Tuesday, February 19, 2008

I absolutely understand the temptation of opening a store in a small town. There is always the hope that you will be some kind of town center for whatever you sell, a place for like-minded people. And especially that you will have the field to yourself.

Unfortunately, it actually usually works the opposite. Small towns more often than not have even more competition, not less; possibly because the barriers to entry are a bit lower. It only takes one person to open a store; it takes a whole lot of customer to keep it going.

Anyway, I'm not immune to the temptation. There is a new building on the east side of Hwy. 97 just as you reach the outskirts of Redmond, just below the 'old' Walmart. Kinda of a new retro looking building. (Frank's Landing?)

How much fun it would be to put a rocketship on the side the building, call the place, Rocketship Books, carry a bunch of future retro toys and steam punk and designer toys and -- oh, just everything I don't have room for in my store.

If that same building with the same visibility and size was in Bend, I'd be so, so tempted.

But... alas. I already have all I can handle.

So I can still get excited by the prospect by new enterprise. A clean slate. A chance to apply everything I know. I still get a charge out of creating something new, of fighting off disaster, or nurturing a new business. To me, babysitting a business is nowhere near as fun as creating a business.

But what happens when you realize you are 55 years old? I mean, maybe I should just sit back and enjoy.

But, I stopped using the word 'old' a few years ago, because I found myself using it too much, and not enough people demurring. It still pains me to get the 'senior discount' at the theater. I still throw away the ARRP mailers.

I've always looked for business opportunities, I've always enjoyed seeing if I can make something work. If I could clone myself, I'd probably have half a dozen businesses going; I've no shortage of ideas or inspiration.

To me, to say, this is it, this is all you're going to do, just because you're 55 years old feels like laying down and dying.

And yet, and yet. I need to be realistic. I need to 'grow up' at some point. I can't go charging off starting new businesses just because I feel like it.

To hell with that, yes I can.

Retirement has no appeal to me. I still like having something to do every day. Linda, on the other hand, wouldn't mind. I'm hoping that we'll find a middle ground as easily as when we bought a house.

Beforehand, we seemed to have completely different ideas about what house we wanted. I wanted an older, stand alone house, she wanted a newer, necessarily sub-division, low upkeep house. I wanted a big lot so I could garden, she wanted a minimum of three rooms for bedroom and offices for each of us.

Turned out to be no problem at all, we found a 1986 house in an older subdivision with big lots, new enough not to require maintenance. Perfect compromise.

I'm such a unsocial, solitary person (by choice, I think?), that I need that daily stimulus of work. For me, isolation breeds isolation.

So, she'll probably retire, I suspect, and I'll keep working. And I'll probably still have half-baked business ideas in play when I keel over.


Anonymous said...

Yes, retirement is only for those whose time is not there's.

On your note of a new biz, I did confirm with some people in the know, that the new TJ is having a hell of a time attracting the right kind of people. They pay well, I understand around $12/hr.

The problem is the cost of living. In PDX or SEA, or hip areas of cali, its no problem living ten to a house. Not done here as it once was.

Sure starting a biz, can be fun, but the people the payroll tax is a killer. You got one person to help you, I don't know how many your wife has.

Talking about wives, my wifes favorite bookstore is the one ran by your wife, she bike all the way over there on sunday, only to find it closed? Why is it closed? My guess is she has no help. For people like my wife, the only time they have to really spend the day looking for old mysterys is on the weekends.

People made fun of the olive-oil biz being open 5 days week, 5 hrs/day, but if your going to be the #1 used bookstore in Bend, your wife's shop it, then it needs to be open on the weekend.

Thus I concur, your plate is already too full.

You talk about how fun it is to start a biz, but employees will kill you, rarely in ones working life does one come across more than a few that give a shit.

Now getting back to TJ, unlimited money, unlimited demand, they got it ALL, and they're having a hell of a time getting a good staff that cares.

I suspect your wife is running bare-bones, and that is why she can't afford to have someone open on sunday, hell right there on hwy-20 & 97, and folks are going across country, and there's BIG USED book-store closed.

yes, duncan you have too much on your plate.

Duncan McGeary said...

We have a great part-time employee, Kent, a retired doctor. But he is retired, while his wife still works, so he wants weekends off.

Linda is very much a church person, very busy on Sundays.

And she's afraid of starting Sunday hours and then scrambling to fill them.

Yeah....but if it was me, I'd be open on Sundays.

In fact, my store IS open on Sundays.

It's my wife's store. I don't interfere.