Local retailers and a handful of designers gathered this evening for a boutique round table discussion put on by Gaviidae Common and moderated by yours truly. The conversation focused on service, service, service. Pricing and sales were barely discussed. The consensus seemed to be that stores stand a better chance of surviving the downtown when they stick with what they do best - even if that means selling luxury goods at a time when people are scaling back. Store owners are losing sleep trying to come up with ways to provide shoppers with a memorable experience and foster lasting relationships (do you want them to send you mail and track everything you buy? Discuss!). Even reps from Saks Off Fifth told me they are stressing service. Standing behind the counter waiting for customers just doesn't work in this economic climate.