After Easter, when all the jelly beans have been eaten and the hidden eggs found, Valerie Koehler, owner of Blue Willow Bookshop, a 1,400-square-foot general bookstore in Houston, Tex., gathers up her bunnies and puts them in a basket near the register for a one-day sale. Bunnies always seem to multiply, and so do these "dust bunnies," she calls them. Created from two layers of cardstock taped together with cotton-ball tails, the rabbits open up to reveal an extra discount customers can use on anything in the store that is not marked down for the post-holiday sale.
"As we move through the spring," Koehler says, "we identify some sidelines, some games and some plush that we only have one of or things that for whatever reason didn't sell. We mark them down pretty far, 60% or 70% off."
She regards this as a chance to make a clean sweep of sidelines, which are nonreturnable. She even puts a broom next to the table to let customers know that they're getting a special bargain. Once customers make their sale selections, they can choose a bunny. Most contain discounts for 15%, but Koehler tucks in a few for 50%. "It generates a little extra sell for our main business—books—and clears out the sidelines," she says. Blue Willow is a full-price store, offering discounts only for educators and book discussion clubs.