I'm opening up a brick and mortar this year and want some advice!!
10 10

725 posts in this topic

2,360 posts
22 hours ago, shadroch said:

Now that you have been open a spell, it's crucial you get a maintenance schedule set up and stick to it.  Ten-fifteen minutes a day can really pay off.  Set up a schedule -one day doing the showcases, one day straightening back issues, one day sweeping and cleaning bathroom, ect,ect. 

We've been doing a good job maintaining, but there are some things that are falling by the wayside, i.e. dusting.  I had planned on coming up with opening/closing checklists which will tackle some of the maintenance.  I do have some days where I do things, for example I clean the outside windows on Monday AM.  Bathroom is cleaned every morning.  But you are right, doing it the way I'm doing it will lead to things being missed so I do need to get something in writing to remind myself!  Thanks!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2,360 posts
19 hours ago, OrangeCrush said:

I'll say this, having a nice clean bathroom can have a significant impact on the overall image/opinion people have of your establishment. I will never forget one of the first times I drove out west and hiked the grand circle of national parks. I was with my girlfriend and my best friend and we wound up stopping at this small gas station in the middle of Nebraska. With those kinds of gas stations, I had come to expect nasty bathrooms that are lucky if they get cleaned once every couple of weeks. I try not to even go into those kinds of bathrooms unless I absolutely have too, but this gas station was different.  Amazingly, it had one of the nicest bathrooms I have ever been in before. Not only did it smell fantastic (smelled like one of those really nice cinnamon candles you can buy), but it was also extremely well lit and decorated amazingly well. It had nice framed artwork on the walls, had this really beautiful large plant in the corner, and it was so clean it absolutely blew me away. It was like I had stepped into the bathroom in a 5 star restaurant. My girlfriend told me the female bathroom was the exact same way. This may not seem like a big deal and to some people it may not be, but it can leave a pretty strong impression on people, either positive or negative depending on just how nice it is or just how bad it is. I certainly remember some of the worst bathrooms I have been in as well. 

I also remember this bar in Moab Utah that had these framed cork board's above the male urinals and they would pin the front page of the paper as well as the front page of the sports page on these boards so you could actually check out the news while going to the bathroom. It was certainly a lot nicer than staring down into the urinal. This is just an example of things you can do to help make the bathroom a bit nicer and a bit more memorable, in a positive way. Either way, the condition of your bathroom will definitely have an impact on some of the opinions people form of your store. My advice would to be take a page out of that Nebraska gas stations book and make the bathroom as nice as possible and make sure it smells really nice in there and always nice and clean. 

I totally agree.  The bathroom is a key component.  When i first opened, we did out best to make it presentable.  After about 1 month, it was the first thing I re-tackled.  I had the floors re-done, walls painted, lights changed out, as well as molding put in.  I do clean the bathroom every day, and I have other plans to put in wall mounted soap dispensers, sanitizer and paper towel dispensers.  It could use some decorating as well as the walls are painted red with yellow highlights on some pipes running up the walls in the corner.  I have gotten compliments on how clean it is compared to other comic stores, but that's not saying much lol...I don't have a cinnamon smell though...need to work on that lol!!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2,360 posts
20 hours ago, 01TheDude said:

are you experiencing any problems with theft?

None that I'm aware of, but I'm sure that's naive of me.  I do have cameras, alarm system, and a computer system that tracks most things...I haven't noticed anything yet, I am there 90% of the time the store is open...I need to put better systems in place, which I will do over time.  I allow the people helping me to drink soda for free and snacks for free as well as give them discounts on new products.  Hopefully this dissuades them from making poor decisions.  As far as customer theft, there were a few times I thought someone may have grabbed a plush or a POP, but the camera angle didn't show anything.  I am going to be adding more cameras for different angles that aren't as clear as I'd like them. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
14,827 posts

make sure you have some decent wall books (behind the counter that nobody can steal) with a large visible price tag on them and make sure you have a couple CGC graded

and priced wall books too .....

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2,360 posts
1 minute ago, 1950's war comics said:

make sure you have some decent wall books (behind the counter that nobody can steal) with a large visible price tag on them and make sure you have a couple CGC graded

and priced wall books too .....

I have a small section of CGC books, up high on the wall, just added a Cry for Dawn # 1 CGC 9.4 and a Fear 19 (first Howard the Duck) CGC 8.5 (best 8.5 I've ever seen!!!)...I have a few others on their way to CGC.  All of my wall books have large price stickers that can be seen.  I have silver/bronze and expensive copper/modern behind the counter on the high wall.  I have copper/modern  on the opposite wall.  I still have some work to do on the organization of the store, but once I am done I will post a video of what the inside looks like!  I try to make sure that everything is priced...I hate going into stores that don't have things priced...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42,703 posts

My first shop was really small so I built shelves in the bathroom and kept spare bags and the like in it. It quickly got over-crowded.

No one else was allowed to use it and I rarely did since the store was open 2:30-6 five days a week.  I didn't keep it very clean.

A few months in, two new kids walk in. They just moved to the neighborhood and have lots of money. 

Must have bought 300 books in two weeks.  One day, they come in with their mother and she is carrying their infant sister.  Its not crowded so we get to talking while the boys shop. 

After about ten minutes, she asked to use the bathroom.  I reluctantly agreed and she was in and out in like 15 seconds.  She paid for the books, and I never saw any of them again.

My next shops had bathrooms my Mom wouldn't hesitate to use.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
5,764 posts

I get that you don't like putting out stuff that is not priced yet-- BUT it might be interesting if you get into the habit of putting out a different couple of unpriced long boxes on your slowest day of the week-- perhaps promote that you will be doing this ahead of time -- and simply state that these books are inventory that has not been priced or shown yet but that you will be willing to look up prices as needed.

It would be sort of like a discovery bin and I can see how some looking for the rare find might see it as a good reason to come in on one of your slower days. Also-- if they don't like the price, you might haggle a bit or at the very least, the book is now priced and can go into the regular sales floor. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
28,909 posts
On 10/23/2017 at 1:09 PM, Genesis Comics said:

Had a guy come in thinking I was trying to rip him off.  He said he had old comics worth thousands!!  I told him I'd love to see them!  He, his wife, and his daughter came in with a pile of the books, his wife said she finally convinced him to bring in a small stack.  I went through the books, Return of the Jedi limited series, Nick Fury Agent of Shield reprint from 1983, a magazine, forget the name, that had an article about Return of the Jedi (from around the time of the release) and Wolverine 1 (1988).  I said the Wolverine was the best book, and I sell them at 40...his was in nice shape, and explained if he wanted to sell it, I'd offer him $20...he sneered/snickered, looked at his wife and showed her something on his phone.  She asked about the Nick Fury book and the guy interrupted me saying that it was worth $350 dollars.  I explained it was a reprint and he got more and more agitated, continually showing his wife his phone and saying "See, see!!  I told you they try to rip you off".  At this point I was getting a bit annoyed as this guy was questioning my integrity.  I asked him if he'd like me to show him why the books were priced the way they were, show him a price guide, and explain Ebay completed listings. I even explained that I would not offer to purchase the books, only show him actual values.  He said the Woverine book was worth $17,000 and that he emailed a picture of the magazine to someone in California and they told him it was worth $8000.  I showed him the Overstreet Guide and had him come behind the counter to look at Ebay completed listings.  I explained the Nick Fury was a reprint and not the original # 1.  I asked to see what he kept showing his wife and he said "Here it is!!!"  He had an article from some site that said "Record Breaking Sale of Wolverine # 1 for $17,000, along with some other ridiculous prices for copper age CGC 10's  At this point I had to explain grading and how CGC 10's were like unicorns.  No matter what I told him, he would not believe me.  When I realized that this guy just wasn't getting it (his wife and daughter understood), I showed him my Wolverine # 1 on the wall for $40.  You would have thought I kicked his dog...it's hard to explain to people when they think they have gold, that what they have is basically worthless.  He picked up his stuff and stormed out

I see someone like this every week. (thumbsu 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
2,360 posts
2 hours ago, 01TheDude said:

I get that you don't like putting out stuff that is not priced yet-- BUT it might be interesting if you get into the habit of putting out a different couple of unpriced long boxes on your slowest day of the week-- perhaps promote that you will be doing this ahead of time -- and simply state that these books are inventory that has not been priced or shown yet but that you will be willing to look up prices as needed.

It would be sort of like a discovery bin and I can see how some looking for the rare find might see it as a good reason to come in on one of your slower days. Also-- if they don't like the price, you might haggle a bit or at the very least, the book is now priced and can go into the regular sales floor. 

That is an interesting idea...I could set up a place for "new collections, not processed yet"...a few times when I've gotten collections in I've had people ask to go through them and they've always picked some stuff out, so I have "kind of" done that before by accident...I'll give it a try for next weekend and see what happens...maybe next Sunday/Monday (a week from now) and I'll report back on the results!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
374 posts
7 hours ago, Genesis Comics said:

That is an interesting idea...I could set up a place for "new collections, not processed yet"...a few times when I've gotten collections in I've had people ask to go through them and they've always picked some stuff out, so I have "kind of" done that before by accident...I'll give it a try for next weekend and see what happens...maybe next Sunday/Monday (a week from now) and I'll report back on the results!

When I was in retail I did something similar as well. I didn't necessarily advertise the boxes as "unprocessed", but they were clearly not part of regular stock. I would allow customers to look through them and I would quote prices. I didn't advertise it because some customers are REALLY averse to this type of selling. It seemed like it would turn more off than it would attract. Also, I didn't want to get in the habit of letting stock sit in that state.

This may be a no-brainer, but I would pull aside anything over a certain value so that it's not even handled prior to being processed. Whatever threshold you set is up to you. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
42,703 posts

I always kept a box or two of stuff behind the counter that I'd only show to the best customers.  It usually was nothing, just stuff I'd be seeding into the boxes in a week or so anyway, but it made them feel special. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
374 posts
31 minutes ago, shadroch said:

I always kept a box or two of stuff behind the counter that I'd only show to the best customers.  It usually was nothing, just stuff I'd be seeding into the boxes in a week or so anyway, but it made them feel special. 

This brings up a good topic, rewarding your best customers.

The market is so open these days, that shaving a few % off doesn't do much to keep a customer. LCS can not keep up with online stores discounts, and I don't think they should even try to compete. Knocking 5-10% off a bill doesn't mean much to each customer. But when it adds up, it can really hurt your bottom line.

I rewarded my best customers with things that felt unique. On special occasions, I would add variants to their pullbox at no extra cost. Granted if it was a smoking hot high ratio variant, I wasn't going to drop it in a box. But the 1:10s and similar I would regularly put in a customers box. We all know how often variants end up in a box to not sell well. This was a great way to make customers feel special, especially those who don't keep up with variants in general. I would also find small gestures to include around their birthday based on their likes. These personal touches never went unnoticed, and I feel like it kept a lot of "I buy everything" customers coming to my store when I didn't offer the discounts other guys in town did.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
956 posts
30 minutes ago, ParamagicFF said:

This brings up a good topic, rewarding your best customers.

The market is so open these days, that shaving a few % off doesn't do much to keep a customer. LCS can not keep up with online stores discounts, and I don't think they should even try to compete. Knocking 5-10% off a bill doesn't mean much to each customer. But when it adds up, it can really hurt your bottom line.

I rewarded my best customers with things that felt unique. On special occasions, I would add variants to their pullbox at no extra cost. Granted if it was a smoking hot high ratio variant, I wasn't going to drop it in a box. But the 1:10s and similar I would regularly put in a customers box. We all know how often variants end up in a box to not sell well. This was a great way to make customers feel special, especially those who don't keep up with variants in general. I would also find small gestures to include around their birthday based on their likes. These personal touches never went unnoticed, and I feel like it kept a lot of "I buy everything" customers coming to my store when I didn't offer the discounts other guys in town did.

Such good advice as those smoking hot ratio variants need to be sold by the shop for higher prices to cover those ancillary bills.  Very good ideas you've proposed.....even the smallest personal touch can impress and improve a relationship. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
20,409 posts

It requires software to do it effectively, but midtown's $10 or $20 bonus for buying $100 ofcomics(i forget the bonus) is perhaps a way of rewarding your spenders. I disagree that a shop can't compete with online sellers. a $1-5 back issue is going to be cheaper live than online with shipping. That is the bulk of stuff in the bins i presume.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
533 posts
On 2/16/2018 at 8:13 PM, Genesis Comics said:

I totally agree.  The bathroom is a key component.  When i first opened, we did out best to make it presentable.  After about 1 month, it was the first thing I re-tackled.  I had the floors re-done, walls painted, lights changed out, as well as molding put in.  I do clean the bathroom every day, and I have other plans to put in wall mounted soap dispensers, sanitizer and paper towel dispensers.  It could use some decorating as well as the walls are painted red with yellow highlights on some pipes running up the walls in the corner.  I have gotten compliments on how clean it is compared to other comic stores, but that's not saying much lol...I don't have a cinnamon smell though...need to work on that lol!!

Its good to hear you recognize how important this really is. Nobody likes cleaning bathrooms, but your customers will definitely appreciate it. As for the smell, you really should consider buying a couple of those scented candles. That really was one of the nicest aspects of that gas station's bathroom I described. The fact that its not something that people expect when they walk into bathrooms will just make people appreciate it that much more. You really only have to light those candles for roughly 30-60 minutes a day to maintain at least a light presence of the scent. And there are a lot of great scented candles available these days so you could go with any scent you feel is best. 

And just out of curiosity, do you have any sort of reward point system in place? Reward points have become so standard these days that a lot of people can get disappointed when a store doesn't offer them. They are literally everywhere these days. Even this little stand that sells amazing fresh squeezed lemonade at this farmers market we visit in the summer has punch cards where you get a free drink for every 8 that you purchase. My wife and I have become masters at the whole reward points/cash back game. We had gotten over $4,000 back from Fatwallet by the time it ceased doing cashback and I make an absolute killing with my job. For out of town jobs, the extra baggage fee's alone wind up being around $1300-$2200 on most flights, depending on the route and that's just one way. I think there are a lot of people out there these days that are reward point/cash back junkies so not offering anything could disappoint some of your customers. You could even set up a system like Best Buy's Elite/Elite Plus program, where if someone purchases X amount in a calendar year, they will get a better reward point rate the following year. You can get really creative with reward programs. IMO, in today's market you really need to have some sort of reward system in place. Even if its just 1%, people will appreciate the fact that your at least offering something. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3,718 posts

I think you have to be very careful about starting a rewards program, particularly this early in the life of a store.  If your customers are happy paying what they're paying, continue to service them, but don't feel obligated to give them new discounts: if you offer new discounts, but don't bring in any new customers, that money just comes out of your pocket.  Also, it's another process that has to be managed and documented, and it sounds like there's plenty to do already.  I'd use it to retain customers if things get stale, or attract new customers if you get bored, but I don't think it's necessary right now.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
533 posts
7 hours ago, FineCollector said:

I think you have to be very careful about starting a rewards program, particularly this early in the life of a store.  If your customers are happy paying what they're paying, continue to service them, but don't feel obligated to give them new discounts: if you offer new discounts, but don't bring in any new customers, that money just comes out of your pocket.  Also, it's another process that has to be managed and documented, and it sounds like there's plenty to do already.  I'd use it to retain customers if things get stale, or attract new customers if you get bored, but I don't think it's necessary right now.

I respect your opinion, but I gotta disagree. First off, there is a big difference between cashback and reward points. Cashback is literally money back in people's pocket thus they can spend that money anywhere they want. Reward points have to be spent in the store so once you factor in the fact that your selling items for more than your paying for them....well, $1 in reward points is not going to cost the store $1. Just as an example, if everything in the store is market up 50%, than that $1 in reward points is only going to cost the store .50 when used.  Put another way, if someone uses $1 in reward points to buy a $1 comic that the store only paid .50 for than again that $1 in reward points is only costing the store .50. 

If the store is really struggling to make money at this point, you could always set up a system like Best Buy where only people who spend X amount a year get reward points and its starts up the following year depending on how much the person spends. That way he doesn't have to worry about it hurting his bottom line right away and the people that do wind up qualifying for it the following year will be some of his best customers thus it shouldn't be an issue giving them a small amount of reward points for purchases. You should want to reward some of your best customers for all of their business. Even I have done this in the past with some of my residential architectural photography clients by combining multiple jobs (usually naturally lit exteriors only) in a single day of billing when normally I only allow 1 job per day of billing. Reward points have just become such a common practice today and they really can be utilized in many different ways. If he is so bogged down with work right now than he just doesn't have the time to implement such a system right now, then I would simply put it on the list of things you want to work towards in the future. As a shopper that takes advantage of every possible chance at reward points and cashback, I definitely get disappointed when I find new stores I like that don't have any sort of reward point system. He could eve make it so reward points can only be used on back issues or other kinds of content that isn't selling well or stuff he is trying to get rid of. You can get really creative with reward point systems. Even if people can only use them on comic in the clearance bin, they will still appreciate something over nothing. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
106 posts
On ‎2‎/‎17‎/‎2018 at 8:37 PM, 01TheDude said:

I get that you don't like putting out stuff that is not priced yet-- BUT it might be interesting if you get into the habit of putting out a different couple of unpriced long boxes on your slowest day of the week-- perhaps promote that you will be doing this ahead of time -- and simply state that these books are inventory that has not been priced or shown yet but that you will be willing to look up prices as needed.

It would be sort of like a discovery bin and I can see how some looking for the rare find might see it as a good reason to come in on one of your slower days. Also-- if they don't like the price, you might haggle a bit or at the very least, the book is now priced and can go into the regular sales floor. 

Please make sure the plan is well advertised.  Because if I was to bin hunt and then got to the counter for look up I would never return. 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
106 posts
21 hours ago, Mapleleafvann said:

Such good advice as those smoking hot ratio variants need to be sold by the shop for higher prices to cover those ancillary bills.  Very good ideas you've proposed.....even the smallest personal touch can impress and improve a relationship. 

Really these should just be sold online and quickly.  You maximize profit and don't make uninformed customers angry.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
10 10