This won’t continue publickly…but I’ve been absorbed with this lately, it being the first week and all, and…well, I don’t need to promise or lock in. The diarya is therapeutic. Can’t knock that…
Monday Oct 21
The store opens tomorrow and it’s about 85 percent ready as of this morning. Today, lots to be done. Fix or at least upgrade the picture hanging…do more book and item blurbs..clean the windows, re-apply the white sign so it’s not so bubbly. Window display needs work. It’s close, but little details…and I think it’s risky as it is, better for later, but for the opening it should be spartan, so I think we’ll put a clean bike on two rounds of wood and work in a hatchet or two and book or two, and that’s it.
We need to bring in $900 a day to break even, and I have no idea how we’ll do, especially the first month. Opening’s a big deal here, but do actual normal people care? We need a publicist. I am so lousy at that. And if people come by, of course it’ll be to check out the new place, not necessarily to buy anything. That can’t bum us out. Maybe at this point there won’t even be many of them. They’ll want to know (if the enter) what we do. The name of the store should tell them that, but still, it’s a reasonable question. And then: What’s the relationship btw bikes, books, hatchets? Are we crazy urban survivalists, are we retro riders, are we—- weird like that in any way? Eventually they’ll know us, nut right off the bat, we’ll be the weirdos.
I wonder how we’re all going to feel at the end of tomorrow, and the end of the week. We need to hook up a printer here and get a computer, so when I’m here and the place is empty I can at least be productive.
The iPad station-register thing should be here today. I need more practice on the Square. And we need to put some cash in the cash box. All we have in there now is $2 bills. I wonder if people will reject them in change. And, holy cow, I hope no drunks and crazies come in and start obsessing over the hatchets. We can’t allow that.
How we going to do music? We need some, because as Will says, if customers is solo in a silent store they’ll feel too conspicuous. We have a record player, but most of the records are my taste, and I want generic music, classical or instrumentals or stuff like The Flying Nun, or Don’t Cry Daddy. Bob Dylan’s newest would be great, but maybe not generic enough. I don’t know how to hook up an iPhone or iMusic—whatever it is. And I don’t want to argue about the selection. Will it even matter?
Do I keep this private or post it? Who cares?
Oct 22 night
We had an OK day, not great from a money point of view, but a new customer brought us a bottle of wine and water, which was so nice; lots of friends and friend-customers from RBW came by and spent most of the $750 we brought in ($350 short of break even). At first I didn’t count the “charity purchases,” but how great it is to have friends come by for that, to show support and to, you know, get good stuff.
We need to price the display clothing and tell about it, more and better signs. We had music on a turntable, and it seems to make the place less spooky-silent. Mostly books and clothing, although we sold one Japanese knife and a few books, too. Not bad, overall. Will bring more records tomorrow.
A common question is: What’s with the hatchets? So I wrote something and posted it by the hatchets. I don’t want people to think we’re hatchet…fiends, or anything like that.
OCT 23 NIGHT
Only $412 today and $42 of it was my own…and $38 was from Mark’s wife, Amy. I think if I subtracted all the charity purchases from friends and relatives, out $1200 so far would be more like $400…but it’s still OK, and maybe tomorrow will be better. I am whupped. We need a way to hang clothes. Dan suggested something…
Oct 24 Night
Just $316 today, seven sales, and one was the landlord, who bought two hatchets, saving us from a super measly day. Need more information up. And I think people walk though hushed, like they’re in an art gallery. We need to break out of that.
Oct 25 night.
No sales today until about 6:30, holy cow. And then the most surprisng thing of all went: The Japanese bamboo hatchet. The fellow had runaway bamboo….and a regular hatchet doesn’t work. A machete is too big and unwieldy. The machatchet is perfect, works on my oleander and olive tree, too.
We put signs up outside and inside, explaining about our history and business. Some people read them. Sales today, about $139. Tomorrow’s ouir first Saturday. Man, I hope we bring in at least $700. We need to advertise. No budget for that, but we’re unknown here on Main, so gotta do something..
I’m glad we’re doing well with books. People recognize them, especially the children’s books, and I guess are buying them for their own children. Yep—-really want a good Saturday, then Sunday…
Sat Oct 26 Day
It’s 5:30 and I’ll go in at 6 till closing…I wonder how we’re doing today. At least 500, I hope. For a Saturday, good grief, we should do at least that…and I hope lots of visits. The visits have to count, even if nothing sold. It’s a good location, and when everybody knows it’s here, we’ll survive. We don’t have to thrive, just getting by will be fine. It’ll be good to have Dave back. He says he has ideas, and will make a small website.
OK, going in now. It’s a weekend, so we all have to spiff up a little.
Sat OCT 26 10pm
A few walk-ins this evening, but sales only $313. Still, people learning we’re here. That has to be good, right?
We just got in The Circle (new Dave Eggers book).
Sun Oct 27
Wow—an $88 day. Will and Vince were there mostly, but I put in 4 hours, including the last three. Nobody came by at night. The other stores are closed, just some bars open…
I think we need a photo on the easel out front. I’m working on a “buya guya hatchet” thing that…drives home the normalcy and importance of hatchets. We’ll put one in Diablo mag, which has 80 percent women readership. Then we’ll put them up around the stores, and …we’ll get it together. Dave has ideas. We’ll do events. Mary can read to children; Keven can lead rides on weekends?
We don’t need two people there during the day. Two’s almost scarier for customers, I bet. But—one of the points was to get P/T to Full-Time.
Charlotte’s Web and The Circle went on the shelves today.
Dan has a good idea for the hatchet display.
And here’s an ad we might run:
I had to stretch the lad to fill the space, but I can’t run it like that, so maybe lad’s dad has an uncropped version that’ll work.
Now that BBH has been open a week, I don’t need to be there every day. I want to get a feel for how it is, and live there some so I can see what we need that I can supply…but I have a handle on that.
———— Tuesday 7:30… our seventh day. Sales so far, $270. Harry bought a book, though. We’re here throwing monkeys fists into a small garbage can. Not much traffic, but this dad-and-son came by:
Ferdinand the Bull.
—— The PLAN was to not do mail order, just have a tiny tidy store. We might have to reach out a bit more. We’ll see how it is after a month. We can ship out of here, of course. We’ll see how it all goes. I always used to walk downtown and wonder how it was to be a streetfront retailer and not be able to reach out, just to sit back passively and watch people walk by (or not walk by), and now I’m learning. It ain’t great. We’ll get more well-known with time, we tell ourselves. It can’t NOT work that way. The events, they’ll help.
The phone number is 925 937 7224 (WE R RBBH), and nobody knows it yet, so not one actual customer call so far, on our 1972 Westinghouse telephone. Which is right here:
That’s the phone. A hundred dollars online, works with modern stuff, and should last, the guy said, for like…thirty years. OK!
Mon OCT 28
It was slow, but not as bad as yesterday, and ended up good.. We were at $297 five minutes before closing, and two guys walked in—one late 30s. one about fifty, and I said, “We’re three dollars short of $300 for the day, can you buy a tub of beeswax?” They looked at the bikes, drifted to the hatchets, and bought a Sven Saw and a nice hatchet, and we ended at $472…but mainly it was a huge emotional upturn. I’m so glad.