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How One Small Business Made Money in Its First Year

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Surfing the web for merchandise or finding unique merchandise locally is sometimes not enough. There's nothing more satisfying than when somebody comes back and wants to buy a second picture frame, either for their own enjoyment or as a gift, Norman says.

"That means what we're doing is working," she says.

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Attending a trade show is a big deal for the two between travel expenses as well as finding staff to fill in at the store while they are away, Norman says.

"You have to spend money on inventory," says Norman, noting that they decided to try a new trade show (and one that's not located in New York) to separate their store merchandise from other local competitors.

"We're looking forward to going to that show to get some new merchandise," she says.

"Our goal is always to have new products in," Norman says. "We don't sell the same the stuff as the drugstore. We're not the drugstore. We can't compete with the drugstore prices."

They also plan to continue to tailor merchandise toward the affluent Jewish families in their area.

"Ironically we sold much more Hanukkah business than last year," and in comparison to Christmas giftware, she says.

That said, the store's sales were also bumped up from holiday gifts for teachers. "We had the right price point and we wrap," Norman says. "People want to be catered to. Our customer base is growing."

One area that Norman admits she is struggling with is the relevance of social media.

Norman wonders if her clientele is looking for the store on social media and how the business could benefit from having several different accounts. "I'm still trying to figure that out," she says.

"I set up a Facebook (FB) page, but I have been too busy to maintain it. I also set up an Instagram account. I just feel like social media takes a lot of time and I'm not as savvy as I would like to be on it," she says.

But she's putting it on her New Year's resolution list.

-- Written by Laurie Kulikowski in New York.

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