consignment vs. drop-off store or consignment and drop-off

europowereuropower subscriber Posts: 1
edited July 2007 in Business Planning
Hi everyone! First time "poster," long time reader...I`d like to submit my business idea to the SUN fellowship with the hopes of getting all the good advice I can before embarking in the adventure of opening a business.
I`m actually living in Italy, close to an USAF facility which accounts officially for close to 6,000 people as far as personnel numbers. In my opinion, a business opportunity has presented itself when the higher powers of this military base have decided to ban any type of yard/garage sale activity due to security issues, besides the fact it`s illegal to hold such a sale, according to Italian law. Before, many Italians and people from other nationalities who live in the area would tour around the off-base military housing units to buy from these garage sales. While there`s a belief that the locals are not big fans of consignment shops -- judging by failed businesses experiences from the recent past -- it seems everyone from this area has, at some point in time, either bought something directly from one of these garage sales or knows of someone who has. I`ve conducted an informal survey about the needs for the services of a consignment store in the area via a post on a message board of a popular local web site among the  military community and, so far, I`ve got nothing but positive responses. I`ve also interviewed personally a few of them, and they all seem to agree on the fact that there`s a need for these type of services arguing that the in-base thrift shop does not satisfy their customer experience due to odd-hours and total lack of organization in the running of such shop.
This being said, I believe the time has come when I have to decide whether to continue working for peanuts in the endless rat-race known as a regular job, or give full license to the entrepreneur inside me and run with the consequences. So, I`m faced with the dilemma of opening either a regular brick-and-mortar type of consignment store, or an ebay drop-off shop. Or a combination of both. Also, considering I don`t have the previous experience of running such a store, or any type of business, for that matter,  I`m also pondering the need to start it with the help of a local franchise which has 60 stores nationwide. To give you an idea of the market size, we`d be talking about a population of close to 100K in a 20 miles radius. I believe this is an experience which could get replicated around other base sites in Italy, and possibly in Europe. 
Thank in you in advance for all your comments/suggestions regarding this business idea 
P.S.: I`d like to invite you to cast your vote on the poll I`m posting on this same section.
 europower2007-7-27 11:28:11
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