Storage Auctions

Anyone Actually Own a Store?

Anyone Actually Own a Store?
« on: February 29, 2012, 10:26:28 PM »
I would love to pick your brain about the day to day operations - if you don't mind.

Sam

Re: Anyone Actually Own a Store?
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2012, 11:22:27 AM »
I don't have a store since I work full time.  One of the guys that I have become auction-friends with has opened a store.  It is pretty small but he is doing well and is in a great location.  Plus, for him it is right down from his used car lot.  So he can work and keep an eye on both buisnesses.  What questions do you have?  I may have the answer or can find out from him.  I looked into opening a store months ago but discarded my plan.  Did do about a months worth of research however.

Offline Alias

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Re: Anyone Actually Own a Store?
« Reply #2 on: March 01, 2012, 12:43:52 PM »
I have two friends that tried. Both like a high end thrift, low end antique store.
Niether lasted a year.  Both had them same problem. Spent so much time being business owners and time in shop they didn't have time to get inventory. And they put a lot out for inventory that didn't move fast enough.

If you do go for it make sure you have operating costs covered for some time and someone to help you out on working shifts......

Good luck!

Offline money4nothing

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Re: Anyone Actually Own a Store?
« Reply #3 on: March 01, 2012, 07:08:33 PM »
Well the thrift that sells for us. Is doing pretty well she is paying the bills and making money. (Our stuff is moving slowly though).

She does manly Consignment she gets donations too. She wanted to attend the Auctions with us but after watching her work 7 days a week with no employee's, she does not have the money or man power to pull it off. 99% of her inventory is consignment. She was in competition with another thrift, it has just closed down.

We have kicked the idea around also. Would like to do it and think we would do well but as Alias said need more money in the bank.

The biggest problem is getting the inventory and running the store. When you add an employee you add headaches. Payroll, taxes, WC insurance, ect.

It is a full time job just attending the auctions, loading, sorting~~~~~on and on.  ;)

Re: Anyone Actually Own a Store?
« Reply #4 on: March 02, 2012, 12:36:04 AM »
Here's some unsolicited advice......DON'T DO IT!!!!

If you have fun buying storage units now, it will ruin the "Fun" aspect.  I always thought it would be fun to have a store to get rid of all the "smalls" and have a place to put the furniture. 

A funny thing happens once you have the store though.  Instead of getting rid of the smalls, you need to keep buying them so you have something to sell!  It's a never ending circle, kind of like the puppy chasing his tail!

And, now that the shows have driven the price of even "average" lockers through the roof, it you plan to buy your inventory at storage auctions, you are going to pay a lot more than you used to, only now, you NEED inventory, or you have nothing to sell in your store! 

And something a lot of people don't think about is that running a thrift store takes a lot of time.  You know how you set up for that big garage sale every once in a while and what a pain in the ass it is?  Imagine setting up for a garage sale EVERY SINGLE DAY!  Some people thrive on it......I'm not one of those people!  It takes a lot of time to clean, price, and stage all that inventory.

Since my store has been open, I have way less time to be hitting the auctions, and as a result (and because of the stupid prices) my locker purchases are way down.  I have been buying a lot of items from estates.  I also have a number of auction buyers who go out and overpay for lockers, and then I go in and pick through their stuff and buy it outright, usually a trailer load at a time.   I get a fair deal, and they get rid of a bunch of inventory in one fell swoop.

I can't speak for every area, but in the last year, over 50 new thrift stores opened up in the county I live in.  Last month, at least seven folded.  I have notice that a lot of them seem to come and go.  One small town had five all open up over a span of a couple months, and I was approached by a former landlord asking me to come set one up there too.  I declined.

I have not decided whether I will stay with mine or not.  My lease is up at the end of this month.  Of all the things I do,  hanging out at the store and pricing each individual item is my least favorite thing to do. 

I know a lot of people that have stores.  I analyze the numbers constantly, and for the life of me don't know how a lot of these people stay in business.  I keep my overhead low, but I see some of these people with two or three employees, big diesel trucks, big trailers, expensive buildings, etc.  I hear what their sales are, then knowing what diesel costs and all the driving they're doing, how much they pay their employees, and their rent, I can't figure out where they are making any money?  Especially since they have to buy product to sell too!

I would say that unless you have a lot of extra time, you like being stuck in one location all the time, you have alternative inventory supply lines, and you are a very motivated person that doesn't mind putting in the 12 hour plus days that owning you're own store takes, it's probably not for you.  Trust me, it is going to be WAY more work than you think, and quite frankly, I don't think the rewards are there for the amount of work involved. 

Also, don't forget, you are also going to be competing with Goodwill, Salvation Army, Value Village, etc, who get their inventory for free from donations, and a large number of auction buyers who saw the shows and decided it would be a great idea to open a store too.   After all, look at Brandi and Jarrod......yeah, look at them.......when the shows started, they were struggling bad......would they still be around if it wasn't for the show money and all the publicity?  I wonder.........


Offline money4nothing

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Re: Anyone Actually Own a Store?
« Reply #5 on: March 02, 2012, 04:53:37 AM »
Here's some unsolicited advice......DON'T DO IT!!!!

Also, don't forget, you are also going to be competing with Goodwill, Salvation Army, Value Village, etc, who get their inventory for free from donations, and a large number of auction buyers who saw the shows and decided it would be a great idea to open a store too.   After all, look at Brandi and Jarrod......yeah, look at them.......when the shows started, they were struggling bad......would they still be around if it wasn't for the show money and all the publicity?  I wonder.........



Yes a lot of work.... Forgot on the Goodwill and Salvation army stores get free labor from the community service people.

Offline Alias

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Re: Anyone Actually Own a Store?
« Reply #6 on: March 02, 2012, 09:27:25 AM »
Never one to shoot down someone's dreams....just showing reality. I'd agree with the above.
All depends on of. You want to be a thrifter or business owner.

I love autobody. Opened shop and spent 10-12hrs a day running a business and getting work. Rarley touched a car. Finally got out and do it on the side and make just about as much since the overhead isn't sucking ip my money, on my own schedule and I'm actually doing what I love to do....

Friend is a chef. Opened restaurant and hates his life. He wants to cook! Menu plan, come up with new things.
He spends 12-18hrs a day, 6-7 days a week running a business. And he said the same thing about the money. Was making $60K/yr as chef. Last year made a bit over 100K. But instead of a 2000hr year he spent about 5000hrs at the restaurant. Coulda made more working two jobs, doing what he wants to do and no stress, no debt, no risk.

Some people enjoy the business side no matter what they run. The CEO of taco bell doesn't have a clue how to make a taco. He wants to run operations.

You have to figure out what it is you are really looking to do......


Re: Anyone Actually Own a Store?
« Reply #7 on: March 06, 2012, 02:27:16 PM »
So...  I have a full time job that pays the bills, my wife is a stay at home mom with a full time job with our 2 children.  I have been buying and reselling for several years now - primarily auctions, estates, flea market, craigslist, etc.  In February, I picked up a partner and we bought our first two units (2 of 3 lockers owned by the same person) for $1,200 total -  not including expenses.  We have cleared $1,500 so far and haven't touched the antiques, guns, jewelry, silver, gold, etc that we have.  We also have ~40-50 boxes of knick knacks, collectibles, and antiques we haven't gone through.  My issue is simple - I have too many small items that hold a good amount of value (~$1-2,000) added together but low dollar (<$50).  So the question is how do I move them.

Original thought - a store.  After joining the forum - an antique mall.

Store Front
  • Benefits - set schedule, opportunity for consignment, opportunity sub-lease (ala vendor booths), lower price sqft, substantially more display space, immediate availability
  • Drawbacks - very time intensive, higher overall cost, large overhead, pressure of maintaining inventory

Antique mall
  • benefits - lower overall cost, lower time necessary, very high foot traffic
  • drawbacks - high sqft price, commission/payment processing charge (15%), ~6 month wait list

My general thought is that with either option, I can continue my "traditional" reselling approach.  I am just needing to find an avenue to get the "smalls" out in front of more people.  My wife has the ability to work a store front with the kids.  We also wouldn't need to have the store be open every day during the week.  The important time would be Friday-Sunday to allow maximum road traffic and drop-ins.  We don't need this endeavor to put food on the table - strictly increase/maximize the profit. 

Just a note of clarification - I wouldn't consider goodwill, salvation army, etc as direct competitors to what I envision.  I couldn't compete with free merchandise and labor.  The "cheap" stuff is donated either for tax right off or to good causes.  I am thinking more of an antique/consignment business model for the store.

Still thinking through everything - meeting with a realtor on Friday to look at some retail properties and talk pricing.  I might be able to get a retail spot for close to the same as a vendor booth in an antique mall.

Sam

Re: Anyone Actually Own a Store?
« Reply #8 on: March 06, 2012, 05:04:25 PM »
Sounds like you are thinking things through and if you decide to go with I wish you the best of luck.

A few more thoughts:

A friend and I opened a consignment store over 10 years ago. Our plan was we both would take turns working the store while one or the other of us bought mechandise. We opted to go mainly consignment as there would be a lot less $$ outlay in the beginning to stock the store. It worked great...too great in fact. We were able to meet all of our debt obligations and after the second year we were able to pay ourselves a little.

The drawbacks for me were - I had children at home (ages from 9-15) and the glamour of having one, sometimes two at the store each day quickly wore off. They were good but....honestly they bored easily. Also having to take a sick child to work is the pits for them, my customers and myself. After school activities, family weekend trips, etc....forget it because the store is not making money if the doors are shut.

My partner ended up buying me out and she still owns and runs the store. She has moved it into a 3600sf, three story building and is doing great. It just was not for me and my family.

Whatever you decide make sure both you and your wife have talked about the commitment it will require and best of luck in whatever you choose to do.

Bev

Offline money4nothing

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Re: Anyone Actually Own a Store?
« Reply #9 on: March 06, 2012, 07:46:32 PM »
Well sounds like you are thinking of all advantages. And some of the disadvantages.

Our idea much the same as yours, rent booth space. We have decided to put our plans on hold need to get a few things in order before we continue with the plan may take a year or two.  ::) and the commitment too it. Husband thinks easy I see all the work. He will go get the merchandise I run the store. Have to reverse that.  ;D

As bulldogmom pointed out was not for her.
 Kids at the store not a great idea IMO. Our thrift that we use has her middle school aged children at the store after school. Good kids but they do bore easily, the two boys help out. But sometimes it is a bit much. They are kids and forget and bounce a ball, or run from each other, just being kids..... With rented vendor space could be paying your vendors damage control if the kids break something.

We have a thrift store in town that is only open on the weekends, he advertises on CL when he is going to be open. Guess he is making money been going for 7 months. (that I have noticed) Never been there we are out selling when he is open.

Honestly I would do the flea market, (never thought I would say that  :o ). 

One of our flea markets people are looking for the antique smalls. Fellow auction hunter goes every Sat. does not take a lot but fills up the two tables with antique smalls, and does well every Sat. He also sales one or two man things, chainsaw, tools.

Flea Market
        Benefit: Work only weekend, Low overhead, take time off when wanted.

       Drawbacks: slow sales ?  Loading and unloading.

Wish you luck in what ever your decision.


quote bulldogmom "Whatever you decide make sure both you and your wife have talked about the commitment it will require and best of luck in whatever you choose to do."

Same thoughts.

Re: Anyone Actually Own a Store?
« Reply #10 on: March 06, 2012, 11:58:06 PM »
Flea market is out... 60 miles 1 way and bunch of cheap people who don't want to pay anything...

Sam

Offline Cobia

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Re: Anyone Actually Own a Store?
« Reply #11 on: March 07, 2012, 10:16:23 AM »
So...  I have a full time job that pays the bills, my wife is a stay at home mom with a full time job with our 2 children.  I have been buying and reselling for several years now - primarily auctions, estates, flea market, craigslist, etc.  In February, I picked up a partner and we bought our first two units (2 of 3 lockers owned by the same person) for $1,200 total -  not including expenses.  We have cleared $1,500 so far and haven't touched the antiques, guns, jewelry, silver, gold, etc that we have.  We also have ~40-50 boxes of knick knacks, collectibles, and antiques we haven't gone through.  My issue is simple - I have too many small items that hold a good amount of value (~$1-2,000) added together but low dollar (<$50).  So the question is how do I move them.

Original thought - a store.  After joining the forum - an antique mall.

Store Front
  • Benefits - set schedule, opportunity for consignment, opportunity sub-lease (ala vendor booths), lower price sqft, substantially more display space, immediate availability
  • Drawbacks - very time intensive, higher overall cost, large overhead, pressure of maintaining inventory

Antique mall
  • benefits - lower overall cost, lower time necessary, very high foot traffic
  • drawbacks - high sqft price, commission/payment processing charge (15%), ~6 month wait list

My general thought is that with either option, I can continue my "traditional" reselling approach.  I am just needing to find an avenue to get the "smalls" out in front of more people.  My wife has the ability to work a store front with the kids.  We also wouldn't need to have the store be open every day during the week.  The important time would be Friday-Sunday to allow maximum road traffic and drop-ins.  We don't need this endeavor to put food on the table - strictly increase/maximize the profit. 

Just a note of clarification - I wouldn't consider goodwill, salvation army, etc as direct competitors to what I envision.  I couldn't compete with free merchandise and labor.  The "cheap" stuff is donated either for tax right off or to good causes.  I am thinking more of an antique/consignment business model for the store.

Still thinking through everything - meeting with a realtor on Friday to look at some retail properties and talk pricing.  I might be able to get a retail spot for close to the same as a vendor booth in an antique mall.

Sam

To get rid of the smalls take them to the flea market and turn & burn. If you think you have a great lot of high quality smalls you don't want to get low balled on then just sell them at a vendor/antique mall, for fast turn around take them to an auction house.

The great thing about the flea market and vendor malls is you can quite anytime, take a vacation anytime, play hookie anytime you want. You can't do that with running your own store. Read some of the posts of those that own stores, there is always something to do, and even when sales are good and you should be able to relax, no you gotta scramble and find more product to fill the shelves. When you have a good weekend at the flea or a good month at the vendor mall, you can take a week or month off to enjoy the spoils if you wish. A few bad weeks or months at the flea market and vendor mall is a bummer, but a few bad weeks or months with a store is a killer (monetarily, emotionally).

Offline money4nothing

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Re: Anyone Actually Own a Store?
« Reply #12 on: March 07, 2012, 10:50:55 AM »
I can understand the Flea market being out. We have similar issue with a great Flea market just have to figure out how to recoup the drive.

Do any of the Antique malls have shelf space? I forgot to ask the one I recently called. If the shelf is $20 to $50 a month would be worth it to me for some of the higher end smalls we have.

Another thought is just having a storage unit that you sell out of. Would be slow in the beginning but you could get a good customer base over time. With lower overhead. Just a thought.

Wishing you luck and looking forward to hearing of your success with the store.  ;D

Re: Anyone Actually Own a Store?
« Reply #13 on: March 11, 2012, 11:31:39 PM »
Well this weekend has been interesting as far as the "side" business goes.  First had a great Friday, got into the black on my most recent auction (traditional) which was huge.  Met with the realtor Friday morning as well and will be submitting a letter of intent to see if I can get a killer deal on some true retail space in a dead location.  Will serve two functions - first out of garage storage and second would allow me to open on the weekends.  It is in a strip mall type building that has had 1 tenant for the past 6 months out of ~13 suites.  So that would be a great opportunity for over the summer to see if we could make a go of a true store at a price (overhead) that would be stupid to pass up.  Then today...  Was down in town with time to kill.  Wife and I decided to drive to the other side of town (~40 miles from house) to look at an antique mall.  Well saw one on the way to the one I knew about and stopped in.  Very nice set up, affordable, been in same location for 20 years, the owner was the one working the register, AND they have a 10'x10' available April 1st.  Talked it over with the wife and our business partner and we will be putting a deposit down on that space tomorrow.  Will take a bit of logistics to keep the booth stocked, but should be able to generate a fair bit of profit.

The interesting dilemma would be if the commercial property accepts our letter and we get the booth space.  We would still be well under what I have been budgeting for overhead, but we would then have two locations to manage, stock, inventory, etc.  I should know by Wednesday if we will get the commercial space as well.

Sam

Offline money4nothing

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Re: Anyone Actually Own a Store?
« Reply #14 on: March 13, 2012, 06:30:45 AM »
Sam sounds good.

 Glad you found a space at the antique mall for a reasonable price. We have same problem, of if too far away how well will be at keeping it fresh. But if the sales are good think it will be fairly easy.

On the commercial good luck with that, sounds like you can get it for a reasonable price. There is a guy in our town only open on weekend, he advertises on CL, and post if he is going to be there in the week.

"Will be open today Tuesday"

Guess it works for him.

The commercial property we looked at (two) is in a strip and both locations have a hair salon and restaurant, ect. One has a liquor store, only one in the town.

But after looking the 1100 sq' not big enough, priced right but once you put a sofa and chair no more space.  ;)

We looked at a 2500 sq' place would really work and the price was reasonable but can't pull it off with this equipment. LOL   Too big to start but the other to small. We are waiting on our idea.

Good luck and keep us updated on how it is going.


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