What's your story?

Everyone has one. 

Do you tell it?

Believe it or not, most people are interested in learning more about who you are; curious about how you got where you’re at and your plans to get where you’re going.  But most are reluctant to ask.

I love when I walk into a brick and mortar and front and center is signage about “their story”.  I enjoy reading about how the brand came to life while standing in its presence.  Many brands do this across diverse industries.  But it is never so evident than when you walk into a retail store.

Every retail brand has a story to tell. 

I was recently in Indianapolis, IN and I shopped at Meijer’s. I live in the Northeast and we don’t have Meijer’s.  For those of you who don’t know Meijer; it is a super center that originally started out as a grocery chain. It is regional and located in the Midwest but has a lot of stores across those states - over 200 of them. 

Proudly on their wall (in the front of the store) they display their story…the humble beginnings as a small independent during the Great Depression, their first milestone to growth, and now after all these years,  how they still connect to their early beginnings by offering a stationary ride for children for still just a penny.


The Meijer story shows that they started out small with an idea and just $338.76 worth of groceries on credit.  They want to give their brand a personality showing its ingenuity, perseverance and willingness to serve an under-served market.  And, how they continue to run their business by their original values.

Now switch gears to a totally different industry but still retail and let’s talk the CT Cookie Co in Fairfield, CT is another brand that has its story front and center.  Starting out as an online cookie company for several years, CT Cookie Co opened her first retail store in 2017.  When you walk into the store the first image is a poster of owner, Andrea Greene when she was a child.  And guess what she’s baking cookies!

Her brand story is about the emotional connection to her customers.  The poster shares her story …  it transports customers back to a simpler time of baking cookies, spending time with Mom or Grandma baking cookies together, using fresh and whole ingredients and making everything from scratch.  The CT Cookie Co brand is able to carry Grandma’s homemade vanilla recipe to market for others to enjoy. You can read more about her story here: https://www.ctpost.com/living/article/Bowled-over-Edible-cookie-dough-causing-quite-a-11306239.php

The store makes that emotional connection with their customers; and, the brand is more than a cookie shop.  It just makes customers feel good when eating CT Cookie Co cookies and using its vanilla. 

Whether it’s a cookie shop or a super center sharing their brand story it gives customers the chance to know them, learn how they came to being and be a part of their journey. 

So, let’s take a lesson from these brands and be willing to tell our stories.  Here’s mine:   https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=msWdpvAl2ug

I would love to hear your story too.


Sonya Ruff Jarvis, is the Managing Member of Jarvis Consultants and Founder of the eRetailer Summit. Sonya has extensive experience in creating original innovative solutions to overcome major business challenges.  Sonya has spent most of her career visiting headquarters across global industries and has built strong business relationships across diverse brands. 

Sonya has a M.B.A. in Marketing. She is married and has a daughter and they live in Fairfield County Connecticut.  

Follow Sonya on twitter at @jarvisconsult or @eretailersummit.