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 what do I want most? SPACE!
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E. Bess
Warming Up

USA
85 Posts

Posted - 11/20/2004 :  12:11:20 PM  Show Profile  Visit E. Bess's Homepage Send E. Bess a Private Message
Down with small, tightly packed yarn stores!

Boo, hiss to the crowding and bumping into other browsers!

I'm all for having a big table smack dab in the center of the shop, but when it means I can't get around comfortably, I get crabby.

I live in NYC and am blessed with great yarn stores. I just wish they were BIGGER, by goodness.

Who's with me?

http://www.support-your-local-busker.com

GFTC
Permanent Resident

USA
6331 Posts

Posted - 11/20/2004 :  5:08:57 PM  Show Profile  Visit GFTC's Homepage Send GFTC a Private Message
The problem is the high rent in NYC. I'm sure they would love more space also, but if they don't have a long lease they are going to start to disappear, even as small as they are. Only if they go upstairs or on a side street do they have a shot at rent that will still enable them to be profitable. The rents are going up every day all over Manhattan. In my neighborhood we are losing a pizzeria that is 750 sqft because the lease is up and the rent will increase to $9000per month. We have also lost a neighborhood hairdresser, 1100 sqft, rent increasing to $12,000 per month. Then there are the shoe store, 2 delis, a privately owned drugstore & a card store, all gone. An eyeglass place paying $25,000 per month and hanging on for dear life - he just added fashion jewelry to help. What replaces them? Banks, banks and more banks, lots of Starbucks, Jamba Juice, nail salons (what are they fronting for??), and cell phone dealers - on one street Verizon, Cingular, T-Mobile(3!), and AT&T which will become a second Cingular.
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RachelKnitter
Permanent Resident

USA
2995 Posts

Posted - 11/20/2004 :  6:47:32 PM  Show Profile Send RachelKnitter a Private Message
I was in a store recently that was just the worst in this respect. It was in a strip mall in a suburb, and they had recently re-located there, so you wouldn't think square footage would be such an issue, but you can barely fit down the aisles. They had those stacked wire cubes facing eachother to create aisles, but the aisles are only about 2 feet wide. You can't browse what's immediately in front of you, but only what's ahead of you because there isn't room enough to bend to look at the stuff on the bottom. If I were to put on 30 pounds or so, I literally don't think I would be able to fit down the aisle. It's absurd. I left their shop and immediately drove to a different shop a few miles away. I don't know what they were thinking.
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rorosity@aol.com
Seriously Hooked

696 Posts

Posted - 11/21/2004 :  06:15:53 AM  Show Profile Send rorosity@aol.com a Private Message
I agree that it is much nicer to have space to move around in a LYS. My LYS has lots of room, which is nice. Some of the other LYS in the San Fernando Valley are much smaller. I hate having to climb over people when there are more than 2 people in a store.

Jeannine

http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/rorosity/my_photos

Destashing - For Sale:
http://pg.photos.yahoo.com/ph/rorosity/album?.dir=/cb32
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mokey
Permanent Resident

15375 Posts

Posted - 11/21/2004 :  10:10:24 AM  Show Profile Send mokey a Private Message
I have no problem with small shops; being a city girl I'm used to small spaces. I have actually found that the smaller the shop, the better organised it and the owner/staff usually are.

"There is no beauty in the finest cloth if it makes hunger and unhappiness." Gandhi
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knottyknitter
Permanent Resident

USA
3702 Posts

Posted - 11/21/2004 :  3:07:59 PM  Show Profile Send knottyknitter a Private Message
You know, the other day I was reflecting on one of our new LYSs (we're very lucky in Seattle that we have many), and decided that one reason it is so nice is that despite it's small space, it is layed out in such a way that the space is maximized and it really seems quite roomy. It makes all the difference in the world, and I have to think that many small stores could optimize their space much better if they just consulted someone who specializes in organization and space management. I'd rather shop at this small store any day than some of the larger ones around because it just seems more roomy and better organized.
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Sweetstitch
Warming Up

USA
62 Posts

Posted - 11/22/2004 :  12:05:02 PM  Show Profile  Visit Sweetstitch's Homepage Send Sweetstitch a Private Message
I am a new yarn shop owner, and the space issue has always interested me. What floors me about many yarn shops is that they are not even remotely wheel-chair accessible. As a matter of fact, I don't think I've been in one yarn store yet that would be considered ADA compliant. When I set up shop, I made sure to comply, and I've had my test with wheelchair-bound customers. And yes, I've had to move a couple of things that I would've thought were adequately placed. Sometimes I worry that my store doesn't look as "stocked" as other stores, because it's not crammed packed to the gills. But I cannot imagine trading the accessibility issue for anything.
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RachelKnitter
Permanent Resident

USA
2995 Posts

Posted - 11/23/2004 :  08:29:51 AM  Show Profile Send RachelKnitter a Private Message
Sweetstitch, I strongly believe that you can sell twice as much with half the inventory if only it has adequate space to be displayed. I wouldn't worry about it--Shopability is really important, and the yarn shop I described above isn't shopable at all!
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GFTC
Permanent Resident

USA
6331 Posts

Posted - 11/23/2004 :  08:41:44 AM  Show Profile  Visit GFTC's Homepage Send GFTC a Private Message
A retailer has to look at sales per square foot. If you use 1/2 your space for selling you need to sell double the amount in that space. This is done through volume or markup or a combination of the two. Either way, if you don't maximize the sales in your space you will not be able to pay the rent. Beyond that, every foot that is not being used is money out of your pocket.

Obviously you need space to walk, for strollers, wheelchairs, etc. but your salable inventory is your primary concern. You will be better served with a big trunk filled with marked-down yarn than a play table for toddlers.
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cats
Gabber Extraordinaire

USA
503 Posts

Posted - 11/23/2004 :  09:11:11 AM  Show Profile Send cats a Private Message
What I really like about my LYS is that they have at least one skein of each color of yarn displayed with all of the extra in their back room, on a top shelf, or in a cupboard below. It's always been really easy to have a store employee get the extra yarn that I need and that way they are able to display and have more yarns to sell. The back room isn't a shopable area - it's a storage room where they seem to have no trouble finding anything but a customer would get lost.

Some people may not like it but it really does work and I think makes the most of the small store space.
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RachelKnitter
Permanent Resident

USA
2995 Posts

Posted - 11/23/2004 :  09:25:57 AM  Show Profile Send RachelKnitter a Private Message
I own a successful 3,000 sf bookstore, (Yep, that's about 12% of the size of an average B&N or Borders) so I know about all about sales per square foot. Basically, your customers are your most important consideration. If they're not comfortable, they're not going to want to stay in the store for very long, and the longer they stay in the store, the more they're likely to buy. There are very few people who like to have to dig for things. In fact, their are few people who shop with both of their hands free. Most people are carrying a small purse, or a cup of coffee, or a bag from another store. Those people don't like to have to put down their items, so they make judgement calls based on a quick glance or brush of the hand on whether something is even worth their effort to look at. If your aisles are too narrow, most of your average customers are going to make a decision, either consciously or subconsciously, that it's just not worth their effort to walk down that aisle. If there's not enough room to bend over in an aisle, then most people are going to decide it's not worth their effort to look at the bottom shelves. It is absolutely the case that you can sell more per square foot in a spacious store plan than with more merchandise in a crowded store plan.

I highly recommend the book, Why We Buy, by Paco Underhill. He's a retail consultant and the book is truly enlightening if anyone is interested in consumer psychology.
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GFTC
Permanent Resident

USA
6331 Posts

Posted - 11/23/2004 :  1:21:04 PM  Show Profile  Visit GFTC's Homepage Send GFTC a Private Message
I agree with Rachel - the Underhill book is very interesting reading, whether you are the retailer or you are the consumer.
Another thing to consider in a store with blocked aisles is the safety aspect.

Question for Rachel: Do you allow people to shop in your store with coffee and ice cream? If so, does it create much of a problem?
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RachelKnitter
Permanent Resident

USA
2995 Posts

Posted - 11/23/2004 :  2:15:23 PM  Show Profile Send RachelKnitter a Private Message
Yes to both (a Ben & Jerry's just opened two doors down, so the ice cream thing is pretty new to us!). So far the only issue has been with the occasional spill on the carpet. Since we're too small for a cafe (nor do I wish to go back to serving coffee for a living) and it's become so commonplace, people really expect it. So we offer a couple of comfy chairs and let people bring in their own coffee from any of the 4 (yes, 4) coffee places in a one-block radius of the store. I think the occasional spill is worth dealing with to keep customers happy.
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