Saturday, September 11, 2010

Charity Shops Pt 2

So, now you have a shop, all kitted out with rails, hangers and shelves. You hope that people will start bringing in donations, and you will probably have done at least one collection so that you can open with a decent-looking amount of stock.

Customers are weirdly blind to new happenings on a familiar street. Even a year on people are still wandering into our 61 Burleigh Street shop in Cambridge and saying: "Ooh! I didn't know there was an RSPCA charity shop in Cambridge." There are people living on Mill Road who have never noticed our second hand bookshop at number 188 (after it's been there for 6 years!).

One of the reasons why I started this blog was to try to attract more publicity for our shops and other fundraising efforts. 

People don't look up—so the very nice signs above shop windows seem to be almost useless as a way of telling them we are here. So far the most effective signage seems to be A-boards (facing shoppers' direction of travel at roughly eye-level) and decals stuck at eye-level on the glass doors.

People no longer expect to push doors—and will conclude that a shop is either closed or being used as a display space to avoid the street looking full of boarded-up premises unless you keep its door open or install an automatic opening sensor system.

So, you achieve your initial target of selling roughly 100 items every day, around an average price of £3.50. Your  takings are £350 and you pat yourself on the back, BUT...

Around £200 of the £350 will be needed to pay rent, rates, staff wages, heat etc. Allowing for Sundays and bank holidays, you may hope to see a fairly steady £3,600 profit in a month. 

When you consider that our kennelling bill is at least £2,000 each month, veterinary services to our clinic average £6,000 and charges at private vets £2,000 you can see why we need several shops and must run them to make the maximum profit possible.

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