This last week I got to spend some quality time with the folks in Tennessee and more specifically time alone with my father (which I haven't gotten to do in years) at his new store. It was pretty great!
Dad has finally opened his shop at the Turkey Creek Market in Tennessee (Booth R&S 20!) and will hopefully be a bazillionare in short order..
He had contacted me a while back about doing this and I was fairly excited about it with him but I had a different vision of what I thought the store should look like. I had a some what more sterile and professional business notion in mind and I'm really glad that they didn't go that route.
Instead the store is a warm and inviting one that presents the goods in an orderly but not overly professional manner that is probably far more appealing to people than anything I could have come up with.. (Leave the designing to the designers I guess.. Its good to know what I'm not good at..heh)
He has just the right amount of space with the right number of items out presented in an organized and uncluttered way that I think really does a good job of showing off the various pieces.
The market is open Friday, Saturday and Sunday each week from roughly 9am to 6pm each day except Sunday which I believe was 10 to 5. Plus all the vendors around you are actually quite nice, friendly and even helpful. More over, the environment for the vendors is one that actually promotes helping one another as opposed to infighting or backstabbing which is really nice.
It's unfortunate that his first weekend wasn't a stellar one. He made rent which is all that really matters but it would be nice if he had sold more his first weekend out if for no other reason than to inspire and excite..
Probably completely unrealistic for him to do better than he did considering it was;
a) his first weekend there and no one knew where he was, b) between pay days so no one had money, c) between major holidays so no one had a "reason" to buy things, d) there was a major dinosaur exhibit in town which kept the crowd down, and e) a large format gun show which also that kept the crowd down.. etc..
All that working against him and he still made enough sales to pay for itself.. So I guess I shouldn't complain too much.. I just really wanted him to sell out! hah
For me it was a disappointment but he's an old hat at doing markets and having a booth selling stuff and so he knows that it can be feast or famine.. he didn't seem put out by it at all..
The crowd Friday was admittedly dismal which apparently is very common there.. Saturday and Sunday however had a lot of folks coming through and just about all of them picked up stuff and took cards which is a great sign for his future there..
My only concern at this point is that his stuff is actually too nice for the venue and that people might think of the market more as a "flea market" than an actual hand crafted goods marketplace.. Only time will tell here and we probably don't need to do any second guessing at this early stage based on a single weekend..
More over I think it will take a couple weeks to figure out what works and what doesn't work and then adjust accordingly. More than likely he's going to have to start adding a lot of less expensive stock that will sit next to the really nice stuff just to draw folks in..
After all, selling 10x $5 items is just as good as selling a single $50 item.. Certainly a lot less fun to make but you gotta make stuff that sells..
After only a few days I had to return home and get back to work.. Apparently my boss wants me to actually "earn" my living.. psh.. slave driver I tell ya..
I made the 1000 mile drive straight from East TN to Central Texas in under 16 hours and had a seriously sore backside to prove it.. I also had a SUV full of wood and project ideas, as well as plans to make some signage for the shop.
All in all it was a great trip and one I'll likely make again in the future.
I really like Tennessee and one of these days will likely move there more permanently.. For now I'm stuck in Texas though... Y'all.
The trip was really great and it was fun to hang out with the folks but it really made me realize that my home is where ever my wife is.. sappy, but true.