Common wisdom is that people really do prefer to shop in these sorts of cozy little stores that sell unique handmade items.
Common wisdom is wrong.
Or at least common wisdom is not complete.
People really do *like* the stuff I sell. They don't always need it and, really, my biggest sales will be over Christmas when people buy a "New Mexico" item to ship to a family member or friend elsewhere, but they do *like* the stuff. And it's affordable, and much of it can only be found in our store (made by my boss, or now, me) and some of it is very nice classy expensive stuff, and since a good part of this area is "high rent" that should be a plus, not a minus.
What people don't LIKE is the experience of coming into my store to shop.
I watch them.
I say hello if they seem to want to be friendly. I pretend to be busy if they seem to want to pretend I'm not there.
Many of them are socially uneasy. Many of them make a point to say "thank you" to me when they leave the store without buying something.
The problem is that the shop is too intimate. Many of them feel like they ought to buy something and feel bad when they don't. It's almost like telling a Girl Scout you don't want cookies. Surely you could have at least bought one box of Thin Mints. So why didn't you?
People want friendly personal service but they don't want a guilt inducing relationship.
They think they like cute little boutiques but in their hearts they actually prefer Wal-mart.