The Frick Customer Spotlight!

The Frick Customer Spotlight!

Museums Attractions

By Casey Albert
The Frick Plate
Retail Control Systems is delighted to announce The Frick Pittsburgh as our Customer Spotlight for the month of March! They have been in the RCS family since May of 2015.

Located on the Pittsburgh estate of late-19th -century industrialist Henry Clay Frick, The Frick Pittsburgh is the steward of collections left as a legacy to the people of Pittsburgh by Frick’s daughter, Helen Clay Frick. The permanent collections include fine and decorative arts, cars, carriages, historic objects, and buildings. The Frick experience includes The Frick Art Museum, the Car and Carriage Museum, Clayton, the Frick family Gilded Age mansion, and six acres of beautifully landscaped lawns and gardens. Also included are an Education Center, the Frick children’s playhouse (designed by renowned architects Alden & Harlow), a large working greenhouse (also designed by Alden & Harlow), The Café at the Frick, and the Grable Visitor Center, which houses the Frick Museum Store.

The Frick Pittsburgh is a unique space and RCS has helped to make the customer facing and internal user experience the best it can be. The intricacies of operation are greatly improved with help from the RCS support technicians, the Frick is confident they can contact Retail Control Systems with any inquiry and they will find a solution quickly.

The Frick utilizes NCR Counterpoint, Outbound and Raiser’s Edge, all integrated, in multiple areas of their facility – Museum, Educational Classes/Tours and more! The Counterpoint POS software is there for the day to day sales, Outbound handles all the reservations and Raiser’s Edge manages the museum memberships.

The museum also uses CP mobile to help to manage the operations many buildings across the campus. They utilize CP mobile mostly for events or to sell memberships on site. As Lynn rice states, “It’s great that RCS has so many options for us to expand and reach our retail and membership base.”

The company works with Ariel Leggett from RCS and says, “Ariel is the best, she is available to help at a moments notice and always has the right answer”. As their account manager, Ariel helps them with any new purchases, receipt paper, new integrations, upgrades and much more!

“RCS has helped our site advance in many ways and continues to work to help our business improve.” – Lynn Rice, Systems & Data Manager

RCS is thrilled to have The Frick Pittsburgh as part of the RCS family! We are excited that we can assist them with reaching their goals and we can’t wait to see where they go next!

About Retail Control Systems

Founded in 1987, Retail Control Systems specializes in retail and restaurant management software and hardware solutions. RCS has built a reputation for finding specialized business management solutions that help businesses gain complete control over their operations and finances. From inventory control to daily sales management, RCS has the experience and expertise across the full-range of retail and restaurant industries to meet the unique needs of any business. RCS has been providing superior customer service, exceptional quality, and innovation to the retail and restaurant community for nearly 30 years.

To learn more about RCS, visit or call 1-800-417-3030.

For more information about The Frick, their products, and services, visit

Best Practices for Dealing with Negative Customer Reviews

Best Practices for Dealing with Negative Customer Reviews

Technical Tip

By John Garvey

Whether you’re a retailer, restaurateur, tour guide or museum director, your first negative review can make you feel like a donkey kicked you in the stomach. Don’t go all Chicken Little on us, though—The sky is not falling! Before we get to how to deal with negative customer reviews, we’ll point out a few benefits (yes, benefits) of negative reviews:

Man in Suit giving thumbs-up

Despair not!

According to Hubspot, five times as many buyers seek out bad reviews as good reviews. That’s because they want to make an informed purchase, weighing the credibility of negative and positive reviews. Rarely are they looking for reasons not to buy.

In fact, Reevoo, a brand management and market research firm, reports that 19 out of 20 customers become suspicious when they see only positive reviews. An occasional negative review lends credibility to your positive reviews by showing that you aren’t gaming the system.

A mature, helpful response to a negative review that shows you aren’t squeamish about negative feedback boosts your credibility and may generate sympathy for your brand.

Finally, “Customers who have their complaints satisfactorily resolved tell an average of five people” according to Colorado State University marketing professor Douglas Hoffman. If you win over a dissatisfied customer, they’ll be a stronger advocate than a customer who was happy all along. That’s because, done right, resolving a complaint shows an unusual level of commitment and maturity.

In short, a negative review creates the chance to turn a small loss into a big win.

Hopefully, having provided some positive perspective on negative reviews, we’ll turn our attention to how to manage negative online and offline reviews. There are four cornerstones: Initiative, Vigilance, Empathy and Process.

We’ll end with a few SEO tips so hang with us!

Initiative: Be proactive.

The most important foundation of managing negative reviews is taking specific, customer-centric measures to prevent them in the first place. There’s no foolproof method to stop all bad online reviews, but there are established ways to reduce their likelihood.

  1. Convenient sounding boards. First, make sure there’s a convenient resource such as a physical or online “comment card” available to customers to voice complaints and provide testimonials. It’s far better for them to complain directly to you than to many prospects via social media. Customers given a convenient sounding board will often be more candid, focusing on the substance of their complaints rather than speculating about the “why,” which may amount to an unwarranted attack on your business culture and motives.
  2. Follow up quickly on offline complaints. If not acted upon promptly, offline complaints become public. A slow, inadequate or non-response adds to a customer’s frustration, making it more likely that he’ll flame you on Yelp, Facebook, OpenTable or Google.
  3. Email tags. Every employee using a company email should have links to your site and social media accounts below her signature, not only to grow your social presence but to make it easier for customers to post reviews.
  4. Soliciting testimonials. Finally, remember that the point of sale, when the customer is excited about a new purchase, is the best moment to solicit reviews. A simple URL on the bottom of a physical receipt, a link to a super-short survey on a mobile or email receipt, or even a physical comment card will generate more reviews than a suggestion that they visit Yelp or TripAdvisor.

Vigilance: Keep your ear to the ground.

  1. “Social never sleeps” is an unofficial mantra in social media marketing and public relations. Make the rounds regularly: Yelp, Facebook, Google, Zomato (previously UrbanSpoon), OpenTable, Twitter, Glassdoor and so on. Know the most important review sites for your industry and pay lots of attention.
  2. Set up a Google Alert for your business so that when it’s mentioned online you receive a timely notification in your email.

Empathy: Feel their pain.

  1. Own it. Own up to your mistakes, even when it’s uncertain where the blame lies. A non-response to a negative review will compound the problem almost every time. It shows apathy. It shows that you aren’t on top of your game. In one way or another it validates the complaint.
  2. Civility. Even a justifiably defensive response to an unfair review will be perceived negatively by customers, who may sympathize with you privately but still be put off by drama. If it’s a case of a false statement, be candid yet civil.
  3. Judgement. On a similar note, use good business judgement. Don’t be overzealous when appeasing upset customers with compensations and never throw your employees under the bus.
  4. Authenticity. Why are authentic apologies necessary? Consider the following:
    • According to Lee Resources, a consulting firm, one complaint implies there are another 26 quietly dissatisfied customers (who are likely complaining to other people).
    • According to Bain & Company, one of the big three consulting firms, customer acquisition is 6 – 7 times as costly as customer retention. So try not to lose ‘em.

Woman writing in a notebook

Process: Have a checklist of things to do and avoid.

  1. Make it easy for customers to deliver feedback and testimonials. Encourage candor by not requiring them to provide more personal information than absolutely necessary to follow up, and by expressing your commitment to customer service with words and actions.
  2. Run each response by a trusted colleague with some emotional detachment before posting.
  3. In your response, make sure you direct the customer to someone who can help them resolve their complaint. Make it a direct line or email rather than a generic address like “” While easy to overlook, this detail can help bring about a speedier resolution and may result in the customer amending their review to a more positive rating.

What other lessons can you bring to the table based on experience? We’d love to hear your stories.

Bonus: SEO Tips!

  • When responding to a negative review, don’t use the name of your business or search keywords. Doing this will improve the search engine ranking of the review itself. With positive reviews, the same principle applies in reverse. Use your company name and relevant keywords to bolster the review’s ranking.
  • Freshness is one factor in how Google ranks content, so all things equal, new content outranks old content. The wake of a negative review is a good time to put up positive or helpful content you already have in the pipeline, or to increase your content marketing efforts.
A Match Made in Heaven

A Match Made in Heaven

Museums Attractions

by Casey Albert

RCS is pleased to announce Heaven Hill Brands as our Customer Spotlight for the month of February! They have been part of the RCS family for almost five years.

Evan Williams Bourbon Experience

Shortly after Prohibition ended in the United States, Heaven Hill, was founded in Bardstown, Kentucky by the Shapira family to produce and market Bourbon. At the time, it was as speculative a new business venture as the dot com startups of the 1990’s — a company founded with no brands, no available stocks of whiskey, and at the height of the Great Depression. Today, the company is the largest independent, family-owned and operated distilled spirits supplier in the country. According to industry analysts, Heaven Hill is now the sixth-largest spirits supplier in the United States and second largest holder of aging Bourbon whiskey in the world with an inventory in excess of 1,300,000 barrels.

Heaven Hill operates two visitor centers located on the Kentucky Bourbon Trail. Their visitor centers are The Bourbon Heritage Center located in Bardstown, KY and the Evan Williams Bourbon Experience in Downtown Louisville, KY. Both of Heaven Hill’s facilities offer tours, interactive exhibits, tastings and a retail store.

RCS has been able to offer an all-inclusive package pairing NCR Counterpoint together with Outbound, to manage Heaven Hill’s tour and event sales, as well as, their inventory for retail and operations. The systems also seamlessly interface with the company’s Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) system.

RCS has been with us every step of the way for 5 years. At first implementing and even now helping us fine-tune and evolve the system to meet our growing business needs.”

-Stacy Clements

RCS is thrilled to have Heaven Hill as part of the RCS family! We are excited that we can assist them with reaching their goals and we can’t wait to see where they go next!

Questions to ask when shopping for a POS system

Questions to ask when shopping for a POS system

Technical Tip

by John Garvey
shaking hands
What does the term “point of sale system” mean to you? For many, it may simply mean payment processing, but if you’re a merchant you have a lot more on your mind. You don’t just want a one-trick pony. For instance, in addition to fast and reliable credit card processing, you probably wouldn’t mind a POS system that streamlines inventory management and your check out process. Would you?

There are many POS systems out there with varying features. The overriding consideration is that the POS system you use should allow you flexibility and accommodate your business—not the other way around.

It’s a business partnership, not a product.

People on laptop
What kind of training and support does your retail solutions provider offer?

Will they provide you meaningful help getting up to snuff on their platform?

How responsive is your provider?

Consider the quality of tech support offered. Some offer 24/7 tech support, but don’t advertise long wait times and poorly-trained technicians. Retail Control Systems offers a level of responsiveness and helpfulness that’s unsurpassed with a well-trained staff. That’s part of why we’ve been the # 1 NCR Counterpoint reseller for nearly 20 years!

It’s also why we have so many positive testimonials.

What kind of hardware does your retail solutions/POS provider offer?

NCR Customer and Merchant
Hardware should be intended to last. We’re talking commercial grade as opposed to consumer grade hardware. The NCR register is drop tested, warrantied, dust- and water-resistant and built to carry out millions of transactions over its lifespan.

What can you expect if contingencies occur?

Business Continuity

As a customer, have you ever not been able to complete a purchase because the POS system was down and you didn’t have cash? Probably. This is disappointing when you’re fiending for something specific, like pizza, and have to go three doors down for a salad. (The memory has me choking back tears!)

If your internet service provider bonks, that doesn’t mean your business should. NCR Counterpoint maintains full functionality in offline mode. With some other POS platforms, that isn’t the case.


It is technically a requirement for POS systems to meet PCI Security Standards, but compliance is also a moving target and small providers sometimes fly under the radar. NCR Counterpoint keeps on top of it, enabling you to do so as well.

Happy Lucky's Tea House Register

While compliance is ultimately up to the merchant, a compliant provider is indispensable. RCS helps keep your business data secure and protects you from liability. We also keep our accounts separate. That means even if the guy down the street gets hacked, you’re safe because we don’t group you with other customers.

Our business systems can also flag things like large discounts, excessive “no sale” transactions, voided tickets and other red flags that may indicate theft or pilfering.

Ask your prospective POS system provider what they do in terms of backing up and securing your data. With RCS, a little more money gets you a lot more security.

What features do you need beyond payment processing?

Order Fulfillment – Your POS system should enable omnichannel sales—that is, online, in-store and mobile.

Inventory Management – A quality POS system helps merchants manage layaways, special orders and accounts receivable. Specialized reports can track sales data, monitor margins and eliminate guesswork.

Gift Card and Loyalty Programs – In many cases, gift cards and loyalty programs involve transactional or monthly fees. Avoid these if you can (hint: You can with RCS).

Marketing Support – Any POS system should help you organize customer data. A good one has email marketing integrations and other marketing-related features. These include collecting customer feedback surveys and segmenting customers by purchasing history to deliver relevant, individualized marketing for email or mobile.

Integration with Other Business Systems – A POS system should have the ability to interface with other platforms including accounting software, reservation systems and online stores. You don’t want to have to overhaul a system you’re familiar and satisfied with to onboard a new POS system. This is one of NCR Counterpoint’s strengths. For instance, Counterpoint interfaces smoothly with QuickBooks and Outbound Reservation Software.

When shopping around for a POS system, consider your budget, but remember that spending an extra dollar in the right place can save you three dollars down the road.

If you have questions relating to advanced features, integration, marketing or anything else, drop us a line. We’d love to hear from you!

RCS and Wadsworth Museum of Art together for 18 years!

RCS and Wadsworth Museum of Art together for 18 years!

Museums Attractions

Retail Control Systems is pleased to announce the Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art as our first Customer Spotlight of 2018. The museum has been a part of the RCS family for over 18 years.

Wadsworth Museum

The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art is the oldest continuously-operating public art museum in the United States, founded in 1842 by arts patron Daniel Wadsworth. Wadsworth was an amateur artist, architect, and one of the first major American art patrons. Daniel Wadsworth originally planned to establish a “Gallery of Fine Arts,” but was persuaded to create an atheneum, a term popular in the 19th century used to describe a cultural institution with a library, works of art and artifacts, devoted to learning history, literature, art, and science.

Wadsworth MuseumThe museum’s collections of nearly 50,000 works of art span 5,000 years and feature the Morgan collection of Greek and Roman antiquities and European decorative arts; world-renowned baroque and surrealist paintings; an unsurpassed collection of Hudson River School landscapes; European and American Impressionist paintings; modernist masterpieces; the Serge Lifar collection of Ballets Russes drawings and costumes; the George A. Gay collection of prints; the Wallace Nutting collection of American colonial furniture and decorative arts; the Samuel Colt firearms collection; costumes and textiles; African American art and artifacts; and contemporary art.

Wadsworth Museum
Wadsworth Museum utilizes NCR Counterpoint to help run their gift shop smoothly and effectively. They rely heavily on the built-in reporting to keep the gift shop well stocked for customers when they visit the museum. The Purchasing Advice Report is used to see what is selling best and when it needs to be re-ordered. The yearly physical inventory count is much easier with the built-in Physical Inventory Feature. This feature makes sure their inventory has been tracked correctly throughout the year.

We have been working with RCS and Counterpoint for at least 15 years…maybe even 20. They are so helpful from the most basic to the more complicated needs we have.  The system itself is easy to use and provides great reports. Whenever I have a question, it is always answered in a timely manner.          –  Stacey Stachow

RCS is thrilled to have The Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art as part of the RCS family! We are excited that we could assist them with reaching their goals and we can’t wait to see where they go next!

Read more about RCS’ Solutions for Museums and Attractions.

Read more about Wadsworth Atheneum Museum of Art.

How to Ride Out Seasonal Revenue Fluctuations

How to Ride Out Seasonal Revenue Fluctuations

Specialty Retail

by John Garvey

Open sign on shop windowRetailers face unique challenges and opportunities each holiday shopping season. Ditto for other peak buying times, as well as cyclical retail sales slumps. Both challenges and opportunities are enhanced by digital marketing, social media and e-commerce. We’ve got to take our hats off to brick and mortar retailers who are putting in extra hours this time of year. For many, key decisions related to hiring, expansion, downsizing, and adapting online sales channels hang in the balance.

Fortunately, there are new resources available to brick and mortar retail managers. These include new point-of-sale (POS) software features, digital advertising platforms (such as AdWords) with transparent practices, and better inventory tracking systems.

We’ll point you to some of those resources and offer some valuable ideas in the following post.

Omni-Channel Fulfillment and Marketing

Order fulfillment

Retailers need to “consider more flexible fulfillment options such as buy online, pickup in store,” states the National Retail Federation (NRF). Purchases finalized in a store are increasingly being reserved online as well, as are after hours buying and delivery features. Consumers are also doing their product research on mobile devices. The ability to get reliable product insights and place items on hold for pickup is a convenience factor that gets more people in the door. Once there, they may make unrelated purchases.

NCR Counterpoint assists with all these things and more. We’d love to talk with you about the software’s many helpful features anytime.

Generous return policies

“The tradition of giving and receiving unwanted gifts is a reliable part of the holiday season; thus, return policies play a critical role in holiday purchases,” states the NRF in its 2017 Holiday Planning Playbook. The humor of that statement may not have been deliberate, but it’s true.

Face it: You’re likely to give or receive an unwanted gift this year. “Generous and transparent” return policies that de-risk purchases also make sales more likely.


Sign on sidewalk, awesome to the right and less awesome to the leftGet your marketing ducks in a row well before the holidays. Make sure there’s a convenient, online catalog on your site for pre-shoppers and advertise promotions well in advance. According to NRF, more than half of all customers begin researching holiday purchases in October or earlier. Including links to review sites with your product descriptions will help guide the customer to a decision and make sales more likely.

Time-limited promos are an especially effective way to entice sales. Promote them through multiple channels including social media, segmented email marketing lists and even, in some cases, print marketing. Direct mail still works if it’s targeted. Segmented email marketing lists result in a double-digit increase in open rates compared to non-segmented lists.

Stay top-of-mind using the social media platforms most popular with your customers. That varies by demographic, so know whether your customers’ platform of choice is Instagram, Pinterest or Facebook. Then focus your efforts proportionately.

Wish lists

The majority of holiday shoppers now report wanting wish lists, modeled after wedding and baby registries, to help with holiday gift buying. More and more retailers are following suit. As with other marketing practices like transparent return policies and conveniently linking products to consumer review sites, this makes people more confident in their purchases.

These practices collectively make sales more likely by reducing demands on the customer’s time and attention.

Modern, Cloud-based Point-of-Sale Systems will Soon be Indispensable—if they aren’t already

Customer patience is relatively low when seasonal shopping peaks. It follows that anything that makes the purchasing process seamless becomes super important at those times. A reliable POS system with short credit card processing times, streamlined receipt tracking and good inventory planning to avoid stock outs will make your life better if you’re in retail management.

Tracking sales data to guide future decisions can be tedious, even exhausting when you add it to the laundry list of other responsibilities: ensuring solid customer service, retail marketing, maintaining storefront displays, payroll, etc. Fortunately, POS and inventory tracking software such as NCR Counterpoint helps you do all that and more.

Inventory is cash. Having too much cash tied up as excess inventory can cripple a retailer’s profitability. Cash flow issues aside, poor planning due to incomplete data may force you to offer excessive markdowns to offload soft-selling items. While proactive markdowns allow you to clear shelf space for hot items, reactive markdowns hurt margins.

How do markdowns tie into the discussion of POS software?

Smart alert on a cell phoneNCR Counterpoint offers dozens of Smart Alerts, such as low inventory warnings, cash on hand, and real-time sales data for each product line. Because it’s cloud-based, you can choose which ones are most relevant to your business and keep an eye on things remotely.

Daily or weekly sales reports will help you adjust future receipts up or down as new sales data roles in. So you can avoid the twin menace of inventory overstock and stock outs. Counterpoint’s inventory management capabilities also allow retailers to easily transfer merchandise between stocking locations and roll out flexible pricing. Counterpoint offers over 40 inventory reports, allowing managers to opt in to the most important ones.

A good point-of-sale software system will make purchasing and pricing decisions easier with sales analytics and inventory reports. That, in turn, keeps margins healthy.

Attract Customers with Targeted, Enticing Digital Marketing

Digital marketing, including mobile marketing, allows retailers to take a more highly-targeted approach than ever before, and to accurately measure ROI of different ad campaigns. Smartphone commerce is indispensable as consumers increasingly use smartphones to price compare, browse products and place orders.

If you don’t have a mobile-optimized site, you’re losing business. Guaranteed.

“65% of consumers have a mobile shopping app on their smartphone and have made a purchase using it.”
Forbes, 28 Nov 2017

“Geofencing is helping retailers compete more effectively with online shopping experiences while customers receive a highly targeted, more relevant shopping experience.”
Inc., 7  Dec 2017

The first thing to do is make sure your site is mobile-friendly, fast, and easy to navigate with appropriately-sized font and images. Similarly, geofencing, or location-based marketing using resources like Google AdWords, will get people’s attention when they’re most likely to follow through on a purchase.

As we’ve stated in previous posts, email marketing is also very much alive and very effective when done right. Don’t neglect it, and remember to segment email lists for different types of customers. Segmentation results in a double-digit increase in open and click through rates.

Finally, marketers report that video content is increasingly important during ultra-competitive season. Again, according to Forbes,

51.9% of marketers report that video delivers the best ROI and that their customers have a preference for video over other types of content. And at least half of shoppers will search for a product video before visiting an online store.

Finally, Remember What You’ve Always Done Well

“While the shopping process is becoming more complex, the best competitive advantage remains in old-fashioned retail principles of serving the customer what they want, where they want it, at the price they desire — and with exceptional customer service. Technology may be changing the surface of the retail game, but the underlying strategies to win remain the same.”
National Retail Federation

Is there anything else you would add? We’d love to hear from you!

Give your Business a Shot in the Arm

Request a demo of NCR Counterpoint or, for restauranteurs, NCR Silver Pro.

See How Total Fitness Shaped Up Their Business With NCR Counterpoint!

See How Total Fitness Shaped Up Their Business With NCR Counterpoint!


Total Fitness Equipment has been a member of the RCS family since 1999, utilizing NCR Counterpoint POS System to help streamline their business. RCS is pleased to announce Total Fitness Equipment as our December Customer Spotlight!

Inside of Total Fitness Store

Total Fitness is a specialty fitness equipment provider to homes and commercial facilities. As a local, family-owned business, Total Fitness Equipment is committed to becoming your “fitness partner.” They will help you set fitness goals, establish a realistic and achievable plan, and decide on the right equipment for you. Your health and fitness is their customer support team’s highest priority as they create the solution designed to fit your life and your home.

“We run our business with NCR Counterpoint. I don’t know what we would do without it.”

-Jon Valles, Owner

In the past, the store manually wrote purchase orders and then entered them into a custom-made program. This process was time consuming, to say the least,  which also made it very costly. The store now uses NCR Counterpoint’s order and point of sale functionality to process customer orders. This allowed them to significantly speed up and streamline their checkout time, allowing them to better serve their customers. The store also utilizes NCR Counterpoint delivery feature to get fitness equipment delivered directly to their customers, either commercial or residential.

Inside of Total Fitness Store

Total Fitness loves to help you report your fitness stats and they also love the reporting that comes natively with NCR Counterpoint. Jon Valles, Owner, states, “we could never have generated these reports in our old system and have the level of inventory control that NCR Counterpoint gives us”.

RCS is thrilled to have Total Fitness Equipment as part of the RCS family! We are excited that we can assist them with becoming more efficient with their checkout and order processes and we can’t wait to see where they go next!


Want to read other customer spotlights? Read about Hickory & Tweed.

Libations to keep you warm through the winter!

Libations to keep you warm through the winter!

Just for Fun, Wine & Liquor

Around the time of the first snowfall, do you notice that certain drinks take on a new appeal? Just as kids associate cold weather with hot chocolate, adults associate certain drinks with a feeling of warmth. Think about how a glass of red wine or Scotch warms the stomach and spreads out to your fingertips. It’s pretty great, isn’t it? We like to call these drinks winter warmers. Across almost all categories of adult beverage there’s a shift in preferences when the thermometer takes a dive. Here are a few winter warmers:


Food and Beer with dark backgroundWith winter starting here on Colorado’s Front Range, “the Napa Valley of Beer,” pilsners and hefeweizens are giving way to heavier ales like porters and winter warmers.

“Every year Odell Brewing comes out with Isolation Ale, which does really well over the winter,” says Joe Musa, owner of Campus West Liquors. “New Belgium comes out with Accumulation, which is another heartier beer that they bring out for the season.”

We thought Joe would be a good person to go to for tips and insights on how people keep warm this time of year. We were right. There’s a significant reshuffling of inventory with every change of the season. Here in Colorado, we’re lucky to have four beer seasons (poor California). We’re also keen to talk about our favorite cold weather beverages, and you notice it in our taprooms.

For instance, stouts and porters come into higher demand when the ugly sweaters come out. Many, such as Goose Island’s Bourbon Barrel-Aged Stout (not for the faint of heart) are only produced seasonally.


“Wine preferences also shift from white to red”, Joe states. That’s because cold drinks that hit the spot after a day in the sun hold less appeal if you just changed spent a day skiing in a snowstorm. Cabernets and other red wines are best drunk a few degrees below room temperature, while white wines express themselves best when they’re chilled.

Woman drinking tea outside
“Pinot noirs go well with Thanksgiving dinner, in general,” Joe advises. “If you’re going to go with a red, that’s what I recommend. If you’re going to go with white, I like to recommend a Riesling or a Gewürztraminer, which are a little on the sweeter side. Gewürztraminer—they call it a spiced wine—has more of a pear taste to it so it goes well with stuffing, turkey, cranberry and so forth.”


Joe recommends any Gewürztraminer made by Chateau Ste. Michelle, a Washington-based winery. One Riesling he recommends is Kung Fu Girl, also out of Washington State.

Spirits and wine variants

Eggnogs made with brandy or bourbon go down well during the holidays. A couple best sellers include Winter Jack, a blend of Jack Daniels Old No. 7 Tennessee Whiskey and apple cider liqueur, and Evan Williams Egg Nog. But while holiday guests enjoy tradition, they may also appreciate it if you break convention.

Warm cocktail drink on wood table
“Mead is a honey wine that does pretty well around the holidays. It’s a little heavier than other wines.” Campus West carries honey wine from Palisade-based Meadery of the Rockies made with 100% pure, raw orange blossom honey, as well as Camelot Mead by Oliver Winery.  Honey wines are often chock full of fruits such as blackberry, cherry, raspberry and apricot.

Mulled wines are served warm and mixed with mulling spices such as cinnamon, cloves, cardamom and sugar. German-style Glühweins (“mulled wines”) can be found bottled, or you can make them at home.  Mulled wine is generally made by heating a cheap red wine and mulling spices. The smell will give your house a nice holiday aroma and the drink will warm your belly. There are a lot of recipes online or you can try whatever spices tickle your fancy.


Anything that goes well with coffee or hot chocolate will be a welcome addition to your cupboard this time of year, Joe says. Amaretto, Bailey’s, Frangelico, Peppermint Schnapps clear the shelves a lot faster when snow is flying.

“Bailey’s is a classic winter-time liqueur, many of our customers have been picking up a bottle during the holidays for the past 40 years.”

Naturally, we were interested in hearing about some of Joe’s personal favorites. He keeps things pretty varied, he says, because I suppose it’s the natural thing to do if you own a liquor store.

Having said that, “Every now and then on a snowy night with a fire going, a bottle of port with some walnuts and cheese really hits the spot. It’s comforting.”

Single malt Scotch can also take the chill out of the air like few things can. “McCallen 18-year old is my favorite. … I used to drink it more when it was $85 a bottle.” Prices have recently skyrocketed due to limited quantities and high demand.

If I had been thinking, I may have asked Joe to sell me a bottle of 18-year McCallan for $85, “For old time’s sake.” I don’t know if it would have worked, but dark ales and the occasional single malt will be helping to keep me warm this winter.

What’s your go-to cold weather libation?


Want to read more by RCS? Check out Why Your Liquor POS Gets Better With Age.

Cave of the winds and RCS, discover the unknown together

Cave of the winds and RCS, discover the unknown together

Museums Attractions

Cave of the Winds Mountain Park has been part of the RCS family since 2012, coming to RCS after working with a different NCR Counterpoint Partner. RCS is pleased to announce Cave of the Winds as November’s Customer Spotlight!

For more than a century, Cave of the Winds has been a must-see Colorado Springs attraction for travelers since 1881. They are one of the premiere show caves in the United States – and, at 7,000 feet above sea level, the cave is also one of the highest! Conveniently located near Pikes Peak and Manitou Springs and only one hour south of Denver, Colorado, brave explorers can choose from three cave tours and enjoy spectacular scenery, daring attractions and rides, family-friendly and kid-friendly activities atop breathtaking Williams Canyon. From mild to wild, exploring and soaring, Cave of the Winds is the perfect Colorado experience inside the mountain and out!

Guests looking up on cave tour

Cave of the Winds runs all of their operations with NCR Counterpoint, including gift shops, attractions, café and warehouse. This helps them have the most efficient and effective reporting possible because all the data is located in one system, NCR Counterpoint. NCR Counterpoint is seamlessly integrated with Outbound Software to allow the Cave to do onsite and online reservations for their attractions.

“The best thing is that NCR Counterpoint is a software that works with Outbound, our online ticketing software and it allows for time and group ticketing. We can easily manage inventory and setup discounts, all in a user friendly interface.” Terry Carter, Office Manager

RCS is thrilled to have Cave of the Winds as part of the RCS family! It was a pleasure assisting them with reaching their goals and we can’t wait to see where they go next!

Learn more on their website:

How to keep your garden center successful in the slow season

How to keep your garden center successful in the slow season

Garden Centers

How to Keep Your Garden Center Successful in the Slow Season

by John Garvey

Green Chile Peppers

Hatch green chiles are all the rage in the late summer and fall, but try the Colorado chiles at Denver-based Country Fair Garden Center and you might become a convert for life.

“Everybody has their own thoughts about chiles,” says [Marketing Manager] Candi  Gerace, “but these are bigger, they’re thicker, they’re meatier. I’ve always done the Colorado chiles.”

The smell of chiles roasting has near universal appeal. Smell is the only one of our five senses that doesn’t get run through a filter before identification, which is why it can send us immediately into a reverie. It’s also the sense most strongly associated with memory. That’s one reason visiting a garden center is worthwhile any day, any month.

Yet gardening is, for many, a seasonal hobby. That’s a challenge garden centers must contend with year after year, with up to 2/3 of annual sales concentrated in the spring months. Riding out those seasonal fluctuations requires strategic thinking, but it can be fun, too.

Community engagement through workshops and fares

“As far as increasing sales in the off season, we try different things all the time, whether it be different types of sales, bringing in different types of product different classes, additional advertising,” Gerace tells us.

“The chile roasting is great. … We started chile roasting in August, so we’ve been doing it about four weeks now. We get our chiles in Colorado—they’re Pueblo chiles. We chose to support our local farmers.”

Gerace is excited about several upcoming workshops and events. For instance, Country Fair is hosting a cleanup and lawn care workshop on October 7. The following Saturday there will be a pumpkin painting, and on October 21st, children gearing up for Halloween can enjoy a spooky fairy garden.

After all, nature doesn’t just hang up her hat from October to March.

Garden Center Retail Store

“We increase house plant sales and we do a large Christmas—of course, poinsettias, Christmas trees, live trees. And that’s what we focus on,” Gerace continues. “We bring in a few more lines, offer a lot of hands on classes, especially in the fall and around the holidays. So people can make their own wreaths or their own mantel piece. We do a lot with house plants in January/February making succulent gardens and cactus gardens.”

The garden center probably has 20 varieties of succulent at a given time, Gerace estimates.

“You almost never have the exact plants. It’s just the nature of this industry. You get the same species, different varieties. … But we have all the basics, all the time.”

County Fair Garden Center recently opened a second location, and our software point of sale and inventory management system, NCR Counterpoint, helps with ordering, inventory and transfers between the two stores. Check out their calendar for educational events and fairs like the annual Holiday Fair in November.

New specialties

Another option to attract more off-season business is specializing in indoor gardening and hydroponics. That’s a culture decision, because here in Colorado it attracts a different set of clientele than people who grow seasonal produce or perennials. Mountain Lion Garden Supply, in Laporte, CO, specializes in grow lights, indoor pest management and fertilizer in addition to outdoor gardening.

Founder Mike Walsh is a graduate of the Colorado State University Horticulture program with a concentration in Floriculture. Walsh does consulting for garden centers wishing to tap into the indoor gardening market. He too is a client of ours.

Contact Mountain Lion Garden Supply.


The off season is a great time to focus on business planning and maintenance activities, special events and cultivating relationships. Other local businesses and organizations are often great collaborators. For instance, Country Fair Gardens is a pick up location for Grant Farms, a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) based in Wellington, CO. It’s been a fruitful partnership that brings people in during the off season.

“They’re a great group of people,” says Gerace with a smile.

It’s even a good time to talk in person with other business owners to see how they manage seasonal fluctuations in sales.


First, for timing your purchases to avoid excess inventory or spoilage, a user-friendly, reliable inventory planning system like NCR Counterpoint is invaluable.

Garden Center Retail Store

If you’re running a garden center, you believe gardening is a fun, year-round activity. With a good off-season marketing strategy, you can convert “fair-weather” gardeners to year-round customers with winter greenhouse miniature gardening, indoor fairy gardens, seasonal produce like autumn squash (so wonderful) and hydroponics.

“No matter what type of seasonal business you own, it’s possible to be profitable all year round if you’re disciplined, manage your time and explore your options,” Entrepreneur Magazine, reports.

Read general tips about what garden centers and other businesses have done to bring in additional off-season revenues and manage cash flow here and here.

Remember that the predictability of the seasons can be an advantage because it allows garden centers to plan. Gone is the luck and guesswork some sectors like commodities face. Although seasonality is a big challenge, it provides managers with something of a rudder, compass and steering wheel.

Trends and fun

Fairy gardening. It’s a thing. Wings optional.

“Fairy gardening is still going very strong,” Gerace tells us. “They put a lot of accessories in their gardens, little fairies, little benches, basically anything that we have in our home I can find in fairy gardening now.

“They’re cute, they’re fun, they can be indoor, they can be outdoor. All my classes, we design them to be more indoor, being in Colorado.”

Also ask yourself what you can do to create more of a destination shopping experience. Children’s activities are a great way to do that. One garden center in Canada even added a beekeeping operation and petting zoo, although before you go bonkers, that’s more of a point of interest than a suggestion.

Keep bringing la passion

“I love plants, love plants. That’s why I do what I do,” Gerace beams.

“And that’s what’s rewarding, is to put gardens together for people just so they can enjoy the beauty, or enjoy the produce from an actual vegetable garden.”

It’s true: eating a home grown tomato just ruins store-bought produce.