Posts Categorized: My Store

Love My Regulars!

I have a small thrift store, or what some people call a vintage shop. It is full of all kinds of items from furniture and clothing to costume jewelry and rugs. I am always on the lookout for new things to replace sold inventory. This takes a lot of time and running around the neighborhood. I am game to go too far away places to get a good haul. It is a modest business but it keeps me going and pays the rent.

Sometimes I am surprised by my good luck. This means that the new pieces move fast and I turn a profit. Other times I have to offer a discount to regular customers to keep them coming back. You must have a strategy like any business. I think my consistent quality has added to my already favorable reputation. People want to save money any way they can these days. When it comes to furnishing an apartment, there is no better place than my shop. It serves the community well and fits in nicely with the adjacent services like the cleaners, the hair salon, and the liquor store. We are a little complex on a semi-busy street. I love my regulars.

Last week, on a slow day, a customer came in with a used desk to sell on consignment. I agreed as it was a good size for most apartments and was a useful piece of furniture that many people would want. The wood was a medium grain and it had no scratches or any other damage to the surface. The legs were stable and it came with a small office chair. The seat was leather but could easily be reupholstered with a nice print fabric. That would dress up any spare room.

I loved the set and felt I could sell it quickly after a few phone calls. But in looking at it some more, I decided that it would be perfect for my own use in the back room. I had an ugly metal computer stand and my laptop and printer would fit nicely on this desk. I made an offer to the customer and bought the desk and chair on sight. It was a low price as the customer was not looking to make a huge profit, but just to get rid of something that was no longer of use.

I enjoy seeing the new set whenever I retreat to my office. I feel that I have really spruced up the space. I got rid of some lingering junk and cleared off the shelves. I now had a real professional environment. I am displaying some of my classier items like ceramics and glassware on the shelves and I invite visitors back from time to time. I just have to keep it neat and tidy. I find that I am at my new desk more often than I used to be at the computer stand. I have a little vase of flowers in one corner.

Unwinding After a Long Day

I like work, mind you, but after a long, hard day I look forward to peace and quiet and a nice glass of wine. I don’t really have a home bar, just a wooden wine rack that holds a dozen bottles. I keep it at one end of the kitchen next to the countertop where I place various accessories such as my cool automatic cork remover. It is so easy and fun to use. I look for specials at the wine mart and grocery store to replenish my inventory. I don’t go through more than one bottle per week so it is an occasional chore. I like to invite friends over to partake and when this happens, I use up maybe two or more. But, the guests bring a bottle as a hostess gift and bam! I am restocked. Everyone wants to unwind so I never get a no.

In warm weather, we take the bottle opener with us outside as we lounge in the big patio chairs. One after the other, a new bottle is uncorked. I really look forward to the camaraderie. The guest list includes family, friends, neighbors, and sometimes colleagues. We all fight to see who gets to use the automatic cork remover. In colder weather, we retreat inside to the den to listen to some music or watch a movie or even ball game. This latter choice occurs when our favorite team is playing. We are loyal fans and make time during the season.

An automatic cork remover is a great gift for the wine aficionado. When you are struggling for ideas and a bottle of wine isn’t enough, add in this little accessory. It will be appreciated. If you have been to the recipient’s home, you will know if they already have one. In that case, try a red wine aerator which are fast becoming ubiquitous and popular. There is nothing like the perfect gift. Otherwise, when you are invited out, bring snacks like good nuts or crudité to go with the wine.

I can relax alone of course and that is most often how I pass my early evenings after work. I can read a good back while I sip my favorite wine. I like to vary this, however, and alternate between red and white. They say that red is healthy since it contains natural antioxidants. At my stage in life, it doesn’t matter that much since I like both. And the gifts I get include red and white alike. A good meal is the perfect accompaniment to wine and I either get takeout, heat leftovers, and take the time to cook. I can just have some cheese and crackers or pâté. I love the creamy kind but won’t turn up my nose as the country style.

Let me tell you that there is nothing like a good wine on any given day. You will want to start learning about wine and attending tastings in local wineries.

Gun Safety and Children

I have a store in a neighborhood I call home so I pay attention to news about the residents—good or bad. I keep my ears open so I can be of help if need arises. We all have each other’s backs. It is a form of neighborhood watch you could say. It helps us worry less about thefts and muggings. They happen from time to time. Sometimes the perpetrator of the crime holds a gun. It is pretty scary. Speaking of weapons, I have to recount a sad story about a local child who accidentally shot himself. There is no more important topic for a blog than gun safety and children.

The incident, as tragic as it is, shouts out for the need to have all parents with small children take responsibility to store firearms unloaded and in a small gun safe. They come in all sizes, even small enough for just one pistol. Find one that will handle all weapons in the home including a rifle. They are childproof and sometimes even require a fingerprint to open. You can also use a key or a keypad as you wish. Just make sure the children in the home don’t know how to find and use the latter.

Every family should have a group meeting on the subject at which time the parents talk about the dangers of even touching what a child thinks is an unloaded gun. They often make this mistake and don’t know that there are in fact bullets inside. A dialogue could go as follows:

Parent: I will show you the gun so you know it is here, but I don’t want you to know where the gun safe is stored. I know children get interested and curious and this is not going to happen in this house. Let me tell you about the many accidents that occur with children your age, so don’t assume anything. Just stay away from the gun here or that in any house you visit. If your friend is proud of the family gun, don’t ask questions or show interest. It is best to come home at this point. Do you understand?

Children: yes, mom. But we have never seen a gun up close before.

Parent: There is no need to. If you insist, I will show you the gun to prevent you from looking for it to satisfy your curiosity. I will explain how it works and that you must never pick it up. You could set it off and hurt someone. Do you want that to happen?

Children: surely not.

Parent: good. Here it is. Have a look. This is the barrel and this is the trigger. Let’s put this to rest. Never, never let me hear that you want to show the gun to a friend or your brother.

Your own dialogue can be much different as long as you make your point and get confirmation from your children that they understand.

A Unique Display

My thrift store stocks all kinds of merchandise, mostly for personal and home use. This includes furniture and fixtures, china and glassware, clothing and shoes, and small appliances. I also have decorative objects like lamps, figurines, pretty wood boxes, and silver antique items like spoons and serving platters. It is an eclectic collection to be sure. You never know what someone will bring in for sale.

The other day I got a lot of camo clothing, short for camouflage of course. This sort of stuff is very popular and easy to sell. It practically flies out the door. It looks military even though the clothing is for hunting. Nevertheless, I took the time to make a clever display out it including some extra army equipment I had such as a helmet. It looked super cool and the display was near the front door so people walking in saw it immediately. It didn’t take long for the items to disappear in the hands of customers. Young people, male and female, all like to wear camo clothing to look hip. I have to get more of this, hunting or military.

It was so successful that I put an ad in the small local paper for camo clothing and other hunting gear apart from guns. I would then advertise a special in the same paper to sell it all off. I like theme merchandise as it appeals to different buyers. You have to follow the trends when you have a vintage store so you don’t get saddled with a lot of useless inventory. The regular household stuff sells any way but if you want to lure customers, you have to be known to handle unusual stock. I didn’t have to wait long for the camo items to start appearing in the store as there are a lot of hunters in the region. If they want to make a fast buck they will take the trip, even for ten miles, to show me their wares. I can practically promise them that they will reap a profit. When they do, they go out looking for more from friends and neighbors. This keeps the ball rolling and constant merchandise arriving at the shop.

I have fun making unusual displays so when I have a fair number of items, it makes it easier. I can select the best and as things sell, I replace them with more. This has become a regular business and has helped keep the doors open. It was originally rather sporadic but has now become one of my specialties. I want clothing in good wearable condition with no rips or tears. So, I weed through piles of clothing that are brought to me to find the quality items. Then the negotiating begins so there is a fair price for me and the seller. I pride myself on being honest and above board. I know what I can sell things for and still make a little profit.

Another Fast Food Escapee!

I own and run a thrift shop that is part of the local business community. There is an adjacent mall that, among others stores, has a fast food restaurant where people congregate from early morning to late evening. I always hope that these people spill over to my shop. Some do, and I have also made some new friends in this popular venue. I get my coffee every morning and a woman who is in nursing school sits with me for twenty minutes. I look forward to the beginning of my day.

I have been practicing this routine for some time and my friend is now graduating from nursing school. It is a real milestone for her career and I want to buy a nice gift to commemorate her achievement. I thought about a stethoscope of good quality, some compression socks (since nurses are always on their feet for long hours), a leather tote bag in which she can store her work items, and a magazine subscription to a popular medical journal. These would all be nice, but what would appeal the most? Some are rather impersonal so I may opt for a personal accessory like costume jewelry or a scarf. There is also the possibility of those cute nursing shoes that look like clogs. They are rubber soled so the wear never slips on water or other solutions that have leaked onto the hospital or clinic floor.

Boy, this was going to be a tough decision. I ended up with a daily planner in a leather case. I had her name engraved on the cover in gold. That was what made it personalized. When I presented the wrapped gift, she was so surprised and thankful. She loved it and said she had never had a planner but always wanted one to help her stay organized. She received a stethoscope from her mother and some socks from her brother so she was well taken care of on all fronts. She got out a pen from her purse and opened the planner to make her first entry. It was lunch together. This was her way of thanking me. Her words, of course, were enough; but she insisted and I accepted. I knew that she would start to become rather busy securing the best job available. She would note her interviews down in the datebook. I felt that I had bought something really useful. I am glad that I hit the nail on the head.

After a few weeks and my nurse friend started her new job, I noticed that she was no longer in the mall at the fast food place having coffee. I certain will miss my morning ritual. A few days later, I made a new friend, a local journalist who covered the neighborhood including retail business. How perfect! He was going to include my shop in an article on unique boutique shops. I looked forward to seeing my new coffee partner on a regular basis.

Closing Routine

Few of us are rich enough to avoid house cleaning throughout our lives. It is a luxury indeed to hire someone to do the job. I even know people who hire crews to get a residence sparkling clean. That costs a pretty penny. So, guess what. I have been doing it myself for many years and have garnered a few tips and tricks. You can also find loads of information on line so you never have to miss a beat no matter what the task at hand may be. I like having to take much time on cleaning day. Anything that hastens the routine is welcome by me. If I have a really big job like cleaning the oven or the refrigerator, I often invite a friend or relative over for lunch and we tackle it all in an afternoon together. The lunch is a draw because who on earth wants to help another person clean. I also prune the hedges in the yard and plant seasonal flowers when needed. This I do alone. It takes a few hours and I’m done. But it seems like house cleaning is never ending. As a result, I try to keep an neat and orderly household. This minimizes doing the same task repeatedly.

Most of my most valuable tips revolve around the vacuum. I have the upright kind with numerous attachments. First, you can flip a lever and switch the large tool with an open vent to a brush for wood or tile floors. Thus, the tool never scratches the surface being cleaned. Most of the best vacuum cleaners have this option or you will have to change the attachment which is less convenient. Take a tip from me and don’t get that kind. There is only so much bending over you will want to do. Then there is the crevice tool that gets the sofa and stuffed chairs free of loose debris. I like to use it in small crannies where larger tools don’t fit for example along your baseboards. An alternative for this area is the brush attachment on a long pole. It will get the dust off the baseboard itself and the adjacent flooring. It is one of my most favorite tools. I even use it to dust wood furniture, especially if it is a heavy coating. If you have a ceiling fan, it does well on the blades if you don’t want to use a duster alone.

A good vacuum is a miracle worker and most people can’t live without it. Don’t skimp on the cost. You get what you pay for. I like an all-in-one machine that covers all tasks. Sure, you can wax your kitchen floor or any wood floors in other rooms, and that requires a different protocol. For most other cleaning chores that involve dirt and dust, go with the vacuum of your choice. The Shark and Dyson are known to be quality appliances. Store them in a kitchen or hall closet and pull your vacuum out conveniently on cleaning day.