Lease in Hand!! - My Journey to Opening a Store

in #life9 months ago (edited)

SO EXCITED!!! After over 2 months from the day I first told the real estate agent I wanted to take the space I finally have a lease in hand.

So sorry I haven't been posting updates, it was such a painful and depressing process that I stopped thinking it would happen. Honestly I was at a point that talking about the store would make me upset since I had found the location and the landlord's attorney was taking forever to create a simple lease. It had me worried that this wasn't going to happen at all and I had cursed myself by talking about it before having the lease in hand.

Onto the good stuff...the doors will open on March 20th! I should get the keys on March 1st and in 19 days I will need to transform the space into my store. Here is what the space looks like right now.

As you can see it's a stain glass shop with a open floor plan...perfect for transforming into a Toy and Comic shop!

Few things that I've been currently working on and researching.

Point of Sale System

Wow...these are expensive for what they are. Seriously most of the POS systems for the industry have huge setup fees and reviews basically say they are garbage anyways. One had an app so buyers can control their monthly comic subscriptions which had me very excited...until I looked at the apple store and it has a 2 star average with a ton of feedback saying "I wish my local comic shop didn't switch to this app". Can't see spending thousands up front and hundreds a month for something that doesn't drastically make my life easier.

For now I'm putting this off and going old school. If anyone has a suggestion on a good POS system that isn't crazy expensive please let me know in the comments!! (@blewitt any thoughts?)

Insurance

Oh this is just something we all love to price out, right? Yuck...one of those necessary evils kind of like going to the dentist. So I have 2 people getting me numbers for this as we speak. Had a general ballpark number before signing the lease, but trying to get hard numbers now. Just hoping the ballpark doesn't increase to much.

Anyone thinking of opening a store a few things that can change the price of a quote really quick are if you need to cover the glass (windows) and if the property has sprinklers. Naturally I'm covering the glass and the property doesn't have sprinklers...both adding to the costs.

Wholesale Accounts

So I had found a few places to get wholesale accounts, but nobody would talk with me at a serious level until I had a signed lease. Due to the number of "online sellers" these days and the requirement by many of the bigger companies that sellers have a brick and mortar store these wholesalers flat out told me to talk to them later to get the answers I wanted and to sign the paperwork.

Means while some basic work was done I now need to fill out a ton of paperwork to get everything ready for opening. At least I've narrowed down my wholesalers in previous research.

Bagging, Boarding, Pricing

Currently have 10 long boxes of comics spread around my dinning room of 40 long boxes that need to be sorted, bagged, boarded, and priced. Add in all the vintage toys that I've been buying to stock up and there is a ton of work to be done. Anyone that has bagged and boarded comics before understands how much work 40 long boxes of unsorted comics can be.

Artwork

Have someone pricing out what I hope will be an amazing window cover. Going to put vinyl over the windows to make the entire window basically a billboard. Should have the quote for the vinyl side here today and then will know if this is possible or not...fingers crossed!

More to come...

Know there is more I'm dealing with, but with so many things being juggled and such a long break since the last update I can't think of it all right now. My thought is to give updates of different parts of the process to help anyone that might be looking to Open a Toy and Comic Store.

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Hooray :)) - this sounds good and I can read your happiness and relief. Congratulations to the lease!!! Your store sits in a cool building - I like the look from the outside. I'm sure it will look amazing from the inside as well when finished. I wish I would be near to help you to sort the comics ;) - but maybe it's better not as I might would end up reading more than sorting - haha.
My best wishes!!!

Quotebut maybe it's better not as I might would end up reading more than sorting - haha.

Honestly this is the biggest problem with getting my oldest Daughter to help. She wants to take like 50% of the comics she touches. I get hung up on some of the artwork and it pulls me in too...so can't really blame anyone for wanting to stop and read some of them. Plus as these are back issues there are a lot of cool story lines that I've been told to read, but wasn't into comics at the time. Now they are sitting in front of me, but no time to read them. Need to stay focused!

Can't wait to share some photos of the store. It's won't be crazy high end looking, but trying hard to be more then the average dumpy shop.

Haha yes, I can imagine the problem with your daughter. I did not read comics as a kid - I was only into books. But in my twenties, I had a comic addict as boyfriend and he introduced me into really cool comics. I loved to read them and I discovered that there is amazing art in comics.
Looking forward to see your photos of your shop.

Honestly I think it just takes getting introduced to comics for many people to get into them. They are written in a way to keep you hooked with lots of action and no book out there has the artwork of comics.

Aw man, I'm stoked for you. I can sense the excitement. I just went through all of this with my vintage store. We ended up using Square for POS, Hartford Mutual for business insurance, we built our website on Squarespace and used 4over.com for all signage and printing. Bags & Boxes we went generic at first and then found a couple thousand new bags at a yard sale of all places. If you have any questions about Square (POS) or Squarespace, I'm a pro ;)

@gomatthew are you on discord? Might have a few questions for you for sure. Also would like to take a look at your website to see what their platform allows for. A lot of my starting inventory is vintage toys and back issues/out of print stuff on the comic side so if it's working for your vintage items I'd bet it would work for me.

I love running into things at yard sales. Have found some of my best shipping supplies there...filled my entire 7 passenger suv with large bags of packing peanuts once for $10. Currently have a few thousand bubble mailers from one that I got for $15. Never know what you will find when you are driving around.

Dang.. I wish Steemit would give me pop up notifications.. sorry, just now seeing this. Right now we're doing a redesign on the website, but it's vintagetn.com. But they've got amazing tutorial videos:

Without using GINA I'd never keep up on replies to me and more important to mentions about me when someone tags me. What I used to do before I started using GINA was to look at my replies tab every day when I first logged in...it worked, but zero question getting notices is better.

I'm looking into some industry specific customer management software right now that is designed to manage subscriptions. This software is working on developing a POS system also, but isn't there yet. Their comic subscription software is great but without the POS it's a hard decision to go with them. The other one has it all, but none of it is great. Upside is they are also the supplier of the comics so their data is dead on and updated all day vs everyone has to use data feeds from them that update only daily. So many little details to think about...annoying for sure.

My last option is to go with the KISS approach and not pay for any software the first few months and see how things go. Then make some choices on these items once I'm up and running. Just know that customers hate change and once running I very easily can get to busy to actually implement new software.

Will look into the website info you gave there. Watched the first video and it looks very simple to work with.

Congrats on the lease signing, I know that has had you in knots for awhile. Looks like a nice brick and mortar front end. Insurances, the bane of everybody.

Thank you and yes it has been bothering me for a while now.

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Awesome! we need more comic book stores! uhmmm...did I miss the name of your store in this blog?


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Good luck!

 9 months ago Reveal Comment