Everybody wants to know why .....
Well, I have been in foodservice since 1973.
I did have a Cool Store back in 1975
while still working at the bakery back in Massachusetts and have always wanted to open another Cool Store. Retail was also
a dream of my parents and after losing my Good Job when a local restaurant closed it's doors and finding myself driving an
hour to work each day at little better than half the pay and turning fifty with leg problems, I decided now was the time to
Started with a simple web page and SMC website which led to the (bank) sending me a business card ... which of course,
months later I was able to get the permits needed and started work on an outbuilding, converting it to a small gift store.
Then the (bank) sent another Business
card which I also accepted.
I used these cards to build the store and as the bank kept saying **WE want you to Succeed ... Build Your Business
... blah, blah, blah **
first we relied on word of mouth up here on the mountain and few ads in the local newspaper .... Business was growing slowly
but building up.
Over the course of these 2 years in existence and relying on those cards to build the store to credibility those
two cards and others as well increased in limits and monthly promotions saying *BUILD ... INCREASE ... SUCCEED* led me to
believe that my Retirement Plan was truly backed by the bank and I perceived no problem as I knew it would work in time.
So, I Built the Business and increased
exposure online and built the Tripod webpages and the store was finally ready to PUSH Over the top.
Last December, I hurt my back and couldn't get a job in
a restaurant if I wanted to .... all there was WAS the Store .... Problems and stress led to me being here alone as my wife
couldn't take anymore and left (for a time hopefully) to Ohio to be with her daughters and Mom.
So, I prepared the store and got everything ready to push
it and set up the outside area as well as an outdoor second hand store to go along with the Gift Store.
I pulled some money at 4.99 percent to
advertise the store Strongly and push it over the top and SUCCEED. There was no point, I felt, in sinking hundreds of dollars
into an advertisement unless I felt the store was truly credible as if it wasn't then Negative word of mouth would be disastrous and
the advertising dollars would be wasted. It was ready, It was time.
A week later, I got a letter saying my 11.99 card was going to jump to 23.99 which would double
the minimum. I called and in fact begged for that not to happen and give me 6 months to prove myself .... No Way ...
I said, if this card goes up I know the
others will too ... the (bank) agreed and said Yes, probably so ... and Call this number if you have a problem paying ....
I called the number they gave me and after half an hour was told ... * Don't worry about it, this happens, consider bankruptcy
and protect your house as there is no way you can fit into our plan and pay this all off in five years ....*
Well, gee, thanks a lot !!!!
So, I made another mistake and pulled
back and held onto that money TO BE SURE I COULD KEEP UP ON THE MORTGAGE as even the economy was starting to fail around the
country and the world. I printed my own flyers and cut prices with discounts and tried what I could and printed my resume
and started looking for a job with the hope of being able to do both the store and a reliable income producing job, somewhere.
Eventhough I still could (can) barely walk sometimes and ....
Well, No one seemed to be hiring
I sold the stock down to keep up on bills ... all but the out of control credit cards which if
paying them the money would not last very long at all.
Have not gotten inventory in for months and essentially the store was going under as well as everything
(the Store) is GONE ...
I HOPE TO BE ABLE TO REOPEN SOMETHING SOMEDAY ARMED WITH THE KNOWLEDGE I LEARNED FROM ALL WHATEVER MISTAKES I HAVE
MADE ALONG THE WAY .... INCLUDING MY BIGGEST ONE ... TRUSTING A BANK WHO TRULY VIEWS YOU AS A NUMBER ....
I don't feel I failed. I ran out of time. I did make mistakes and got burned on product and did
have perhaps a relatively higher percentage of Theft being up here on the mountain and working it by myself ... BUT I also
made people Happy with my low prices (especially when I dropped to 50% OFF which was essentially my Cost).
And putting smiles on peoples faces and
meeting nice people ... well, thats what it was all about actually !!!
I learned and I burned
And like the phoenix I will return.
But, for now, the store is a dream once more.
And I need a reliable source of income,
for sure, as ....
perhaps it was supposed to be this way ...
Glad I made people happy and smile
One big lesson I learned was do not trust
banks ... Its their money and when they want it back they want it back ... period.
PEACE & GOODWILL
HOPE TO BE BACK
AND DO BETTER NEXT TIME
COOL STUFF Returns to Dorena ....
Reopened the gift store and added 2nd hand items to the lineup
Gift store is now
known as ...
Bob Ritcher's COOL STUFF Gift Store ....
** Better Luck ... this time ... ;) **
Hope to see you soon .......