Smooth Sale-ing: Once upon a retail employee

Employee Sheri Duffy, 49 Employer Zions Mercantile, Provo Education BYU and UVU  Hometown Orem Husband Jon CHILDREN Four sons (ages 17 to 26) and one “fabulous daughter-in-law”

Employee Sheri Duffy, 49
Employer Zions Mercantile, Provo
Education BYU and UVU
Hometown Orem
Husband Jon CHILDREN Four sons (ages 17 to 26) and one “fabulous daughter-in-law”

How can Sherri Duffy help you?

For starters, she can lend you an ear(ring).

“It’s a disease!” she laughs. “I love bling. If one is good, five is better! But truly, all of this jewelry represents years of my life. I can tell you where I bought every single piece.”

She can’t help it. Retail is in her blood. As the manager of Zions Mercantile in The Shops at Riverwoods, Duffy is a customer champion. She works for them, she listens to them, she befriends them — retail therapy at its finest.

Growing up, I always wanted to be a mother — the BEST mother, the KoolAid mom. I also thought about a stewardess or a nurse.


I attended BYU and UVU. I am loyal to both. At BYU it was dance, and at UVU it was nursing. I was a stressed out “A” student. I would almost have a breakdown if I did not get an “A” in a class.


I worked retail a lot during college. I loved it. I worked at ZCMI, which is perfect since now I manage Zions Mercantile. Besides retail, I have worked as a receptionist and an event planner. I worked at the Utah State Legislature for two years, and I even worked at the zoo. I hated that job. I only stayed about a month.


Working in retail is a lot of long hours and stress, but the opportunity to meet new people and develop great friendships far outweigh the hours. On a typical day I start a few hours before the store opens doing administrative duties. I open the store at 10 a.m. The day progresses defined by each customer’s need — sharing stories of pioneer heritage, locating unique pieces of art, explaining artifacts, finding that one special gift, and doing guided tours. At 9 p.m. we begin the closing procedures. I rarely take a lunch break and go home exhausted — but filled.


Our store is based on the original Zions Mercantile Cooperative and the Zions Mercantile in Nauvoo. We are more than just a retail store. We have an art gallery and mini museum filled with artifacts. We do mini-firesides where employees dress in periodic costumes to recreate events from the past. It’s amazing.


My biggest pet peeve is bad attitudes. I don’t like grouchy people.


Customer service is key. If we don’t carry an item, we’ll track it down. We even call competitors and ask them to hold the item for the customer. We have done home deliveries on Mother’s Day. We have gone to offices and homes to hang the art for them. We want our customers to know they mean everything to us. My husband teases me that I’m an establishment’s worst nightmare. When we go somewhere, I expect the same kind of service I give.


Being a part of The Shops at Riverwoods is awesome. It is a family community working together to help each business succeed.


I am the worst girly girl ever. I love womanhood and femininity, but don’t be fooled by the ruffles and bling. I grew up in a family with only brothers and I have only sons. I can hold my own and I know my way around a tool box. I prefer a jewelry box, but sometimes you have to pull out the tools.


In 10 years I see myself on a beach — hopefully with some grandkids!


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