your business?
How much I love what I am doing. I love being able to share my love of Christmas with others and to hear them express excitement over the items that I have in my shop. 

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