It would be good if I manage not to throw the store into chaos again. That's my tendency--not to leave well enough alone. It's like all my risk-taking and excitement all come from store and I can't stand to just let it do its thing without interference.
It's time for me to just keep the store going at its current level which is a very nice level indeed.
For instance. I have a nice level of Magic in stock. Except for more recent boxes for sale at box rate--which is in no way a priority for us, we have plenty of packs. Packs are where I focus. I can stretch the inventory farther. Selling by the box really doesn't add to the profit margin all the much, though it can be an incremental profit. That is, to make any money selling boxes, and still be in the ballpark with the rest of the vendors, I have to accept a lower profit.
Anyway, I could have ordered enough boxes for that purpose with a $XXX investment, instead I spent $XXXX, or seven times that amount. The difference was buying up older boxes of cards that I have no intention of selling by the box but instead selling by the pack.
As I said, my strategy with Magic is to be the guy who has the most variety of Magic in packs at affordable prices.
This is getting harder and harder to do. Like all product, much of the older Magic is drying up fast and what is still there is increasing in cost every week that goes by.
So even though we don't need older packs right at the moment, I could see that by summer much of the backstock would be gone or much more expensive. So I spent my profits on buying up these older boxes. This should stretch our reach into the summer and beyond, hopefully.
For the last few years, I've been willing to buy older boxes at higher prices and then sell them for $5.00 a pack. This is one dollar more than retail, but even at that price, I'm not earning as much profit as I do at boxes I can still buy at wholesale.
But it was clear to me early on that in order to compete, I was going to have to find a way to sell magic that differentiated me from the other vendors. Since I couldn't -- or wouldn't -- try to compete on box prices (there are local vendors who sell boxes at very low prices, and online they are even cheaper), nor could I compete by putting on tournaments and play space (simply no room or interest in that), nor was I willing to go all in on singles. (In order to make singles work, I'd have to be willing to buy or trade with the public and I have PTSD about that process--I'd rather quit than do it.)
So packs are where it is at.
So I just spent a bunch of profits in order to keep that going.
The future looks iffy unless things slow down. I've already had to make one change. I've changed the older packs from $5.00 to $6.50. This allows me to buy about half of the older brands that I would have had to let go of if I stuck to the old prices. The margins aren't any better--in fact, they are slightly worse, but it's the only strategy that seems to work for us.
I have decided to go ahead and sell boxes that I still buy at wholesale prices at slightly more competitive prices, which also require an investment.
Oh, well. That's the nuts and bolts of it. It's a moderate response. The crazy response would be to buy up lots of boxes of current product for the future.
Oh, I see I never got to the "chaos" part.
So if you've read the above, you can see that there is a steady progression from being able to buy Magic boxes for regular wholesale, which I can sell at regular prices: to only being able to buy boxes at increased prices, which if I want to continue to have variety I must sell for more a pack; to boxes that are so expensive they move into the "speculator" realm of pricing, which I try to avoid.
So that being true, why don't I buy as many boxes at regular wholesale as I can now, so that when they jump in prices--which they will--I'll have them already in stock?
Do you see the problem here? It's a money-sink. There is no end to it. I can continually buy product at cheaper prices--especially comics and cards--and see an increased valuation. I've all but stopped doing this with comics--I've taken the stance that comics are "for reading and enjoying."
But with Magic and Pokemon, I still have to somewhat play the game. (Notice I haven't mentioned Pokemon, which is so hot that I'd buy anything available, but it ain't...)
So there's the chaos--the ability to spend my entire cashflow on stuff that won't pay off until the future. Tempting as hell, as usual.