But then I started thinking about the fact that I almost never bought anything there. Despite the fact that it's miles closer than the nearest Dick's, Bass Pro, Orvis, or even West Marine (also recently out of business locally). Despite the fact that I have less free time on my hands than those murderers who were "accidentally" released from Mississippi prisons the other day. (Oops!).
I also thought about how I hated their t-shirts with their awful logo, how they never had a good selection of boards in stock, how, over the course of 3+ years, I had never received any actual technical advice on any products from a shop employee, and how and their wakeboard instructors' boat was consistently "in the shop for repairs." Since 2/3 of their floor space was dedicated to "active lifestyle clothing," and not real gear, I stopped by the store just a month ago to see if I could get something for the wife or Hank. You know - to support my local gear shop. But......nothing. No help from staff, who just hung out in the back of the store or listened to their iPods the whole time I was there. Nothing. Nada. And now it's gone.
So what would I change about this shop, and other failing local outdoor gear shops that are locally owned and nobly run?
|Undependable hours =|
My business tip: Find a way to be open when your demographic tends to be shopping.
|Not too interested in|
My business tip: Only staff your store with people (whether they be 15, 35, or 75 years old) who care about customer service (read: their job) and are willing to say, "I can't answer that, but if you give me 30 seconds I'll call the shop owner/guide/gear tester and I bet s/he knows." If you have retail-side employees who won't do that, and you want to stay in business, you need to fire them. Sorry.
|Every online and big box retailer sells this fly reel, |
probably for cheaper than you can.
So how many do you really need to stock at one time?
My business tip: Choose carefully when ordering gear for your shop. Use your expertise in the woods or water to tell you "here's a good range of cheap to expensive (insert type of gear) that will work out here. This is a good choice for customers." Maybe don't focus totally on which products are moving the most units in the entire market - your customers can buy those items anywhere.
|I want to punch this logo in the mouth!|
|If your business name includes the word "creative,"|
the logo should probably not look like a librarian designed it.
|I bet a lot of graphics folks would say this logo sucks, but it screams "outdoors!"|
And that might be enough for the logo - and shop - to catch on.
|Love this logo, but then again, I'm 38. Maybe or maybe not the target demographic.|
My business tip: I'm not a graphic designer. And neither are you. And neither is your kid's friend, despite all assurances that s/he is a prodigy in her/his freshman art class at your nearby state college. Tens of thousands of talented, experienced graphic artists are out of work. They can be found on facebook, google+ or anywhere else. Hold a design contest. Plan to pay them a few hundred dollars. Get a great logo. Please!
Overall, keep doing what you're doing. Just do it better. Smarter. You may not have to do it cheaper. Take advantage of small business resources within your county to help educate yourself on actually running your business. Check out websites like Advice for Small Business Owners, which contain tons of articles about individual issues you face on a weekly basis, like "When to turn down a sale," and "motivating employees." Good luck out there........and help your customers help you!!!