“Retail apocalypse” is a term we’re starting to hear frequently. It suggests a coming meltdown of retail reality due to the impact of Amazon and other online retailers on brick and mortar stores. Stephanie Riegel’s guests on this edition of Out to Lunch Baton Rouge are, in two very different ways, fighting it out on the front line of retail apocalypse.
Chris Russo Blackwood
Wading Into retail Mid-Apocalypse
Chris Russo Blackwood is co-owner of Russo Ross, a popular women’s boutique on Jefferson Highway here in Baton Rouge. Chris didn’t start out in the retail sector. She was a journalist with The Advocate and then later with In Register Magazine, which she headed as publisher. In 2011, Chris sold the magazine and wrote a true crime book about the murder of local businessman Ted Kergan, then, in 2012, before the retail apocalypse got started, she and longtime friend Susan Ross decided to take their careers in a different direction and opened Russo Ross to offer classic, well-made clothes at a reasonable price.
The View from The Other Side of the Retail Apocalypse
Kevin Langley is on the other side of the apocalypse. Kevin is a Baton Rouge based entrepreneur and entrepreneurial expert. He’s President & Co-founder of Entrepreneurs Across Borders, a global nonprofit organization that helps high potential entrepreneurs in developing countries, and in the retail sector he’s working with the Ebay Retail Revival program, an anti-apocalypse initiative launched by Ebay a couple of years ago that came to Baton Rouge in May 2019. The program is a way to help small businesses learn how to compete in the digital marketplace by training them over a 12-month period, providing them with individualized coaching and promotional support so that they can learn to succeed on platforms like Ebay.