...who's going to save us now?
I am not talking about my store. I'm actually ahead of last year this month, at this point. So far I've been close to beating last years sales 3 times before, only to fall back in the last few days of the month. Because of the sequence of days (slowest vs. busiest) I sort of expect that to happen again this month.
But that means I've come very close to beating last year, ending up just slightly below, 4 out of 7 months. Meanwhile, because I'm not building my inventory this year, my profits have been much better. The other 3 months frankly sucked.
As I said a couple of days ago, I was all ready with a theory and then had a huge sales day. But in reflecting on it, I think that 'huge' day just reinforced what I was going to say.
Don't anyone snicker at me -- but I think the 'events' have had a beneficial effect on my sales this year.
Well, I've always maintained that events are useful when times are slow. I've always said that the events in the 'off' season are useful. What I was objecting to was closing the streets and distracting my customers on peak weekends and hours when we would have sold a bunch without any help.
Well, based on what I'm seeing this year, every season is an 'off' season.
If you are a retailer in Bend, and you don't make money in July and August and December -- you probably don't make money. My regulars seem to have cut back, resulting in their paychecks not stretching to the end of the month and thus that tale-tell drop off in the last week. And I don't believe the tourists are coming in the numbers or are as willing to spend as in the past, thus necessitating the 'events' and the excuse to open their wallets.
It's not a good sign when businesses are closing in the peak season....
So what are we depending on to keep the retail market humming? It seems to me that we are a little too reliant on the inexperience of new businesses, who from what I can see, don't know the Bend cycles. They tend to open at the wrong time, for one thing, often completely missing the busy season.
And you just have to wonder about the judgment of someone who would open a restaurant in Bend right now. Or a dress shop. Or a jewelry store. Or any of the other high end businesses.
Oh, I know what happens. Each new store thinks they're unique, that they have it down.
But like anything else, it makes sense to play to odds rather than believe you are going to beat the odds.
If there is an average of one independent bookstore nationwide for each 100k in population, then it seems.....very brave to open in a county of 100k that already has 6 bookstores, plus Barnes and Nobles. Seven if you stretch the definition to my store.
But notice how non- 'sexy' businesses, such a shoe repair, or used bookstores, or ....even comic shops are represented by just one or two; indeed, I've lost most of my single competitors in the last year or so.
But if they want to do it, why not let them? Why do I want to stomp on their dreams?
Hey, they may indeed have a new idea, or just be better at it than anyone else.
But if you were reaching to put your hand on a hot stove, I hope I would warn you.
There are real life consequences to opening a business. You could lose your shirt. Hell, based on the odds you will lose your shirt. Be sure that you have another shirt in the closet.
There have been a few suicides in this town because some people went 'all in', doubled down, bet the farm. And lost it all.
RDC was saying that I just complain and grumble. I joked back that complaining and grumbling and bitching and moaning were what blogs were all about. If you have all the answers like RDC you aren't going to tell us, are you? No...contentment writes a blank page. So I agitate, respectfully, that there are dislocations in the business climate in Bend. Probably just as out of whack as the housing was.
So....what happens now. Do we muddle through?
This is where I take a step back and say: if the spaces on Greenwood haven't been leased by now, what do future tenants have to look forward too? The normally slow fall, one good month in December, and then that long drought between January and July.
If, as seems likely, the housing prices don't stabilize, and we continue with this 25 building permits per month average, I foresee a lot of pain ahead.
3 days ago