Business is good. Four years ago I would have never imagined we’d be where we are today. This is the second time we’ve run out of room in our store. Although problematic, I consider it a good thing. With a desperate need for more space we decided to purchase a building for ourselves (as pictured above). We found a company that was building mixed use retail, warehouse and office space. We signed on to purchase a two story 11,000 square foot building of which we would occupy about a third and rent the rest. However we started to have reservations when the builders expressed concerns about parking allotment and some modifications we wanted to make to the structure. With projected costs well over a million we wanted the new store to be just perfect. In the midst of trying to figure out if we were going to try to compromise or look for another building I got a call from the owners of our current location. In three months we could have the store next door if we wanted. The timing could not have been better.
There are several huge advantages to this development. First, we don’t have to move our warehouse. Typically this causes an interruption of about 2-3 weeks and I’m thrilled to bypass that. Second, this will give us enough room for a full fledged retail front. What we have currently is about 250 square feet and was created primarily to enable us to sell products from companies who stipulated that we must have a “brick and mortar” store. In the past year we’ve seen a surge in local customer interest and our current storefront is just not designed to handle them. Our new storefront will be three times as big. Third, this will give us more time to stockpile funds (or grow the business) for a future building. Leasing is a better option for our current business model. Less risk, more cash flow, and it provides more mobility for our growth. And finally I’m excited to be able to expand our product line sooner- the lack of space has really held us back this past year. If we had built our own building it would be January of next year before we would really have a chance to grow.
There’s a lot of work to do in the next few months: we’re going to have to do some gutting (of both our current space and the new space), remodeling, and design, build and install almost 200 feet of retail shelving. We’re shooting for the grand opening of our new store sometime in May. I really think with some local advertising we could do very well.
This past weekend we went to Las Vegas for the Shot Show and I discovered something. While visiting with a Benchmade rep he mentioned one of the local knife stores (Cutlery Corner) was doing very well. Just a few years ago they pulled out of University Mall and it looked like they may have been teetering on the brink of collapse. But they have managed quite a turnaround in the last couple of years. What interests me about them is that they have no web presence at all; they function on a purely local level. If they can make enough money from their store to operate then we certainly can too- the difference being that it will be above and beyond what our webstores already bring in. Fingers crossed.
On a separate note I really enjoyed Las Vegas. We stayed at the Luxor hotel & casino. We went to the Shot Show on Saturday afternoon and spent the evening just having a good time. We went to the Stratosphere for some rides and we hit the Rio for dinner. And guess what? No snow. It ‘s been a winter of fury here in Utah and it was nice to get away from it for a bit.