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Booth space versus full store - I bit the bullet

Booth space versus full store - I bit the bullet
« on: June 10, 2011, 10:25:14 PM »
After having so many smalls and collectibles and and and (yall know the drill) My wife and I decided to take an interim step between nothing and a store. We rented a booth at a local antique and gift mall. It runs 190 a month for a 10x10. Nice thing is they let you do basically what you want within the booth and the best part is I'm not there as the stuff sells. The buyers browse, load the carts take it to the front and it gets sold. Ive now sold antique and vintage furniture, jewelry, glassware, collectibles old newspapers all that stuff that wouldn't sell on CL and wasn't quite enough caliber to go on ebay etc. It's working fine for us. I've covered the first two months rent in the first ten days open and i'm into making profit now!!! A side benefit is my wife is now involved and loves setting up and keeping up with "the shop" as she puts it. Lotsa benefits there when Mama's happy the world is at peace..hahahaha...just another avenue for getting rid of a lot of stuff. Actually, Young Gun on here told me his dad had a booth and was working it so that's how I got interested. Yall should check it out in your area (I'm north of Atlanta). It's not surprising in a down economy that people are looking for bargains especially on some of those semi luxury items they still want to buy. It's a way to go......

Offline jrossjr79

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Re: Booth space versus full store - I bit the bullet
« Reply #1 on: June 10, 2011, 11:34:16 PM »
After having so many smalls and collectibles and and and (yall know the drill) My wife and I decided to take an interim step between nothing and a store. We rented a booth at a local antique and gift mall. It runs 190 a month for a 10x10. Nice thing is they let you do basically what you want within the booth and the best part is I'm not there as the stuff sells. The buyers browse, load the carts take it to the front and it gets sold. Ive now sold antique and vintage furniture, jewelry, glassware, collectibles old newspapers all that stuff that wouldn't sell on CL and wasn't quite enough caliber to go on ebay etc. It's working fine for us. I've covered the first two months rent in the first ten days open and i'm into making profit now!!! A side benefit is my wife is now involved and loves setting up and keeping up with "the shop" as she puts it. Lotsa benefits there when Mama's happy the world is at peace..hahahaha...just another avenue for getting rid of a lot of stuff. Actually, Young Gun on here told me his dad had a booth and was working it so that's how I got interested. Yall should check it out in your area (I'm north of Atlanta). It's not surprising in a down economy that people are looking for bargains especially on some of those semi luxury items they still want to buy. It's a way to go......

Thats fantastic, might be something I need to check into.

Re: Booth space versus full store - I bit the bullet
« Reply #2 on: June 11, 2011, 06:56:04 PM »
Congrats Ironman.  It is nice to hear people finding new places to sell at.  I wish we had something like that where I am at.  The closest thing to that is in our Factory Outlet mall.  I can rent a space, about the same size, for $100 per month.  The only catch there is to make sales you have to be present.  It is something I will do later on when I eventually stop truck driving, but Lord knows when that will be.

Re: Booth space versus full store - I bit the bullet
« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2011, 08:16:30 AM »
That's the beauty of the place I'm at, I don't have to be there to make sales. Stopped by yesterday and found out  had made another 37 dollars in sales in the first ten minutes the facility was open and it was just getting the busy saurday traffic, On average I'm selling @ $550 a month. Its all those 10 and 15 dollar sales of smalls that would otherwise end up donated or in a yard sale that add up and I don't have to be there for it to happen. I do have several high dollar antiques and collectibles there and if only one of those sells a month I'll be making some REALLY NICE supplemental income. Even so, I'm happy for now netting out 300 to 400 a month with the shop running on auto pilot except for restocking every Wednesday getting ready for the FRi-Sun sales times. Many of the other vendors there have only "real" antiques that are $50 and up and the average buyer is buying the 10 to 20 dollar items which is my sweet spot now. The high dollar "real" antique vendors draw in the clients that are buying my vintage reasonable items....works for me!!

Offline rulesforrebels

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Re: Booth space versus full store - I bit the bullet
« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2011, 04:52:17 PM »
Nice work ironman. We can get booths at my place but not only do you have to be there to make sales but if your not there so many days per week or month you can no longer have your setup there.

I'll have to try to find someplace like what you mention. If you don't mind me asking how is it setup. How do you get credit for your items sold, do they provide you with a tag on which you price things and put your space number or how does that work?

Do they take a small cut if they sell it for you? If not what's the incentive for you to show up ever as opposed to just letting them sell your stuff for you?

Re: Booth space versus full store - I bit the bullet
« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2011, 10:13:07 PM »
You are responsible for tagging your items with those tags with strings. On the tag you put  vendor number such as V730 for me. Then a brief description of the item and then the price. The buyer takes the item up front where they remove the tag, ring up the sale and on their accounting software the vendor number is entered with the sale so you get credit. They then take the tag they removed from the item and put it into a card file under my vendor number with the date sold stamped on the tag. They do take a 10% sales commission for the house which is very reasonable (and I accounted for by raising my prices 15%). We get paid twice a month with a complete accounting of what sold. The process is easy and works well. They do allow vendors to "work" the floor if you want to and if they have an open timeframe and for that they give you credit on the space rental so you can reduce your rental costs. It is entirely voluntary and has no affect on your space rental. Now that is different than two other similar malls in my area where they REQUIRE you to work two eight hour shifts a month and one weekend a month (for free) as part of your rental agreement. I immediately dropped those two sites when I was searching as my labor is not free. ON top of that those sites rental rates were HIGHER per square foot than Big Shanty Antiques is.

The only issue that they told us about is when a customer switches tags for a lower priced item. Thats why they tell all the vendors to describe the item on the tag such as , 1930 Toby Mug, Red with green hat and @ 7 inches tall. Enough of a description so that if someone tries to swap tags they can tell it when they get the item up front. Again, makes good sense to me. On smaller items or very expensive items many of us (me included) bought a lockable display case, mine is 6 feet long four high and is all glass with three sets of glass shelves inside. You put the small and valuable stuff in the case, lock it up and put a 3x5 card taped tp the case that instructs the customer to go to the front desk and ask for access to the display case number V730. The owners then will go to the booth with the customer and let them look at an item. If they want it the owner take that item to the hold table at the checkout for the customer to pick up when they are ready to check out. They are very strict with the keys and at NO time give the keys out or let the case unlocked as they know thats where the valuabe stuff is and they don't want any issues with theft. All in all the process works and I am very happy with the way they do things.

Re: Booth space versus full store - I bit the bullet
« Reply #6 on: June 22, 2011, 01:36:26 PM »
Trying this again. I'm going to post pics of my (booth, shop, store) at an antique mall here that I have been talking about. This is from when we first opened a month ago and is only half of the over 800 items now in the store inventory with a sales value of well over $7000.00 all profit except for the space rent of 190 a month. I have long since recovered and made 2 or 3 times the costs of the units I've bought. All this 'stuff' is the antiques, collectibles and smalls that are too good for a yard sale. Have a lot of this stuff listed on CL and ebay too. Just delivered two old chest today for another $250.00 in sales. This is sure working for me.

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Offline johnnyghonda

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Re: Booth space versus full store - I bit the bullet
« Reply #7 on: July 10, 2011, 10:25:32 PM »
Hey thanks for sharing the great info ironman!

Re: Booth space versus full store - I bit the bullet
« Reply #8 on: August 31, 2011, 01:29:32 PM »
Ironman, where is this Antique Mall at? I checked one out today that sounds exactly like the one you are at except for the price was lower for a 10x10 (of course, the closer to the door, the higher the price).
I am seriusly considering doing this but I looked up this thread to check in with you to see if you are still making money and if you still recommended it.

Spoke to a couple of vendors while I was there and they were very enthusiastic. I am just concerned that I don't have $100-150 to give away if the merchandise isn't moving.

Your opinion would be appreciated

Re: Booth space versus full store - I bit the bullet
« Reply #9 on: August 31, 2011, 01:37:06 PM »
THought of a couple of other questions:
1) Do you avertise particular items (like on craigslist) and send people to the store to buy it or do you remove it from the store and sell it (and save the 10%) and;
2) Do you do any sort of advertising (craigslist, free web sites etc) to send traffic to the Antique Mall.

I was told this Antique Mall had very good traffic but I cannot find them doing any sort of general web searches. I used to do online marketing and I know I could get the Mall more exposure but I don't know if that would help me enough to justify the time and effort to do so.

Again, if you have any experience in these areas, your response would be appreciated.

Thanks

Re: Booth space versus full store - I bit the bullet
« Reply #10 on: September 06, 2011, 05:34:11 PM »
Hey West Ga. Sorry for the delay in answering. The mall I'm at is Big Shanty Antiques in Kennesaw. It's going so well that I'm expanding to another 10x10 up front. I actually do a variety of things for selling / advertising including CL, Amazon, Etsy, Ebay etc. The rules for the mall are that if the client sees it in the mall the vendor is obliged to sell it thru the mall and pay the selling commission to the mall which is what I do. That's the agreement and I stand by my word on it. That said, I do advertise on CL and if the piece is small or collectible and easily removed, I'll go to my booth, bring the item home and sell it if. I won't just take it to the mall parking lot and sell it or take someone here to see it and then remove it as that isn't the deal. Of course, anything I list and sell that requires shipping as thru Ebay Amazon Etsy or even CL does not go thru the mall and they are fine with that so its a very flexible arrangment as long as we all play by the rules and the rules aren't bad at all. I also send people to my booth at the mall as what typically happens is they end up buying what they went to look at and usually other items also so thats a win. The danger is that they may decide to look thru the mall and not end up buying from you but that doesn't happen very often if you are priced competitively. I personally am very happy selling this way as there are a large number of smalls and even larger items that would take too much time and effort to sell on CL or elsewhere that I put in the shop (mall) and forget until it sells. As I'm sure you know you very quickly end up with a whole bunch of stuff that is worth more than a donation or yard sale price but not enough to list on Ebay or mess with at CL so the shop is great for that, Case in point. Got a very nice set of six hand painted wine glass stemware. If I'd have put them on CL or sell t a Yard sale I'd maybe have gotten 5 or 6 bucks for. If I'd have listed them on ebay the fees would have eaten the profits not to mention being hard to sell when you added shipping. So all six took up 64 square inches of shelf space in the shop (8x8 inches). They sat on that shelf forgotten until last saturday when the six sold for $18.99 for the set and I wsn't even there. So, after a 1.90 commission I ended up with 17.09 for something that would have been worth very little at a YS or on CL. So for me it works and an added benefit is that all that "stuff" that would be in boxes in my garage is out where it can be seen and sold. When I first took the space I did not sell enough to cover the rent for the first month. Month 2 I did. Now we are in month five and have sold 6.5 times the rent and are well into the profit zone and are growing and taking another space. It took us a couple months to get a feel for what sells and at what price and we did that by both trial and error and more importantly by making a list of what we put into our space them doing some detective work by looking at the other vendors spaces for how they were set up, what they had to sell and at what price. It gave us some good pointers. We also made sure we talked to any other vendors there to glean knowledge from their experience. The best vendors that are doing what we do have multiple spaces with an ecclecic mix of products and are doing as much as 70K a year in business at a 60 to 70% margin not including their time spent. So... it can be a great way to add another channel to your sales efforts just don't expect miracles right away and be sure to keep your space and inventory fresh every ten days. If you don't keep the inventory fresh, and buyers see the same old thing they will pass your space by. Even if all you do is spend a couple hours a week and just move things around, front stuff to the back, back to the front etc etc it makes it look new and buyers notice and stop to look. Hope this helps.. Let me know if you have any other questions I'm happy to help.

Re: Booth space versus full store - I bit the bullet
« Reply #11 on: September 06, 2011, 07:22:59 PM »
Congrats Ironman!!!  Now I'm going to have to make a run to Kennesaw in a month or two to just see what you have set up.

Re: Booth space versus full store - I bit the bullet
« Reply #12 on: September 07, 2011, 08:03:32 AM »
Thanks Ironman for your advice. I have told the owners that I want the next space available (they told me it would be 1st of October) and I am going to give it a shot. I have several larger (furniture) items that I will put in the space but I am hoping it will be an outlet for all of the smalls that I have accumulated that are too inexpensive to justify the time and effort to put on CL or Ebay.
Glad to hear you are doing so well. I have heard of Big Shanty Antiques for years. I may have to head up there and check it out myself.

Thanks again.

Offline money4nothing

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Re: Booth space versus full store - I bit the bullet
« Reply #13 on: October 23, 2011, 06:33:32 AM »
Need some encouragement to bite the bullet. Thanks Ironman for your advice. We have talked about this set up several times. Most of the places around here (central Fl.) the rent is $2.00 a sq. foot +10%. There is a shop that is not to far from us, but I feel there is not a lot of money in our area (high unemployment ect.) We went there the other day and they actually had a space available which 2 years ago they had a waiting list. But talked to a regular at an Auction the other day and he told us he had a spot in a different town and he was surprised at his turn over he was doing really well. Here is the problem, this town is google guess about 50 miles away one way. But there is a lot of money there Retirement community "The Villages". So if I make one weekly trip to keep up my space it will cost me $21 in gas. Ok that is not so bad if I have a good turn over. Some of the Auctions are in that direction too so possible load and unload same day. I just hate adding a bill to our budget. Oh wait the truck will be paid off in two months so there would be my rent money. Ok just need some encouragement are you still doing well and continuing to grow?

Re: Booth space versus full store - I bit the bullet
« Reply #14 on: October 23, 2011, 11:01:24 AM »
I'd say do it. If you are near a large retiree community thats ideal as they will spend money. Especially if you have pieces that remind them of their youth. My shops are doing very well. We are actually contemplating yet another 10x10 space but at another facility across town so we can tap into potential customers that don't normally come to the northwest suburbs of Atlanta. We did have a slow month between mid Aug to mid Sep, but according to the people that have been here a long time that is traditionally a slow down. Its end of summer, schools are restarting and buyers are involved with that versus out shopping, however, the traditionall hot times are coming. The schoolers have settled in so moms now have free time during the day and are getting out, the holidays are coming and people look to buy that unique or collectible item for gifts etc. According to the 'old timers' here the sales pick up from Halloween thru into January then have a slow down in Feb and Mar then gear back up so thats what you need to plan for. If I had it all to do over again I'd have started a year earlier. I'm not getting rich but I am moving merchandise and am profitable even after travel and expenses are considered. All the old timers also said that before the economy tanked they were getting three times the price for the same items that are selling today so I'm positioning myself for the time when the economy does turn better. The thing is you should have two or three months rent rat holed (saved) in case you hit a down month so you aren't tapping your own funds. One more thing, do not get complacent and rely on this as your only sales outlet. Keep pushing items on craigslist, etsy, amazon, ebay and anywhere else. The idea is to keep your inventory turning over from somewhere so you can keep it fresh and moving along. Good luck and if you have any other questions just post them and I'll help if I can. BTW, the going rate for space in the Atlanta area is $1.90 to $2.40 a sqf. I'm in a place that is 1.90. Also, the facility looks for workers to help out like floor walkers who just make rounds and help customers if needed or even cleaning duties or cashiers etc. and they get paid XX$ an hour that comes off the rent. I do the newsletters and email marketing for the store and for that I get a 30% rent reduction. I do it weekly at home sitting in front of the TV. So, check with the facility and see if there is something like that you can do from home. If they don't have a newsletter or regular email campaign and want to do that I'd be glad to tell you what and how I do it to get you started. Good Luck!!


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