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Children`s Bookstore

MizEMizE subscriber Posts: 1
edited March 2008 in Selecting a Business
Hello!  My name is Elena. I am new here!
I am a stay-at-home mom and have degrees in music and bilingual education.  (I`ve worked in both fields.)  Recently my DH and I were discussing our dream jobs, and I said I`d like to own/run a children`s bookstore.  Surprisingly, he was all for it.
Here is the concept-- a children`s bookstore that would sell toys (local craftspeople and higher quality/unusual toys).  There would also be a free but small play area, as well as a cafe.  I could possibly have an online component that would push the toys/unique items.  I know people will use Amazon for books!
In my area (a suburban location 20 miles from a major city) there is no chain bookstore or independent bookshop (other than a Christian one) in the actual suburb.  The closest major chain is 4 miles away, so not that far.  23% of the pop. is under the age of 18, and the suburb is growing as people get priced out of the city.
People I`ve talked to (parents and teachers) have thought a bookstore would be great here.  However, everything I`ve read says that bookstores are a dying breed, and pretty much impossible to keep afloat.
Funding possibilities are a local grant (suburb is trying to revitalize the downtown area) and maybe other grants since I am a female and DH is  part of a minority group.  We`d need loans, too.  I may have a few friends willing to invest, but I would worry about this!
I would not be in this to make a fortune (everyone`s idea is different on the actual figure!) but I could obviously not do this to LOSE money in the long term.  I know initially I`d be lucky just to break even.
I don`t have a business plan yet, but I don`t even want to embark on that if there is a close-to-unanimous vote that a business of this nature would fail.
So, what do you think?  Is this something that could work if done well, or is there really no chance for success?


  • emagynemagyn subscriber Posts: 3
    First off, I think this is wonderful...Stop what you are reading if it`s not going to uplift your dream.  Just because the big boxes are here, doesn`t mean there isn`t room for you to be a player in this industry.  Remove any signs of doubt.  You may start out as a bookstore to sedgeway into something else.  It takes a start to get you going in the direction you need to be.  I too have long terms goals, but in the interim, I need to get the ball rolling with my short term ones. 
    It would be great to have a local area to for book clubbers as well.
    Much success in your endeavor as you process this through.
  • MizEMizE subscriber Posts: 1
    Shanna, thank you for the encouragement!  As DH says, I need to keep going until I hit something that says, no-- there is just no way.  He says it`s too soon to give up!
    Craig, good to hear you know of such a store that succeeds!  As for your question-- do I choose good gifts-- tough to tell.  I do think I am able to find the latest new toy/idea, but not commercial ones.  However, I am afraid of parents` reactions of something unusual, so I usually just give books!  (And these are well-received.)  My own children are anomalies-- they don`t play with too many toys!  My oldest (6) makes her own toys and reads constantly, my middle child (2) is TV obsessed or has me read to her , and my little one does play with toys, but I`m sure that will stop!  However, my sister has 5 children that I can use to test drive things . . .they own/actually play with the kinds of things I`d buy for my shop.  (They do like my gifts!)
    homebased-- yes!  I was absolutely going to do the b-day party thing!  I think if I can get people to be EXCITED about reading and make it a party, what better job would there be?  I see how touched my own children are by the books we have everywhere (reading is so much a part of their lives), that I want to bring that to every family.  I have many ideas of how to use the bookstore to make it a place where young people (and hopefully their parents!) would want to really get into books.  I think too often the goal of reading (by parents and educators) is on the task of reading vs. the pleasure of reading.  It`s so sad.  I know there is a lot of pressure (like No Child Left Behind), but it is robbing our children of pure joy-- not to mention true learning. 
    I think my biggest fear is just losing EVERYTHING.  I can`t do that to my family. Again, I would not be in this to make gobs of money, but I would need enough to keep the business going.
    Thank you so much for your thoughtful comments!
  • MizEMizE subscriber Posts: 1
    I hear ya, Craig.  I think what I`d need (along with good inventory) are extra ideas (in the form of events, workshops, etc.) to bring people in . . .I have some ideas that go beyond what is currently offered.
    And as for the "educational toys," I have my ideas on what they constitute.  I don`t think they are the type that teacher stores sell.  I find children know when they are being tricked into being taught, if that makes sense . . .and it is not authentic for them, so they don`t learn much.  My toys would be much more child-driven, to give them the springs that would set them into their true work-- the work of play.
    My concerns are still-- (1) would I have the money to keep the business going while it grew (2) would a recession support this kind of business and (3) is the downtown of my suburb going somewhere, or is it just dead? 
    So, I think for these I need to get a business plan into writing (I saw the thread where business plans are somewhat controversial, but I would truly benefit from one).  Then, I am going to go to my local SCORE office (thanks to this board, I found the group existed).  I think that will help me decide if I should go forward or not.
    Thank you for the continued help!MizE3/9/2008 7:26 PM
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