Tuesday, September 20, 2022

Well, I'm in for now.

I'm working four days in a row and I'm exhausted. It's not just that I'm older, but we're also doing three times the business we were doing back in the day when I worked every day of the week. A prime example of "watch out what you wish for..." Then again, a thriving business is what I was striving for and it's very gratifying. 

Linda and I have a thing where I will point out that she might have taken on too much. She tends to say "Yes" to everything until eventually she starts showing signs of being overwhelmed. Whereas I'm very protective of my time and energy (being a bit of a loner) and can say "No" fairly readily.

Well, I'm seeing my situation right now as being a bit overwhelming.

The advice I constantly give in this blog to new business owners is this: treat time, energy, and space the same way you do money. Time, energy, and space ARE money, for all intents and purposes. Ignore this fact and you'll burn yourself out and wonder why.

I recently bought a comic collection with the intention of overhauling our back issue collection. However, I'm finding that the mere monetary cost of the transaction is the least part of it. Supplies are turning out to be almost equal in cost to the product, but it's the time, energy, and space that are being spent profligately. Even though I gave myself until the first of next year to get it done, I'm starting to feel the pressure of getting it done and getting it done right. 

And it wasn't really necessary. Yeah, it will probably help the store a little in the long run, which will be nice for Sabrina, but will it be worth cost? 

Well, I'm in for it now.

Sunday, September 18, 2022

How much of our business is local and how much tourists?

I had to use a new Visa app over the weekend that required the zip codes of the customers. So I got to see whether people were local or from farther away.

I've been thinking a good half or more of my customers were tourists. But...I was also aware that that might be an exaggeration.

So most of the customers today were local--Bend, Redmond, LaPine, Madras, Prineville. Maybe 15% were from further away. 

We usually drop about 1/3rd from summer to fall, so that 35% or so can be attributed to tourists to a large extent. I'm now guessing that we have more local customers than I thought. They seem like tourists because I don't know them; they aren't regulars in the old-fashioned way of recognizing them or even knowing their names. Bend and the surrounding area has become so much more populated.

But that's encouraging in it's own way. It means that we've made inroads to the locals and we can build on that. Downtown Bend is a happening place and we've been around long enough to get a steady stream of people in the door.

I can't tell you the number of years where that result was anything but certain. Years when people simply didn't come in the door that much. Years where I had to really depend on a relative handful of customers to keep going. Fortunately, the slower business coincided with lower expenses. 

It's so much nicer to be able to do the job right, get the stuff people want in the door, and to feel the vibrancy of the downtown and the store. 


Monday, September 5, 2022

Falling off the charts.

Falling off the charts, which is what happens when you don't write for a couple of years. 

"Deadfall Ridge" still sells almost every day, but other than that. 

I've been organizing the used books in the garage that I've been accumulating for years with the expectation that I might want something to do in my retirement: perhaps a small used bookstore in Redmond? That only needs to pay for itself? With maybe another couple of retired folk ready to fill in when I don't want to work or want to travel?

I mean, it probably won't happen, but I have the fixin's: bookcases and books, a cash register, and various and sundry fixtures. 

Anyway, going through all the SF and Fantasy titles, it just makes me realize that there are no shortages of books; multiple series and books by authors I never heard of or don't remember. All, as far as I can tell, no longer writing.

Where did they all go?

I suspect most of them got tired of banging their heads against the wall. 

Something most non-writers don't realize: almost all books come and go without much notice. It has nothing to do with quality, really. Good books are overlooked, bad books are promoted, and vice versa. There was a meme posted yesterday that most books don't sell more than a dozen copies in a year. What this little nugget left out was that it included all books, including those I mentioned above: books past their selling date.  

Nevertheless, the truth is most books don't sell for long. It's just a fact. It isn't sour grapes to point it out. It's the way of the world.

I very much enjoyed writing my books and I think some of them are pretty good. That may sound self-aggrandizing, but really, it's hard for me to give myself credit so in a way I'm trying to get past that imposter syndrome. Yea, I conclude. Some of the books are pretty good if you're into my mindset...

I'll probably start writing again when I retire and who knows?

No one knows, not even the Shadow. heh.