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Reevaluating the business
Ruthayn Scaglio
Owner, Shoetique
Katonah, N.Y.

Scaglio stayed positive through Black Friday even though she made few sales. She was having a hard time competing with discounts at big-name shoe stores, but was optimistic that the spring thaw would entice passersby to come in and start spending again.

We've progressively been dropping every month. In April we dropped 45%, which wasn't as bad as the 55% loss we were experiencing in the winter months. But I'm not convinced things are turning yet. Mother's Day was a disappointment. We pulled a third of the business we did last year.

We've made some really smart decisions. We reviewed everything and cut 20 styles of shoes and a lot of accessories that weren't as important, dollar-wise, to our business. Also, we waited until March to make our spring orders. In the past, we made those orders in December, but we have learned that although it looks fresh and new, no one will buy till the weather is actually warmer.

We also cut back on our ads in the newspapers and we tried to lower our price points so we are no longer carrying $200 to $300 pairs of shoes. We worked with our suppliers to get the prices down on more expensive footwear. We brought in some clothing so people will be more enticed to buy shoes that match new outfits. There's been a decent response from that. And because price is the name of the game, most of the outfits are less than $100.

But we're going to reevaluate in September as to whether we'll continue with the business. This town is in severe trouble in terms of the merchants not knowing whether go forward or not. By what I'm seeing, it's not promising. I've returned to my prior job as a stenographer, so I'm transcribing depositions all night and working at the store during the day. The stenography work helps supplement personal expenses, but I will not put that money towards keeping the business open. If it got to that point, I'd pack it in.

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