Friday, April 25, 2008

Happy Bratton Day!

Happy Bratton Day!

(Stole that from Marge.)

Pegasus had a great first half of the month, and a lousy second half, which is a typical pattern for me. Not exactly sure why.

A little confusing. On the plus side, I seem to have fairly high foot traffic still. I have plenty of people walking into the store who say they just moved here. And just bought a house! And most interesting of all, the friends I have who are selling houses are succeeding; not having to give them away, either.

On the other hand, I have had a fairly large number of cancellations of shelves -- almost all people who are leaving town for better jobs.

So I'm gaining browsers, and losing regulars, not exactly a good tradeoff.

My sales at the store are probably down 10 to 15% overall; Linda's sales are fine. A few months again I was dividing this decline by 5% less product, 5% recession, and 5% slowdown in comics.

Now, I'd have to say that the 'less product' part has stopped affecting us, and it's more like 8% recession and 7% slower comic sales.

And, my unscientific survey of parking spots, traffic noise, job inquiries, cold calls, and people trying to sell me 'old' comics or cards is still in the negative.

It's about what I expected and planned for. But I still don't like it. Instead of being stressed about bills, as I would have been in the past, I'm more disappointed that I'm not making as much cash profit as I hoped. I'm making progress toward debt elimination and cash reserves but it's slower than I hoped.

Still, this has shown me just how fundamentally strong the store is compared to past slowdowns. But like using the air bag in your car, you'd rather not ever put it to the test.

The final factor, if I'm being honest with myself, is that I'm not there at the store as much.

But this is intentional. A store that exists only because I'm there is not going to be very functional. Pat is as good an employee as I've ever had. I need to find our how much the store generates without me there doing all the heavy lifting all the time. If it were to drop near some sort of danger point, or course, I'd be back in a flash. In the meanwhile I'd like to ascertain whether the store makes money on it's own.

I'm not sure I'm such a big factor. I suspect we'd be having about the same level of sales with or without me. But, if I wanted to be totally safe, I'd be there....again. But a store that is maintained through sheer willpower of the owner alone -- especially after so many years -- in some ways still isn't a mature store. It would be harder to sell, someday, certainly sell to someone in an ethical way that says to the buyer, yes, this business is worth buying.

Pat called in an emergency, so it looks like I'll be working all day anyway. This is the default position in my store, the place I always know I'll end up back at. I'd like to take off time while I can.

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