Monday is Create Your Own Retail Emporium Day

by Lian on March 15, 2010

Happy Monday, Chaos Crew…

I would like to give full credit to Jill from Anaheim for this blog post idea. Thank you, Jill. You made me LOL last night when I read your e-mail. Jill and her husband have fantasies about the retail emporium that they would like to start. In Jill’s  words:

I am going to open a chain of stores  called On /Off. All the products  in the store are going to feature control switches that are clearly labeled with an On/Off switch.  And I say clearly because I am tired of looking for my glasses just to turn something on or off.  The inspiration came after being so frustrated with my inability to operate any of the many  TV, DVR, VCR and DVD remote controls throughout our house.  I had a  melt down when my husband brought home a space heater that had a remote control with a bunch of modes.  For Heaven’s sakes! – where was the on and off switch? There was no on and off switch to be found. I shouldn’t  have to put on glasses to turn on a space heater and figure out what “mode” I want.

The On/Off Store? Jill, that is brilliant. And a fantastic exercise in group creativity.  Let’s all play along. My sister Liz has said that she wants to start a clothing store called Just Sleeves. In her store, all the clothes will have sleeves, for women of a certain age who sleeveless days have passed them by. In Liz’s store, capped sleeves do not count.

When my boys were of car seat age, I fantasized about a drive through variety store called Milk N’ Things. It seemed that at naptime, I always needed milk and something else not found in grocery store, requiring multiple stops and hauling kids in and out of car seats. Why couldn’t there be a drive- though store for moms like me with unusual shopping lists? Like Milk N’ Bras. Or Milk N’ Mulch. Or Milk N’ Throw Pillows.

Please, Chaos Crew. Invent your own  Retail Emporium right here. maybe some investor will swoop in and make an offer!

Embracing my chaos, Lian



Cyndi March 17, 2010 at 9:31 AM

Not so much a retail store, but I would love to see vending machines with healthy choices – Kind bars, Cliff bars, Larabars, etc. – small bags of almonds, walnuts, dried fruit, etc. – maybe they exist somewhere, but I’ve yet to come across them.

I’d like to see vending machines that sell water bottles offer optional packs to add to the bottle – like Emergen-C packs or Crystal Light packs.

I’d like to see vending machines dispense hot water in cups and have a separate option for a selection of good teas.

Is that so much too ask? ; )

Susan in Iowa March 17, 2010 at 7:27 AM

Happy St. Patrick’s Day, Lian!

Lian March 17, 2010 at 7:08 AM

Seattle Debbie– THAT is a great business idea! We have an explosion of food trucks here in LA, selling everything from Korean BBQ to Muffelatas. But why not Brie and Wine! I LOVE that.


SeattleDebbie March 17, 2010 at 6:51 AM

I dream of an grown up version of the ice cream truck. A truck with the essentials; milk, bread, diapers etc, some extras; beer, wine, brie and for those still renting movies, they would pick them up and return them to the appropriate store. This is the answer to those days when you just don’t want to leave the house. Kids are finally napping, you haven’t showered for a while, you’ve already had a glass of wine and realize that that movie has to go or you’ll need to take out a 2nd mortgage…

Jill March 16, 2010 at 2:43 PM

I love the NOW store, recently I was visiting my aunt in NJ in the middle of a blizzard and could I actually buy snow boats in NJ in February? No but the bathsuit I looked at was cute.

My store would be a clothing store for girls called No Sluts For Us. Seriously can someone tell me why my 7 year old needs a pleather skirt? Or boots that have studs on them – what exactly is that statement, my other bike is a Harley. I don’t need pink fur or low riser jeans for my daughter or myself. I don’t need 3 inch heels either, I actually saw wedges that I would break a bone if I wore them in my daughter’s size. I don’t need belly shirts (again for me or my 7 or 12 year olds) and I certainly don’t want anything written on there butts. It was cute when they were in diapers but now it’s just creepy. I looked at Easter dresses the other day and they looked like cocktail dresses. What happened to jumpers or smocked dresses? So a reasonabily priced clothing store that would allow a 7 year old to look like a, well 7 year old would be great.

Lian March 16, 2010 at 2:25 PM

The NOW store is brilliant. If you’ve ever looked for bathing suits in July in California and found wool sweaters stocked instead, you’ll want a NOW store.

And yes to the Home Depot adding one or two departments that do not involve DIY.

Great answers! Lian

Stephanie March 16, 2010 at 2:11 PM

I love Laurie’s idea of a NOW store. I’ve needed long sleeved blouses all winter to wear at the icebox I call my job, but all the stores have had are short sleeved tops. That doesn’t help me in the middle of winter! I’m not ready to buy shorts and such when there’s snow on the ground!

Becky March 16, 2010 at 8:10 AM

I agree with so many of these ideas! We do have a drive up convenience store or two around. We have a drive up dry cleaners and a drive up pharmacy. All of which I use! I only wish these were around back when all of my kids had chicken pox at the same time and I couldn’t go anywhere with them and my husband was out of town!lol I wholeheartedly agree too that the post office needs a drive up window. I have older kids now, but those poor mothers in the post office line are desperate and would probably be happier to leave the kids in their car seats and buy their stamps at a drive up window. And as for the sleeves store–AMEN to that!!! I would specifically love a store that sold teen girl formal dresses with sleeves. I’ve just spent the last few weeks, having knock ‘em out, drag ‘em out fights with my 17 yr old over sleeveless formal dresses that well…make her look like she’s asking for it.LOL A mom does NOT need that “message” sent to some boy about her daughter!

Great Lakes March 16, 2010 at 6:17 AM

Thumbs up to sleeves; more 3/4 lengths plz! I am on board w/Liz. If that Oprah network thing doesn’t work out for her, I am sure she’s onto something: clothing stores w/sleeves.

Christine D. March 16, 2010 at 5:14 AM

oh yes…”milk and things” is something I wish for my married daughters..I notice my young mom neighbor is getting peapod delivery of food and whatever else they deliver, and I say hooray for her… save the energy of shopping for loving the little ones..

Christine D. March 16, 2010 at 5:10 AM

on sleeves…I have actually starting wearing nice sleeveless if I have to, and then layering with some type of classic or trendy jacket to get adequate coverage…I don’t have a problem showing arms…I just want the look of sleeves.. or the comfort while in air conditioning.. many a nice dress is spoiled by having no I build an outfit differently than I used to and it means buying another piece of a certain age sleeveless is just less professional looking… I agree with Liz.. sleeves R Us…

kbradcliffe March 16, 2010 at 3:38 AM

A drive through post office most definitely…. while the USPS is considering eliminating a day of delivery to save costs, it makes it that much more desirable than carrying boxes and a toddler. Guess I could suck it up and do the pick up from my house thing….

Pamela, LOVE the idea of shoes, etc. at Home Depot. Lowes too. My husband can get lost and I just wander around with no real purpose. Shoes, that would give me a purpose! A store, not like the one on King of the Hill for Peggy, but a real store with shoes just 10 and over. It is horribly difficult to find shoes for my feet, especially cute ones. Just give me a store full of cute shoes where I don’t get peeved at all the size 7 choices (sorry crew to those in that department….)

Laurie March 16, 2010 at 3:37 AM

I’m big on drive-thru’s. It takes forever to get everyone’s shoes on, unbuckled, jackets and mittens on, go to the store, then everyone buckled back in. Love the drive-thru pharmacy when I have a sick kid and the others who aren’t sick who love to try on the reading glasses right next to the inside pharmacy! I’ll wait in the drive-thru line enjoying my podcasts!

My other store would be NOW! Last month, I was looking for snow boots for my son whose boots developed a hole. All the stores had were water shoes and sandles! Maybe most people are organized and can anticipate what size snowboots to buy in August, but I’m just not that on top of things. And please, I’m not buying a bikini in February!!

Lian March 15, 2010 at 8:35 PM

The Big Button annex of On/Off is a MUST! And Nosh n’ Wash– where have you been all my life? I believe there is no business that can not be combined with an Oregon brew pub to make it better; bowling is a natural fit.

I am short– so while I sympathize with your Tallness, I have no need for a Tall Person store. Though it does surprise me that Minnesota, land of giants, does not already have a Tall Everything emporium.

And yes, frankly when you are a mother of young kids, you want drive-though everything stores: healthy food, soy milk, tampons, birthday party invitations, tax forms, post office, coffee. I loved that my eye doctor had a drive through window for my contacts!


Sue in NJ March 15, 2010 at 8:17 PM

A long time ago, a friend and I were doing our families’ vacation laundry in a small Maine town and mused about opening a combination laundromat and bagel shop — the Nosh ‘n’ Wash or something like that. Now, after decades of doing laundry, I think not. Also thought about an embroidery shop called “Sew What’s New?” I think I just like making up corny names. In reality, I’d love to actually have a store that specializes in gifts from the sea and children’s books. Nothing clever or corny comes to mind for marketing this idea. Just fun to think about.

Beckett Graham March 15, 2010 at 7:55 PM

Sorry, I meant to heartily second Milk n Things. I used to call DH at his restaurant and beg him to send someone over with some forgotten supplies. A drive up window at a convenience type store is a brilliant, brilliant plan.

Beckett Graham March 15, 2010 at 7:52 PM

I want to open a coffee store/kid art place with old, cool UNRESTORED furniture and chalkboard walls… where there are kid sized tables mixed in, with little art projects on them, a back room full of blocks and books and pillows, and employees who all have kids.
The food would be just different *enough*. Moms and kids would feel comfortable meeting up there, and the kids would be excited to go, too. Cell phones in a basket at the counter (you like that, Lian??) No laptops or netbooks allowed! The kind of neighborhood place where you walk in and the people know your child’s name.
Sadly, I think all of our local independent coffee places have become nothing more than mobile workstations. Every table has one ipodded and Macbooked human sitting alone, occasionally texting, and glaring if anyone talks. So Fun.

pamela March 15, 2010 at 7:11 PM

i would like to see a shoe and clothing section at Home Depot. Then my husband and I could browse together.

Nicole March 15, 2010 at 6:45 PM

I want to open a healthy fast food drive through restaurant. We need the convenience of McD’s without the grease!

MNMama March 15, 2010 at 6:09 PM

I’m with you Susan…totally on board with Totally Tall! My dad is 6’7″ as well and has complained for years that big and tall stores mostly cater to big men (rather than just tall men who aren’t “big”). I too, would love a tall section in stores such as J.Crew, Gap, J.Jill, etc. Most of those brands carry tall sizes for women online, just not in the actual stores themselves. It also drives me crazy to see entire, sweeping petite or plus size sections in big retail stores (Macy’s, Bloomingdale’s) but no selections for those of us tall gals!

Amy D March 15, 2010 at 5:38 PM

I had dreamed a few years ago of having a grocery store with a drive thru. There would be grocery store runners and you would have to limit your list to something like 6 items, but you wouldn’t have to park and get out of the store and go in. Maybe, I’m just lazy.

chpdlivr March 15, 2010 at 5:25 PM

As my girlfriend said to the sales clerk the other day as we were looking at clothes…….”would it kill them to put sleeves on these things?”
I’m with Liz…..Just Sleeves!!!

Jennie March 15, 2010 at 3:38 PM

“They are What they’re Called” — the number one item: Tights.

Carol March 15, 2010 at 1:47 PM

I would like to open a non-smoking bowling alley/brewpub. While it’s easy to find non-smoking establishments these days (all are that way by law here in Oregon) most bowling alleys don’t serve very good food and drink. On the other hand Oregon has plenty of wonderful brewpubs. We’re Beervana after all!

hoyamom March 15, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Lian, here in Pennsylvania we already have Milk N’ Things…its a small chain of drive-through convenience stores called Swiss Farms. I don’t live very close to one, but my friends have told me its great when you have a sleeping toddler in the back seat. No word on whether the also stock bras, mulch, throw pillows, or mousetraps.

I, for one, would come to the grand opening of Just Sleeves. I needed an outfit for a work event recently and everything was sleeveless. Folks, its 20 degrees out…give me my sleeves. Most women past a certain age…no matter what season….look better with more sleevage and less cleavage.

Susan Greif March 15, 2010 at 12:58 PM

Another name for Liz’s store: Sleeves R Us.
Another store: Totally Tall. My husband is 6’7″ and could use one shop for everything that would fit his size (clothes, cars, desk chairs, dining room tables, you name it)
On/Off Store could have a special department for Items with Big Push Buttons…cell phone, remotes, etc. have buttons that are too small!

Lynn March 15, 2010 at 8:03 AM

I think my store would have to be a little twist to your milk n’ things. I would like a store that sells Soy Milk in juice box form (not a big grocery -just a convience store). Nothing is more frustrating then having Soy Milk drinking kids and no where in the middle of Ohio that sells it.

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