A $90,000 Glass

How exactly do months simply disappear? Since securing financing for my venture I've been forced to delay my opening three times, pushing me closer and closer to missing out on the all-powerful Christmas season. So, I begin this blog in earnest by providing what I believe to be the number one rule of opening a store or starting any business, a rule that I believed I had followed but clearly not well enough:


It sounds pretty empty glass, but to do anything else is only going to cause problems of the bankrupt variety. For example, initial budgets. I'd done a fair amount of research into just how much capital one would be insane not to have when one opened a comic book store. The bare minimum seems to be roughly $30,000 to have something approaching a mediocre shot at surviving the first year or two (those of you who have actually survived those years, please let me know if I'm significantly off here). Now, I had grand plans for this store o'mine, namely to avoid the low rent districts that beckoned. Following the philosophy that the majority of a new store's customers "apparate" (gotta love when fictional boy wizards are donating terminology to comics retail) rather than defecting from the competition, I chose to make my store stand out by setting up in a high end strip center with bookstore fixtures (i.e. bookshelves, a few chairs, tables, etc.). As such, I immediately doubled my estimated start-up costs to $60,000. All was going swimmingly until I sat down and did my budget. $60,000 doesn't go nearly as far as it used to (or still should for that matter).

Nice new bookshelves? Out. Nice used bookshelves for half the price? In. State of the art POS & inventory tracking system? Out. Single computer running a simple POS/inventory tracking system? In. The one thing I stuck to was the location. At $28 a square foot, I was informed by many that I was insane to stick with that location when I could pay $16-$18 five minutes down the road. Nevermind that the $16-$18 was blocked by a fast food restaurant. I made the decision, based on talking to as many retailers as possible (in and out of comics) that locations was what it was all about. So I stuck to my guns. And there went a quarter of my budget. So, lesson learned. Next time I go to the bank and ask for ridiculously more money than they should reasonably lend, I might as well go all out. Because $90,000 would certainly cover all those empty glass situations, right?


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