If so, few things are more important than understanding the minds, business models, and strategies of major retail chains and their customers.

I have consulted for and mentored technology startups and large companies worldwide for the last 20 years. I have also spent the last 40+ years as a retail executive, entrepreneur, analyst, and strategist. I therefore bring an unusual combination of skills and interests to my retail insights.

Many companies selling to retailers do not have deep insights into retailers and how they think and act. I offer a 3-4 hour workshop for your executive or sales team that could take them to a whole new level of understanding. Even if you have experienced retailers onboard, I can help reinforce their contribution.

When we launched our retail vertical, multiple members of our team recommend we have Gary talk to Square Root to kick-start our knowledge.  Gary’s energy and depth was hugely beneficial to our team. I loved his open, conversational format in his History of Retailing and Top Trends in Retail Today presentations. He tailored his talks to be relevant to Square Root, and inspired us on many levels.  I couldn’t recommend Gary enough.

  — Chris Taylor, CEO, Square Root, Software for Retail Management

The workshop covers the four following topics:

1. What is the story of retailing? Who were the main people who created retailing as we know it, and what were the major innovations of the industry?

2. Consumer and retail trends – what forms of retailing are rising and falling? What are the major trends shaping consumer spending in America today?

3. Fundamental principles of retailing – what separates the winners from the losers? What are the most important attributes of successful retailers? What does it take to succeed?

4. Who are the largest retailers in America today? Which ones are the most outstanding and successful?.

I also lead walk-through tours of retail stores, so that the group can see stores through the eyes of a veteran retailer. I call these tours “How to Read a Retail Store.” I have done substantial brainstorming on how to make your products or services better for retailers, and general consulting about the retail industry.

For each assignment or workshop, I would have a pre-conference with you to discuss your organization and your needs. I would want as much input and material as you could provide. Each project and fee structure is customized to your company.

What Others Say:

When it comes to retail trends, evolution, and innovation, Gary Hoover is one of the most knowledgeable people I know.  He served as a valuable Board of Directors member at Whole Foods Market during our early growth and Initial Public Offering.  He always has innovative ideas.  There are few if any people who share Gary’s lifelong passion for and deep understanding of retailing, its past, and its future. 

  — John Mackey, Co-Founder and Co-CEO, Whole Foods Market

I have known Gary Hoover for over 30 years.  He is a lifelong student of retail strategy and innovation. His Bookstop idea pioneered the large selection bookstore chain and changed that industry.

  — Herbert Simon, Chairman Emeritus, Simon Property Group

Gary Hoover’s knowledge of the origins and development of the retail industry is encyclopedic and his attention to both the “big picture” and the smallest details is accurate and entertaining.

  — Richard Marcus, former CEO, Neiman Marcus

I’ve been honored to work with many of the best retail leaders in the world.  But I’ve never met anyone who knows retail evolution better than Gary Hoover.  He has obsessively studied it since his childhood and has then applied that learning as an entrepreneur, teacher, author, and former Board member of Whole Foods Market.  He is my go-to expert for business ideas and trends in the retail space.

  — Brett Hurt, Founder, Coremetrics and Bazaarvoice, Co-Founder & CEO, data.world

Gary Hoover is a true pioneer in creating retail experiences and furthering innovative brands. He’s been rethinking the retail experience for decades, literally since he founded Bookstop!

  — Jason Dorsey, Co-Founder, The Center for Generational Kinetics 

Selected writings on retailing:

How Bricks and Mortar can Compete with ECommerce:


ECommerce Forecast:


On Target:


On Macy’s:


My 200+ page PDF book on retail principles, trends, and major players:


History of Retailing video:


Gary Hoover Short Biography

  •  Began subscribing to Fortune at age 12 in order to understand biggest employer in my hometown, General Motors.
  •  Fell in love with retailing at age 12 and began interviewing retail managers and owners.
  •  Studied economics at the University of Chicago under Milton Friedman and 3 other Nobel Prize winners.
  •  Citibank Investment Management Group Retail Analyst covering department, shoe, apparel, food, electronics, retail and other stores. Triggered the first Wall Street report on Nordstrom.
  •  Buyer, Federated Department Stores’ Dallas division, books and sporting goods, under the hottest leadership team at Federated at the time.
  •  Financial planning analyst, site location work, mergers and acquisitions (look at 400 companies), strategic planner for May Department Stores Headquarters, #2 in industry.
  •  VP Marketing Planning & Research, May Centers, one of the 20 largest US mall developers. Oversaw marketing managers in each mall, did monthly sales projections for 3000 tenants, all analyses of new centers and remodels/expansions.
  •  Founded BOOKSTOP, the first chain of book superstores (large selection, low prices), in Austin. Wrote my own inventory control software. First chain with loyalty card and centralized distribution centers. Average US bookstore did $500,000 annual revenue, our first store did $1.8 million and within 5 years we averaged $3 million per store, demolishing old leaders B. Dalton & Waldenbooks. By year 7, we stretched from Miami to San Diego, and were purchased by Barnes & Noble, establishing them in the superstore business which they went on to dominate.
  •  Co-founded the business information that became Hoovers.com, went public, sold to Dun & Bradstreet.
  •  Founded TravelFest Superstores, 3-store chain of long hour travel emporia. We offered language classes, currency exchange, luggage, books, videos, and a full travel agency. Did 3 times our first year revenue projection, won awards from Chain Store Age & Travel Weekly, but the airlines stopped paying commissions on airline tickets which we were not able to survive.
  •  First Entrepreneur-in-Residence at University of Texas McCombs School of Business.
  •  Entrepreneur-in-Residence, University of Texas Graduate School of Information
  •  Global Fellow, IC2 Institute, University of Texas
  •  Have traveled to 45 countries, spoken to 54 chapters of the Entrepreneurs Organization, made over 1000 speeches, taught classes in retailing and entrepreneurship, visited stores in every state and country, and mentored tens of thousands of startups and emerging companies. Keynote speaker at conferences including National Association of Convenience Stores, Chain Store Age, Sporting Goods store owners, major hotel chains and many others. Led workshops on innovation for major technology and financial services companies.
  •  Frequently published on LinkedIn, my own blog Hooversworld, over 90 videos on YouTube.
  •  I draw upon my 57,000 book personal reference library.


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