The Business Behind For Keeps

The Business behind For Keeps
On June 20, 2018 I had the chance to interview the owner Amy Craft-Ahrens of For Keeps and got firsthand knowledge on what goes on behind the scenes to make the company a success.
Amy and her father decided to open For Keeps in July 1st 1997. She has had gift retail experience in her past in Chicago. Amy and her father discussed that at the time there were no classic gift stores in down town Bowling Green. This eventually led her to moved back to Bowling Green to open up the gift store. Fast forward 20 years later her business is now one of the well-known shops in downtown Bowling Green. For Keeps includes a range of many different brands, and items that when you step in to the store you are almost guaranteed to find the perfect gift for someone. https://www.forkeepsgifts.com/
Talking to Amy in the interview I got to ask her questions about the business part of the store along with learning how the store runs. Below are questions that were asked.
What desired you to open up your own business?
My father bought the building to originally expand the ACE hardware store after discussing about how there was no gift stores in downtown Bowling Green. I decided to move back to BG to open up For Keeps after having previous retail experience and growing up around the retail market.
What was your business plan?
We opened at the height of the beanie baby phase so we were able to finance our entire inventory with beanie baby sales and this is where the business started to piece together.
What kind of products does For Keeps sell? 
We sell Fashion, apparel, jewelry, purses, candles, home decor, baby gifts, wedding gifts, etc. At For Keeps we like to joke if you are unable to find a gift here you aren’t making an effort.
  

What kind of items in the store would be considered your best seller or most popular?
It varies from time to time. But fashion and jewelry would be our best seller for several years now.
You recently went to a catalog meeting, what is that about?
Yes, we put out a catalog every year in November and it is full of cute holiday gift items. This allows people to have an idea in case they are struggling to find the right gift. Going to the catalog meeting I was able to see the “HOT” new trends and what I could put in the catalog and items that would sell well in the store.
When selecting items for the store is there a certain market or audience you try to hit?
Our audience target would range from age 15 to 90 years old. We are very heavy on the female side.  But I try to find products that would fit everyone not just one age or gender.
 If you were speaking to someone about your business who is new to the Community would you say to interest them into checking out For Keeps?
I would let them know that we have 4000 ft of sales floor and let them know that we have anything from furniture to the tiniest little pocket token. And there’s something for everyone in the store. We are also looking for the popular new thing. Ex. Oil Diffusers, Vera Bradley, Alex and Ani Bangles, Nora Fleming Interchangeable serving pieces, other name brands.
What would you say is the best part of being located downtown Bowling Green?
Being located downtown we receive a variety of customers. We are lucky to have so many local people who understand that a vibrate downtown is crucial to a vibrate community. Customers support is the best part.
Amy also gave me insider that there will be a variety of fun new products coming this Fall 2018! So go check out For Keeps in downtown Bowling Green, Ohio. 😊
To hear the full interview click on the link below.

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