“Retail Raves” asks one retailer to specify a product that’s making a difference in his or her business. All professionals featured in this column are selected at random.

A lot has changed since my husband, Montie Bare, started our business as a sprinkler company in 1980. As the needs of local clients shifted, he slowly transitioned into the stove and spa markets, which are perfect for the distinct seasons that we have in Montana. After we were married, I became president of the company and he took on the role of vice president, allowing him more time to focus on the operations of his property rental business. 

Today at Bare’s Stove & Spa, we sell hot tubs, stoves — particularly wood stoves — and a number of accessories to accompany both, all out of our single retail store in Bozeman. Selling big-ticket items in a relatively small town can be a challenge, but we’ve developed a number of strategies to help us remain successful. One trick is to maintain a retail floor stocked with unique items, like aromatherapy crystals from Spazazz.

Location, location, location

If you asked someone on the street to recall the scents of Montana, they’d probably list heady pine, wildflowers and perhaps the crispness of fresh snow. However, for those who’ve ever visited our store, the sensual aromas of “Temptation” and “Sex on the Beach” may prove equally notable, as they are two of the more popular fragrances from Spazazz. It may seem like an odd product line to carry in such a rugged mountain town, but the crystals have always sold well.

Spazazz is easy to stock and effectively merchandise within our showroom. Instead of taking up valuable floor space near the stoves and spas, where the crystals may remain unseen by those coming in for a chemical buy or other quick trip, I decided to merchandise them right at eye-level next to the cash register. For the sake of simplicity, we keep a small amount of each scent on the counter itself, but have additional stock easily accessible below.

Another limitation of our store’s location is that customers may not be able to make the necessary trek to return or exchange their purchases easily. But the small size and low price point of Spazazz crystals allow clients to experiment with a variety of scents with very little financial obligation to themselves and my store. For example, a 17-ounce container costs $18, making it a particularly affordable way to relax.

Surprise buyers

When I first picked up the Spazazz line, I had my female customers in mind. Like I anticipated, they were hooked. What I failed to foresee, however, was how popular the crystals would be among male clients.

Baby boomers of both genders love the health benefits of the “Therapy Rx” line, which features all-natural mixtures that include vitamins A, C, E and K, along with Arnica and Calendula.

Savvier guys head straight for mixtures from “The Mood,” an aptly named line that is intended to increase the romance in a customer’s spa experience. After they understand that fact, you usually don’t need to convince them any further. I even like to joke that given the “Bare” part of our business name, this line may seem particularly appropriate!