Some interesting tidbits

Stayed up late celebrating, being happy, smiling…things are going really well at the store!  For the last seven business days dealers have averaged 2.9 times in sales over the cost of rent!  That is really close to my ultimate goal of averaging three times rent!  I mostly attribute the great sales to the many dealers who have brought new product in over the last couple weeks…and of course Christmas shopping is beginning.

I believe the next two months are going to be outstanding!

Some things going on regarding promoting the store in November:

We ordered a lighted sign for above the entry to the store.  It is unfortunate, that the sign maker has just come down with some health problems, but I spoke with him this week and he assured me he is intent on completing the sign asap.  We’ll take the 4’x12′ sign currently above the door and move it to the North side of the building.  We are also having a professional sidewalk sign made which should help street traffic know about us!  In the end, we will have six signs up around the store..and still one on the way someday when the landlord puts one up.  (Don’t count on it soon…he’s injured)

We have a front page ad coming out on Nov. 10th in the Advertiser, including publication regarding our “bundle package” which we’ve brought back.  The “bundle” is simply if any “Spirit” tagged item (Debi and my stuff) of over $20.00 is purchased…we give back 20% of that items value towards a second purchase of anything in the store!  We’ll do this until Christmas.  It’s a way to promote dealer sales….and we feel like we’ve found a system to help shoppers understand how it works.

The weekend before Thanksgiving we are involved in the “Christmas Extravaganza”..that is a group effort with six other local small businesses which will promote shopping in the store…alot to get into, but suffice it to say it should get us noticed…ads will be in the Pekin Daily Times and five weekly newspapers in the area as well.  I think some radio ads are coming out regarding it…not sure though.

The owner of those five papers, who lives in Madon City, has agreed to run a little story about the store and our planned expansion in early 2012!  Her papers enjoy a circulation of around 20,000…so that will help get us noticed as well!

And finally, we are considering one more form of advertising (we tried facebook ads…not sure we liked the result) which I don’t want to get into but it looks promising.

Of course, most of these things cost a little bit…but NOW is the time to get noticed!  I think we’re on the verge of a huge leap these next couple months…not just because of Christmas shopping..but also because more and more people are finding us! 

You know, for a new store….we (dealers and Debi and I) have been fortunate to enjoy the support of the community.  We have so many repeat customers..and I mean WEEKLY…we all owe a big thank you to the patrons who support us while we grow.

And Debi and I should be thanking the dealers who have stuck with us, grown with us, and been patient while we learn our jobs and get this little business going.  If you guys hadn’t come on board when you did it would have been very hard to present such a great place to our customers. 

Now, if I can make a suggstion.  To those of you who have enjoyed excellent sales…and have excess inventory, I’m not trying to be a salesman or anything..but think about it.  We KNOW Christmas season is going to be the time when sales take a big leap.  We have shelves and locking cases available.  We have a one month lease.  NOW would be a great time to expand for a couple months and increase those profits!

That idea would be expecially constructive if you are planning to take a big booth in the new room when we open it.  Why not get your product in now and have it in the store for when you expand?

On a sad note.  We have had our third (total since we opened) incident of shoplifting recently.  We hadn’t had anything stolen for over two months….so I am very upset about this!  Someone stole a pillowcase off a pillow in one of the booths..we did not catch the act.  We’ve taken steps to increase security because of this…a short term plan, as well as a long term plan that when we open the third room we will add four more cameras to the store!  We think we’ll only need two in the back room due to it’s shape…which means two more can go out in front.  (Probably…where they go is still in the planning stage)  We know this is a problem that every store of all kinds goes through, but we will never get over the feeling of having let our dealers down when this happens.  Rest assured, we try our best.  And a big thank you to the dealer who was so kind after the incident. 

Wow I’ve rattled…and look at the time, 1:30 am.  I wish I could go open up right now, but of course it is not a good idea in the middle of the night.

Debi will be minding the store this last weekend in October as I am traveling to Iowa City to visit my daughter Amanda.  Jaime plans on helping Sunday as well.  I know I’ll go through withdrawals being away…almost wish I could load up the car with inventory and Amanda and I could go door to door selling it!  I do love this business….seeing so many folks finding special treasures that our dealers have brought in…count myself lucky everyday.

Just one more random thought…we had a really nice guy from Michigan stop in yesterday (Thursday), his name is Bob.  He found us on the internet.  He fixes up vintage and antique clocks.  He was so courteous…and he was one of the shoppers who walks the whole store a couple times, and then goes back and grabs exactly what he wants (the advantage of a small store…people don’t get lost or forget where that “treasure” is waiting.)  Anyway, he picked out three clocks and was so nice while I was having one of my “Dan moments” fighing with the modern contraptions that drive me nuts (This time it was the debit/credit machine) Bob was just so patient…even when the best box I could find to pack his clocks was too big for two of ’em but too small for all three.  (Seriously…I was a mess there for about five minutes and how he kept from laughing out loud at me I don’t know. :^)

Well, Bob says he travels this way about three times a year, and he’ll be back.  So there you go my dealer friends!  Another good customer and many opportunities to make good business with good people in the future! 

Guess I’d better try to get some sleep…or maybe I’m asleep and the last week+ is a dream?  I hope not.



Haven’t posted in a bit.

We’ve been busy with several projects.  But instead of talking about the store, I have something else on my mind.  Today, now, the visitation and funeral for a very special person is taking place.  For such a small store, our dealers have seen their share of loss lately.  A father of one of our dealers, a mother of another dealer, and now two of our dealers, a brother and sister, have lost their mother as well.

As much as I wanted to attend the funeral, I’m caught trying to run the store as Debi could not take the day off.  This person was someone we were blessed to have come to know over the past four months.  She was someone we enjoyed knowing and we will miss her.  But we were so fortunate to know her.

You know, I have always had an admiration for the past…the way things were made, the way things were done, and the society which was built that was the foundation for the way we live today.  I wish there was a way to return entirely to that foundation, but realize that between television, computers, the internet, we have kind of technologically defeated the fabrics of a world where folks saw each other everyday, worked together, and knew each other as friends, neighbors….family.

The great family get togethers are all but gone.  Remember block parties?  Social organizations such as Moose Clubs, Elks, held an important place in the culture…although they are still around, have you looked at the age of the members lately?

Where we are heading is kind of scary.  Every man for himself?  So we’ve lost most of the small stores, the small towns have few businesses left at all.  We’ve lost touch with each other!

In this world, it is natural for me to be drawn to old things…as such I sit in “Spirit of the Past Antiques” surrounded by memories.  And here I am thinking about the most precious things from the past that we have…and are losing it seems at such a rapid pace…and that is our elders.

I hope we all realize how much they’ve tried to leave us.  As Tom Brokaw wrote, “The Greatest Generation”, about those that battled the Depression, fought our largest war, and put together a powerful economy and nation…anyway, as he recalled that generation, I guess I wish I could invoke the same respect for our most experienced citizens who later added to the countries might by standing up to foreign powers…sent a man to the moon, and spread civil rights across the country.

What are we, after all, if not the shadows of the folks who brought us into the world?  We are what they left behind.  And, before we lose them all, I hope we find ways to express our gratitude. 

I lost my Dad in 1993.  I lost my Mom in 2001.  My oldest sibling is fighting for her own life…they give her a 30% chance to recover. I lost a friend this week.  All taken, or battling to delay being taken, by the natural journey of time.

These old things, in here, these antiques…I admire them for lasting so many years.  But, wouldn’t it be great to give them up if I could, to trade them to give the most important old things more time with all of us?



Back to work

My thanks to those folks who have expressed concern and have said a prayer for my sister Betty.  I saw her in Michigan this weekend.  She has forth stage Lymphoma and is also suffering complications from severe pulminary lung disease.  The honest truth is she will not get well, and her time is likely short.  It could be a few days or a few months.  Betty is hospitalized and they are trying to stabalize her, her white blood cell count was extremely low and they gave her a transfusion which brought the count back up.  But the therapy she receives to kill the cancer cells also kills good cells, and she is not producing enough white blood cells on her own.

Once stabalized, they will put her in a care facility.  At that time if anyone wants her address just ask and I’ll have it.

I’m returning to the store today.  Debi worked it this weekend, it was very slow but our sales for the month remain quite good.  We’re going to have a great month at the store.

I have many projects which I need to catch up on.  Today I’ll assess my priorities and get started.