Do We Need to Worry About the Demise of the Brick and Mortar Store?

With many forms of shopping being done completely online, does this mean the end of people physically going to retail stores for what they need and want?

The answer is no, and if you are surprised, I understand!


There is no doubt that e-commerce and our mobile-savvy world is turning retail into a digital marketplace where the possibilities are endless.  After reading, “E-Commerce Is Not Eating Retail” by Darrell Rigby, I learned many facts that had me saying, “whew!.”  Being a designer of product displays, the fact that there are even talks about brick and mortar stores losing their appeal gives me the shakes.  Brick and mortar stores are the bread and butter of my industry!

Over the past 20 years, e-commerce sales have grown to 6% of total retail sales.  In the future, researchers predict a growth of 18% by 2030, with sales being higher in some categories such as music and lower in others, such as food.


But according to Rigby, brick and mortar stores still control between 94% and 97% of total retail sales.  In addition, one must also remember that e-commerce and brick and mortar stores work simultaneously.  For example, if I were to go to Walmart for an iPad mini, and they were out of stock, I might go onto my smart phone and order it off their online store and get it next day.  This is where the wires cross.


Rigby also mentions a great point about strictly e-commerce stores; the information technology, distribution centers, shipping, and returns processing by these companies can actually cost as much as running physical stores.

So, it’s safe to say people still do enjoy the process of perusing through the aisles for the products they are looking for.  People also love to snag a great deal while out shopping.

This means the demand for eye-catching product displays are still high, and we here at Sharn are happy to hear that.

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13 Things You Should Know About B2B Marketing

On October 1st, 2014, I had the pleasure of attending the small business seminar entitled, “It’s not about you, it’s about Bacon!”  Hosted by Old Plank Trail Bank in Frankfort, IL, the keynote speaker was Brian Basilico.

Not only is Brian a college professor, he runs his own B2B marketing business and attends over 20 networking events every month.   Why does he do it?  Because Brian loves to learn.  Although a teacher, he takes everything he does and learns from it.


Brian offered great advice on B2B marketing as well entertained us by keeping things real.  Here are some of the key points I learned from this event that may be beneficial to your business’s marketing efforts:


  1. Relationships are the currency of business.
    1. People do business with people they know, like, and trust.
  2. The most shared items on the internet involve Kittens and Bacon.
  3. Flipboard is an application you can use to turn your social media postings into a digital magazine.
  4. Listen to people twice as much as you talk (you have two ears and one mouth, for a reason!)
  5. Take pictures of others and share them on your own social media platforms.
  6. Edu-tain and info-tain on social media- Be active and responsive.
    1. Pictures increase engagement by 70%.
    2. Don’t post just about your business.
    3. Have fun.
    4. Be authentic.
  7. Social media is the medium, social networking is the relationship.
  8. Gaining Trust: Give 100% of yourself 100% of the time and expect nothing in return.
  9. Recommend someone else on LinkedIn out of the blue- Just because!
  10. LinkedIn is wide open property, unlike Yelp. You can copy and paste reviews about your business or yourself on flyers, brochures, etc.
  11. Great content is KING!
  12. On a website, a person spends on average 3 clicks and 2 minutes.
  13. Differentiate yourself from others and find what makes you more “connectable.”


We thank Old Plank Trail Bank in Frankfort, IL for hosting this event.  With advice from Brian Basilico and as well as my own experiences, I am excited to delve deeper into the world of B2B marketing!

-Stephanie Shostok, Designer/Account Representative at Sharn Enterprises, Inc

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A Sense of Humor

First of all, managing a business is not funny — It’s hard work!

We have orders to ship, vendors to pay, employee issues, time constraints, and so it goes, on and on. We worry about whether or not we are profitable or just digging a bigger financial hole to climb out of. We wonder if we are keeping all of our customers happy, and if they will keep coming back to us.

Yeah – that’s a lot to worry about, and I have observed over the years that the temperament of the “boss” can make a bad situation worse, or it can often turn things around and make them better.

funny quote

In my opinion, a boss with a good sense of humor goes a long way to minimizing many of these problems.  He or she tends to set the tone for the entire work force.  Remember, being the “boss” doesn’t mean that you are the only one who cares about these things.  Unless you have done just a miserable job of hiring your employees, you can rest assured that your employees also care about sales, the customers, vendors, and especially a stable work environment. After all, unless they plan to win the lottery, they need their jobs, and you need their labor, their skill and their trust.

So my advice to you is — be serious about your business, just don’t take yourself too seriously!

Roger Wandersee, President of Sharn Enterprises, Inc

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6 Steps to Creating & Marketing Your Custom Product

1. Be Creative- A dull, boring product or service gets lost in the shuffle.  Create, design, and refine something that distinguishes you from the crowd.  Brainstorm with people you know as well as with strangers.  Construct a plan of action and move forward once you have a clear concept that is ready for takeoff.


2. Do your research- As an example, if you are creating a new type of custom t-shirt, go out to stores and check out the competition.  Make sure you are not infringing on designs or copyrights of what is already out there.  See what is trending in stores and online to check out what the market is buying and selling.

3. Decide what makes you different from the rest- This is key when you are coming up with a marketing strategy to get people to buy your custom product/service.  For example, focusing on the fact that you custom manufacture everything in-house is a great selling point.  It not only helps you control your costs, but it also allows for your customer to really interact with you and help make some final decisions.


4. Don’t Rush- Rome wasn’t built in a day.  Your custom product probably can’t be either.  Take the extra time and energy to double, triple, and quadruple check the quality of the product or service you are putting out there.  Going the extra mile always gets noticed by customers.

clock5. Thrive- Go to trade shows, do some guerilla marketing tactics, find your target market, utilize social media and run with it.  If you believe in what you are selling, other people will too.

6. Fail- All successful people know that with success comes failure.  Even Steve Jobs once failed at Apple before he came back years later and made the company the success it is today.  If this is the first ever product or service you are trying to startup, don’t let an unsuccessful first try discourage you from chasing your dream.  It’s all about trial and error.  Keep trying until you create the right recipe for success.

steve jobs

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The Benefits of Wood, Acrylic & Metal in Point-of-Purchase Displays

If you have been following our blog, you already know that Sharn Enterprises, Inc manufactures point-of-purchase displays that are used in the retail industry.  But did you know that most competitors only specialize in one area, such as only acrylic displays or only metal displays?

That’s what makes Sharn different from the rest!  Because we routinely use all three of these materials in a display creation, the combination of materials and the possibilities are endless.

We realize that different customers have varying preferences.  Our main goal is to give you the best value, product, and service for your next retail project.

If you are looking for a permanent display, we are here to help!  If you would like an all wood, all metal, or an all acrylic display or if you need a combination of these materials, our professional designers will help you create that “eye-catching” display, that will not only get your products noticed, but it will get them SOLD as well!

We here at Sharn know the benefits of wood, acrylic and metal.  Do you?

Check out the reasons to use Wood, Metal & Acrylic BELOW!


There is an inherent beauty to wood.  It comes in all different varieties and finishes and is practical when it comes to its durability and strength.  Wood can be sanded, clear-coated, and stained thus transformed from an inexpensive piece, to a rich and luxurious finished product.  For those who are more price conscious, we have laminate, melamine, and veneer available which are extremely close matches to most of the popular types of natural wood but at a lower price.   The list of different types of wood is endless, and we here at Sharn can help you decide which type is best for your display.

Reasons to Use Wood: SL1012P_ProshopBelt-WoodTP0213P_2SdRotatingBookBG_3Belt4Bckle copy

-Inherent Beauty

-Comes in all different types and finishes  

-Practical, Durable & Strong

-Aesthetically pleasing


Acrylic (or otherwise known as plastic) has excellent optical properties and is more resistant to impact than glass.  Most acrylic comes in a wide variety of sizes, colors, shapes, and thickness.  Acrylic can also come in clear, tinted, bronzed, fluorescent, frosted, or colored.   Strong, smooth, and lightweight, acrylic is very easy to work with.  Acrylic tends to fluctuate in price more than wood or metal, but is it often a good alternative when price is the deciding factor of your finished product.   Some different types of plastic utilized include, acrylic, polycarbonate, sintra, styreen, PVC, and PETG.  When it comes to the longevity of your display, products made from acrylic have a long life, very good light transmission, and are easy to clean.

 Reasons to Use Acrylic: CD0313P_LipBalmCD0912P_ComcastRemote-3MC0710F_10856_WineStewardCntr

-Excellent optical properties

-Resistant to Impact

-Easy to clean

-Long Life

-Wide variety of types

-Lower price than wood and metal


We all know that metal is strong and lasts for a long time, but did you know it can be as light or as heavy as you need it to be?  The different types of metal are extensive, but we here at Sharn make a lot of our displays out of sheet metal, tubing, and wire, and then finish it by powder coating or with a chrome finish.  Currently, we make displays for fine jewelry out of metal, and our designers know that they need to have the perfect combination of elegance, beauty, and charm.  On the other hand, we also fabricate metal industrial bins for the automotive industry that are heavy, durable, and get tons of use in the automotive factory.  So as you can see, the possibilities when using metal are endless!  Just like wood and acrylic, we can help you choose what kind of metal as well as the type of finish that will give your store fixture the polished look you desire.

 Reasons to Use Metal: 01.3 Steel Belt & Wallet FixtureMF0513P_WalletShelf-OnFixtureRA0110P_MacyChromeTieSpin-Ties

-Strong, durable, made to last

-Easily Shaped

-Can be as heavy or light as needed

-Variety of finishes


As industry experts in wood, acrylic, and metal, our designers and manufacturers can help you decide on what kind of material should use for your retail display.  We take care of those details so you don’t have to!

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7 Things You Didn’t Know About Labor Day

Labor Day is Monday, September 1st, and as a small business owner, I would like to thank all of our terrific employees here at Sharn Enterprises.


But when you step back and think about Labor Day as a whole, what do you really know about this annual holiday celebrated on the first Monday in September?

Here are the 7 things you didn’t know about Labor Day and one more you should know:

1. The first Labor Day Celebration was in New York City on Tuesday, September 5th, 1882.

2. Oregon was the first state to declare Labor Day a holiday.  This was done back in 1887.

3. Labor Day origins are Canadian (Canadian Labor Day began in 1873 in Toronto, then quickly spread to the USA.)

4. The holiday marks the end of “Hot Dog Season” as the unofficial “Last Day of Summer.”

5. Labor Day celebrates the contributions and achievements of the 155 million men and women who are in the American workforce.

6. 55% of all American households will barbecue this Labor Day.

7. 94.4% of the time, the NFL plays its first official season game the Thursday after Labor Day.

Bonus fact: 8.  Good, old American quality is still the benchmark that all our foreign competition seeks to achieve.  If we want to maintain a strong society for the generations to come, we need to continue to develop, educate, and support our dedicated American workers!

Enjoy your day off and celebrate the American Worker!

-Roger Wandersee, President of Sharn Enterprises, Inc


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Conquering MAGIC MARKET WEEK 2014

On Sunday, August 16th, Sharn Enterprises’s retail display designers headed out west to the one, the only, Las Vegas, Nevada.  Although Las Vegas is known for its gambling, in the world of retail, it is also known as the epicenter for fashion’s largest trade show, Magic Market Week.


The show has built quite a name for itself, starting humbly back in 1933 and going by the “Men’s Apparel Guild.”

After gaining major appeal, it is now held twice a year in both August and February at a convention center either on or off the strip, and is considered the most comprehensive forum for fashion buyers and brands.  This can be seen through the extensive variety of up and coming men’s, women’s, and children’s apparel, accessories, footwear and more.

Magic 1.1

In Sharn’s case, our staff attends the show in order to support the businesses for which we create custom point-of-purchase displays as well as meet possible new clients through networking and walking the show floor.

Magic fuels the world of retail, and Roger Wandersee, Designer and Account Manager at Sharn Enterprises, Inc, knows that visiting the trade show is a must for current and future business ventures.

“Magic is an experience that is not only informative, but so much fun.  With over 80,000 people and the opportunity to visit with so many customers, it’s truly an exhilarating adventure.”


Wandersee also gives due credit to Magic because he leaves inspired by new design ideas for retail displays after exploring the ten different curated shows within the entire Magic experience.

With more than $200 million dollars’ worth of orders written daily at the show, there is no doubt that Magic Market Week is the steam engine that plows right through the business of fashion.

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