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Old 5th May 2010, 01:44 PM   #1
Geddie_feed
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Join Date: Feb 2008
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Default What To Do Now? The 55 Year Old Dilema

Hello Everyone,
I was wondering if anyone on here could help us out.

I work for an older style feed store in a rural/country area. Some of you might remember these from your younger days. It was started in 1955 by the current owner's father and then he took it over 15 years ago. He sells a couple of cattle products, maybe 25-30 horse items, about 10-15 pet products- mainly only flea killers/dewormers. All types of lawn & garden products (fertilizers, bug killers and such) and many differnt varieties of livestock feed.

Problem is (for 55 years now) after the spring rush which ends usually Mother's day weekend, business almost comes to a complete halt. Things get really tight as far as paying bills on time and the 1 other employee.

He's never advertised (well because his father didn't) until this past year and now he is saying that after this weekend, he's going to stop the advertising as he won't be able to validate the $400 a month expense.

The business won't pick up again until maybe Dec. when the last few farmers in the area will buy their cattle feed for the winter.

He doesn't have much competition in the area, there are a couple of other feedstores, a walmart, and a tractor supply. His store has been voted the best feedstore in the area for the past 4 of 5 years. So I think he's already got a great foundation to keep things going.

My question is, what can I suggest for him during this slow time to keep business going? I've suggested expanding his horse line as there are alot of those folks in the area, usually he has the biggest tack selection at great prices, horse customers always comment on it. But due to lack of advertising no one really knows about it. Other suggestions have been for expanding the pet dept. but he says walmart has it all and no one will shop for it here.

What could he sell during the summer months?

We appreciate any and all input and suggestions

Thank you
Sara

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Old 5th May 2010, 03:48 PM   #2
Logan
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Quote:
business almost comes to a complete halt.
Hi Sara, I'm glad you shared your situation with us. Hopefully we can help you get more sales during the summer months.

I don't have an answer for you, but if I was in your shoes I would start by considering what does sell in the summer months. You say business almost comes to a complete halt.

Can you tell us what is selling during the summer months. I realize it may be "almost" nothing, but I'm curious and wonder if we had a better feel for what was selling during this time it may help us get you pointed in the right direction.

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Old 5th May 2010, 05:00 PM   #3
Geddie_feed
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Thank you so much for responding,

We do continue through the 'low' months to sell some items, like for example:

During Spring (April) we sell on average 700 bags of mulch, well during a summer month (june) we only sell on average 200.
In Dec. we sell on average 1300 bags of cubes for cattle, during july, when there's plenty of grass we only move about 400.

These are examples of our best sellers. Items still do move just not near like they do during peak months. I think to most of his items are very seasonal. Like the cattle feed which spikes during the winter months when the grass is gone, or insect killers spike during spring and early summer when people are getting outside more and want the bugs gone.

But there is a gap in between there from mid-may to mid-october that he might only move 3 fire ant killers instead of 20 a week.

Usually we only have about 2-3 customers an hour so there's alot of time to sit around and try to figure out what to do to get customers in here.

Thanks
Sara

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Old 5th May 2010, 06:19 PM   #4
Logan
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What you've said makes sense. Since you do have a lot of time on your hands, I encourage you to pick up a book called Switch: How to Change Things When Change Is Hard. I've read it and in particular believe it will help you to look at your problem in a different light leading to a solution.

Regarding your examples, those are good but I'm still seeking something else.

Are there "any" (even if only 1) products that you sell more of during the June/July season versus the December to April season?

In the book I mentioned you are taught how to identify what they call "a brightspot" and utilize it to create the type of change you are describing.

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Old 6th May 2010, 10:55 AM   #5
DeniseTaylor
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Quote:
I've suggested expanding his horse line as there are alot of those folks in the area, usually he has the biggest tack selection at great prices, horse customers always comment on it
I was thinking the same thing. Find products that will sell in the off season.

Then instead of paying for advertising, I suggest creating a newsletter. If you can, make this newsletter digital and distribute it through email. That way, it's absolutely free.

However, perhaps in rural areas, not everyone has email. In which case, having it stuffed in a local small newspaper is usually more cost effective than mail, which has gone through the roof.

And then, there's always a website . . . :-)

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