Store Meta Question

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Here is where proposed ideas for the future of the store. In other words, How Should The Store Grow? Thrift store specific SWOT may fit best on this page. I will talk to Kathy S about this.Luiz 20:51, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

Boutique Thrift Store

Make the thrift store into a "boutique." They are (from about.com): A small retail shop that specializes in gifts, fashionable clothes, accessories, or food, for example. A small shop located within a large department store or supermarket.A small business offering specialized products and services: an investment boutique; a health-care boutique. So basically, something cool, something niche, a destination as well as a place so solve a problem. Think Hawthorne, N. Mississippi or Alberta, NW 21/23.

  • Advantages (Reasons for doing this): Make more money per transaction. Make the store more appealing so people are more comfortable spending larger sums of money on stuff. Make the store environment nicer to encourage volunteering.
  • Disadvantages - We have a niche. Does making the store nice mean that we will develop a new one or are we spinning our wheels trying to attract customers that will not shop here?
  • Current - Slowly moving in this direction with the main justification being : 1) Volunteer retention (the store is nice!) and 2) increase in whole system sales.

Multiple Locations

Having more locations has one obvious benefit: We will have more customers to sell stuff to. This is not yet possible because we can't keep stuff stocked in out current store that people really want. Its important to start estimating how much additional rent and staffing various satellite structures would cost now so we can move quickly if an opportunity presents itself.

  • Satellites with same basic stock
    • Advantages - Easy to set up, easier to restock (pack-in and out lists reflect what is in the existing store). Easier to run (just repeat). The fact that this stock is doing well here might mean that there is a general need for it.
    • Disadvantages - We take on a lease... if we don't make enough money to cover the lease we lose. We take on more paid staff hours. Lots of planning would need to be in place. Some aspects of our existing store are very hard to make portable, especially Tech Support.
  • Satellites with a different stock - Could be tailored towards a specific neighborhood more. Theoretical example: Small whole-system sales store on west side (or more parts for more techies living on west side? ks), more parts-oriented store on the east side or north. Could work around problems like Tech Support by selling the products in a different way. (
    • Advantages - Flexibility
    • Disadvantages - We potentially would have to come up with a variety of new systems to make it work. Same money disadvantages as above.
  • Considerations for a store/drop-off site (this might be better as a separate page if it seems like we are going this direction)
  • Type of store might be impacted by the neighborhood/suburb it is located in.

Two Different Types of Stores

Perhaps using Goodwill as a model. That is, a "retail" store and a "bins" store. There are two reasons to do this 1) Increase reuse and 2) separate "bins"-style customers from "retail"-style customers (this also means separating parts geeks from whole-system buyers).

  • Advantages - We have a physical separation between as is and backed merchandise. We have a store environment were few categories can be priced by-the-pound, thus are easy to staff and volunteer. We make a huge premium on the amount we get for these items in a the commodity stream. It would give us an alternative way to deal with things we now universally recycle. It would support part of our mission (reuse).
  • Disadvantages - In our existing building this would problably happen in the warehouse. This would obviously impact the existing operations in the warehouse, and would require very careful planning to not be disruptive.

Brainstorming Impact of the Weirdness

  • The results (so far) are in and seem to be: More stuff, lower quality. Sales have still gone up do to the poopy economy and harvesting more stuff that is of value.Luiz 20:50, 3 July 2009 (UTC)

The weirdness will have an unknown effect on the size and composition of our stream. Here are some possibilities:

  • Size of stream goes up, quality goes down (more stuff that no one wants) - Might be a good situation for a two-store solution
  • Size goes up, quality goes up - Multiple stores
  • Size mainly unchanged, quality goes up - Strong movement towards boutiquing existing store, perhaps other stores opened
  • Size mainly unchanged, quality goes down - Move single store towards more cheap fast-moving goods
  • Size goes down, quality goes up - ?
  • Size goes down, quality goes down - help!

And it's the economy stupid

  • Results in: The horrible economy has helped business, not hurt it, as people are looking for deals.
  • The economy is a likely basket case. What kind of impact will this have on our customer base?
  • If this is merely a recession then people will probably substitute whole system purchases for parts to upgrade
  • If this is a second great depression then the sales will likely go down (!). We would have to have a plan in place to deal with the change in revenue if this occurs.
  • Or (maybe) people who were buying new computers and parts (from Best Buy or wherever) will be seeking out thrift stores instead of stores selling new stuff. So sales could go up (?), but it would affect what we decide to sell and how we decide to market it.

Related planning documents (July 2009)

Store Meta Question

Thrift Store (PPS)

Thoughts on Increasing Sales Income

Sales Plan

General Free Geek planning documents

Vision Statement

Long Term Strategy Process

General Priorities

Overview Time Line