Running a small business is a challenge in itself, between the box stores, online sales, and the economy. Its even harder to run an antique store. When I bring in new items the price I pay for them has been established- but what a customer is willing to pay for that item does not always match that cost.
I cant place my items in a row because nothing is the same. It differs in color, style, shape, condition, and trend. I need to know the history of the piece, the various prices, and a little story about where it came from. My shoppers want an experience when shopping here, they don’t just come in to make a purchase. Every antique I have in my store has a lifetime of history unbeknownst to us all. I use the internet to be informed on the items condition, price, and manufacturer info. As an antique store owner I need to be as informed as I can be. I share that wealth of knowledge on every single item. By researching in the many collecting/antiquing books that I have and using the internet as a sort of cheat sheet on the history of my items in my store. If my customer is uncertain about an item, I try to teach them more about it and that may tip the scales in my favor to complete the deal. A lot of customers in this day and age mixes the old with the new. The big stores know this and can make pretty décor to mimic things made many years ago. They can be manufactured and purchased much cheaper and are my main competition.
Now onto the one thing I cant control. OUR ECONOMY. I know I am a lot more cost conscious than I used to be and I want to pass on to my shoppers the very best value that I can. I have my store set up in a way to catch the shoppers eyes, and to keep them excited to see everything I have as they walk around through our 10 rooms of items. I love hearing I remember this or grandma had this. but the best is, I don’t know how much of this I threw away or I had no idea of the value of an item. I want to take my shoppers on a trip down memory lane, to educate, and to draw them into the world of antique collecting.
What challenges the small business man is this , EVERYDAY LIVING. I tip my hat to every small business owner and am happy to call them my friends. We are a dying breed but one with verve, vinegar, vitality, and. vivacity running in our veins. Please keep this in mind and take a piece of this with you when you walk into a small business persons door. It will make time with them and your antique shopping experience go much more smoothly when visiting the wonderful establishments….<3