Friday, September 11, 2009

Just being a storekeeper.

I've been taking refuge in the routine. Which is probably boring to you guys, but comforting to me.

I'm not worried about becoming stale -- I think there's more than enough change headed my way over the next couple of years.

For the time being, I'm taking satisfaction in both stores functioning well. Showing up for work, doing my opening routines, playing a little too much solitaire. Getting up and doing a little cleaning, taking enjoyment in talking to the customers. Catch up on my reading.

I always have that itch to shuffle things around, to experiment, to enlarge and expand and otherwise improve.

I've been fighting it.

There's a time for that, and then there is time to just let things be. Linda's store is a great lesson to me. She has stuck pretty much to the same things since she started 6 years ago, and her growth has been steady. I don't think I've ever gone more than a year or two without throwing my store into disruption.

All for a good cause, of course. Some of my earlier, more ambitious changes (opening four stores, for instance) didn't always work out, but I think I had to try them at some point. Once I got spanked and learned my lessons, I wasn't as likely to replicate them. But most of the changes I've made over the last 15 years or so have been helpful and necessary -- even bringing in new books and boardgames in the last couple of years....

I want to winnow down some of the product in the store, slowly, naturally. Which helps add to the bottom line at a time when I need it. It is very hard for me to reverse course -- after all, I've been adding product at a furious pace for probably 9 years now.

It's sort of like living off the food in the fridge and pantry for awhile, other than fresh foods, with the intention of replenishing with more up to date product. Ironically, this is happening at a time when I probably have more money to actually buy product than ever before.

I still see great potential in new books, but I have enough titles for the time being to accomplish what I need. I'm sort of saving up titles and ideas -- waiting for the right moment to restock.

All the changes in the comic industry makes me feel that I've been going in the right direction. I've always felt that no one product should be more than 50% of my sales, and right now comics and graphic novels are about 50%. At the worse, there will still be some comics produced, and probably more than enough graphic novels.

So it's time to let the store function on it's own, with me there to tend to it. (Beast that it is....)

There are the usual dreaded but expected spot shortages. You can't run a 'just in time' store with a long-tail inventory and not have spot shortages. But I'm taking care of them by constant small reorders, instead of big weekly reorders. It takes a little longer to show up, but I'm getting exactly what I need.

My Sundays off are turning out to be different than I expected. It looks as though the first four Sundays will be used strictly for 'catch up' on stuff I've been putting off. Which I suppose only reinforces that I needed the time off. It is away from the counter, at least, and I don't have to put on my 'store face' so to speak. Hopefully, I'll catch up and be able to use my days off for something more relaxing.

1 comment:

Duncan McGeary said...

In fact, it's probably the very fact that I actually have money I can spend on product that's letting me sit back and take a wait and see attitude.

Like, for me at least, it's harder to diet with an empty larder than with a full larder. Just the fact that the food is there allows me to cut back.

Anyway, I took the five years between 2002 and 2007 adding and adding to eight different product lines until I reached a point where I couldn't fit anymore into the store.

Now that the rough building blocks are in place, I can chisel them down to the right level. Refine more ordering a bit.