General Preparedness Topics Relating to your Family
Bunny, I'm glad I came across your post, and I agree with Das Sheep. Trying to compete with online sources who have less overhead can be difficult. How do I know? I've been an online retailer for the last ten years, I started before it was so HUGE to shop online. I'd say you will do better to buy your product, stock it, and ship it. To be honest, you can "test the market" online with just One Thousand of that money, and see how you do. Set the other 5K aside while you hone your online selling skills.
I'm currently putting out up to 100 orders a day (some are multiple item orders, so it's a LOT). You'd get a much bigger bang for your business buck if you sold online. I currently sell on FIVE web sites, and make my living solely online. Do PM me if you wish, I even have a great wholesale resource for you that you may want to look into.
Seize The Day!
"What matters most is how well you walk through the fire" ~Charles Bukowski~
I too like the idea of a retail store to go into. Your very own shop is expensive. You might want to look around at established complementary stores and see if the retailer will rent you square footage in their store with the agreement that you can out a sign up outside. A store that sells sports clothes would be a great match.
You might want to tone down the Y2K type aspect of it, repackaging the concept as sporting or extreme weather supplies. Do not use the word "prepper" since it has a negative connotation, thanks to Doomsday Preppers.
There is one retail preparedness center here in the Portland metro area. They also have a online presence. I see no reason to travel there, since I do not feel they are presenting the right products in the right way, and not making sure they have the best products for the intended use.
I do not think with the exception of some of the huge metro area's, and even some of them it is doubtful, that any of these areas support suitable demographics and a requiste numbers of preppers within a reasonable driving distance to support a brick and mortar store at the level needed to cover direct costs, overhead and net profit. The numbers just are not there.
I live 30 miles outside of Portland, OR, and only travel there for special occasions, (gun shows ), or family functions. If I cannot source what I need within 12 to 15 miles, ( and that is stretching it), then I am looking for an online source, and can have UPS or Fed Ex drop it at my door. This is a business model that is becoming more and more common. Retail stores have huge over head and direct cost impacts. The kind of retail store determines how big that is and how many people will walk in your front door.
Prepping supplies are needed and sought out by a much smaller demographic, and much more scattered segment, that other types of retail operations. Add that to the fact that a lot of preppers have a need for a level of secrecy and discretion about what they are doing, that is going to significantly effect your walk through the door traffic. get vicious's numbers in the previous post bear study. I don't agree with a couple of them, but over all they present a very good example of the kind of cash outflow, and cash carry over you are going to need. They present a very accurate picture of what you are looking at.
I know of a group intending to open a gun shop for sales and custom firearms. They have 100K, and are thinking they are a bit light on cash, even with extremely low subsidized rent from a silent investor.
I intend to launch an online website that will address and fill what I see to be some huge holes in marketing to the prepper marketing segment. Proper information, planning assistance and the correct products will go a long ways to a successful site, and one that truly serves the needs and not just some ram it down their throats type of sales approach.
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A fellow in my area had the actual prepper store, and struggled for several years. Now he has no storefront, and only does mail order shipping from his home.
For starting a business, others always advise: Location, Location, Location. And it's true. Getting the cheapest store with the lowest rent is never in a prime location, it's on the outskirts, hidden, or in a half-dead shopping center, where few people will find you without knowing you're there and actually looking for you.
People who think prepping is a good idea, do so. Many/most want the most they can get for their money, so they plan ahead and shop around. The rest either can't or won't, and they are absolutely, positively not going to change anytime soon.
If you live in an area that gets warnings of disasters, you would probably be hit with a rush and get sold out just before a disaster, which would probably tend to give you an inflated sense of being needed. The rest of the time, you may not be able to pay your bills. And 'the rest of the time' is most of the time.
Do what many of the online suppliers do: work your new business from a spare room or a garage via mail order. Feel your way along without the impediment of a whole separate location, which is usually an incredible financial drain. Put your funds into useful stock, which will retain a lot more value than rent and utilities.
Then, if a LOT of your local customers say, "I wish you had a storefront", you could think of starting a small one and see how it goes. But going in cold... nope, not a good idea.
But if you're really thinking you can make it work, I would try something like setting up a community Preparedness Weekend. Line up your goods in a tent (or open, with multiple sets of reliable eyes), and get others in the same associated line together to provide an educational awareness: some CERT people, some Red Cross people, a local company that sells generators, a most-local seed vendor to pass out flyers about growing fruits and vegetables, maybe people from your local Cooperative Extension Service who can show/tell about canning, food drying, etc.
And you're going to have to put some effort and money into advertising it, not just a small ad in the local newspaper. No one will come if no one knows about it.
Put on a show and see what the response is. That will give you some idea of whether or not there is enough interest.
My BIL and I started a company and opened a store in Central Texas called "Aftermath". So far we have been doing pretty well, coupled with gun and ammo sales and CHL classes. We have a formal classroom and even a PC repair area to capture revenue from a different market. I just wish we had room for a coffee shop.
I would say if you have the patience and drive, go for it. It is a growing market and there really arent many brick-and-mortar stores out there unless you look in the much larger cities. Be prepared for large intial purchases from vendors, but after that large expense, watch those supplies fly off the shelf. Word spreads quick and you may notice customers coming from several miles away. I found while online sales can be quite rewarding, many customers are more apt to make purchases (some impulse purchases) just by being able to touch and handle items. Then there is the shipping costs savings.
A true soldier prays for peace but stands vigilant - A fool prays for war and beats the drums
My wife and I were very excited when we saw a commercial on National Geo's Doomsday Preppers for a local “Brick and Mortar” retail “prepper store.”
One of our strongest core beliefs is that we need to get away from shopping only in the big box stores and to buy more from the local, mom and pop stores and other small businesses that make this country great.
We need fewer dollars going to the big corporations and more into the hands of local businesses. That is what will strengthen our economy.
We are retired military and make frequent trips to the this store’s retail operating area. We’re very price conscious consumers. Always looking to make the best purchase, weighing cost and quality equally. Free shipping and no taxes are big plus’s.
When we visited the “Brick and Mortar” stores’ website, we spotted one of our previous purchases, a 28oz. Water Bottle with Advanced Filter.
We were dismayed to see that we paid much less by ordering from the LDS. We looked further into the stores’ pricing, we found alarmingly, prices far exceed those of common internet competitors.
In fact, on a one-for-one price / brand / model match.
(Done in a few minutes, ALL ITEMS on website are overpriced)
28oz. Water Bottle with Advanced Filter
“Brick & Mortar” - $65.72
store.lds.org - $22.00 (and free shipping)
Katadyn Pocket Filter
“Brick & Mortar” -$329.99
Amazon - $252.00 (and free shipping)
Ebay -$239.99 (and free shipping)
LED Road Flare
“Brick & Mortar” - $40.00
Amazon - $25.43 (and free shipping)
Sierra Wave 30-Watt Solar Collector
“Brick & Mortar” - $340.00
http://www.21st-century-goods.com - $239.95
Max Burton 6994 Power Center 100
“Brick & Mortar” - $230.00
Amazon - $214.95 (and free shipping)
Model 7410 Radio & Flashlight
“Brick & Mortar” - $40.95
Amazon - $22.98 (and free shipping)
http://preparedness.com - $34.90
WISE FOODS ULTIMATE PREPPER PACK 5, 1 MONTH SUPPLY FOR 2
“Brick & Mortar” - $869.00
outdoorgearbarn.com - $799.00 (and free shipping)
Augasun Farms #10
Diced Red/Green Bell Peppers
“Brick & Mortar” -$17.39
Walmart - $11.72
Sweet Green Peas
“Brick & Mortar” -$26.45
Walmart - $15.58
Vegetable Stew Blend
“Brick & Mortar” -$17.09
Walmart - $10.86
Why do I care?
As this store is located just a few miles from a major US Army base with a large retiree community, its’ targeted audience is the (last minute, deploying) Army personnel and the ever increasingly, fearful senior community. The pricing scheme could be classified as (dare I say?) gouging.
We are disheartened to see the “Brick and Mortar” charging full MSRP or even higher when the opportunity to offer quality products with fair pricing and much needed advice to customers. It has been demonstrated again and again, that treating customers with respect and fairness, will result in having not only return customers but new ones as word of mouth spreads.
We can choose to shop elsewhere but the reason we were excited to see this store so close to home was the chance to actually see products and get the needed advice.
How can this local “brick and mortar” retail prepper store justify its’ pricing?
As a note, I’ve worked the wholesale / retail world for niche markets before, and I know about pricing. This “Brick and Mortar” store pricing scheme is heavy-handed and uncompetitive.
I love your entrepeneurial spirit! There are several organizations that offer resources to research the feasibility of starting a small business. The Small Business Association has a tool kit to guide you through a business plan, SWOT and market analysis, cost analysis and the other areas you need to research first. It's a lot of work but very important for laying the groundwork. Also, think about how you will differentiate yourself from all the other major companies. For example, is local convienence enough value add to a customer to pay a little more? I like the idea of having small local stores where folks can prep for various contingencies. My personal focus is on short term prepping for storms etc. which we have all the time in Texas. The stores are quickly cleaned out and it would be nice to have more local places for supplies - I wish you the best on your research!
Bunny, I applaud your decision to go make money for yourself. I have worked in retail my entire career, have an MBA with a focus on Business Development and am a huge supporter of small business. I think there are plenty of ways you could get started.
$6,000 is plenty of money to start a business with. I started an eBay business for about $1,000. I've never put any time or energy into it and clear a few grand a year from it. If you can start in your 'spare time' (does that exist?) and if you re-invest can get yourself going.
You won't have a bricks and mortar location with that money. However, there are tons of companies that will drop ship without you ever having to own the goods. Guns shows and a website are your best bet. Build your capital that way and a B&M location could be in your future.
If you care to have someone be brutally honest with your business plan, feel free to PM me. My services are free but when you start selling franchise licences I get the Raleigh, NC metro area! : )
No, although I still really love the idea, my husband was not sold on it. I think in and of itself it would be difficult, but without my husband's support I felt it might be more than I wanted to tackle right now.
Its still a dream...just on hold for now
I wanted to say that I SOOOO much appreciated everyone's input!!! Thank you everyone!!
Bunny don't give up, I really liked the idea of going it at farmer's markets and having classes. Look into renting a commercial kitchen for classes, I know they cost a bit to rent, but when you have the support of your DH and the capital for a location I think you will ROCK. I Actually did a market plan for shipping in Wheat in Bulk from Montana to Iowa and renting some space from an existing store that sold security stuff. With both of us working the store owner got another employee and my rent would of been cheap (rent would of included all the utilities and equipment) The owner backed out of the deal. What a shame.
Your failure to prepare, does not make it an emergency for me!!
My experience? It isn't easy at all. We're 100% online, and carving your own niche in this market is a difficult proposition that calls for alot of diligence, knowledge (both Prepping and of computer applications) and TIME.
I'd be happy to talk to you guys anytime. Contact data on the website.
maybe a draw would be to add a "cannery" to it. Like the LDS stores where you can buy and then can (in number ten cans) your product. We have a guy in Ohio who has that. It is a major bonus. I'll see if I can find a link for ya. Give the ladies a boost to come to your store.
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