Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Weathering the storm.

I'll try to get as Christmasy positive as I can.

It's a beautiful day, today. Blue skies, white snow, crisp air. To complain about snow -- in Bend, Oregon -- is off the mark, somehow. I don't live in Bend despite the snow, I live in Bend because of the snow. Even though I don't ski anymore, I still get real warm fuzzies from this kind of weather. Just hunkering down, and watching the snow flurries.

This is just normal?

This downturn in business is kind of interesting to me. It's kind of familiar. I may be the only 29 year business in town that has gone through such extremes not once, not twice, but half a dozen times. Business dropping in half overnight is par for the course for my shop. The only real difference is that so many other shops are going through the same thing, and I doubt they know what's hit them.

And you know, just as it wasn't all gravy on the wave up, it isn't all doom and gloom on the way down.

Other stores.

I read Keeneye's blog for a counter-balance, Paizano's Pizza in Baker City, which is kicking butt and taking names.

My wife's store is holding up reasonably well.

I know of a comic shop in Spokane which just opened it's third location. I may have my doubts, but he's going full steam ahead. Sometimes that kind of daring gets rewarded. I'm just not willing to take on that kind of stress anymore.

There's another store in San Fran who was talking about how his business was actually up -- which was both reassuring and alarming to me. This month, his column is talking about his business being down 30% -- which is still both reassuring and alarming.

Taking care of business.

The thing is, if the cash-flow, break-even point core of the business is protected, everything else can be adjusted to. Less business, means less buying, less shipping costs, less labor help, etc. You just adjust the scale.

I have a good balance sheet, little or no debt, a positive cash flow. Low overhead. A stocked store.

I can weather this storm. Let the flurries fly!