Bags n’ All – Farewell after 37 Years

Mar 23

Bags n’ All – Farewell after 37 Years

37 years doing business as Bags n’ All!  34 years in our current location in Kelowna’s Orchard Park Shopping Centre! People ask what is the secret to your success?

Our reply is always “People” – All of them – People ARE our success!

First it’s the customers.  They are our “people”.  In retail we say, “Every day is a new day.”  Every customer that day is a new customer. We listen to them.  They tell us what we need to know to help them find what it is they want.   We also listen when they come back to tell us how their purchase worked for them, how their trip was, even how their surgery went. We listen when they tell us the item is defective or just didn’t work for them.  We enjoy the challenge of keeping our customers coming back.

About 35 years ago we were asked to give a packing talk at the Rotary Club.  We said let’s give it a try.  We know luggage and travel accessories. And we have some travel stories. Turned out to be a huge success.  We could show them what we are expert at, packing, and at the same time give them tips on how to be successful travellers around the world by packing light and staying safe.  Other travellers wanted this service too.  After doing it as the entertainment for clubs and churches with missions, and schools for student trips, we began to offer it as a free service right in our store.  The Bags n’ All Packing Demonstration was born and continues today with our store manager and one or two staff members offering a well thought out, entertaining and educational seminar in the store on how to pack light, pack right and be safe wherever you go.

“People” includes our staff.  When we interview for a position with our store, we ask questions to find out about the person.  We want to know what motivates them, what hobbies they have.  We are more interested in learning about the candidate than in telling her about the job.  Only later will we ask what experience she has.  Experience is something we can provide, along with product knowledge and a complete training program called Successful Retail Selling by the Friedman Group (1991)   Our staff  becomes a team of players able to help one another to help our customers.

“People” includes our children, who helped us reach success by becoming successful themselves.  We thank them for being there for us by helping out when needed and for understanding when we missed their important events.

“People” includes our friends and acquaintances within the large family we call “Business Friends”  the CLLDA,  the LLHA,  the GTA,  and most of all, our friends whose businesses within the small luggage industry keep them close in a way that will not be lost just because we sell or retire from our businesses.  Some of those friends are the children of our start up friends over 30 years ago!   What a celebration it would be if we could all get together today!   All of our friends in the industry encouraged us to become successful.

“People” includes our suppliers and their sales reps and those in the offices, from reception to the shipping department.  All of these people are our allies in our choosing the right merchandise and getting it into our store in a timely manner.  We have developed relationships with our suppliers from 37 years down to the most recent.  We have a mutual understanding:  we listen to each other and together we order the product that we feel meets our customers’ needs.

Some people ask “Who is your targeted customer?”  We don’t target our customer.  We invite all shoppers in the shopping centre to come in and talk to us. We listen and help them find the right product for today.  Our customers come in all ages and from all walks of life and budget. We listen to them and we take notes. If we don’t have what they want today, we will try to order it, and call them back, no matter what.

It’s no secret that people can shop wherever they want, that no store or online shop has the only one of a kind product.  We feel we must provide people with the best experience we can.  We encourage them to take a picture, to compare prices and value, to ask us questions about our product and then if they need to try somewhere else,  we will suggest a store or online shop that might have what they want.

People, all people, drive our business.   We are a one store business with a staff of expert sales people.  We market and promote ourselves through people.  The meaning of customer service to Bags n’ All is “People, Product, and Value”.

We are proud of our business in Orchard Park Shopping Centre, Kelowna, BC.  We are proud to be moving forward with a new owner and the same loyal staff and their service.  They have some brand new ideas ahead.

With Best Regards

Kit and Lynne Johaneson

Bags n’ All

March 2015