Sales in March were disappointing. Dealers will have averaged somewhere around 2.2 to 2.3x rent for the month after tomorrow. This month was quite a letdown to Debi and I as we’ve enjoyed such good sales since the beginning of November.
We had already planned on becoming more active in advertising in the Peoria area, and the slow sales motivated us further. We have committed to a year of coupon ads in the Peoria Journal Star. The “Spirit” coupon is a 2″x 2″ ad which will appear three times each month in the “Star” as well as everyday on PJStar.com
The first coupon appeared on Thursday, and sales that have come directly from traffic generated by the ad have already paid for the ad (sales spread out throughout the store…some folks coming in with the coupon still opt to purchase even from dealers not associated with the promotion!)
The coupon simply offers a 15% discount on “Spirit” tagged merchandise. However, several dealers have chosen to honer the coupon as well. We will be changing the coupon to read, “15% off merchandise from participating dealers.”
We urgently ask all our dealers that are just finding out about this promotion to contact us if you wish to participate! We will try to contact everyone asap. It is NOT a requirement. The ad should benefit those who participate as well as those who don’t simply by generating foot traffic. We are requiring that a coupon be presented, otherwise we will continue to offer traditional discounts (or not) as we have done in the past…allowing each dealer to determine for themselves what discount, if any, they wish to offer.
Other interesting events:
April 14th will mark the 10th month that “Spirit” has been open. For a new business, we’ve encountered few obstacles, and enjoyed great success! Debi and I thank all our dealers for your efforts.
“Spirit” merchandise seems to be spread all over the store. In the coming weeks, Debi and I will be doing a massive reset of our products. We intend to create a clearance section for “Spirit” products and to liquidate inventory which is over 10 months old. As we do this, space will open up. As always, we encourage expansion amongst our dealers…we will always make room for those who wish to invest more time and energy into creating bigger displays.
We have mentioned that through attrition (not replacing dealers who chose to leave) we have hoped to lower our community of dealers from nearly 40 to a more manageable 20-25 persons. We now stand at 28 dealers. We are seeking to have at least 2/3rds of the square footage of the store be occupied by dealers. “Spirit” is a bit short of that mark. Debi and I have about 40% of the space at this time. If expansion doesn’t fill the gaps, we will sign new dealers.
We are looking forward to what appears to be many new customers from our “Journal Star” ads! One kind of cute story. “Spirit” enjoys the visits from a great husband and wife team who shop regularly in our store. They are from Northern Wisconsin, yet somehow manage to visit us frequently. They are dealers themselves, and enjoy the great prices our dealers (and Debi and I) offer. They were in the store and overheard our determination to advertise…and the wife lamented that now others would find us and buy up all the good stuff! I assured her that all our dealers are hard workers…great shoppers…and would continue to keep their shelves full! (I’m sure of it.)
So, folks, while we took a slight step back in March (not nearly as bad as it sounds…some of the drop in percentage of sales to investment were the result of our price change) we have also reacted with positive determination to expand our network of customers. Many of you know that I (Dan) would break through a steel door to provide better service for both our dealers AND our customers. I dearly love a good challenge and consider April the next inning in this baseball game.
And…finally. Pekin’s resale/antique and vintage shopping opportunities continue to grow! “Derby St” has been open around one month…”Amanda’s Closet” has moved to her new HUGE location…our own dealer, Alan, will be opening “Military Uniform and Supply” next to “Amanda’s Closet” in April…”One More Time” is expanding”…and there are many other shops in town open for business as well! Cooperation and a great friendship is developing amongst all these fine small businesses. Pekin is poised to be a tremendous town to visit for the wonderful shopping experiences.
Isn’t it something…I can’t help but shake my head in amazement at how all this is turning out! To our dealers who have been patient…struggled at times, and those who have enjoyed good sales every month…I truly believe we’ve only scratched the surface of where “Spirit” is heading!
Please, remember to let us know if you want to participate in the “Journal Star” coupon.
Dan (and Debi who is wisely sleeping to be ready for a busy Saturday)