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An Institution Brick & Mortar Store Closing In Massachusetts

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Posted 10/04/2019   3:57 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
...I still miss the human contact...


Agreed, this is one lesson that I never seem to be able to learn.

I miss face-to-face socializing with others, so I go out for a while and socialize, then I realize why I enjoy staying home.

Even shopping seems to jerk me back to reality. The other day we (wife and I) went to a local furniture store to purchase two new recliner chairs for the media room. Since we previously were a small retail store owners, we try to support the small B&M stores and avoid big box stores.

We walk onto a large show room floor and start looking around. Instead of walking to us, greeting us, and understanding why we were there...a person shouts across the length of the show room floor 'Can I help you?'.

Sales 101 - Never open with 'yes/no' question. More times than not the customer will reply 'no' which pretty much ends the conversation. Instead always start with an open ended question like 'How are you?' or 'what are you looking for today?'. Obviously this person, who was a store owners family member, was not interested in making a sale that day.

It does not matter if you are an online store or a local store, you cannot become burned out and stop doing customer service. I think that online transactions support a bit more distance between a buyer and seller but the most successful business owners will be the ones who provide great customer service.
Don
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Posted 10/04/2019   10:04 pm  Show Profile Check docgfd's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add docgfd to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Here's another nostalgia tidbit that can't be gotten off of the net and this one may seem a bit...odd, but its real. John Lawson's stamp shoppe in Knightsbridge, London was relatively small. As soon as you walked through the doorway, you were immediately greeted by a counter that could seat 4 or 5 collectors. On the other side, John, who would be wearing a tie and vest as was the (nice) custom back then, was surrounded by floor-to-ceiling shelves filled with albums and stockbooks from which one could shop. John's desk was near the back where he would sit and puff away on one of his cigars when it wasn't busy. OK so here's the odd part. Any of us who have been surrounded by old albums like in this store, or have even bought older collections, must be aware of how that old paper smells. I don't mean a moldy smell or maybe not even a 'musty one,' but old paper has its own intoxicating aroma. Add the smell of John's cigar to the mix and I so wish I could smell that exact combination again.
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Posted 10/04/2019   10:26 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Bud to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Don's comment about the furniture store visit reminds me that we have a service economy, the service pretty much sucks. Another reason I miss our old coin and stamp store in the local strip mall. Perhaps I romanticize my memories a bit, but not too much, I think.
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Posted 10/05/2019   12:03 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rismoney to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I have a local stamp and coin store in my neighborhood. I've been inside a couple of times and don't think they actually sell stamps. I bought some Vario pages once. I think it's some kind of gold/silver arb shop at this point.

The folks that work in there are just like at that furniture store, asking "whatdya want" in Brooklyn to Long Island NY stereotypical speak. No displays, no stamps in counters. Just a disheveled mess of albums stacked and collectibles strewn about. Not sure if those albums are for looking at, are just a storeowners hoard spillover or a recent acquisition. The whole experience, particularly as an introvert makes me uncomfortable to go back in there. The people who work there stare at you, like I'm the freak for walking in. What do I want? Whatdya got? Why's this place a mess? You're the freaks owning a weird stamp shop without stamps in 2019.

At the other end, I walked into the lone stamp shop in NYC and completely the opposite. While I didn't know what to do when I entered the door, they asked me if I wanted to see stamps. I was like sure! They asked me about my areas of interest and pulled books off their shelves with tons of stamps inside dealer sleeves. I didn't buy anything that day beyond some supplies as well, but it was a solid experience.

Nothing like the experience of walking up to a Gimbels counter 35 years ago, a Nassau St shop, or the local guy in my neighborhood who loved seeing kids come in and subsequently gave a few cheap stamps with every order for free.

Unscrupulous dealers were abound but this wasn't fully realized until later.

I do think stamp stores could make a comeback, but the ones I've seen are not doing new collectors any service. It needs to be more Apple Store (modern, high tech showrooms, with ppl) and less Sears (run down, broken treadmills, and no help around)




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Edited by rismoney - 10/05/2019 12:10 am
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Posted 10/05/2019   01:09 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ikeyPikey to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
... But, I'll tell ya what, you write the code so SCF can send a donut (I prefer jelly) and a steaming hot cup of coffee (light, no sugar) through my laptop to help create that ole tyme stamp store feeling, and I'll become a true believer !...


So, you want a [DONUT] button next to the [DONATE] button?

DoorDash is the Official Delivery Partner for Dunkin Donuts. SCF can maintain a non-public-facing database of member street addresses. The ordering system can include a facility to confirm that you are available to receive your gift, so that the donuts do not get stale and the coffee does not get cold.

As with all things, it is easy to say how easy it would be ... as long as you are not the one who would have to do it.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey (whose nearby Dunkin Donuts serves as that neighborhood's other senior center)

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Posted 10/05/2019   05:38 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Mike33 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I grew up in the town over from Ephraim's and made many trips down there until I moved away in the early 80s. I only live 90 miles or so away now but had only been back once, maybe about 20 years ago.

Sad to hear they are closing as it's another piece of my childhood gone forever
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Posted 10/05/2019   06:06 am  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add angore to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
I just do not see how there is a enough business volume for a stamp store these days to cover the cost of one employee and rent let alone ma second employee. If the shop has an online/mail order aspect, then it can be possible. The other aspects are foot traffic, operating hours (9 to 5 will limit), available parking, and location.










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Al
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Posted 10/05/2019   08:54 am  Show Profile Check orstampman's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add orstampman to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
As a kid in 3rd to 5th grade, there was a local stamp store that I became "employed" to help sort stamps and find "valuable" ones to let the dealer know. He paid me in stamps... I was in heaven!

The costs to run a brick/mortar store are surely too much to compete with the amount of internet traffic, and diminishing foot traffic.

OTOH, if there is too much volume to reasonably organize in a person's home, or if the business is in a part of a person's home, one may still reasonably include a brick/mortar presence as part of the business model. However, this will never generally be a growth area. Until/unless shipping costs make things too prohibitive, the internet business will be/remain the primary sales channel (Besides auctions, of course).

I must admit that I, also, miss the human contact... But there are still shows in most regions to get that (as well as the regular sales bourses).
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Posted 10/05/2019   12:15 pm  Show Profile Check Nells250's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add Nells250 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
The Internet is a cold, impersonal thing... nothing is like thumbing through boxes of stamps... or in my case, postcards, ephemera, etc. As a shy person who has trouble with crowds, it is the only way I can get out and about with people who have the same interests. You can learn from dealers, and joke with other collectors.

Many times I find the Internet to be more of a stress-inducer than a help...
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Posted 10/05/2019   12:27 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add Ireland2018 to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Unfortunately, the internet is cold and impersonal. I'm a introvert and I much rather look at stamps in person. I also get that stamp collecting is not as popular as it use to be, correct if I'm not right. To bad stamp dealers could not share a space with another business such as a collectable dealer or something similar to help on expenses.
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Posted 10/06/2019   2:56 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ikeyPikey to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply

Quote:
... To{o} bad stamp dealers could not share a space with another business ...


I know what you mean; there is a crystals/etc shop on 14th Street in Manhattan that has a Genuine Fortune Teller in her own booth in the back.

But, at this point, what retail business would want to be associated with something as archaic & out-of-date as stamp collecting?

Certainly not an antiques or collectibles dealer; they would not want to be seen as being a little too 'antique' themselves.

Howzabout a laundromat? The stamp dealer could help pay their way by selling the soap & chasing off the junkies ... and have a nice side business in de-humidifiers, to boot.

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey
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Posted 10/06/2019   2:58 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
Collocate with Chinese restaurant or massage parlor or combination thereof.
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Posted 10/06/2019   3:01 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add ikeyPikey to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
'
Hmm ... not sure I'd want customers handling stamps & chop suey ... the stamps would get all sticky ...

... of course, that would not be a problem in a massage parlor, now would it?

Cheers,

/s/ ikeyPikey
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Posted 10/06/2019   3:35 pm  Show Profile Bookmark this reply Add rogdcam to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
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Posted 10/06/2019   3:56 pm  Show Profile Check 51studebaker's eBay Listings Bookmark this reply Add 51studebaker to your friends list  Get a Link to this Reply
There are a number of possibilities...
A stamp shop and a Chinese restaurant - "Tongs and Chop Sticks"
A stamp shop and a Psychologist Office - "Hinged and Unhinged"
A stamp shop and a Taxidermist shop - "Mounted"
A stamp shop and a Confetti store - "Bits of Paper"
A stamp shop and Detective Agency - "Gum and Gum Shoes"
Don
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