Right, How Do I Close My Shop?

(108 Posts)

I think I've pretty much decided that I will close when the lease is up in October.

I've got a total of £20k debt (in loan and credit card) to pay off, as well as bills and invoices until I close.

How do I make sure that all this wonderful stock that no one wants to buy goes before my deadline of 24th October?
How do I close?
How do I close all my accounts? (and yes, I'm pretty sure that I'll have to pay get out fees for phone line and utilities)

I feel fucking gutted.

Will I need counselling or will two weeks' worth of solid sobbing be sufficient?

BigStickBIWI Fri 31-May-13 12:07:43

Oh no! I'm so sorry to hear this sad

No practical advice though, I'm afraid.

Pootles2010 Fri 31-May-13 12:13:07

Oh I'm terribly sorry sad your shop looks lovely as well. Sadly no pratical advice - our town lost its lovely bookshop last year.

However, they've opened up in what was a rubbish gift shop of our local gardens (lots of families go there, they have little tea rooms etc) and they're doing much better now on a smaller scale, with the increased footfall. Would anything like that be possible for you?

Tee2072 Fri 31-May-13 12:17:50

Oh I'm so sorry. That totally sucks. I think you need to speak to a professional on this one.

I'm sorry to hear this, have you name changed or have I got the wrong person?

is that professionals that charge for time? Can't afford that sad

thank you smile

Pootles - i know the shop, it was lovely. (begins with P right? and the gardens are B?) I will probably think about it later in life, but for now I just can't do it. I haven't got enough money/free cash (see OP) to move. they were very lucky in doing that, but I don't have that freedom. sad

April - name change - if you're on a pooter, you can hover smile

Badvoc Fri 31-May-13 12:22:32

I am sorry.
What sort of stock is it?
Could you set up an amazon and e bay shop?

Tee2072 Fri 31-May-13 12:24:45

Are you a limited company? Because I think there are rules/laws about this sort of thing if you are.

HMRC should be fairly quiet this time of year, I'd give them a ring.

Steffanoid Fri 31-May-13 12:26:13

setting up an eBay shop may be best to clear stock thats nor been sold when the lease is up
sorry your shop has to close sad

books, mainly.
I've got some toys and games workshop

got listings on amazon, but not ebay (because everytime I do, it doesn't sell and I get charged for listing anyway hmm)

no, just sole trader. All I have to do is make sure that I pay all outstanding bills and invoices

thanks Steff I'm sorry too sad

I'll just keep Amazon listings until it's gone enough to clear the debts.
(and keep my website open)

DD is going to have the best fucking book collection the world has ever seen.

DH is not so keen, because our house is tiny and a lot of my personal crap is in the upstairs storage rooms at the shop!

MrsKwazii Fri 31-May-13 12:32:03

No advice, but really sorry to hear this x

CajaDeLaMemoria Fri 31-May-13 12:34:17

Do you have limited liability for any debts etc? Because if you do, I think you'll need to notify administrators, who will then seize stock and use it to pay off the owed money as much as possible. HMRC will be able to guide you through that if you call them.

If you are a sole trader, you'll just need to make sure you can pay the debts. Read stock agreements carefully: you may be able to send stock back to some suppliers, or they may want it back if you cannot pay within 30 days/need a repayment plan etc. Check the small print.

I'm really sorry. This sounds so sad. If you can afford a counsellor, I think it'd be valuable. This type of thing is sure to leave a mark.

BiscuitMillionaire Fri 31-May-13 12:38:37

Might it be possible to sell your stock on to another bookshop at a discount?

If you have a lot of children's books, could you ask the local schools if you can do a book fair in the school hall and pay them a percentage of profits? Our school here (abroad) has done this with a local bookshop. To encourage a love of reading in the pupils? Win-win situation. The school could promote it for you in their newsletter etc.

what's limited liability for debts? No, the loan is personal and the credit card is personal. It's not secured to anything.

I can send back 5% of my stock to most suppliers, and have already been doing this on a termly basis (ie, you can return stock that's older than 3months old, but no older than 15months)
All stock that is more than 30 days old has been paid for, so belongs to me and no one can claim it. (any returns are done for credit on my account, so in theory, I can use returns to pay my final account bills if there are any)

Biscuit - good tips. I haven't looked into selling onto another shop yet, but I don't think the schools would help - it's their complete and utter lack of use that I'm in this mess in the first place.
In a town where there are 38 schools (of all ages, not including colleges and nurseries), half are on my books and only 5 buy books from me at all (and I include specifically sending pupils to me for events or book buying)

sorry, 39 schools

BiscuitMillionaire Fri 31-May-13 14:22:17

Oh that's a shame. But might it be worth trying to sell the idea to them as a fund-raiser for their school? Instead of asking the school to spend money on your books, you offer them a percentage of the profit on books bought at the fair on their premises? At my kids' school, they even sent home a mini-catalogue you could order from.

tried it.
they're not interested in anything sad

that's what i don't understand.

MrsKwazii Fri 31-May-13 14:52:52

Would it be worth contacting the local paper to do a story about how a fabulous independent bookseller may have to close? Could increase footfall for a while maybe?

They've done that.
In March, I got a lot more custom, and everyone said how sad.
but April and May have been back to crap again.

And they keep putting me in the paper (I'm in the retail association so they ring me whenever they need a quote because i'm the only one who will talk to them grin )

MrsMargoLeadbetter Fri 31-May-13 15:09:30

Sorry to hear this...

I second MrsKwazii's suggestion. Our local mag featured a local electrics shop that was due to close due to lack of support. It has managed to keep open thanks to the publicity.

Approach some of the new free schools, they might not have their books sorted out? Although I guess being free they might not use the normal range.

Could you do 'Suspended Books' like the coffee (http://www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/04/24/suspended-coffee-caffeine-based-acts-of-kindness-_n_3145306.html) and people buy a book for themselves and then another for a local charity that can get the books out to those in need. You get paid for both and 2 books go. A campaign on social media might get the message out?

Fingers crossed something works to at least help you shift the stock/debt.

BigStickBIWI Fri 31-May-13 15:10:49

Could you get DH to leaflet everyone on his rounds? (Probably illegal ... grin) telling them that unless the shop gets more local support it will have to shut.

MrsMargoLeadbetter Fri 31-May-13 15:10:58

With link, arrhh

Sorry to hear this...

I second MrsKwazii's suggestion. Our local mag featured a local electrics shop that was due to close due to lack of support. It has managed to keep open thanks to the publicity.

Approach some of the new free schools, they might not have their books sorted out? Although I guess being free they might not use the normal range.

Could you do 'Suspended Books' like the coffee www.huffingtonpost.co.uk/2013/04/24/suspended-coffee-caffeine-based-acts-of-kindness-_n_3145306.html and people buy a book for themselves and then another for a local charity that can get the books out to those in need. You get paid for both and 2 books go. A campaign on social media might get the message out?

Fingers crossed something works to at least help you shift the stock/debt.

musickeepsmesane Fri 31-May-13 15:22:04

I closed my shop when we moved, couldn't afford the rent in the new town.

You need to do a stocktake. Is your stock worth £20k (at cost)? What is the biggest sale you can have? Can you make enough to cover your costs if you need to go to 50% off? If locals know you are going to close they will wait til the week before and swoop like vultures. You will make a shedload of money that final week.

I got rid of most ignoring boxes in loft for 5 years and then I went round other shops with remaining stock and sold it to them for cost.

Good luck, I still miss my shop. I am flirting with the idea of doing something in my front room - once you have had your own wee shop it kind of stays with you. flowers

PinkPepper Fri 31-May-13 15:23:42

I have no advice at all but I wanted to say I'm sorry to hear this. I often enjoyed reading about your shop.

MrsKwazii Fri 31-May-13 16:00:54

When my sister was a make-up rep she would take a stall to the local council offices at lunchtime and sell to the staff in the canteen area. She had to give 10% of her takings to the Chairman's Charity but did quite well out of it.

Or stalls at local summer fetes? Depends how much they'd cost though I suppose, and if you had cover for the shop too.

MrsKwazii Fri 31-May-13 16:07:45

Or a voucher deal with the local paper - buy one book and get another half price? Or a deal with the local NCT that they promote to members?

Want2bSupermum Fri 31-May-13 16:18:35

Couple of things to consider:

1 - Can you sublease your space or speak to your landlord about ending the lease early - ie June 30th - 15th would be better. I do this on a regular basis. Once you tell the landlord you are looking at claiming bankruptcy as there are no assets to repay creditors they will start being a little more flexible.

2 - Inventory - Assume it is all books from the posts. Do an item by item count of what you have. Put it in a spreadsheet so you have it in detail - Author, title, cost and quantity. List on Amazon, Ebay and also see if you can set up at schools. Now you know your cost, get quotes for a consolidator to buy your stock. Send them the excel spreadsheet (without your cost prices of course!) and try to neigotiate with their offer. Expect them to offer you 50% of your cost but aim for 75-80%.

3 - Start applying for jobs now. You need a job to tide you over and provide income to repay your debts. Speak to your creditors and see if they can lower your interest rate on the debt. Job wise - this is a short term gap to provide income while you figure out what your next step is.

Don't beat yourself up. You tried something that very few people try to do and the vast majority of people who go into business see at least one of their babies pass. I work in the reorg business and have seen a business die and the owner go on to be successful in another business they have started or career they have gone into. Don't wallow in your own self pity. It doesn't accomplish anything. Pick yourself up, dust yourself off and learn from the experience.

BigStickBIWI Fri 31-May-13 16:47:00

Aww. She's allowed to be sad, Want2bSupermum!

"Could you get DH to leaflet everyone on his rounds? " done done done (he's only got 400 rounds, and other posties have also helped, but they're allowed to help if they choose to and not to take the piss - which means that Christmas catalogues is more than enough)

"Approach some of the new free schools, they might not have their books sorted out? " - have done that - I do a mailing out to all the schools every term or so (fed up of them ignoring them quite frankly)
All the new free schools in this area are academies made out of existing schools. There is a company (one-man band) that supplies secondary schools and I've teamed up with her (because it's cheaper for her to buy books from me from my supplier than it is for her to buy the books directly) in the last few months. I might keep doing that with her when she closes. (it won't be a "wage" though)

I'll look at your suspended books thing

music My stock is worth is worth about £40k at cost. I will still have the overheads to pay until I close as well as selling the stock. can't afford to do less than 30% discount really (probably even 25% is maximum) in order to pay for everything that needs to be covered.

MrsK - school fetes are a waste of time round here - they give me a stall, right next to a second hand book stall selling books at 10p each! then they wonder why I don't get more sales on the day! hmm
even when there's not another bookstall, parents send their kids in with a couple of quid, they don't want to pay shop price for a book (for favoured schools, I will put special prices on, but that makes the books so close to Cost that there's absolutely no benefit in doing it)
and yeap, no cover for the shop!

SuperMum - can't sublease space, not allowed in contract. no point ending the lease early, I need time to sell the stock (and there are a couple of events in the summer coming up) besides which, I don't actually want to close, so closing early would just be too much to handle, emotionally.
Inventory changes every day, so would be a total waste of time. I have a database (an Epos system) so I know everything that comes in and everything that goes out - I don't need a spreadsheet.
I don't want a job - I've got a 17mo that I want to be with. If I got a job, I'd just be paying out for child care.
I want to be upset. I have put my entire life-savings into this shop (not to mention every ounce of passion and love that I have)

done NCT stuff, do an ongoing buy-one-get-one-free.

I don't want tips on how to save my shop, i just wanted to know what kind of sale prices i should do, when i should start my sale, how the hell i'm going to repair that roof and paint the rain-stained walls and ceiling hmm

BIWI Sat 01-Jun-13 14:05:25

Could you barter with a local tradesman or two? Some of your books in exchange for some work from them?

Oh I'm so sorry to hear this, Dh came in some time ago with DS who managed to rearrange your books, he thought you had a lovely independent shop, we'll all be so sorry when we have no independent retailers left.

them work for me you mean?
there's an idea...

thank you Dreams smile

MrsKwazii Sat 01-Jun-13 19:53:16

Just wanted to say again that I'm so sorry you're at this stage. It must be gutting ((()))

musickeepsmesane Sun 02-Jun-13 13:45:48

That is a lot of stock. Sounds like you will manage to at least break even. Are you able to put larger discount on the games? If memory serves there is not a lot of profit margin in books. How long have you been open? Can you sell the entire business as ongoing? I am making the assumption that you don't make enough to take profit/wage? I am also assuming that you will probably lose some of your initial investment? If not, it sounds like the business will become viable eventually. Is there a possibility that you could advertise the business for sale? That is what I did, never sold the business but sold the lease. Then I started with small discount sale in my final month, worked up to the big closing down 50% off. You will need to figure out a strategy for your sale. You will figure out the best the way to do that.

I am sorry you are closing, I love independent bookshops. How about an evening with friends, wine, coffee and paintbrushes to get rid of the waterstains?

Abra1d Sun 02-Jun-13 13:52:25

How about doing a kind of pop-up bookshop? So set up at different places at certain times of the year: summer holidays, Christmas, etc. Or would that be difficult because you'd have to keep hold of the stock?

I feel for you, I really do. And it f.cks me off when people use bookshops as a shopfront and scan in barcodes to get the books more cheaply from Amazon. Seriously unclassy behaviour.

Sorry you are in this position. Have you talked to the wholesalers to see if you can negotiate more than your 5% returns allowance? Maybe Have a chat directly with your rep. If you explain that you are closing and are in debt they may also take back the unpaid for stock from them rather than risk not being paid for it. Also approach the BA for advice (if you are a member) I'd start a sale at 20% off to get things moving, and get your returns sent back asap. Personally I'd try to clear everything even if that means making a loss on it rather than have masses of stock sitting round in boxes for years, but that depends on how proactive you would be at shifting it in the future. I know I'd box it up and never get round to doing anything with it.

the margin (with books, it's worked out as discount on RRP), is approx 40% (so a £5 book would have cost me £3)

With the toys and games it's closer to 50% (but that's not including VAT) - I'm VAT registered, so in theory I should be able to get money back on that.

Yup, no wage at all.
I will have been open 5 years in November.
I made a profit in the 3rd year, but then the budget that killed all of the chains had just been announced, and after that I was just throwing money away. I made a £6k loss last year. (after a £3k loss the previous year)
Problem was that the £3k loss year, I had put quite a bit of money into stock, so if I'd not had such bad sales that year (they dropped by over a quarter), then it would have been okay. And I don't know why, but last year, they didn't pick up, and although I starting spending a lot less than the previous year, it all just caught up with me.
and yes, all of my original capital has gone.

I am getting in touch with my reps today to cancel all New Title Orders.
But I'm going to keep my accounts open from my suppliers, because I will try to do those book sales in playgroups etc( like usborne at home) - yes, Abraid - a pop-up shop might be a good idea - they do little stalls in our local shopping centre.
I don't mind if I have stock left over at the end - it's all children's, so it will be good for DD's book collection as she grows wink
I just need to take enough in those closing down months to pay the debts and any outstanding bills.

it's about 6000 titles.
(it does include the toys)

"How about an evening with friends, wine, coffee and paintbrushes to get rid of the waterstains?"
good idea smile

annoyingly, I've got about 3 events coming up this summer where I'll be selling books (one of which is not children's books, so I'll be using a large part of my July-Sep returns allowance on that, if it's not successful)

Poledra Mon 03-Jun-13 13:01:39

Noooooooooo! Nickel, I'm so sorry it's come to this. No useful advice, just some sympathy for you sad

thanks sad

I knew it would have to, I just hoped it wouldn't.

it just wasn't enough sad

I've set the closing date as 12th October, but I'm going to keep open as mail order.

happyAvocado Mon 03-Jun-13 14:00:23

I feel sorry for you having to close your bookshop.
Would it be impossible to create an online bookshop with the stock you have?

thanks :0

no, i could do it. just probably wouldn't sell much of it...

Madcaplady Mon 03-Jun-13 14:21:10

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

thank you
I did get your PM (i though I'd replied to it confused - PMing from tablet doesn't always seem to work)

greenhill Mon 03-Jun-13 14:40:52

I'm sorry to see this, the high street won't exist in a few years time. It is terrible.

My DB works for a large chain but still says that customers come in handle the merchandise, ask tons of questions (relying on the staff's excellent technical know how) then say it is too expensive even with heavy discounts, interest free credit and extended warranties, then buy it online. His job has not felt safe for years.

High street shops only seem to be there for browsing now. sad


Want2bSupermum Mon 03-Jun-13 17:04:22

OP I am in the restructing business. Sometimes that involves closing a business but it can be us coming in and changing the direction of the business, ie changing product mix and/or going online.

I hear you that you don't want to close and that you don't want a job. I empathise and see the horror business owners go through when winding down their business. Through the fog it is difficult to be objective but right now is when you need to focus and think. Questions to ask yourself are:

What part of your business earns the highest margin?
Is your location the problem? Could the town help you by giving you free parking for your customers while you establish your business? (I have done this here in the US for local businesses and it works)

Who are your competitors? What is their highest margin items? What do they do that you don't do? What do you do that they don't do? Is it worth you doing this extra service/stocking these items?

Also think a little out of the box. Are there any local businesses you can hook up with? I hooked up a party planner, toy store and book store and they now all coexist in the same retail space (book store). The cost savings are huge and they attact lots more footfall. At the time everyone told me how it wouldn't work. Well it has worked out very well for them.

What part of your business earns the highest margin? toys i suppose

Is your location the problem? yes, i'm at the dead end of town. but the town is pretty low at the moment anyway. i don't want to go to another town because a)too far away and b) they already have what i offer
Could the town help you by giving you free parking for your customers while you establish your business? (I have done this here in the US for local businesses and it works) i wish. we in the retail association have gone on and on to the council about parking and they don't believe us.

Who are your competitors? this town: whsmith up the road. general amazon, nearby towns, waterstone's the works BBS
What is their highest margin items? they are all chains so they get better margins anyway. i'm books, so books always attract a similar margin no matter who you are.
What do they do that you don't do? nothing. i do everything they do. (except with amazon, of course, i don't back stab or devalue everything i sell) book tokens (amazon doesn't do book tokens), school accounts, fetes/fairs etc
What do you do that they don't do? i offer free postage, and i will deliver to local houses at request (so if they can't get out of the house i can still get their books to them) This Week Eleanor Loves, storytimes, events etc.
Is it worth you doing this extra service/stocking these items? it's always worth going the extra mile. free postage probably isn't worth it, but then amazon sells things a lot cheaper, so it's the only way i can compete.

Also think a little out of the box. Are there any local businesses you can hook up with? yes, this stuff works. i was trying to hook up with others - the big book and toy and general children's shop idea is one i'd love to do, but no one wants to commit to a lease at the moment, and as you've seen, i'm in a lot of debt with bit losses, so noone would want to gamble on me. i can't get any networking because i can't leave the shop.

happyAvocado Mon 03-Jun-13 17:36:09

have you got FB page?

happyAvocado Mon 03-Jun-13 17:38:22

lady up the road who does pottery opened her shop in the evenings to book clubs, societies meetings etc - would that be possible?

Xenia Mon 03-Jun-13 18:37:09

So no one would buy it?

So how do you close? Exactly as you are doing - giving notice periods exactly as all contracts require so you do not breach any contracts, letting people know, reading the contracts with the utility companies to check their terms (assuming you are not going to go bankrupt which does not look necessary), selling off what stock you can (approach other local book shops perhaps in case they would be interested) and perhaps right near the end have some kind of garage sale everything must go advertised in the local paper. If you make losses in this or next tax year remember you can set them against any other income eg from a new business you start or an employment job.

yes I've got a fb page

problem with evening stuff is thatit's a children's bookshop, so it doesn't really fit.

I'm sure inland revenue loves me - even in the year I made a profit, it was nowhere near big enough to cover the losses from previous years - they're going to be refunding tax for the rest of my working life grin

The trouble is if your customers wont go the extra mile to support you it is really demoralizing. I've looked at your website and you obviously have given loads of 'added value' to the shopping experience, but if they still turn round and buy from Amazon it's a kick in the teeth.
What can work is independents in small towns working together to build a culture of 'shop local', promoting eachother on social media, town wide events like Fiver Fest and Totally Locally to encourage people to think about spending money in there local economy and to understand how this benefits them. It takes a lot of time, organisation and energy though I do believe it is possible to turn round failing town centres, I appreciate you may feel this is too late for you.

happyAvocado Mon 03-Jun-13 20:48:42

I am not sure if it doesn't fit in - you have premises, why not make money from extra income.

Want2bSupermum Mon 03-Jun-13 21:19:18

First of all you need to know your numbers. 'Suppose' doesn't work in business. You need to know your margins and breakeven points.

How to drive footfall..... how about buy a toy get 20% off a book?

What is the cost for you to move to the better end of town? Is there any open retail space at that end of town? What revenue would you need to be in that location?

Can you join forces in your current shop space. When I put together the businesses I made them amend the lease for the book store (best location, largest space and most expensive to move). Are you able to reconfigure your store to accomodate them so you don't have to move? If it doesn't work out your lease ends in October anyway. If it does work you can show improved business and get a lease at the better end of town.

You need to get people walking through your door and support your business. The local store I worked with put on last minute activites if the weather is unsuitable for outdoor play or decamp to the local park to run their activities. They don't post on FB but email everyone who signs up with them (in person). They don't post on FB as they don't want to attract sex offenders and the like.

Another thing I had the book store do to is take pictures of the children and their parent(s)/caregiver and email it to the parents. The parents with a nanny love this. They use tadpoles as their distribution. Parents sign up and set up an account.

If you want this business to work you have to be 150% dedicated to it. There is always an opportunity there but not if you have a ho-hum approach (yes I am telling you off for not knowing exactly which items have the highest margin percentage and GBP wise).

Want2bSupermum Mon 03-Jun-13 21:25:56

I missed happyavocado's post. If you are not open in the evenings how are working parents supposed to buy stuff from you?

FYI - As a working parent I do my shopping before or after work, hardly ever on weekends and never during 9-5 midweek. Most of my shopping for DD and DS happens 8-10pm. DH stays home while I go gather.

Do you advertise your knowledge of helping parents pick books for their children? Are you able to work with parents who have dyslexic children or other SEN? Do parents know you have these services?

already got the shop local campaign.
and we've now got a proper town (retail association run but anyone can use it) website

I can't get the footfall no matter what I do.
I have events, storytimes, inpromptu storytimes, buy one get one free, great window displays, regular recommendations, open the shop in the evenings to uniformed groups (beavers/cubs/rainbows/brownies etc), do World Book Day everg year (even using a BA initiative to get fyrther visits from schools using a token scheme similar to WBD)- not one school has taken ne up on it, independent booksellers' week, christmas catalogues, book tokens, ebooks and ereaders...
even had the Gruffalo in september - the owners of tgd Big Gren Bookshop pulled in a favour and got him for me free (and in 2 months when he normally has a 2year waitjng list) - the day was a brilliant success - took £800on that day. but veryy little repeat custom.
can't get any authors, and even if I could the schools won't support me.

therereally is nothing else. I have done so much stuff and spent so much time and money on this stuff with very little financial return.

evenings- no shops in this town open after half 5 and most shut at 5.
I shut at half 5, by which time the town is dead.

no one opens on Sunday, even the chains. (newsagents open until lunch)

I don't even take £300 on a Saturday. this Saturday, I had 15different customers (19 transactions) and took £290. one lot of custom was from my mum and dad.
average transaction of £13 There.

although a lot morepeoplefamilies walked past.

I know my numbers and margin and daily takings and expenditure inside-out.
there is no mo ey left.
at all.
if there was, or even a hope that moving up the town was workable I would do it.
I would need about £6k to move (deposit, lease, legal fees) and my rates would increase by at least 2x. I don't have 6grand. I don't even have enough to pay my suppliers. or my rent which is due at the end of this month.
you know how you're suppposedto make sure at the end oc the month you've got a share of the quarter's rent ready in your account? the last time that happened was 2 years ago. the last time I paid my rent on time was 2 years ago. it's been nearly a year si ce I paid it within 2 weeks of it being due.

Xenia Mon 03-Jun-13 22:03:16

That's a shame - life savings and all that work BUT most people who are successful in the end have a good few failures behind them so the next business venture you do could be very successful. Just use this as some kind of learning experience.

Want2bSupermum Mon 03-Jun-13 22:07:12

You need to go to people with what you have to offer. Have you walked around family areas and posted flyers through doors to advertise what you offer.

Let people know you are open on Sunday and see what happens. Do it for a month and see how it works. Try opening until late two nights a week for a month. If it doesn't work you can say you tried it.

sorry for short and lots of posts - reading digesting then replying smile

shop not big enough to join forces in space - only 400sqft.
I did have a musical group lady upstairs on a Wednesday, but there wasn't much space for buggies (or in the room itself - think your own front room) and after a year, she found a new location.
I even hosted a display of old photos for the museum,but again,being upstairs, all I got was whingeing that it was inaccessible to disabled and old people.

"(yes I am telling you off for not knowing exactly which items have the highest margin percentage and GBP wise)."
I do.
it aldo varies with every special offer (which I take up) I tbought you meant category.
with books, you tend to only have 1of each unless it's on a special offer.

I alsooffered a special deal to a book club- they have littlecards and get 20‰ off. tgeyalso write me reviews, which getput on the website (look under book reviews- bookie monsters) and also on shelftalkers in the shop. they've got their own logo, which is emblazoned on the reviews.

my scout/guide groups thing is advertised free on the local scout facebook page because one of my regulars is in charge of the district

mikkii Mon 03-Jun-13 22:15:22

Unique, I don't know where you are geographically, but you could approach an insolvency practitioner.

In my firm, I think we give an initial meeting for free,they would set your options out for you, and help you to progress. You may be able to reach an agreement with your creditors.

If you pm me with where you are, I can see if I can give you a name/number.

Sorry for the lack if sympathy, but practical assistance is my speciality. smile


I've given up. I really have. I'm going all out for the next few months, but I've exhausted everything. ican't afford to put any money into advertising all this - none of it has worked so far.
I'm exhausted and it's depressing me. I just can't keep going.
even after an article in the local paper that I was on the verge of closing, it didn't improve.
I can't keep going on last pushes to get recognize and I just have to draw a line under it before I have to go bankrupt.

I had a wonderful time being a bookshop proprietor and I will do it again.

thank you mikkii - s long as I can sell the stock I won't have to go insolvent.

and I havekept in touch with them, paying bit by bit aand using the credit card blush)

cloutiedumpling Mon 03-Jun-13 22:26:33

I'm so sorry. flowers

musickeepsmesane Tue 04-Jun-13 08:52:38

Unique sad Sounds like you have fallen to the recession. If you are at the quiet end of town that is hard at the best of times. I am aware of how busy shops are if I am walking down high streets, kind of a left over thing from having my own I suppose. It is very sad how many shops have no customers but the street has lots of pedestrians.
flowers and good luck

yup, I have. That's exactly it.


greenhill Tue 04-Jun-13 10:58:07

YY It sounds as if you have tried everything and have had some bad luck and got caught up in the recession.

I didn't mean to be so down about the high street in yesterday's post, so today have had a practical think for you: Is MN local busy for your area? Have you advertised your events on that? My local one (bucks) doesn't have much of a chat board but local library events etc. are posted on it. Also are you on MN's bloggers network? Could you talk about your bookshop on that?

Want2bSupermum Tue 04-Jun-13 15:25:16

I understand where you are coming from. It is very tiring and the one thing I always bring to my first meeting is a box of coffee because the owners/ management are so exhausted they can't think straight.

Get some sleep. Think about what you have learnt from this and good luck with your next business venture. What you need to do to close your shop is on here. I would also speak with CAB regarding your personal debt. They also might be able to help you with freezing the interest etc.

Good luck!


I am in the worst possible mood today - and I feel like all the "customers" have been time-wasters and cheapskates.
(not that many either)

And I think I already feel like I'm winding down and just don't feel like caring anymore.
This is my life and my passion - I love books more than anything else in the whole world, and I feel like I hate them at the moment. sad

I don't like coffee, it makes me feel sick. wink

yes, thank you ever so much for all the advice (everyone!) and the good wishes (and sad faces too)

I also had a call from the paper this morning asking if there was anything they could do, but it really is too late now.

and life goes on as normal until September, I suppose.

(the hardest thing is running down the stock - it is just so depressing knowing that I won't be ordering anything else for the shelves, and that I'll probably lose customers because I don't have How to Train Your Dragon for the next 4 months)

Xenia Tue 04-Jun-13 17:41:23

Something else will emerge - a new business idea or venture and what you learned with the book shop may well be useful for that.

greenhill Wed 05-Jun-13 19:53:18

How are you feeling today unique?

I looked at your website, it is great. Was it busier today?

BIWI Wed 05-Jun-13 20:31:16

I have some friends who emigrated to Australia, and set up a business there dealing in books.

Their first venture was selling second hand books, in markets - in Australia new books are prohibitively expensive. Then they moved into a shop, to get out of the market environment (no doubt fed up with being too hot or too cold and wet too often!) But that was also very expensive. So they started a business then selling books in shopping malls - took a stall in any shopping mall where there wasn't a 'fixed' book shop. Overheads were much lower. They then developed this so that they managed the process (buying stock, organising distribution, etc) and had teams of people dispatched to the various malls around Sydney. Is this something that you could consider?

it hasn't been busier at all sad

i had an article in the paper yesterday (weekly paper)

the only shopping centre round here has market stalls available, but they're £3000 a quarter (so the same as you'd pay in rent!)
and some random woman has set up a frigging remainders bookstall in there.

greenhill Sun 09-Jun-13 09:49:33

Have you had a better weekend unique?

How irritating that someone has set up a rival bookstall, are there other toy shops around too?

An independent toy shop closed here because Toys R Us did a pop up Christmas shop in the local shopping centre and took 85% of their trade away. The shop manager was bitter because she'd lost all her experienced assistants and would have to return to the original store (5 miles away) as an assistant there.

Since we've had a new shopping centre built, the old parts of town have emptied and the shopping arcades have either emptied or filled with phone shops or charity shops. Big chains have folded too, of course.

I hope people come and buy lots at your summer events x

BIWI Sun 09-Jun-13 10:49:12

Do you have a database of customers? Can you send out an e-mail with this week's offers? I know you do a lot with your Facebook page, but perhaps you need to go to them, rather than them coming to you, IYSWIM. (Sorry if you already do this - just trying to think of some more ideas!)

BIWI Sun 09-Jun-13 10:50:53

Could you also run a competition? e.g. spend £x amount (a reasonable figure, say £10?) for the chance to win a bundle of books of your choice, worth £x. Anyone spending £x gets their name put into a hat and you make the draw a week or so later - and get the local paper to cover both the competition and the drawing of the name out of the hat.

no other toy shops!
angry at Toys r Us

had a few comments on a facebook page that they thought i'd already closed. knew it was a bad plan to allow the paper to run a story... hmm

took £149 on Saturday.
but a friend of mine runs a War Gaming event each year and gave me a free table to sell Games Workshop - so I took £75 there on Sunday

I do have a customer database but don't take email addresses. so all the emails I have are from mail order customers - I did a round robin email to them a couple of weeks ago. (no response of course...)

People here don't like competitions where you have to buy something to take part - they really do want something for nothing!
we've got a 12-shop prize draw taking place at the moment - it'll be drawn on Carnival Day.
We've also roped in a local artist to paint a courtyard wall for us on Carnival Day (me and the cafe next door - they're turning my courtyard into an outside cafe for them, with the theory that it'll attract mutual customers - I just like the fact I don't have to do anything and they look after my space!) - it should bring in a few people I hope!
The press will hear about that and hopefully will advertise it in advance.

greenhill Mon 10-Jun-13 17:34:01

It sounds as if you doing all the right things and it's a symptom of the recession that things haven't improved yet for you.

Congratulations on doing well at the War Gaming event.

I hope you get a lot of publicity from Carnival Day and customers remember that you are still there. smile

Snog Mon 10-Jun-13 17:45:28

Maybe you can sell as a going concern?
Would be an easy option. Someone else may be keen to try their luck with your shop?

Snog if it were a going concern I wouldn't be closing, I would be carrying on. wink

(and i certainly wouldn't want anyone else to have it.)

Snog Tue 11-Jun-13 20:29:24

yes but someone else might think they can make a success of it when you can't?

yes, but i don't want someone else to make a success out of it.
it's not just any old shop, it's a book shop
this thing is personal - it's my dream, and i don't want anyone else to have it.

BIWI Wed 12-Jun-13 17:21:06

Snog - when you read what Unique has been doing (and the issues she has been facing) I doubt anyone could make a success of it.

Snog Wed 12-Jun-13 18:41:58

Its not a question of whether anyone could make a success of it though, its about whether someone else thinks they can make a go of it or fancies a try at it.
Plenty of folk have a running a bookshop dream and a bit of money to invest. And after all you may be right that if BIWI can't make a go of it nobody can, but there again you may be wrong.

greenhill Wed 12-Jun-13 20:27:43

Still sending support unique

I could make a go of it in different circumstances

thank you greenhill

I've signed up to take a stall at our christmas lights switch on day in November
I'm only going to be in hiding, not gone forever grin

greenhill Wed 19-Jun-13 22:31:57

I've seen some great posts from you in AIBU and some book related ones recently. You seem a bit more positive. Sorry haven't replied to you directly on them <I tend to lurk more than post, my wpm speed is very low now>

How are things?

MrsKwazii Thu 20-Jun-13 10:26:57

How are things going Nickel?

sad greenhill - I'm trying to use my public face wink

it's really bad - was gobsmacked that people think i've already closed, and business seems to have gone through the floor.

definitely the right decision!

I've had the quietest week in the world ever - but not even people walking past.

I did a fair on saturday (DH looked after the shop) and took £45 (but table was £10+ a raffle prize). DH took about £100 in the shop!

So far, my month is down £2630, with 9 days to make that (and that's not covering last month's shortfall)

the rent is due at the end of the month and I have just under £1K in the bank account.

(to put that in perspective, I've taken £1760 in the last 16 days, so basically need to at least double each day just to get the minimum budget required)

but on a positive note, a supplier has just rung to say /i should get a previously-not-applied discount so I might actually make a small margin on that school order!

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now