Thursday, January 7, 2016

Welcome to Warehouse 13

With much trepidation, I signed the lease tonight, and now we're the proud renters of a genuine warehouse that I've affectionately nicknamed Warehouse 13.  Here are a couple of pics.
Our new storefront

It looks big, but will fill up fast
Ella is all smiles in the office area
Ella, ever the organizer, already has started planning what goes where.  I guess that's why she's the brains, and I'm just the muscle.

As we get it sorted out, I'll post additional photos.

Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Back by almost popular demand

Yeah, it’s been awhile, and, thankfully, reports of my demise have been greatly exaggerated.

I last blogged way back in July, and while I’d like to say that I’ve been too busy, or, at least, busier than normal, to put electronic pen to paper, I can’t.  I simply stopped writing because I lost my passion for it.  I literally was tired of all things Amazon and Ebay.

Of course, I couldn’t stop selling; I do like to eat, and we desperately need that roof over our heads.  However, I could stop reading and writing about it.

So, I did.

I had no idea how long my self-imposed digital exile would be, but the longer it went, the easier it got.  Days turned to weeks, and weeks turned to months, and despite being asked repeatedly by Ella, my biggest fan, to write something, I wouldn’t.  Or maybe I couldn’t.  To be honest, there’s not much difference between the two.

Of course, it didn’t help that I sprained my right arm in late August, which made typing difficult. After broken ribs in August 2014 and a hurt arm (among other bumps, bruises, chipped tooth and broken glasses) in August 2015, Ella says she is going wrap me in bubble wrap during August 2016.

One of my New Year’s resolutions, admittedly a couple of days late, though, is to slowly re-integrate myself into writing this blog.  John, owner of the Big Peach Antiques Mall, paid me the ultimate compliment the other night, saying that he liked my style of writing, and that he missed reading it. Usually, I’m not big on accepting compliments, but it truly was an “aw shucks” moment, and while driving home, I realized that I missed writing it, too.

Now that I’ve explained my absence, it’s time to move forward, and I can think of no better way of doing that than by looking backward.

In early August, Ella and I participated in the World’s Longest Yard Sale, starting in southern Ohio, and working our way back to Georgia.  We had spent almost a week with Ella’s relatives in Zanesville, Ohio, attending several auctions, and almost filling our van with good “stuff” before we even hit the road to the sale. 

If I had a trailer and a bit more money, and maybe a little more derring-do, I would have bid on, and probably won, the tricked-out Harley-Davidson motorcycle that was auctioned off in Amish country.  It went for about $5000.  Since we had limited room, we had to restrain ourselves, and bid only on smaller items, knowing that we had approximately 500 miles of sales left before we got home.

After wearing out our welcome with the relatives, we headed out on Thursday morning, the first day of the sale. We were both excited to see what treasures we could find, but when rain began pouring down, our spirits weren’t the only thing that was dampened as we tried to dodge the raindrops at various sales in northern Kentucky.

On Friday, the rain had stopped, and the day was overcast, which was a good thing.  Still, in the large fields turned into impromptu flea markets, mud ruled the day, and we began skipping such sales in favor of sales on firmer, and dryer, ground.

Saturday dawned sunny and hot, making us wish that the rain had stuck around.  Pickings also were slim, as most of the good stuff already had been snapped up, and the stuff that remained was overpriced.  Still, we found a few items, and finally made it back to Georgia by late Saturday night.

Overall, it was a successful trip.  We found media, small antiques, highway signs, and assorted odds and ends. The van also was literally full, with every little nook and cranny filled, thanks to a “please take anything you want … we’re tired of looking at it” sale on Saturday afternoon.  Ella loves freebies.

I’m not sure I want to make the trip again, although Ella is itching for a repeat. We already have preliminary plans to be a dealer again at the Memphis Film Festival in June, so another week-long excursion barely two months later might not work.

The rest of the year was pretty boring, including a disappointing library book sale in September.  Usually a good source of inventory toward the end of the year, rain forced organizers to move it inside, which greatly restricted how many books they could put out.  We found a few things, but quickly grew tired of literally pushing our way past other dealers and readers.

I also learned late last year that our main competition for media in the area was having a difficult time financially.  They are a single income couple who supplement that income with Amazon sales, much like Ella and I do.  After the husband lost his job, and struggling to make it on Amazon earnings alone for several months, they had to move out of their apartment into a rented RV camper. 

It made me think that there but for the grace of God go I, and I doubled my resolve to continue to diversify our income, including sourcing for our antique booths more aggressively.

Speaking of our booths, they are doing fairly well.  Neither Ella nor I have a lot of experience with actual antiques, so we have resorted to the “let’s cram as much as we can in, maybe something will sell” philosophy.  I have learned, though, that Disney “stuff” is a pretty good seller, while Christmas “crap” isn’t.

It’s good that Disney sells, too, because we bought a large lot of Mickey items from a collector back in November.  It wasn’t his best merchandise, but it was two van loads full, and I have no doubt that I will recoup my $150 investment, even if it’s just one Goofy plush at a time.

We also had a “ginormous” three-day yard sale in early November, and unbelievably made close to $1000.  My Fitbit said I logged close to 35,000 steps on the first day, and close to it on days two and three.  By the end of each day, I was walking like Fred Sanford (kudos if you actually know who that is). 

Looking forward, Ella and I are both excited and justifiably nervous about our next endeavor, which is the renting of an actual warehouse.  It’s not big, just 1200 square feet, but it is a significant monthly expense.  The warehouse has a 400 square foot “store front,” and I’ve cleared it with the landlord to hold occasional yard sales there.  So, it becomes a pseudo thrift store in addition to much-needed storage.

With our house full, our guest house full, and our storage unit full, we had to do something, and short of not buying, which we cannot do, this, to me, was the next logical step. 

Not only will it provide some room to breathe, literally, but also it will allow me to turn our guest house back into an actual guest house, and perhaps recoup some costs by renting it out.  

I’ll post pictures of the warehouse in my next blog.

It’s finally turned cold here in Georgia, so yard and garage sales are few and far between.  Thankfully, I have much stuff to list, and undoubtedly will find more as we move our backlog to the new warehouse.  Along those same lines, Ella, in the midst of her annual inventory of our online stock, is finding items that for some reason aren’t even listed.  Getting those items back into inventory will be a priority.

Have a productive week everyone.