Brown Bagging It
Baskets on Demand
Watch Your Windows

When little things—sidelines like key chains, tiny puzzles, pens, card packs or jewelry— aren't selling, or there aren't enough pieces left to make a good display, Betsey Detwiler, owner of Buttonwood Books and Toys in Cohasset, Mass., and Buttonwood for Kids in Hingham, Mass., brown bags them. "We take little brown lunch bags and fill them with leftover small items and put on a pink ribbon if it's girly items, and a blue ribbon if it's for boys," Detwiler told PW. "The customers get a good buy, and the kids like the idea of a grab bag."

Detwiler places the one-of-a-kind party favors/grab bags in a laundry basket near the register. "The basket empties out as fast as we fill it." she said. "If the basket is low, people ask when it's going to be filled up."

Area schools and groups that bring in large purchase orders are frequently the beneficiaries of bigger sidelines like puzzles and games that are no longer selling. The rest Detwiler marks down as much as 70%, or less than cost. "You're better off having the money than having the items sitting in a backroom," she explained. "People like a bargain, and you get goodwill from the customers."

The one thing Detwiler doesn't offer, though, is gift wrap: "We put up signs that tell our customers that items marked down more than 20% won't be giftwrapped."