Written By: Rick Bologna, Stores Director, Central Texas
Are you willing to take a hard and honest look at your store operations? Are you willing to say and admit – I DON’T KNOW WHAT I DON’T KNOW? I would like to share my firsthand experience with you in this article.
Have you ever wondered how you can make your store more profitable? How can you generate more income and move more product through your store more efficiently and faster? As store leaders, we no-doubt have asked these questions in our minds.
In October of 2020, our store in Austin reopened after being closed due to the pandemic. The store had annual sales of $200K and a warehouse stacked high to the rafters with clothes, housewares, donations, and junk, with more items coming in daily.
Through brute force, common sense, and a lot of trial and error, our team installed processes and workflows to push additional product to the floor and generate additional income.
Our customer-base loved the changes we were making in the store; however, our processes and workflows were not sustainable. The key to sales and income is through the back-room production. Please read that sentence again!
We were working extremely hard, but not very smart.
After the first fiscal year, we increased sales to $400K from $200K. Then we went to $610K in our second fiscal year. We had plateaued. This was as far as I could lead our team.
I was tapped out on my knowledge-base and experience in getting us to this level. This was an awful fact that I had to personally own and share with my team — I DON’T KNOW WHAT I DON’T KNOW!
I reached out to the Director of Stores Support in the National Office, Jeff Beamguard, for help. Jeff heads up the National Training Store in Phoenix, AZ and leads the National Stores Committee.
Jeff arrived in Austin in October of 2022, bringing 40 years of thrift store experience and completed a full assessment of our store.
Key components we learned from Jeff:
- Initial sorting of product – Is it sellable, recyclable or trash? This will save you a ton of time on product selection for the floor.
- Each product has an exit strategy from your store — the product will either sell during the color rotation cycle or it does not sell, and it comes off the floor for recycling or trash. IT IS REALLY THIS SIMPLE!
- Initiated the 5-Week Color Rotation Cycle – If the product has not sold after five weeks on the shelves with various markdowns to .99 cents (in a thrift store) the market will tell you, they do not want the product. Put new products out on your shelves and turn over the shelf space more rapidly by selling more profitable items.
In conclusion, I must say, our Austin team has completely embraced what we are doing and where we are going. Without the team’s buy in, we would not achieve this success utilizing Jeff’s assessments, suggestions, and our implementations.
This fiscal year, our sales will be around $800K. Our workflows and processes are now sustainable, due to education. Our annual production in three years went from 109K pieces to 176K pieces, to about 300K pieces this fiscal year.
As a staff, we NOW KNOW WHAT WE KNOW! We are headed towards the million-dollar store benchmark because of education, proven methodologies, and continued support from the National Stores Committee and Jeff Beamguard. The National Stores Committee and Jeff are here to serve you.
How much money are you leaving on the table in your store without this education? Are you doing your store and Council a service or disservice by not running the store as efficiently as possible?
Please take advantage of this educational opportunity for your store and get into the KNOW!
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If you have a topic that you would like addressed in a future Stores Corner article, please e-mail our Director of Stores Support-Jeff Beamguard at firstname.lastname@example.org.