Is the antique business dying, dead, injured, or just hibernating?

If you are a small business owner of an antiques business, you have probably heard the “mound of death claims”, been flooded by the despondency of the “gloom and doom” crowd, and frequently look out the window. to see if “the funeral procession” is passing by … I’m here to tell you that while antiques, as well as all discretionary retail businesses, are challenged … they are not dead and they will not be soon!

Almost every day I hear the constant comment from some customers and many discouraged merchants saying that the antiques industry is dead, dying or disappearing. Its justification is:

1. The existing customer is not buying.

2. The existing customer has bought everything that was proposed.

3. The younger client is not interested.

4. Everyone who might be buying is doing so online.

I’d like to give “tough and committed” antique dealers who have store windows a counterintuitive view and a counter view on the “state of affairs in the antiques industry.”

For years, the antiques industry (like many other industries in America) was overcrowded with part-time and marginally engaged participants who saw the opportunity to turn a “passion for garage sales” into profit “off or on the books. “with little day to day. efforts through the proliferation of antique malls everywhere! These distributors would “deposit” a security deposit, load the truck, gather some tables and tablecloths, and open an old mall space. The sheer size of this group proliferated a large number of old malls popping up on many major streets and shopping malls throughout the United States.

The fallacy of this concept was that space was expensive, the aggregate percentages were quite high, and marginally engaged staff did not have the same “vested interest” that a commercial space owner would. The mall dealers were not “retail veterans” and in many cases found at the end of the month that instead of the “kickback funds” they thought they had created, an invoice was issued for the difference between space rental and sales. waiting for them on the first of the month instead of the expected check. A new “harsh reality” gripped the tenants of the mall space and they soon said this is not a good idea and “bailed out” in record numbers. The “rescue process” of the tenants of the commercial spaces created huge empty holes in the old malls and led to a new reality for the owner of the old mall “they are upside down in their rent due to vacancies”. This has led to old registration malls closing their doors and hanging “for rent” signs in front of buildings.

What is the autopsy of this process? “Greater opportunities” for surviving antique retailers by obtaining a larger slice of a smaller (economically caused) cake. This is a time not to mourn the advent of online antique sales, but to take advantage of it. The Internet gives the distributor the opportunity to reach millions of new customers and “start dividing” their share of the smallest pie. The reduction of shopping centers makes your “physical” store more attractive to the customer who enjoys a new adventure in an antique store (as long as it is received with enthusiasm) and unique and well-priced items to be tempted.

Will the antique shop and industry survive and come back to life? I think so. The antique customer is first and foremost a “collector” not unlike a museum. They collect things that interest them, that have intrinsic value to them, and that they believe they will appreciate in time. The number and longevity of museums around the world is testament that there is still interest in seeing and owning things of historical importance on the part of many people. A private collection of an “object of passion” for a collector is their private museum to enjoy themselves and share with friends … and perhaps ultimately sell for profit!

The traits that will determine the “winners and losers” in this “shake up” of the antiques industry are:

1. Perserverencia together with a strict control of expenses.

2. Exciting and unique merchandise flowed regularly to ensure newness to your regular customers.

3. Good value. Gone are the days of “obscene profit”. Every now and then a $ 10 profit may occur on a $ 1 investment, but a more modest $ 3 to $ 1 sales price to cost ratio will likely give better value and will motivate a decrease in the “count. customers “to buy.

4. Good attitude. The last thing someone needs (or wants to hear) when visiting a store or business to buy a quality moment is “doom and gloom.” Motivation and enthusiasm are contagious … so is winning and growing. If you want more positive customers … be a more positive store owner!

5. Find new ways to reach new customers. Pack up the car or truck and head to the high, low, or mid-end flea market, antique show, or swap meet with loads of business cards and great merchandise. Give passersby a “preview” of your taste and selection and invite them to visit your store’s largest assortment. Give them a discount coupon, if you want to feed the urge, to use on their next visit.

6. Lastly, keep your store cool. If the new flow of goods is not possible with current cash flow challenges … Reorganize your inventory so that the same items are presented in new locations, with new adjacencies and with new ways of visualizing their use. You will see that an old item is converted to a new sale simply by moving it to a new location.

In short, when the going gets tough … The committed antique shop owner should see the situation as an opportunity to increase market share … Don’t throw in the towel!

The world is littered with businesses that would have been successful with a little more perseverance and patience! Quitting smoking is easy … Winning is commitment!

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