Hi...Sorry for sending you all a message instead of posting here-oops!
Excited to have found and joind TCL. I am opening my store in the beginning of September(knock on wood!) and am very excited. There is SO much to think about...thought it would be interesting to get a conversation going on Top Tips for opening(i.e. #1 thing you forgot that you wish you hadn't:).
Right now I am working on my opening inventory schedule and marketing materials among many other things. I am opening right before the Jewish holidays and since I will be Kosher am expecting/hoping to be busy from the start. I look forward to hearing from others experience.
Something else I'd be interested in hearing from other retailers is the best way you have found to store product ready for sale. I have been using a friends kitchen and she wraps in saran wrap and then stores in plastic boxes. This works well but curious what other methods are out there.
I don't like to layer my products in boxes so I keep them in a single layer on half sheet pans wrapped with plastic wrap, on a speed rack with a heavy plastic rack cover that zips closed. Also in my shop what I've learned is to roll with the punches and listen to what the customers really want. I have taken their suggestions to heart and I am doing things that I never thought I would do or could do, for example I am holding classes on ganache making and a chocolate dipping class. I've been open for 10 months and never would have dreamed I could get up in front of a group of people to speak and teach a class but I have spoken at local Rotary meetings and for Girl and Boy Scout troops and the first 2 classes already full and there are more people calling every day it seems. Another thing I have learned is to get your website up sooner rather than later, and do it in Word press so you can update it yourself and change it as much as you need to without major cost. We didn't do it in Word Press and had to pay to have it converted but it's almost finished now. Also get a page set up on Twitter and Facebook and post on them often, they really helped my business out tremendously. So good luck and much success,
Thanks Chris! I love your store name...great play on your name. I'll definitely stop in next time I am in your area. I do have a website/facebook/twitter etc...and have been using them for a while. I am also going to use FourSquare and offer specials to people who check in at the store.
I have the back end of my store created but have not launched it yet. Plan to do so once my kitchen is ready and I have my shipping station set up.
I was thinking about doing classes as a nice way to create buzz/added revenue. I'd love to hear more about your experiences...
Listening to customers is important...one thing I was not really interested in offering was baked goods, but have heard a lot of feedback that if I offer coffee and a few muffins I will pick up a nice morning business. Was thinking I would use a Keurig and just sell the pods...
I'm just trying to take it day by day...Congrats on all your success!!
All the best,
Good luck to you! I joined a co-op and we're getting ready to open our store in the next few weeks. Open House is next Saturday. Every time I turn around there's one more thing I need to do!