When Covid-19 shut down the performing arts, it shut us down as well. It was time to reduce overhead. A big part of that was moving out of the space we've been in for 22 years. Way back in February when one of our customers found out we had to move, he made an offer we couldn't refuse. He bought everything from wall to wall. Now there is nothing left of my little store; no store fixtures, no shelves, no inventory, no makeup, no projects, no nothin'. Well, I do have a few dozen boxes of corporate records I have to keep until the statute of limitations runs out.
Now, to most this would seem like a sad story, but I must be honest. I've been in the entertainment business since 1986. That's a lot of props, supplies, books, molds, things to repair, papers and more papers. Walking into a room was not pleasant because it was like walking into the “Den of Unfinished Projects”. Hundreds of them. Everything had value either monetarily or in terms of sentimental value. Almost everything needed parts or repairs. When I sold everything I suddenly had to let go. I had to prove to myself that I was not a hoarder. I am happy to say that I am not.
What's next? I still plan to sell a few things as I build up my inventory, but I'm never going to carry a big inventory ever again. I do need to make a living but I also have to be realistic with this Covid thing. The sales are not there and may never return. The roots of my company were always about “difficult to find items.” As we grew we got sidetracked and started becoming a shop that had everything, which is the death of many a company because you have to hire really smart people who know about everything. I want to get back to innovation rather than worry about cheap prices.
Our inventory. Right now of course I have nothing, but it's nice to start over with fresh product from time to time. I am not bringing everything back. What goes and what stays depends on the market. Right now the market is very soft for all things related to the performing arts, or anything with a big crowd. Some of our haunt, mini-golf and laser tag customers have reopened and are doing well. We'll just have to see. It's unlikely I'll bring back latex rubber until I have at least a half-drum pre-sold.
Our time line. Right now I am in a position to help many of my old customers. I just can't fill rush orders because I don't have anything in stock. I can take your order by phone. Our online ordering system is still down. Everything depends on when live performances return. Right now its not even a trickle, but most I talk to are optimistic about the fall. I also need time to do some legal work, find a new place and relax a little! Until then I'm working out of my mom's basement.
Aren't you glad you are an artist? Aren't you glad you're not greedy? Every time I get a call from a certain element of society I think to myself, man, all those people think about is money. They are parasites and predators. How lonely and unfilled their lives must be especially the ones who have thrown away the golden rule and process people like they are a commodity – something to be harvested. I'm glad I'm an artist and creator. (And yes, that is why I adore my talented customers.)
Well, time to end my blathering. Thanks for visit. Please don't forget us.
Warmest Regards, Steve Biggs 4-1-21