March updates after first 12 business days of 27 this month

We stand about $4.00 per day short of beating December’s record sales.  Currently, dealer sales are at 2.2x rent.  That is much lower than the 3x rent which is always the store goal.

Good news is, in February we started out slow..at the same point in the month (12 business days) we were at only 2X rent.  The following 13 sales days actually beat the store goal to bring the avg. much higher by the end of the month.  The same could happen this month as well…Debi and I are certainly hopeful.  I can’t imagine tax refund season is over just yet.

We’ve got 15 more days of business in March!  However, due to the huge variances in results between dealers…we’ve already had some good folks decide to end their lease at the end of March.  We believe that is for the best.  As mentioned many times, I (Dan) can’t stand expecting payment for rent from someone who has had poor sales.  I much prefer handing a nice sales check to dealers.

I guess this is one way to reach the goal of 3x rent…if those not making it pull out.  Perhaps that is to be expected with a new store?  Fortunately for those staying, and for us, Debi and I are doing pretty well with our own sales (figures we never include when computing dealer percentages) so the store is in good shape. 

We’ve some decisions to make, however.  We do not, can not, and won’t consider, trying to have a store without dealers.  We think a good mix of our own products and about 20-25 productive, successful vendors is the way to go.  But we may have to open up spaces to some new dealers if expansion does not take place.  We don’t want to dominate floor space much beyond the area we already use ( in fact…we already use more than we think we need.)  If that means more dealers…then that will be the way we go.  Dealers will need to be self-sufficient in that case, as our time will be divided among the many, not the few.

If we open up space…we will be patient and careful to sign up dealers that fit the community.  Proper products…effort, etc. 

In today’s economy…it is perhaps to be expected…the most successful dealers have been selling items in the $15.00-$25.00 range.  Furniture is also starting to move as we’d hoped after opening the third room.  Especially furniture that is priced up to around $150.00.  Even higher priced furniture has moved, at a slower pace.

As we mentioned at the Dealer Apprieciation pizza party…Debi and are are grateful for all the efforts put forth by our dealers.  You folks occupy over 2/3rds the square footage of the store!  The fact that we’ve ALL created a successful antique mall in the middle of a tough economic stretch says much about all of our efforts.  But there is something I wish to caution….

Gas prices are rising drastically…that means inflation on items such a food as well.  With high unemployment, although the national economy is improving, we’re a long way off from seeing the kind of consumer confidence that will promote big ticket purchases.  That goes far beyond Pekin, by the way.  Despite increased traffic from Peoria, and planned marketing strategies to get the “Spirit” name to new customers, don’t expect us to easilly find high dollar buyers.

I had an economics professor in college during the recession of the 1980’s explain a simple strategy.  In tough economic times…buy stock in hot dogs.  Currently, the average price of an item Debi and I stock is under $10.00.  We want to raise the quality of our products…but people aren’t buying alot of steak right now. 

“Spirit” is working, it’s doors are open and will stay that way as we are past the level where anyone need be concerned.  Debi and I are excited about future plans.  Folks, we’ve grown a good crop in the middle of a drought, we should all be proud. 

Dan and Debi 

   

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