Wednesday, July 25, 2012

My New, Temporary Booth

 Yes, I said temporary because I will not be keeping my booth at this place. I will be moving it out before September 1. Before I get into my reasons for this decision, here are a few pics of what it looks like:

 This is a much smaller booth than my first one, and I've stocked it with larger items for the most part. It was difficult to get a good angle, so pardon the slant! It's not really so crooked.

 I decided to focus on more "primitive" items in this booth. Old implements and tins make up the bulk of the items.

 I added a rack of linens in the rocking chair corner for a softer touch,
and some glassware that is lower-dollar than my booth in Ravenswood. There is room for more, but I will not be adding anything else because I will be moving out before September 1.

Why am I not going to stay here? Lots of reasons. I took the booth on a chance that the new owner might be pro-active and really get this place going.

Some past history: This has been a flea market for years, run by a couple who did not lease out spaces but filled the place with their own items. They had a lot! But the arrangement was mishmash, the lighting poor, no air conditioning and last winter, no heat. The exterior is unpromising with vines covering most of the brick and no attractive entryway. The roof leaks in places, the floor needs re-tiled or the tile removed and the concrete repaired and painted.

When I rented my space the new owner told me that he would be open 7 days a week, 10-7 weekdays and 12-6 on Sundays. That sounded good to me. He had lots of idea for improving the place and I liked his energy and vision. We have been customers for some time and had gotten to know the young man who took over the place. I wanted him to succeed in his new venture and was willing to rent a space and see how things went.

There are some important things necessary to make a business a go and these things are lacking and not likely to happen any time soon at this location. Good lighting, an attractive exterior and welcoming entrance are important. A ballast is bad over my booth and although he has promised to fix it, it's unlikely to get done because he is operating too close to the financial edge. The photos above were taken with a flash, and still look dark even though it was a bright sunny day outside.

Clean floors and a clean smell are important to me and I would guess to most other shoppers; moldy odors turn people off. Hand-written signs speak of making do or lack of funds. Maintaining hours and posting them on the doors are important. A web presence of some kind, at least a Facebook page, is expected.

The real problem, though, is that the new owner accepts only cash. No cards, no checks. That is a death knell for sales, at least to me. Whenever I visit a place that cannot accept my debit card or credit card, and refuses to take my check--well, I usually leave empty-handed. This owner will not even take my check, and I'm a vendor! I understand his reluctance; bad checks are on the rise these days. But today I left with nothing, although I saw at least $30 worth of items I would have bought had he taken my check. As a seller, I see many potential sales not happening because most people just don't carry cash. How likely are they to go find and ATM, pay a fee, and come back? Very unlikely, if I'm an average customer. I know I won't do it.

At my first booth, things are done right. There is great lighting, an attractive, bright exterior and a smiling face saying hello when I enter. There is a security system in place; the AC and heat work; the floors are washed regularly and the staff dust when they have a quiet moment. There is advertising on the interstate, flyers in rest stops and radio and print ads. I get a printout every two weeks of items sold, the price, the percentage to the owner and my net. There is no feeling of pinching pennies and checks, cards and cash are equally welcome.

I won't have time to move it before August 1 so I'll be renting for another month. After that, I'll be moving on, I'm pretty sure. It would take some drastic changes to induce me to stay, and some stellar sales. I don't see either happening.
Copyright 2012 Susanna Holstein. All rights reserved. No Republication or Redistribution Allowed without attribution to Susanna Holstein.


Joy@aVintageGreen said...

Amazing, I was in one of those stores as a seller too. Major awful. Sure was a lot of work to put everything in, and then haul it all away again. Never want that experience again.

A business has to cater to the customer or there is no business.

Thanks for sharing. I've been reading your posts (sans electricity and all).


Granny Sue said...

I am glad I did not go whole-hog here, Joy. I wanted this young guy to succeed but I can see his focus is on protecting his money and not on making it easy for the customer or his vendors. Lesson learned. I'll still be a shopper there--I find good stuff there! And I do hope he can make go of it, but I can't fund his success while my stuff isn't selling because of his "save a penny lose a pound" attitude.

Chicken Wrangler said...

Those are good things to look for when seeking a space to rent or consign items! I've thought about trying that out some day, but right now it appears that most stores around here are asking too high a commission or rental fee per space. I'll keep your thoughts in mind if I do run into a place to rent.


Time to move on. Don't blame you. Reasons are sounds ones. Your stuff is so nice it needs to be represented well.
Good luck.

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