Thursday, August 03, 2006

Give Karen's Place Ideas

Karen of Karen's Place just created a blog.

She expanded her store in Ashley's old place and is asking for our help

"So against all better judgment, I took over Ashley's shop and my nice landlord smashed the wall down between the two stores. Two shops, sadly, doesn't mean double the customers, so I am looking for ideas...what can I stock that people want? What services could I offer that people need? For the past two years I have been think about what I could stock that would fit in with the antiques and other goodies I have for sale. Candles? Foreign newspapers? Mary Kay cosmetics? Please Seminole Heighters, give me some useful (and not too rude) ideas!"

You can leave comments on her blog.

29 comments:

Anonymous said...

Can you bake some natural treats to sell for dogs?
I will buy anything unique that has to do with dogs that I cant get for less at Petsmart.
I cant get homebaked all natural cookies or other things like that.
I would pick up a 6 pack for my dogs probably at least once a week.
I have more money than time but I dont want to spend a fortune either.

Anonymous said...

There is so place in Seminole Heights to buy a nice birthday or greeting card or even some nice giftwrap. I'm not talking of the standard issue stuff like at Hallmark or Publix, but something more like the selection they have at Inkwood Books in South Tampa or that you would find in a museum store. Seminole Heights needs a stationary store...

Resident Blogger said...

It is a shame, Ashley had great cards and I do miss them!

Anonymous said...

What I would like to see in our neighborhood is a store that sells arts and crafts decorative items. For example, arts and crafts tiles, pottery, house numbers, doormats, textiles (pillows & curtains) arts and crafts books and pubs, stained glass, stencils and paint.
It would be wonderful if some of the more pricey items (seen in Bungalow Mag) could be reproduced, or rather recreated by local artists. No one is doing anything locally and such items would really fill a niche in our neighborhood. You could place items on consignment, thus controlling your inventory costs and I would hope that local artists would get a showcase and make money! There used to be an arts and crafts store in St Pete, but I believe it is now the foundation for a condo. If you carried really neat quality stuff you would even get traffic from across the Bay.

tiny... said...

First she needs to set up blogger to accept comments from "other" and "anonymous", not everyone has a blogger account and not everyone wants one (me).
OK, here's the skinny, arts and crafts, cards and things are nice but I'll get to that later.
First and foremost, furniture. You now have the room to hold a lot more. Not the pricey antique stuff, just clean functional stuff from the 50's 60's and 70's. This stuff is the easiest to find and most plentiful, won't suffer value loss from, and rarely needs, refinishing. It also fits the fashion sensibilities of the age groups that are buying first homes and renting more than victorian or deco stuff. Armoires and chests of drawers sell best because of lack of closet space in most older homes and apartments. Light woods (oak maple cherry) move quicker than dark stuff, stay away from anything with red mahogany stain. Most importantly it's big ticket stuff, $$$. Don't overprice it, price it to sell. You'll make more selling three pieces at $250 over cost than one at $500 over cost in the same time frame. People WANT and are much more apt to buy when they see or perceive a bargain, so hit them in the face with one. People always want to tell about and where they got a great deal. People who rent and those who buy homes always need furniture and don't have the budget's for "real" antiques. It's also great for displaying all the nick nacks, but be sure not to submerge it under a sea of stuff, make the price tags VERY visible. Advertise with your goods, put as much furniture outside on the street as you can manage. That means the good stuff not the stuff you're trying to move that won't.
As for the A&C, gifts and cards stuff, thats where the old adage, "nickle and dime 'em to death", comes in. Cheap stuff that moves fast in quantity adds up quickly. Old cigar ads or ads in general ripped from old mags (be sure to have some cheap frames to sell with them) , old postcards, regional ephemera, classic candies from peoples childhood (easily found in bulk on line), and on and on and on. Dog treats? You aint no pet store.
That's my advice. Good luck.
If any of this works for you, I get a discount?
;-)
t

Anonymous said...

I would agree with some of the other posts..... moderately priced house stuff. Reproduction furniture, vintage wall art, things that look expensive but aren't. I love pottery and would buy it -- especially small pieces for gifts. Please hang in there with your store -- we need you here!

YesterDazed said...

tiny, great comments! You sound so knowledgeable....Why don't you open a shop here??

Anonymous said...

I second the arts and crafts products. There is not where local and we are limited to catalog ordering. It doesn't need to be that much cheaper than catalog, I just want to SEE and TOUCH it before I BUY it. Much of the A&C items must be odered from California or northwest so we pay the same prices as the people who live out there and get paid more. As for the 50, 60, 70's furniture, leave that to garage sales. We don't need any more of the gaudy crap for sale. I would agree the more smaller items you can move the better, with the large, higher priced items people tend to look and not come back to look for awhile because the items are the same. Just some ideas.

Anonymous said...

Wow do I miss Ashley's. She had a great inventory of items. I think her problem was I never knew when she would be open. Everytime I did go, it was a $200. trip. She was great for birhtdays and unique gifts. Her floppies with the diamond letters were awesome. I have bought and shipped those as gifts. Always a huge hit. We have some much antique and vintage furniture store, we do not need another. I would suggest novelty/home decor items that are new. Look at Kirklands in the mall. Inexpensive yet beautiful home items and knick knacks.

Anonymous said...

Lots of items for front porches and gardens/yards, etc. Lanterns, candles, flower pots, small garden statues, torches, decorative flags, hanging baskets...you get the idea. Front porches are something unique to our neighborhood that we have trouble finding in other stores.

Anonymous said...

local art work!

Anonymous said...

I love the arts and craft idea. I especially like the idea of getting local artists into the mix. It could start out small with a few artists making some A&C pottery items or house numbers on tiles. The neighborhood could use a place which would sell and showcase local artistic talent - artists who produced needed decorative items. Of course you could still have vintage and used furniture, but don't we have many other places for that stuff. Get together with some local artists. Be bold and different.

tiny... said...

Thanks Sherry,
Used to work at a place called the Small Furniture Store in Manhattan for "Furniture Bob". This guy made a killing out of a shack on an empty half lot and small warehouse space on Lafayette. Another tool he used was talking with and about any customer that walked by, sometimes for hours. Always managing to throw in a gentle sales pitch every 15min or so. On nice days he would line up chairs outside for his marathon "discussions" sometimes drawing quite a crowd. I think seeing a person or people outside the shop made it look more "open". No time for me in this business anymore. I like your store, will say hello next time I'm in.
Love the local artist idea, be sure to hang bio/resume/CV with the art. Bob always looked for the most outrageously bad "naive" art, seemed the worse it was the quicker it sold and at the very least were great conversation pieces.

Anonymous said...

I can supply crazy ass art...not pretty pictures...

You can market it as some local nut on fringe between mental/ genius

Bloggerwife said...

There are lots of us out here who can provide art. The problem is, by the time we get enough to cover our time,effort and materials, and the shopkeeper gets her 50% or so, the shoppers would no longer call it cheap, and they run down to Kirklands to buy the manufactured stuff.

ShreksWife said...

I miss Ashley's candle selection. "Root" candles. made from soy wax blend. It was nice to buy a candle that smells great and fills up the room with that scent. They were pricier than other candles, but I'd rather pay for a candle that will fill my house with fragrance. Those cheaper candles only make fire. Would be great if you would consider carrying them.

cartman said...

Karen, Don't listen to anyone ( except me) on this list. Do what you know and you know what you can make money at. Otherwise you will be like Ashley's GONE

Anonymous said...

I don't think that the truely unique and quality art stuff has to be sold cheaply. I believe that people are willing to pay fair prices for good stuff. The decorative items at Kirlands are not what I had in mind. Both the the store and the artist need to make a profit. The split could be 50/50 which is not unusual. Artists could take commissions and if the referral came from the store, the artist could"kick back" 10% or something in that range.

ShreksWife said...

Gee, Cartman seems as though Karen is seeking out ideas. Why else would this item even be on the blog? Did you not read what Karen wrote? Or is your intent simply to belittle the folks who are genuinely offering suggestions/ideas?

Bungalowlady said...

If you want candles that smell good, try Candles as Art. The owner lives in the hood and operates out of Judy's Treasure Chest. They smell good and you can pick your scent, color and shape. Check it out.

YesterDazed said...

Yes, Victor's "Candles as Art" has great candles, at Judy's!! My favorite is "bamboo teak" fragrance. And his candles are pretty too!!

Karen, you should do what you're good at. You have a great eye for wonderful furniture pieces...good prices too!!

cartman said...

My intent was to belittle you!

ShreksWife said...

stick to compiling your scary little flyer, "cartman", and i'll keep on ignoring your comments from now on. you're a sad little man, Kenny.

Flyer anon said...

WOOOH! Don't bring me into this.
You ever 'cartman' is it isn't me.
I stick to my topic and could care less about what's in a thrift store.

cartman said...

Careful with those candles! Most of the Houses in SH are over 80 years old and made out of wood. Plus candles suck. Is this really a candle & art neighborhood?
Scary little flyer?

Anonymous said...

The thrift stores go only so far. Have you noticed they seem to be going out of business? Whether you would like to admit it or not, our neighborhood is changing and our retail businesses will more than likely need to change with it. It is a shame Ashley's could not have survived, I think that is the type of business we really need. I think it goes back to the earlier post of crappy parking, locked door and funky hours. You can't pull into the lot without leaving your muffler on Osborne. I know beggers can't be choosey, but why don't we demand the business be better to serve us. Aren't we the reason they are in business. We allow anybody to open up, look like total crap and we tolerate it because in the past that was acceptable. Green ShiFt put the new awning on (Many years after he should have) and we celebrate that with a banner. The place still looks like a dump. The Florida Arts School accepts Children in a building that if the city were to inspect, it would probably close in a second. Yet, we tolerate it. (or worse, our city lets us down and does not do the job of policing these establishments. Look at the awning down the strip center of Ybor Pizza (I will leave them alone as they take enough abuse) The awning is held up by a 4x4 board. All it takes is one child walking home from school to kick the board and who knows what will happen. Yet, the city does nothing. How is is that the commercial properties in our neighborhood get gravel or grass parking lots that look like horrible and unkept, The auto parts stores have dead bushes, landscaping, insufficient garbage recepticles--Do you think they look this way in other parts of the city, NO!

This is my rant for the day!

Anonymous said...

Face the facts most business in SH are not here to serve this community only. With exception of publix & grocery stores etc. most busineess draw from all over the city and county. If they depended on this community they would be out of business. Starbucks draws customers from 275 and all over this city not just SH. Now about the Auto parts and other business that look like crap have you called the manager and spoke to them about the appearance of there property? Called there home office , had your neighborhood association or business group contact them? Get busy!

Anonymous said...

If they are a chain business, they have been called... from Publix to KnK. I feel that since they are larger with deeper pockets, they should be held to higher standards. Recently, both have had horribly filthy floors. Discount Auto has been called numerous times in Lakeland Corp. to see about the trash, landscape, etc. We are usually told that there is nothing they can do. It is the neighborhood and the residents that are creating the problem. They don't want to upset thier customers. Which to an extent is true, but if they would keep it clean, maybe the customers would so a bit of respect and try to take care of it. I try hard to teach my own children how to respect public property, business and the area. However, many parents in the area are the ones teaching it is ok to litter, disrepect and deface. If you look at the are of Seminole Heights as a whole you will notice one fact. On streets that are really advanced with the rehabbing, all the houses, yard and street continually look beautiful. On the streets where it is hit or miss, you constantly fight litter and problems. We have read it numerous times on here that the environment tends to dictate behavior. Thus, dirty businesses, etc lead to more litter, crime, etc.

Anonymous said...

Hi this is Karen from Karen's Place. Thank you for all the ideas posted. As for the art & crafts ideas I would LOVE to have some local artists' work in the store. Come up and see me.... I am seriously thinking about cards and candles too. I really do not want to buy Chinese or foreign imports of ANTYHING, so it's taking me a lot of time to research reasonably priced Made in the USA items.

As many of you may know, Now & Again at 4713 Florida is now being run by Terry, the building's Landlord - Milton has gone. I am hoping for some major beautification and parking lot improvement! Also when the weather gets cooler, I will have tea and coffee and opening hours will be extended.
Thanks again guys!