Last Vegas, NV (PRWEB) January 28, 2006
The Craft and Hobby Association, in conjunction with The SMART Group, unveils the first CHA SMART Store powered by The SMART Group today at the CHA Winter Show in Las Vegas, NV. This is a 3500 square foot retail store that is the result of years of research, hard work, commitment and coordination between The SMART Group, CHA and SMART Group member sponsors. The purpose of the store is to help both retailers and manufacturers improve business practices. On Wednesday, February 1st at 4 pm PST, the store – fixtures, POS System, merchandise, and signage – will be given away to one lucky retailer in the CHA Theater at the Las Vegas Convention Center.
Scrapbooking, the craft of creating beautiful pages to share family history and life’s milestones, is a $2.6 billion industry, according to CHA. As with any hobby industry, scrapbooking has both independent and chain stores that cater to users. Independent stores help the industry to stay fresh, creative and build the community of crafters. The scrapbooking industry is in a transition. “Independent retail stores are failing at an alarming rate,” said Dennis Conforto, CEO and President of A-Z Media Group and The SMART Group.
Conforto states that research from The SMART Group and Scrapbooking.com Magazine shows that scrapbook retailers are passionate about scrapbooking as a hobby. “Many of the store owners were scrapbookers who thought they could continue to enjoy their beloved hobby of scrapbooking all day by opening a retail store. Retailing is one of the hardest businesses out there, and it takes time, resources, and dedication to make an independent retail store survive.” Until now, there was no place for an independent scrapbook retailer to learn about good business practices, including how to build stronger relationships with manufacturers.
The SMART Group, The Scrapbooking Manufacturer And Retailer Trade Group, was created to support the scrapbooking industry as a whole. Members include manufacturers, retailers, distributors, and service providers, who are working together to help the scrapbooking industry grow. The CHA SMART Store powered by The SMART Group was developed out of member-driven committees a year ago. The goals of the store are to include information on manufacturer-retailer partnerships and loyalty programs; to expand the industry; to open new markets for the scrapbooking industry; to share information on retail store design and displays; and to provide education on pricing signage, merchandising, and marketing. The Store is supported by 14 classes taught by Conforto throughout the CHA Winter Show in Las Vegas.
Of the 14 classes, eight were sold out weeks before the show’s start. “It is clear that there is a need for these classes and this sort of education. Many retail store owners have focused on sharing the craft and taking make and take classes, but true ‘how to’ retail education has been lacking in the industry. As a result, business owners have been unable to gain the tools necessary to grow their businesses,” Conforto states.
Since 2003, the scrapbooking industry has seen the number of independent stores in the US decline by approximately 15%. The SMART Group estimates that there are now 3700 independent stores serving scrapbookers throughout the United States. Conforto said, “We are seeing a decline in the number of stores out there, because new stores are not opening at the same rate as the stores are closing. The SMART Group is trying to change the passion about the hobby into passion about running a profitable retail business. By pulling together both retailers and manufacturers, The SMART Group is showing how cooperative programs can help the entire industry to thrive.”
One of the goals of the SMART Group is to increase the reach of the industry. The target market for scrapbooking is women aged 15 – 64. Currently only 4.5% of this group is involved in the craft. The SMART Group believes that the potential for industry growth is as high as 40.5% of this population. Through programs like cooperative media buys, business to business opportunities, and loyalty programs, the industry is, for the first time, working together to build its base and to grow market share.
The CHA SMART Store is a 3500 square foot retail store that is the result of years of research, hard work, commitment and coordination between The SMART Group, CHA and SMART Group member sponsors. These groups have donated time, dollars, fixtures and merchandise to this program with one goal in mind - to help make the scrapbooking industry more profitable. The retailer’s first year of business will be followed by The SMART Group and will be reported at the 2007 CHA Winter Show in Anaheim, California.
The store will be given away to a retailer on Wednesday, February 1, 2006, at 4 pm PST in the CHA Theater at the Las Vegas Convention Center. Media are invited.
Stop by The CHA SMART Store or Booth 4945A for more information.