As you can imagine, advice is free flowing when you set out on an adventure like mine. I've found it falls into two basic categories:
1) Those that are based on other's "personal/emotional" values. i.e. - A blue sign versus a black sign or "you don't want to locate in that neighborhood, you want to locate in my neighborhood"
2) Those that are based on genuine "business" factors - i.e. marketing strategies, desirable clothing lines.
It can sometimes be a challenge to separate the advice into the proper category and I find that they sometimes overlap. I like to listen to all forms of advice, even the outrageous. I'm trying to make note of those that fall into Category 1, file them away, but look closely at any that seem to be a recurring theme (meaning they may merit consideration in Category 2).
As I've mentioned in another post, ultimately the store will have my "personality" to it. Not an agglomeration from well meaning others. (And, I realize I can't please everyone all the time/be everything to everyone nor do I have any desire to do so.)
This afternoon, I met a new friend for coffee to discuss the demographics and success of businesses in her neighborhood. We had a wonderful conversation and she was able to give me a real consumer's perspective on what works and what doesn't, why businesses are successful, and the opportunities for becoming part of the community. Community is something that is very important to me. I want myself and Zoe to be a good neighbor and to be a place where people feel warm and welcome. I want to know my mailman/woman, the other retailers, the moms/dads/baby-sitters, and the local barista (a must!)
Please do keep the advice coming!