So here we are. After our announcement in January that would submit our notice of termination of our lease if things did not pick up financially at our downtown things picked up. The first part of January was very good but then it started to slide. Even February was acceptable even though we did not meet the target I set (1.7% short). Now I have to come to the final act: Use Us or Lose Us Part Two
Here is a graph of weekly starting on January 7th, 2017 and until March 4th, 2017.
The red line is the weekly sales for Whyte avenue and dotted red line is the trend for those weeks. Fairly steady even though there is quite a dip on the last week.
The Blue line is the weekly sales for the Downtown Store and the dotted blue line is the trend for those weeks. Besides being tens of thousands of dollars apart the trend line is moving steadily downwards. This is what concerns me.
First off – I want to thank everyone for supporting us in January and February. Is there a way we can maintain this momentum? If not, perhaps dragging it out longer than we need to is kind of more painful.
The most common question I get asked (after “How are you?”) is, “How is the downtown store doing?” As always, I am honest and say – we are trying to make it work and I am hopeful. But hoping, without action to make the reality you wish to have happen, is not a very good way to bring about what you are wanting to happen. Hope is a false path.
For March to meet its target, the daily sales will have to do about 5% better than February and about 10% higher than they have started this month (it has been a slow start at both stores this month).
We are very fortunate that the Whyte avenue store had good sales in January and February and it has covered the shortfall that the downtown store creates. Thank you to all our wonderful customers at both stores for supporting us. But it is struggling to keep up with the dip in sales we are presently experiencing at our downtown store and is also experiencing a sudden drop in sales.
I am hopeful that we will continue to increase the sales volume at our downtown store so that it does not come to a point that I have to terminate our lease. We can’t do this alone. We are here for you.
We just hired a new full-time Kitchen Manager and it is our intention to take our cafe to new heights. At present we are offering a limited amount of great food which is a great base to expand from. Stay tuned!
Traditionally, the summer months are our most challenging times, so we have to build up a little cushion to cover the drop in sales revenue. On Farmer’s Market days we do well at the downtown store but 4 days a month does not make up for the lost on all the other days.
Use Us or Lose Us Part 2 – The Finale!
The end of March will make three months of public notice that the downtown store is struggling financially and I think that will be enough to decide if the trend is on an acceptable path. We will see. One day at a time.
April 1st will be an interesting day.
I do not feel good about having to admit that we presently have a failing business, that I somehow am reaching out for a handout, or that I am a broken record. I want to ensure that everyone knows the situation and if there is not the interest in having a store such as ours in the downtown core then I am okay with that. I just don’t want to drag it out so that it is a detriment to the financial viability of the Whyte store and that I can feel good that I gave it a good shot.
Other things that may be of interest to you along this vein.
Here is a recent article about where our neighbourhood downtown is at and one about the lost of a neighbourhood grocery store (though we do not have the same kind time in the neighbourhood as the grocery store that is highlighted in the article).
Someone shared a video campaign about a similar store in Austin, TX. They are looking for a little bit of a cash infusion (30,000$US). Most of it is for infrastructure. Sounds like they are making enough money to stay in business but they are lacking the capital to finance some projects. I kicked in a small amount of money to help them out with their goal. Here is their link to their campaign page if you feel you can add some money to their campaign. I had also written to them about their metal containers, flowing coconut oil, and such but they did not respond. Pity.