So much to report I’m going to kind of sort it all out with as few words as possible.
1. November ended and we reached just over 2.5 times dealers sales to rent! Our goal is to reach 3 times, so we are getting closer each month. November was of course a record month.
2. Our “Christmas Extravaganza” promotional weekend was the second busiest weekend we’ve enjoyed. We just missed doing even better than our grand opening weekend!
3. We continue to offer our “Bundle Package” to customers, the special offer will end on Dec 23rd.
4. The Christmas shopping season is certainly upon us, and we are finding more and more new customers…who in turn become repeat customers. We’ve no idea how far this store can go..but it is clear we’ve not yet scratched the surface. The compliments about the store are seemingly endless…and Pekin has been so supportive of everyone’s efforts! We’re excited about reaching out to Peoria through some newly planned advertising.
5. We know December will be another very good month. On that note, we caution everyone to expect a slow January. Our best guess based on past experience in the retail field is that “tax return season” (February and March) will be very good months…possibly similar to November and December.
6. We purchased a new lighted sign for above the store entrance. It should have been installed weeks ago but illness with the signmaker delayed things. He has stated it will be installed on Friday 12/2/2011
7. In January, we will begin packaging price tags in bags of around 100, and charging for them. The cost will be around $.03 each and we are seeking only to recoup the cost of buying them. Regarding tags, please use tags with strings, or be VERY careful to tape tags to an item in such a way as to not harm the product. Please do not use adhesive tags as they can damage the item and can be very difficult to remove.
8. We’re still working on setting up the Web Store. Frankly business has been so good as to slow down the completion of some of our projects, and this Web Store is but one that has been delayed. Every effort is being made to hurry it along…but sales come first.
9. Debi and I continue to find every corner of the store where we can stock our own items…thus leaving more shelves and cases available to dealers. In December we lowered the prices of the cases and shelves, and have no immediate reason to raise them back up. Eventually, and everyone might as well know, we will return to the slightly higher rates. Not sure when, no hurry, everyone enjoy the lower prices for now while we find dealers to fill the last spots available.
10. We have discontinued the silent auction in favor of donating a predetermined amount of our own sales to the “Tazewell County Museum”.
11. We are up to 38 dealers and it looks like we’ll end up with around 55 to 60 by the time we reach capacity. As we grow, we hope to provide the kind of service to our dealers that we have managed thus far. But we ask that everyone be as self-sufficient as possible. While we don’t mind helping with things like determining prices, please be aware that we can create more sales by communicating with customers, planning advertising, even just cleaning. The more our dealers can do for themselves…the more we can, in return, work to increase sales.
12. Keep working your display areas! We have a number of dealers earning three, four, in some cases five or more times rent. It can be done with the right product, display and pricing.
13. Thanks everyone for the Christmas decorating! The store looks great! “Spirit” closes on major Holidays. We will be closed Christas Eve, Christmas and New Years. There may be times we are forced to close during bad weather (we live on a street that is low plowing priority) …and will have a sign in the window to notify customers of this possibility.
14. We’ll be asking that updates to the lease be signed, mostly to clarify display locations in the store as some folks have expanded, downsized, or moved to a new spot. The only changes to the lease will be that we have accurate records of where everyone is located.
15. It begins to look like we had an incident where a dealer “gave up” without picking up merchandise. We have tried to contact this person but received no reply. As everyone knows, we don’t collect late fees, we tend to go past deadlines (see lease) in regards to people pulling out without charge. We also insist on using a monthly lease, as we don’t want anyone “stuck” in the store if they want out. But as the store is getting full…we need folks to notify us of any downsizing or pulling out by the 20th of the month so we can respond to the situation by contacting potential renters..especially now with the booths, and certainly eventually with all locations in the store. The lease states that items abandoned will become the property of “Spirit of the Past Antiques”. We’ve decided to give this person until the end of December to pay for the months that items were on display…and pick up the product. In January if this isn’t done we’ll donate it to Goodwill. (We don’t feel right just keeping it. Although, I suppose in the future to recover the lost rental income we might have a different perspective.) I mention all this mostly to remind that we need to be notifed of changes in display rentals, including downsizing or terminating the lease, by the 20th of the month. It is assumed a dealer has commited to the next month if we do not receive timely notification…and rental charges will take place for the following month. To keep rental prices as low as possible for everyone, we must follow this part of the lease.
16. I typed fast and I suppose I might have missed something. Debi and I try to provide updates during the month and we’ll always notify on Facebook of any important news on the blog. We’ve emailed this newsletter to those we could. We’ve included an offer to print a copy of this for those without computers with Novembers dealer income statement. Hopefully we’ve given everyone ample opportunity to stay informed.
17. We wish everyone a great Christmas season. Thank you all so much for being with us while we grow! On Dec. 14th we’ll celebrate being open for six months! Time has flown by and we’re way ahead of where we expected to be at this point. The first year of a new business is supposed to be pretty tough, many don’t make it. Perhaps it is luck…intuition…who knows, but “Spirit” is doing pretty well…and our dealers deserve much of the credit. Help us reach that goal of sustainable 3 times income to rent by bringing in great products! Price well, decorate, and clean and perhaps…we can consider expanding on our goals!
Dan and Debi Bruns “Spirit of the Past Antiques”