Sanford Stein

Sandy considers himself a “recovering store designer.” Having grown up in a mid-century Milwaukee retail family he watched his father and uncle evolve from “accidental retailers” to brand builders. While still in high school, he was drafting store layouts for the family’s new retail venture, and his career die was cast.

After completing his design education, he began a five-decade long campaign to convince retailers that sound design principles and return-on-investment were not alien notions but were fundamental tenants of building a strong retail brand. Some were not easily swayed. But Sandy’s tenacity brought rewards and awards over the three-plus-decade run of his Minneapolis boutique retail design practice, and through its corresponding 400-plus projects. These were accompanied by countless published articles and speeches both chronicling and forecasting profound retail industry change.

Upon entering “indefinite semi-retirement” and on the heels of publishing his IBPA, Benjamin Franklin award-winning book Retail Schmetail, Sandy founded LinkedIn’s RETAIL SPEAK. He is also a frequent contributor to and was named a Top 100 RETHINK Retail influencer for the past three years as well as a member of its advisory board.

When not writing, Sandy, along with wife Cheryl and Havanese pup Shelby can be seen “top-down touring” around one of Minneapolis’ many lakes in a classic Ford Mustang, often driving with the heater on.

Minnesota Brands

A Story of Minnesota Brands: Winmark, Evereve, Hammer Made

Minnesota brands like Hammer Made excel in niche markets with their meticulous attention to detail and innovative designs. Read on to learn more.
Read More →
Proven Retail Winners

Proven Retail Winners: IKEA, Williams Sonoma, Crate + Barrel

The home furnishings industry has received shockwaves over the past three years. First Covid lockdowns fueled a home retrofit movement that injected billions of dollars ...
Read More →

Carhartt and Red Wing: Everything Old Is New Again

For many next-gen consumers, the term “trusted brand” seems like an oxymoron. The combined 140 million Gen Y (aka millennial) and Gen Z cohorts are ...
Read More →

Nike Is All-In on Wellness

Taking a Deep Dive, Nike Live is Reborn as Nike Well Collective When Nike introduced its House of Innovation its impetus was to take their ...
Read More →

The New Retail Space Race

All you contrarians unite: Store-based retail is very much alive — even on fire. In fact, according to real estate services firm CBRE, the rate of ...
Read More →
Ralph Lauren Brand

The Ralph Lauren Renaissance

Few fashion brands have been as enduring over the past five generations as Ralph Lauren. Now even Gen Alpha and Metaverse avatars are wearing RL. ...
Read More →

AI and the Law Team Up Against Organized Crime

Shoplifting, shrink, or shrinkage in retail is not new, however, the insurgence of organized crime is. Fueled by the large-scale, untraceable “fencing” of stolen goods ...
Read More →

Mall Fall and Rebirth

I have been bombarded with news stories speculating on the mall’s new proposition, and I suddenly had a 25-year-old flashback. The aha moment reminded me ...
Read More →
Scroll to Top
the Daily Report

Insights + Interviews right to your inbox.