A few weeks back our main vendors came to us (practically bursting with excitement) to tell us they had rented a store! We have become close friends over the past couple years and attended their wedding last summer so it's more than "just business" we have a great relationship.
We've always known that this was their goal and they have previously ran a shop from home, so it came as no surprise really when they told me, it just happened quicker than any of us expected..but that's life you have to grab the opportunity while its presented to you or you will always kick yourself later. They gave us plenty of notice, and are still keeping a double booth here in our shop which is great,not to mention smart! We will send customers back and forth and call each other if someone is looking for an item that the other may have..that's the way it should be!
I had worked in retail for many years before opening my own shop and have witnessed the cut throat *ahem bs, that goes on between shops but it is NOT how we operate at all.
We figure the more shops in town the better ! It brings more people to the area and if we don't have what the customer is looking for or if they come to our shop first while looking for another shop they've seen advertised we ALWAYS send them over,and would only hope that the favor be returned.We are not in competition with other shops as in this business no two are ever the same. And the customers appreciate when we hand them a flyer and tell them about other shops,they remember that and will come back. It is a positive approach towards what could potentially be a negative, unhappy situation.
As excited as I was for our friends I have to admit, I've had many sleepless nights lately wondering if we should advertise for new vendors to replace them or just take over the extra space ourselves. God knows we have enough to fill it up,the basement here is a gold mine, select people we allow to go down there and bargain shop but mostly it looks like an episode of hoarders because I stash all my fav finds down there when the garage at home just won't take another single thing! Plus we had to make room for my sweet old truck.
So far we have decided to keep some of the space, but if the right dealer came along we would definitely like the "guaranteed" income and the variety of goods they could offer. The better the selection the wider the customer appeal.
If I had it my way I would only attract "farmhouse style" clients and there is such a great amount of other trends and styles out there,it would be silly to stick to one. I tend to buy only what I love when I am sourcing items and decor for the store,with the notion that if it doesn't sell then I can take it home. We sometimes buy something,love it at home for awhile then find something else and bring it to the shop for the next owner to love. I am always sad to part with pieces I love but at the same time I have learned the thrill of the hunt is the best part and that something else always comes along, so slowly I am trying to learn how to break the attachment to "things" and let them go! It is a hard thing for a pack rat to learn trust me! But once I have taken the time to love and looked at a piece for sometime it is a little easier.
This post is turning into one big run on sentence but it is helping me to vent to whoever may read this and give me their input as to the next steps I should take.
In these tough economic times we need each other to survive,whether it be sending someone to another shop,passing out flyers for local shops,or everyone working together under one roof to offer the best variety and selection of antiques and collectibles we can.
Our vendors are the reason why we have survived through the recession and we are in business because of them,not the other way around!!! I have learned so much from all of the great dealers we have rented booths to,(there is NO way, any one person can know it all) over the past 5 years. Some have moved on,gotten out of the business,retired,and sadly we have lost a couple due to them passing away,but each one of them has taught us something and helped us grow.
I decided to run an ad on kijiji it sounds quite blunt but when I ran a similar ad in the past the response was scary,people wanted to sell household garage sale items and used clothing etc. I put all of my expectations in plain ol black and white and hope the right person will see the ad. If it is meant to be it will be. If not we will have the space and push we needed to bring in all of the items that have been in storage or hoarded away downstairs..we could even open the basement up to the public. The possibilities are endless and this is why the sleepless nights....part excitement part fear of the uncertain future!!
Thanks for any ideas or tips you've found helpful in this situation!