It’s challenging to make a great thing out of something small and not so attractive, such as a small shop, but it can be done. Management, presentation of wares, and a welcoming environment are a start. During my time in business there were two situations in which such was faced. The first was a baby shop in an out-of-the-way location while the second was a flower and plant shop next to a railway station.
In the first case the shop was housed in an old building, the toilet was around the back requiring the door to be closed for attendance, and it was a fair way from the shopping drag. With practically no finance to start and doing it mostly on credit and with the help of my father the shop opened after some 3 weeks of signing the lease.
There was no money for advertising and the trade was expected to come from the movie theatre opposite and the milk bar next door. Those attending the first would often cross the road to buy things at the second. On the way they had to pass my premises. The bus route also passed the door.
My chance of attracting the attention of passers-by was through the display in the two windows. It meant leaving them illuminated overnight and putting the best of my stock into it. Setting one up as a nursery with a cradle and other furniture was a good start. The other was dressed with babies clothing.
After two years and with a second shop in the main shopping centre of the town both were sold for a profit. It wasn’t a huge gain but the main thing is that they never made a loss.
In my next venture which began when landscape designing gave me an income it was a different story. The premises were in a prime location and my efforts in attracting customers through the landscaping business paid dividends. The shop had a set of stairs up from the street and lining them with flowers made a fabulous display.
The staff numbers of 20 carried out garden maintenance tasks as well as completing the designs from plans and run the shop. The crux of it was presentation. Unlike the first shop’s location this one had everything. The smell of the flowers welcomed people. It was also the passageway to the very popular Chinese Restaurant above. Some famous people who easily opened their wallets were regular buyers.