Outfitting the store

February 7th, 2012 Comments Off on Outfitting the store

Terra Amico Table in San Pedro Square Market, San Jose

We’ve already established that we’re crazy for opening a bricks and mortar retail store just when everything is shifting to online en masse. So let’s let that decision go for the moment.

It turns out that it is significantly more challenging to create a distinct physical space (or as I like to call it “meat space”) and concept than one might think.

The components aren’t tough individually: find an appropriate space, retrofit the space for your concept, acquire and install fixtures and ambiance, select, test, source, and display products, install the right backend systems to operate your business, don’t forget the various business licenses and ordinances (Half Moon Bay has a 28 page ordinance pertaining just to signs for instance), acquire the right branding inclusive of domains, Twitter handles, Facebook space etc., select, hire, and train staff. Establish the right inventory controls and visibility. The list goes on.

We haven’t even started with the promotion and community involvement to give the store the right lift at take-off.

We’re ticking these things off the list one by one, and working them all in parallel. It’s a fascinating and exhilarating experience. The meat space location is coming along nicely. We’re now in fixture and product land. Had a great meeting yesterday with a local woodworking artist we would like to work with on the store, you can see his stuff in the remodeled San Pedro Square project in downtown San Jose. One of his works is in the picture top right.

Over the weekend I made a trip to Martinez, California to meet with a collector of interesting stuff. It was an old library card catalog that caught my eye but it turned out there were many other treasures to behold and consider. Between this collector and the local woodworking artist, I think we will be able to outfit the store with the right fixtures. Not just correct, but very interesting in character and supportive of the overall concept. That’s pretty exciting!

The thing that has been most interesting is in sharing our concept with people as we work to complete these tasks. The feedback has been surprisingly positive and we’ve had a reaction of “that’s the kind of store I would like to visit.” Can’t wait to complete some more of the punch list and share more progress with you along the way.

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