B Street Mercantile opened in April of 2013 in downtown Petaluma, CA. Patti Looper and Jenny Paisley, both owners of their own indie craft businesses, Patti Lou Designs and Blockhead Press, are the owners. Located in the heart of downtown Petaluma, this shop prides itself on being "a celebration of the independent designer, artist, and craftsperson." The store carries over 65 brands, many of them local to Northern California, including 2 of our own Creative Business League members, note•ify and Drywell Art.
Why did you decide to open B Street Mercantile?
There so many amazing local and independent artists creating unique items for savvy customers who want to shop local, and we felt we could provide Petaluma with a shopping experience they could not find anywhere else in town. We could not pass up an opportunity to move into our bright and happy location in downtown Petaluma, so it was the perfect timing to make our dreams a reality. With our combined talents, artistic backgrounds and similar tastes and styles in the products, we knew we could create something special.
What helps you decide which pieces to carry in your shop?
People are always looking for unique, high quality, and reasonably priced items that they can't find anywhere else. We search throughout the Bay Area and beyond for just the right mix of home decor, children's items, stationery, textiles, special occasion gifts, and more that we feel our customers will love and enjoy as much as we do. We always venture to find small batch, independently-minded craftspeople to stock the best in gift items.
Where do you recommend customers eat or grab a coffee and snack near the shop?
There are so many wonderful eateries in downtown Petaluma. Just a few doors down from us you will find a fabulous cup of coffee and fresh homemade cookies at Acre Coffee. Bovine Bakery up the street offers a hearty rice bowl and fresh salads made daily. Wild Goat Bistro for lunch and dinner is not to be missed and a local Petaluma favorite!
What is the best part/most surprising part about owning the shop?
Historic downtown Petaluma is a wonderful place to open just the kind of store we created. We have the support of all our wonderful artists, and our customers truly appreciate the unique items we offer. We have been pleasantly surprised at how welcoming our customers are each day and how they love coming in to find that perfect gift. Our partnership has been such a rewarding experience, and we love how the shop continues to be our happy place each morning when we come down to open our doors.
B Street Mercantile
316 B Street
Petaluma, CA 94952
Tues - Sat. 10am-5pm
I recently launched a new business with my mom, gift•ify, kind of an offshoot of my current business, note•ify. In preparation for the launch, I have been researching Search Engine Optimization, aka SEO, tips and tricks. In addition to running these two businesses, I also do some website design for friends - I was art director and designer in the advertising world for 10 years prior to starting note•ify. Between the websites I was designing and coding, and my own new website, I thought I better brush up on SEO. Here are some basic tips I came across that I found to be helpful. Please note that I am not following all of my own advice, YET.
If you are offering a service, or you make something, do you have a photo of yourself on your website? People visiting your site like to see an actual person and get to know who you are. It's a trust thing (this will be a theme).
Do you update the website often, create new content, list new products, write blog posts? Search engines love new content; they are crawling the web for it. The more you have, the more they crawl your site, and the higher you fall in the search results.
Use Google+ Local
Have you claimed and customized your Google+ Local page? To play the game, you have to follow Google's 'rules'. Claim your page and add a description and some photos. Don't worry if you are a home-based business and you don't want your address to show. Once you verify your address, you can hide the actual street location.
Reviews and Testimonials
Have them. Solicit them. Good or bad, (hopefully they are good, if not, work on that) reviews help people trust you. Search engines view reviews as other people 'knowing' you, which means you are real, and they can put you higher in search results. You'll notice for some businesses (restaurants, dentists, etc.), their Yelp page comes up in the search results before their actual website. This is because Google trusts Yelp and wants to weigh them higher in the results.
When writing for your site, make sure to add descriptors such as 'eco-friendly San Francisco themed kraft paper note cards', instead of simply 'SF cards'. You need to distinguish yourself from others.
Hopefully this is a good starting point for creating some good SEO for your website, but if you need some more help, I recommend contacting Stormy Knight of Net 101, and she can get you on the best path for success.
Stormy Knight \ Net 101 \ email@example.com \ 707-490-4542