If you have been following along, you know I’ve been busy setting up an online store selling handmade goods. Sadly, I don’t have the time or skill to fill an online store to my liking. The good news is there’s a bigger, better plan right around the corner. Literally RIGHT around the corner from my house, about 2 blocks away.
I’m no stranger to my community. I live in a very small town where it’s almost impossible not to know half the people if you live here for any length of time, which I have. I’ve also been involved with a business in town before, so I have a pretty good feel for the people and their interests. I’ve got a pretty good idea of what they will and will not spend their money on. Computer repair and crafts are for sure something that will sell around here.
Knowing the people isn’t good enough, though. Product or service have to be needed in the area. Fortunately for us, we’ve got that part covered, too. There are no computer repair shop or craft stores in town, nor are there any in two surrounding towns less than 10 miles away. That’s a total population of about 5,000 without computer repair services, crafting centers, or cheap entertainment for kids. It may not seem like a whole lot, but since we have very little competition that number is going to seem a lot bigger than it really is.
Most businesses around here don’t have much of a chance due to the low population and lack of interest in certain specialty stores. However, we’re bringing a need to the town that (we hope) will be well received as detailed above. Now that we have that established, we can start working on the plans for the store itself.
I’ve spent a few weeks working on a spreadsheet of every cost I could think of. Everything from building repairs to products have been entered and added up. Total cost? About $60,000. Not too terrible, but not completely cheap either. The majority of that is going to be building repairs, which I hope will end up being much less. I think we will be pleasantly surprised at the amount of supplies we already have once we actually dig in. From what I can see from the outside window of what I hope will be our building, there is already a halfway decent store set up. It’s sat empty for a good 5 years making cleaning a pain in the rear, but at least the items are there. Hopefully it all comes with the building.
As mentioned, there’s going to be a lot of updates needed to the building before we can open. It’s going to take a month or two I imagine for all the repairs and updates to be finished. Some tasks, like basement repairs, may have to wait a year or two. It could be worse…it could be the building next door with a back outside wall partially crumbled. From what I’ve been told, though, our building is in pretty good shape for being nearly 150 years old, so basic repairs and getting everything up to code shouldn’t be that large of a task.
3. Services – Computer Repair
I’m handing the reigns over to my significant other for this part of the store. A perfect loft, easily seen when you first walk in the door, will be his computer repair shop. We’ve alloted $10,000 for this section, which will include all the equiptment needed to fix your basic computer. We will end up having to order parts from time to time, but simple tasks can be done in the store while our customers waite (if they prefer, that is). Cost will be a basic $40/hour, with discounts for quick jobs taking a half hour or less.
4. Products – Crafts
In my corner of the store I plan to have a craft table. Each week will be a different craft all adults and teens are welcome to do for free, with all the supplies available. The cost comes after the project is completed. To keep the craft, there is a supply fee, or they can choose to sell the item in store for a profit (minus supply fee). Alternatively, the item can be tossed in our scrap bin at no cost.
5. Products – Merchandise
Aside from computer repair and crafts, the store plans to offer an open market for local talent and direct sales reps. Think craft show that is constantly changing with new vendors and products each day. There is no “table fee”, but instead a 15% charge of total sales for the day to be paid to the store as a fee. That’s $15 per $100 sold, which is relatively low compared to some craft show table fees.
6. Products – Retail & Coffee
In addition to the crafts made in store, there will be a section for coffee and other merchandise. This includes candles my mom makes, soap my daughter makes, and school-related items. Beverages will also be available, such as cans of soda or bottled water.
Business Plan and Loan
Here’s the part that terrifies me. In my head is a beautiful layout of the store, the people, and produts. What I don’t have is a solid idea of how to go about looking for the loan or grants, nor do I have a lot of experience in writing business plans. Luckily for us we had a chat with my local bank who directed us to a government funded program in town that would help us get started. Setting an appointment with them is our next step, and we won’t be going any farther without advice.
Overall, we are super excited to get this business started. I don’t feel bad at all abandoning my original project, because it is nothing more than an extention and bigger plan.