Posted: May 16, 2006 6:26 pm
Absolutely--but I said half the time; they had good hearts and did try to keep things going, if maybe only finding out too late how important customer service is. They weren't the worst snottiest people I have ever worked for; some of those people are wildly successful in business, so go figure. Sometimes you can be the best store ever, with excellent ethics and service and still fail. You are fortunate to have found your niche and to have been successful.
What kind of store do you have, invictus? I like the sound of it.
Not my stores, I just run them, but it's the Giant Robot stores... basically the retail spin off of the magazine. We were one of the first (if not THE first) to try that out, and it's worked amazingly well. It works because we've never been about cashing in on trends, or following other people's business models - it's always been about stocking the store with what we enjoy and want to share with people. There's not a lot of science to it. But yeah, the key is finding a balance between making things accessible to people in off the street and also turning people on to something new that they probably won't find in too many places. We have a lot of competition out there, but it's always interesting to see how they take our model and go awry with it. It's cool though... it's fascinating to see go down. I'm sure if I went to business school or had any solid background in economics I'd have a lot more poignant things to say about it.
We sell a lot of books, but we aren't trying to be a bookstore. We sell books by people we admire, or who inspire us and we end up carrying a wide variety of titles from a lot of different genres. People come to us for hard to find books. It's fun to see someone get their hands on something they've been looking for for a while, or a new issue of a comic or anthology that they've been waiting on for months (or more).
I support as many independent businesses as I can, even though it usually means paying more and sacrificing more time. I'm more concerned about independent music stores being driven out of business than independent book sellers - seems like that's dying out faster.
Here in LA, Amoeba Records has had a direct hand in the downfall of tons of independent record stores. It's a sad thing to see, but I guess that's the way things are headed. Whenever I do get the hankering to buy something new I make a point of trying to find records at other places first. Amoeba is always a last resort.
Damn... did I de-rail this topic or what?
Burke's Books. I remember it well. I hope it doesn't go under, but if it does, I can see how they fell behind and how other businesses should learn from their mistakes.
(There, back on track again.)