It might seem that I'm on a rampage of talking about the Local Gaming Stores, but it's what is being talked about right now so I'm going to share my thoughts. So here are 4 things stores can do to help themselves.
Rule 1: Communicate - This is something I've run into a couple of times during the past year or so, and it's poor communication of event details. Players and Participants want to know as much details as possible. If you have prizes, let people know what the prizes are, it gets them interested. If there are special rules like a minimum of 3 or 5 participants, be up front about it, don't use it as a get out of free card later when people have put in the work and others haven't.
Rule 2: Follow Through - If you say you're going to run an event, make sure it's run, and that you follow through with it. To often I've entered painting contests and the like and a week or two after the event end date no one knows what's going on with it. Results should be decided soon, and a date hopefully known by participants by communication.
Rule 3: Availability - Make sure you're available to answer questions. Most people have to spend money, or use their time to enter events and contests, we understand you're busy, but so are we. If we're spending 20+ hours to paint, write, convert then we would like a couple minutes of your time to spend answering emails on the event. If you don't have the answer right away, shoot us a email saying "I don't know, but I'll get back with you." That way you're following rule number one.
Rule 4: Be Fair - When you make a judgment, ask yourself if it is fair to all the parties involved. We all understand that you're a business and here to make money, but we're also here to support you. So as long as you're fair to us, we'll be fair to you, other wise we can do what I've done in the past, and go play at my place, where I can stay as long as I want, and usually have a couple beers too ;)
If you follow these things, then there is no reason not to have good events and a store worth going to, but it's when these simple rules start to be forgotten there will be mutterings in the gaming halls.