Thursday, 24 January 2013 08:00

America's Coolest Stores: Basic Info and Stats

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You've determined that you're eligible, made note of your login email address and password (and put them in a place they won't get lost), appointed someone to take the lead on your contest entry, and scheduled a few minutes each week to work on it. At this point, it's time to start your entry.

The first section ("General Info") is straightforward. One potentially tricky bit: It's possible that your contact email (see below) will be different from your login email.

For example, maybe you, the owner, signed in initially using your email address as the login. But now you've handed the job off to an employee who has their own email.

The contact email is exactly what it sounds like: the email address we'll use to get in touch with you about your entry. So the contact email should be that of whoever is handling the contest entry. If it's the same as the login email, that's fine. If it's different, just remember that, so that you're not confused later about which address to use to log in. (That would be the login email.)

You can skip the "Online Presence" section for the moment; we'll cover it later. For now, go to "Store Stats."

Again, pretty straightforward. If your location hasn't been renovated since it opened, enter the same year for "Year opened featured location" and "Year last renovated." (It seems redundant, but that way we know you didn't just accidentally miss filling that line out.)

And under "Total square footage," it's helpful to fill it out as shown in the image above. Put the total square footage first, including the main floor, basement, and other levels; then, in parentheses, provide a breakdown of the sections. That helps judges get a better sense of the size of your store, and is useful information when we're writing about the winners. (It should go without saying that the numbers in parentheses should all add up to the first number, but we'll go ahead and say it anyway.)

Next time we'll talk about the "Online Presence" section. It would be a good idea, too, to start thinking now about the photos for your entry. It's probably early to shoot them, especially if your store is in a wintry part of the country. But great photos can make a huge difference in how your store does in the contest, so you'll want to start mulling over who might be able to take those pictures.

If you have any questions about preparing your entry for the America's Coolest Stores contest, you can ask them in the comments or email them to contest coordinator Josh Wimmer at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..



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Last modified on Thursday, 24 January 2013 15:38
Josh Wimmer

Josh WImmer has been a contributor to INSTORE since 2006. He has coordinated the annual America's Coolest Stores contest for several years. The job mostly involves pestering jewelry store owners to start their contest entries, pestering jewelry store owners to finish their contest entries, and figuring out computer problems over the phone from hundreds of miles away.


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