by John Garvey
At a glance, Edward Smith’s past didn’t bode well for his future. A felony conviction and prison sentence tend to limit a person’s career options.
“When I was incarcerated I realized all the barriers that I had against me,” Edward recalls. “And I said to myself that I have to be willing to do three times the work as the average person in order to be on an equal playing field.” So that’s what he did at Goodwill Denver.
“And in doing that, it’s propelling me towards my greatest potential. And to me it means the world. Goodwill gave me an opportunity based off of the mission of the company and also me putting my effort and my intellect towards that. On one hand, they give you a platform but on another hand you have to be willing to step up and utilize that platform to build upon it.”
Edward began working at Goodwill as a Donation Attendant, an important but unglamorous role. His strong work ethic, poise and kindness were immediately evident to his supervisors. And he wasn’t working for an ordinary company. Goodwill was more interested in his character than his past, which allowed him to assume greater leadership and responsibility over a relatively short time.
Now a Certification and Compliance Specialist, Edward leads a team with extensive responsibilities in the electronics department at Goodwill Denver. He’s also pursuing a masters degree and recently received the prestigious Goodwill Opportunity Award.
Goodwill Industries isn’t exactly a retailer. It’s a nonprofit organization whose call to arms is helping disadvantaged people find meaningful, long-term employment. See what they have accomplished in their hundred year history.
Goodwill’s programs assist people with diverse needs, including at-risk students, people with disabilities, individuals like Edward striving to overcome their past, farmers and ranchers, and anyone who wants the dignity of work. Each program is unique, but shares a common denominator: The Power of Work.
“Our programs are all workforce-oriented, so all of our mission programs are geared toward getting people back to work, making sure that they have the training and the skills that they need to succeed in the workforce,” explains Jessica Hudgins Smith, PR & Digital Media Manager at Goodwill Denver. “Our mission is to spread the Power of Work and help these individuals reach dignity and self-sufficiency. That’s what Goodwill is all about really”.
“We have these retail stores that exist so that we can provide these workforce development programs.”
Goodwill Denver’s largest program is currently the Youth Career Development Program, which serves close to 16 thousand students a year.
“Those programs are geared toward making sure those students have the tools they need to graduate, but also to either enter the workforce right after high school or to succeed in college and beyond,” Jessica states.
“And that programming can be anything from one-on-one mentoring to job shadows. It can be apprenticeships. We do mock scholarship interviews and a variety of different mentoring groups for those students.”
Edward’s role is to ensure that electronics are recycled responsibly. This requires thorough due diligence over multiple parties and an astute understanding of environmental and workplace safety regulations.
“You have to perform your due diligence so that you can remain a good steward for the environment,” he explains.
“It’s way bigger than your business. You have to consider your global impact. … And that’s my job to go through my downstream vendors. Their ratings, their environmental permits, the individuals that they’re doing business with, making sure that they’re following EPA regulations and OSHA regulations, making sure that they have safety programs in place for their employees as well and making sure that they have an environmental health and safety policy that’s beneficial for the company.”
Retail Control Systems has partnered with Goodwill Industries of Denver since 2014, as well as several other Goodwill chapters. Without reliable point-of-sale and business support systems, Goodwill wouldn’t be empowering people like Edward.
“I personally have worked with Retail Control Systems for the last three years,” states Cherie Bardsley, Goodwill Denver’s Retail Operations Business Analyst. “They’re a great company to work with; they do a really good job of supporting us on the point of sale system side and we’re happy with them.”
The Goodwill locations we partner with use NCR Counterpoint, one of the specialty retail point-of-sale systems we provide. “We work together really well and our combined goal—both mine and theirs—is to make sure that when we implement something that it’s flawless,” notes Cherie, “And I think we do a pretty good job at doing that.”
Needless to say, it makes us feel good to be working with Goodwill. Several of our team members attended the recent Power of Work Luncheon in Denver, which Edward was recognized at. We’re also enthusiastically looking forward to the upcoming Goodwill Industries Summer Conference.
Edward’s optimism about his own future comes across loud and clear through his language and demeanor.
“Because the fact is I have a felony on my record, and there’s no escaping that,” he acknowledges, “but people are trusting me enough based off of the role that I’m modeling to put me in charge of different things. So it means a lot to be able to demonstrate that as an employee. And as a dad, to have my son watching me and having a positive role model in his life—a role model that I didn’t have in my life.”
Shorter buying cycles, fewer stockouts, less surplus inventory.
(ENFIELD, NH | FORT COLLINS, CO) – Retail Control Systems (RCS) is pleased to announce our customer spotlight for the month of April, Hickory & Tweed. Hickory & Tweed has been an RCS customer since 1987, the year RCS was founded.
Hickory & Tweed began as a ski shop, founded in 1961 by Jim Ross, in Armonk, NY. The stores current owner, Skip Beitzel, purchased the store from Jim in 1985 after working there throughout high school and while he attended school at the University of Vermont. After which, a bicycle shop was added to the well-established ski business.
The store’s name pays homage to the origins of the sport itself, with hickory being the wood of choice for first generation skis and tweed wool being the most common layering insulation at the time – hence the name, Hickory & Tweed. From its early beginnings, Hickory & Tweed has established itself, not only as one of the premier ski and bike shops in the country, but an iconic brand in the ski business. The store has won numerous industry awards over the years, including “Ski Shop of the Year” from Ski Magazine and “Top 150 Bike Shops” from the National Bicycle Dealers Association. Their hallmark offering is a family ski and snowboard leasing program, which serves nearly 2,500 families.
Hickory & Tweed is a family business, just like RCS. Skip’s son, Mac Beitzel, manages their recently introduced ecommerce site. Mac created the store’s ecommerce site utilizing NCR’s retail online (NRO) application. Mac also manages the store’s social media and private label branding business.
Hickory & Tweed is also staffed by many long-time sales and management associates who are passionate about winter sports and cycling. The staff can often be found on the slopes or out riding the local trails. Based on the knowledge of their passionate staff, Hickory & Tweed’s service and atmosphere has always provided a unique shopping experience for their customers.
Almost 30 years ago, Hickory & Tweed was frustrated with several attempts to implement a point of sale system that not only worked for their business, but was easy for staff to understand and use. In early 1987, Dave Albert was preparing to start a new venture in the point of sale industry after working for many years in the bicycle industry. Skip had a chance encounter with Dave at a bicycle tradeshow. Skip and Dave kept in touch and once Retail Control Systems opened its doors, Hickory & Tweed was the very first customer! Hickory & Tweed also ended up hiring Dave to consult for them when they were first opening the bike shop portion of the store.
Since then, RCS has become intimately involved in all of Hickory & Tweed’s operations. RCS has successfully upgraded the store’s entire Counterpoint Point of Sale system several times and it’s always been a relatively easy process for Hickory & Tweed. Skip and Mac regularly attend RCS’ Envision Conferences, in order to stay up to date with RCS’ latest offerings.
In the end, I tell all who’ll listen, that when you buy-in to RCS, it’s not so much really about the hardware and software, but rather it’s about Dave, his staff and their support. I’ve always experienced them being there for us through thick and thin. And these days in retail, there’s a lot of thick and thin. – Skip Beitzel
RCS is so proud to have Hickory & Tweed as such a loyal part of the RCS family for so many years. We can’t wait to see where they go in the future and how RCS can help them reach their goals!
The 2016 holiday season is officially upon us! As a retailer, you know that the holidays can promise a steady stream of revenue, and put a high demand on your retail operations.
So what can you do to ensure your holiday challenges don’t become New Year’s losses? Be prepared and leverage your point-of-sale system to track sales and inventory, manage promotions and staff, and gain critical insight into your customers’ behaviors to stay ahead of the holiday-rush and realize huge profits.
Here’s a list of 3 common holiday challenges and how you can solve them with an integrated point-of-sale system.
Challenge #1: Managing Crowds & Unpredictable Demand
Making the holidays “the most wonderful time of the year,” requires retailers to pay close attention to the details in order to successfully meet demand in this busy season. As the holidays inch closer, malls and stores will begin to get more and more crowded. Retailers across industries must be prepared to deal with the holiday rush, but how do you plan for something that is often seemingly unpredictable?
How You Solve It
Utilize your omni-channel point-of-sale system to become a data-centric business. By observing current trends as well as your store’s historical holiday sales data, you can more accurately forecast demand and predict inventory needs to maximize profits. Armed with a statistical, comprehensive picture of your business, you can take the guesswork out of inventory management, reducing the possibility of running out of stock or being left with overages.
An omni-channel point-of-sale system, like NCR Counterpoint, will also allow you to expand sales across a variety of platforms – physical, online, and mobile – to reach your customers, according to their preferences, so you never miss an opportunity to sell. Operating under a single, centralized system also allows you to effectively manage inventory across all your locations to transfer stock where it’s needed the most.
Challenge #2: Selling to the Holiday Shopper
Holiday shoppers need a streamlined, intuitive, and direct shopping experience. As a retailer, you need to be able to anticipate their needs and adjust your products and services to solve issues before they arise. So, what can you do to meet their expectations and successfully sell to the holiday shopper?
How You Solve It
Enable ecommerce, mobile pay, and gift cards to increase your speed of service and simplify the buyer experience to optimize sales. The best way to satisfy a shopper is to give them the service they expect and more. Modern consumers want to be able to quickly find, shop, and buy the gifts they need easily and efficiently. By creating or using an online store in addition to your brick-and-mortar location, you can deliver your products to a wider audience and accommodate their individual shopping habits – whether they prefer to shop in-store or online on a laptop, tablet, or mobile device. This allows you to spread demand across multiple places, so no one location is overwhelmed and stock can be strategically sold.
You can also increase your speed of service by investing in mobile POS stations or tablets. Short lines and efficient payment systems keep customers, especially those who are new to your store. Having the ability to sell products anywhere in your store as well as process mobile payments helps keep check-out lines shorter, reduce wait-times, and lessen the likelihood of customers reconsidering a purchase.
During the holidays, gift cards are a retailer’s best friend. In fact, research has consistently shown that people using a gift card to make a purchase spend 20% more than the value on the card. Aside from this profit incentive, gift cards are also a convenient option for customers coming into your store who may be unfamiliar with your product. As gift-givers, holiday shoppers aren’t always your typical clientele, so offering gift cards can be a great way to make your product more approachable, improving customer satisfaction, and increasing sales. You can easily sell and manage gift cards on an advanced point-of-sale retail solutions like NCR Counterpoint.
Challenge #3: Providing Effective Store Promotions
Holiday shopping has become synonymous with the word SALE. With increased demand comes high-competition, which means everybody is slashing prices in hopes of attracting big crowds. However, you can’t just discount everything in your store and expect to meet your bottom line. You need to be able to leverage your promotions strategically so your sales boost profits. Well how, do you ask?
How You Solve It
Use sales reports and customer insights to personalize your promotions and manage inventory effectively. Leverage a POS system that integrates sales data with customer engagement tools to capture crucial opportunities for your business. With a comprehensive POS solution, you can identify your loyal customers, view their purchase history, and send them coupons tailored specifically to their needs. Understanding when, how, and what they purchase gives you the competitive advantage to offer promotions they’ll want when they’ll want them – motivating further interaction, online or in-person. You’ll also be able to identify your best sellers to strategically price products so they fly off your shelves!
Make the holiday season merry and bright – see how RCS can help you choose and implement a complete point-of-sale solution that will increase sales and improve operations. Contact Us or visit, www.retailcontrolsystems.com to learn more about our customizable retail management solutions!
(ENFIELD, NH | FORT COLLINS, CO) – Retail Control Systems (RCS) is pleased to announce that they have recently moved their Fort Collins, Colorado office to a new location. RCS will now be located at 324 E. Oak Street in Old Town, Fort Collins. Restorations as well as some renovations to convert the late-Victorian style home on the property to RCS’ offices were completed earlier this October. A reception was held to celebrate the official opening of the new location on October 13th, 2016. Attendees included the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce as well as RCS staff and clients.
The property, known historically as the Mosman House or Andrews House, was purchased by RCS in February 2016. Built sometime between 1892 and 1893, the house is considered a significant example of Victorian architecture, and was the first residential property to be designated as a Fort Collins City Landmark.
“RCS did a wonderful job of restoring the historic charm of this iconic home, and we are excited to welcome them to the neighborhood,” states Kristy Wygmans of the Red Carpet Ambassadors of the Fort Collins Area Chamber of Commerce. “We are proud to support local businesses, like RCS, that have shown a dedication to the continued growth and success of our business community.”
Originally based only out of New England, RCS made the decision to expand its operations to the Fort Collins area in early 2013. A need for more space after three years of significant growth, helped motivate RCS’ move to the Old Town district of Fort Collins. The new location also offers a closer proximity to customers and other businesses as well as a larger conference space and additional room for future growth.
“Our priority has always been, first and foremost, our customers and this move will allow us to better serve them,” states Dave Albert, President of Retail Control Systems. “We will not only be more accessible to our clients, but also able to provide larger training sessions and increased support to our Fort Collins customer-base.”
About Retail Control Systems
Founded in 1987 by President and Owner, Dave Albert, Retail Control Systems specializes in retail management software and hardware solutions. Providing superior customer service, exceptional quality, and innovation to the retail community for nearly 30 years, RCS has built a reputation for finding specialized retail management solutions that help businesses gain complete control over their operations and finances. From daily sales management to inventory control, RCS has the experience and expertise across the full-range of retail industries to meet the unique needs of any business. To learn more about RCS, visit www.retailcontrolsystems.com or call 1-800-417-3030.
Why You Should Stop Maintaining Your Own Server and move to cloud computing
Let’s be honest: if you maintain your own server (or that of your organization’s), you know what a headache it can be. Problems never seem to happen from 9-5; instead, you usually have to deal with them at the most inopportune times—at 8AM on Christmas morning, when you’re out celebrating your birthday with friends, or when you’re halfway into your Florida family vacation.
So why keep doing it? If you’re thinking it’s too much of a hassle or that it will cost too much money to “outsource” it—keep reading! You might be pleasantly surprised to learn that enlisting the help of a company that specializes in cloud computing for retail businesses may end up saving you valuable time and money.
If you’re a new business that is just starting out, you’re going to have to set up your server. This is no easy task, especially if IT isn’t your forte. There are a number of server components required to ensure it runs properly (transfer and delivery agents, security certificates, spam filters, antivirus programs, etc.), and not having one or more of those components in place can often cause the entire system to go awry. A company like Retail Control Systems, with years of experience in server maintenance and cloud computing, will ensure your server is set up properly—with all of the necessary components—so your retail business can always meet the demands of your customers.
With the day-to-day commotion of running a business, it can be easy to forget to install those new security certificates or firewall updates and this leaves you and your business unprotected. Imagine if your server were ever attacked, it could mean hours—even days—of possible downtime. It could also lead to your company’s data—and potentially the personal data of your customers—being compromised. Companies that specialize in server management make sure everything is updated when it should be, so you never have to worry about downtime or security issues.
Have you thought about what you would do if your business were to grow beyond what your current server can handle? Cloud based servers can easily accommodate growing demands, so you don’t have to worry about needing a complete server overhaul in a year or two because of increased traffic or workload.
Finally, cloud based servers are infinitely more efficient than most traditional servers. You can access your operations data from anywhere with an internet connection, so you can quickly and easily monitor how your valuable resources are being used. Cloud based servers can also help you better track sales, marketing campaign outcomes, and customer information—so that you can know exactly what’s going on with your business at any time of the day or night. An organization that specializes in cloud hosting will eliminate the inconveniences of maintaining your own server, so that you can focus on the fundamentals of your business.
Retail Control Systems can help! Our state-of-the-art cloud hosting capabilities allow you to seamlessly access your point-of-sale information anywhere there’s an internet connection—on your computer, tablet, or mobile phone. With multiple cloud computing tiers, disaster recovery features, advanced security options, and a dedicated hosting and support team, Retail Control Systems can help you understand the many benefits of off-site cloud management and monitoring. Call 1-800-417-3030 or CONTACT US for more information or to schedule a demo!
With the last few weeks of summer almost here and the end of 2016 not far behind, it’s time to get counting! Yes…it’s true, the time has arrived to start preparing your store or retail business for its year-end physical inventory count.
For some retailers, just the thought of a physical inventory can cause them significant anxiety and dread. However, as tedious as it may seem, it is still a very crucial part to any store’s annual operations. Being able to account for what you have on record vs. what you actually have in store, enables you to maintain more accurate inventory numbers, detect potential areas of shrinkage or loss early on, and be confident that your store will be able to keep up to customer demand. So, it’s not something that should be skipped or done carelessly, but that doesn’t mean it has to be like pulling teeth.
To make your next physical inventory just a little less painful, here are some simple tricks and tips to the count that can help this often detested task seem a lot more manageable.
Have a game plan.
It’s important to remember that doing a physical inventory count is more like a marathon than a sprint. To conquer the task successfully, requires thorough preparation and planning. By front loading the work, you can save yourself a lot frustration, and even time, on the actual day of the count. Here are some of the steps you should consider in preparation for your inventory count:
- Schedule a specific day in advance
- Create a map and/or layout of your store, stockroom or warehouse
- Organize and prepare the stock to be counted
- Close out all in-process orders and outstanding bills
- Prepare your staff and assign employees specific roles and areas for the count
Doing these tasks prior to the actual count will help you ensure that the day of is as productive and stress-free as possible. To have an accurate count, you can’t let yourself be preoccupied with other tasks. Careful planning and proper preparation will allow you to focus on the task at hand and increase the likelihood of an accurate count and minimize the need for multiple re-counts, which will pay-off big time for your business.
Be strategic when executing the count.
The day has arrived. You have done your due diligence—you’ve processed all pending transactions and reconciled all inter-store transfers; assigned roles; and have ensured your warehouse or stockroom has been organized and mapped out—now what?
It’s time to see all your hard work and effort pay off, but that means making and actually following through with your game plan. Not everything will go according to plan, and that’s OK. However, by setting goals and trying to stick to a plan to accomplish those goals, you’ll end up feeling much better about the day. For instance, tackling your inventory in sections, according to a stockroom map, can make the daunting chore seem quite a bit more reasonable. You and your staff will feel satisfaction in being able to actually visualize the progress you’ve made.
Trade the pen and paper for a more efficient method.
It’s time to ditch the pen and paper and switch to a digital solution for tallying your inventory. Just because it’s called Physical Inventory, doesn’t mean you have to take it literally. It’s 2016; leverage technology to make this process much more efficient and way less tiresome. Portable inventory devices or data collectors, like the AML LXD10, are easily the most efficient and accurate method for taking count of your stock.
In the past, a major drawback of portable inventory devices was their relatively high cost and therefore, the initial investment needed to have enough of the units to complete the process. The increase in efficiency and accuracy alone could be argument enough to invest in these devices, but even that’s not necessary now. Retailers can now easily defray their expense by renting scanners or even sharing devices with other business.
We understand that doing a physical inventory count is not exactly high on anyone’s list of things they want to do, but we also know how valuable your inventory is to your business. So, Retail Control System, is offering you an exclusive deal on AML LXD10 data collectors. Until September 30th, RCS will be having a 10% off promotion on all rentals or purchases of AML LXD10 data collectors. To find out more about this promotion, please contact one of our sales representatives by emailing email@example.com, or calling 1-800-417-3030, option 1.
Retail Control Systems is proud to announce their recent participation in the 35th Annual Prouty on July 8-9, 2016 in Hanover, NH. The Prouty is a yearly fundraising and athletic event that benefits the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center (NCCC). The RCS team, RCS Steppers, raised $2,125 to help fund cancer research and patient services at NCCC.
The two-day fundraiser, which occurs every second weekend in July, consists of a variety of non-competitive athletic and sporting events. Individuals or teams have the option to participate in Cycling, Walking, Golf, Virtual or Prouty Ultimate, a 200-mile cycling challenge across New Hampshire and Vermont
A total of 14 staff-members from RCS participated in the event, both virtually and in-person. Virtual participants contributed to the team by walking or running an equivalent 20, 50, 77, 100 or 200 mile route in their current location. Team members that attended the event in-person took part in both the cycling and walking events, hosted at Richmond Middle School in Hanover, NH, as well as the 18-hole Golf Scramble on the golf course at Hanover Country Club.
“I think I speak for all us [at RCS] when I say that it’s a privilege to be able to contribute to the ongoing efforts and ground-breaking research being done at the Dartmouth-Hitchcock Norris Cotton Cancer Center,” stated Dave Albert, President of Retail Control Systems and Prouty participant. “Events like The Prouty are a powerful reminder of the great potential individuals, businesses, and the larger New Hampshire community have if we join together to fight cancer or support other local causes.”
Re-post from Avalara
$24 billion. That’s the amount of uncollected sales tax from eCommerce retail sales at last count. Those billions of dollars are a powerful motivator for U.S. states who are collectively facing $19 billion in budget shortfalls over the next 18 months. As states get more concerned (and creative) about revenue sources, they’re turning their attention to nexus.
Sales tax nexus is defined as a seller having a “sufficient physical presence” in a state to make them liable to register in that state to collect and remit sales and use tax. Over the years, this presence has broadened to include activities such as employing remote staff, attending trade shows, warehousing inventory or using drop shippers or third-party fulfillment. More recently, states have extended their reach further through click-through nexus and affiliate nexus laws aimed at remote sellers.
But it’s not enough. As eCommerce continues to gain momentum, a once-monumental court decision (Quill v. South Dakota) that established boundaries for nexus is fading into obscurity. Despite multiple attempts to pass internet sales tax legislation, federal government leaders remain at loggerheads on the topic. Tired of waiting, states are taking action. In recent months, several states independently put forth more than 40 bills to challenge Quill.
The states’ problem: the sales tax base is eroding
As many as 17 states are projecting budget deficits over the next year. Rather than raise sales tax rates, some states, including Alabama, South Dakota and Vermont, see economic nexus as the answer. Unlike more traditional nexus guidelines, economic nexus is based solely on sales revenue or transaction volume.
Ohio started imposing economic nexus for sales and use tax in 2005, requiring companies with $500,000 or greater in sales to collect and remit tax to the state. Michigan does the same for $350,000 or more in receipts. Washington has a similar law and other states are following suit. Currently, there are 28 bills pending in 13 states related to economic nexus for sales and use tax.
The thresholds of economic nexus can be quite low. In South Dakota for example, $100,000 in annual sales or 200 separate transactions (of any dollar value) give a company economic nexus in the state. Alabama’s threshold is higher ($250,000), but includes a provision for intent to conduct business through advertising.
In effect, these laws give businesses nexus even without any physical connection with the state.
The sellers’ problem: multi-state compliance
What does these mean for sellers? Bigger compliance headaches, for one. Businesses with multi-state nexus are already burdened with having to ensure point of sale, eCommerce systems, and shopping carts are set up to calculate the correct tax in each state and jurisdiction in which they are obligated to register and collect sales tax. With economic nexus, this becomes even more cumbersome, as many businesses will now have nexus in states where they previously did not under a physical presence standard. And if states are being this aggressive about passing new nexus laws, you can bet they’ll be equally aggressive about enforcing them (read: more audits).
Having to comply with economic nexus laws could quickly push businesses beyond the threshold of managing sales tax manually. Learn more about the burdens of economic nexus — and why switching to an automated solution is a more viable (and reliable) strategy — in this short, informative video.
June Employee of the Month goes to Mason!
Thanks for everything you do for RCS Mason!
From his initial stint as intern during the summer of 2014, Mason Vogt has added value to RCS. That first summer he took on the project of gathering information that was instrumental in eventually choosing Service Cloud and extending the use of Salesforce by RCS.
When hired as a full time employee almost a year ago, he took on the purchasing role quickly, consistently making suggestions to improve the way RCS fills our customers’ orders. He has either taken the lead to implement, or aided others in implementing: an improved requisition process, improved item entry, new item testing, efficient customer returns, just to name a few. He is a regular guest at various departments’ meetings to spread new information throughout RCS.
He is currently charged with leading the new Quality Assurance Team, which is off to a solid start.
Besides that, he brews some pretty good beer!