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Old 01-21-2009, 07:48 PM
Location: Marshall-Shadeland, Pittsburgh, PA
31,290 posts, read 69,849,965 times
Reputation: 16923


Good evening, my fellow City-Data friends!

At some point in the future I would like to become an entrepreneur, opening a running-oriented store in the downtown business district of either Scranton, PA or Wilkes-Barre, PA. As an avid runner here myself there is no local outlet here for serious runners and casual runners alike to meet, converse, and shop for their necessities, and I'm hoping to become successful by catering to this untapped niche market.

I've spoken to numerous people who think this would be worthwhile to have operational in our area, and my goal is to sign the dotted line either on a lease agreement or to purchase a commercial building by my 30th birthday (I'm 22 now). Some things I'd sell would include (but not be limited to):
  • Nike Shocks (and other comfortable shoes meant for high-performance and high-endurance activity).
  • iPods and iTunes gift cards.
  • Socks (Including thermal ones for our cool climate)
  • Foot warmers
  • Antiperspirants
  • Sunscreen
  • Bottled water, energy drinks, Vitamin water, etc.
  • Supplements
  • Dumbbells
  • Wrist ID holders
  • Belt-clip water bottle holders
  • Thermoses
  • Running apparel
  • Shaving cream/razors (for those sleek legs)
  • Running-oriented magazines and books
  • Treadmills

I'd also keep my business "fresh" by frequently updating my web site (which would also serve as a second retail outlet for those who don't wish to drive to our physical store), a mailing list informing patrons of upcoming promotional offers and special events, occasional appearances by notable runners and local athletes, and weekly free seminars given by paid dietitians and personal trainers with the anticipation that those who attend will be more inclined to take up running as a serious hobby (and turn to my store for all of their needs, telling their friends in the process). I'll also sponsor numerous banners along the route of the Steamtown Marathon, our annual hometown race, and I also hope to create the NEPA Runners' Guild, which will be a group that will form that will take weekend trips to state parks and other points of interest throughout the region, fostering friendships and a greater love of running.

Is anyone on this forum currently operating a similar sort of business? If so, any sort of advice you can offer to me would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 01-21-2009, 08:37 PM
Location: So. of Rosarito, Baja, Mexico
6,781 posts, read 19,561,615 times
Reputation: 6364
Respect your enthusiasm...you have a long way to go.

Opening any kind of business in any area is fine. It may survive or fold in six months.

Forget buying a bldg...just rent in order to get your feet wet just in case.

Clientile may come your way via advertising too begin with.

After being in business for two or more yrs and established you can think about being a sponser.

Selling "NAME BRANDS" is okay but do not rely strictly on them.

Bottom line is "MONEY" (lots of it)

You will have to pay CASH for your Inventory until your volume gets to the point where your whlse purchases are steady and the suppliers allow you a 30-90 credit line.

I was in the Inventory field for 23 yrs and owned my own company 15 of those yrs so am familiar in what you are considering.

Your list of items is nice...question is would you have the CASH to pay for all of that up front.

You would have many items that are not fast moving items as in any retail operation thus money would be tied up in stock which is paid for based on a CASH purchase.

Then you have the overhead...rent...phone...taxes...license...utilit ies etc down the line.

What about employees?...1-3 maybe depending on location...someone has to be at the cash register.

Could go on a lot more. No one is going to tell you how to run a business that maybe would be in competition with them...across the street or in another part of town.

Have talked with many owners in 23 yrs and have just about seen it all.

Win the lottery and go for it. Steve
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Old 01-23-2009, 10:46 AM
28,461 posts, read 75,137,154 times
Reputation: 18518
Some very useful links:

Title Nine CEO Missy Park Talks About Taking Risks, Building A Brand, And The Transition To Retail

The Millionaire Mind by Thomas J. Stanley

Summary: If you want to be a successful entrepreneur take appropriate risks, don't do what everyone is doing, be very careful with your money, not out of fear, but out of a sense of responsibility / committment to be successful...
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Old 01-23-2009, 06:01 PM
Location: Knoxville, TN
2,172 posts, read 7,069,703 times
Reputation: 1527
Prepare by taking advantage of all the help the Small Business Administration has to offer.
http://www.sba.gov/ (broken link)
Go to seminars, classes.
Learn everything you can about marketing, both traditional and guerilla marketing.
Guerrilla Marketing Online - The Official Site of Guerrilla Marketing and Jay Conrad Levinson
Get a part-time job at a small local store and learn about inventory tracking, selling, customer service, etc. It doesn't matter what you sell as long as you're learning the priniciples behind the operation.
Attend National Sporting Goods conventions and workshops. Network. Talk to owners of small stores, find out the good, bad and ugly of running a running store.
Welcome to NSGA - National Sporting Goods Association
You can be successful if you are willing to work at learning how to run a successful business.
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