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-   -   Opening a shop, good idea? (http://tt.tennis-warehouse.com/showthread.php?t=448084)

cluckcluck 12-13-2012 08:32 AM

Opening a shop, good idea?
 
I've been kicking around the idea of opening a specialty tennis shop in my area. Unfortunately there's nothing around me except for the big box stores who, in my opinion, don't know squat about tennis.

I would offer a complete line of services, stringing, customization, etc.
Carry no more than 4 of each model racquet, some balls, and shoes.

Have any of you opened a shop? What's your experience been?

beernutz 12-13-2012 08:56 AM

I haven't opened a tennis shop nor do I know anyone who has. In fact in my current city with a metropolitan population of over 600,000 people I don't know of a stand-alone tennis specialty shop in the area. Many of the clubs here have small pro-shops though and the local public tennis facility which is the largest in the world has a pretty good-sized pro shop. There are of course the big-box stores like Academy Sports and numerous generic sporting goods stores like Hibbetts but not a single separate tennis goods store.

I do have a good friend who opened a running specialty store and was successful at it though he worked his tail off to make it that way. By successful I mean he didn't go bankrupt like so many startup small businesses do but I have no idea how much he actually pulled in. His wife was an MD so they weren't exactly hurting for income.

Do you have any experience in managing a retail operation?

cluckcluck 12-13-2012 09:02 AM

A while back, I helped run my dad's furniture business, so I'm no stranger to the initial and ongoing costs of running a business (though this would be a one man operation).

Lucky for me, there are no tennis clubs that are relatively close to me (+/- 20 miles).

goran_ace 12-13-2012 09:28 AM

Good luck. Hard for shops attached to clubs to survive much less a stand alone shop. It's become too hard to compete with the online retailers. If there are no clubs within 20 miles of you, what do you think the size of your potential market is?

cluckcluck 12-13-2012 09:36 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by goran_ace (Post 7061398)
Good luck. Hard for shops attached to clubs to survive much less a stand alone shop. It's become too hard to compete with the online retailers. If there are no clubs within 20 miles of you, what do you think the size of your potential market is?

There's actually quite a few public courts, I would say about 20 courts in my area. They're almost always filled with people waiting. Not to mention the 4 high schools that have strong girls and boys teams.

goran_ace 12-13-2012 09:38 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cluckcluck (Post 7061273)
I would offer a complete line of services, stringing, customization, etc. Carry no more than 4 of each model racquet, some balls, and shoes.

Have any of you opened a shop? What's your experience been?

I helped manage the pro shop back at a club in my teaching days. In my experience it's hard to sell any equipment at full price. You just hope to clear out your inventory before the racket and shoe manufacturers release the next version and you really only make money on service. How do you plan to manage inventory consdiering different grip sizes? Only carry 4 3/8 rackets and special order other sizes or would you only carry 4 1/4 and then build up to size with heat shrink sleeves? What about shoes - so many shoe sizes.

nyc 12-13-2012 09:47 AM

I don't know where you live and how densely populated your area is, but in general, online retailers are massively taking over and specialty B&M shops can no longer survive. Shops are merely a showroom for online retailers like Amazon.

Additionally, I suspect that no more than 15-20% of the Tennis playing population frequently updates gear and apparel, and restrings racquets.

That seems to be a really small sliver of potential customers.

Not to poo-poo your idea, but there seems to be easier ways to make money if you want to run a shop. Like cupcakes.

cluckcluck 12-13-2012 09:55 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by nyc (Post 7061433)
I don't know where you live and how densely populated your area is, but in general, online retailers are massively taking over and specialty B&M shops can no longer survive. Shops are merely a showroom for online retailers like Amazon.

Additionally, I suspect that no more than 15-20% of the Tennis playing population frequently updates gear and apparel, and restrings racquets.

That seems to be a really small sliver of potential customers.

Not to poo-poo your idea, but there seems to be easier ways to make money if you want to run a shop. Like cupcakes.

Mmmmmmm cupcakes.

It's not like I'm going to run out and open a shop right away, I was just curious to know if it were a good idea. You're right in the sense that online is the overtaking traditional business. Even on online shop is hard to start I would assume, especially with the likes of TW ;)

nyc 12-13-2012 10:41 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cluckcluck (Post 7061448)
Mmmmmmm cupcakes.

Potential customer = everyone with a mouth

:)

The Meat 12-13-2012 02:16 PM

The only racquet shop that I found in Bradenton which you would expect to have a huge tennis base because of Bolleteri Academy, is just outside the academy. You need to be near a very tennis oriented community(large camps, a lot of courts, etc.) to stay afloat.

Chotobaka 12-13-2012 04:00 PM

Carrying a limited inventory will put you at a level that does not have favorable margins. It takes a considerable investment with each manufacturer to have decent margins (it is on a graduated scale based on purchases). Brick & mortar tennis shops are a very tough business these days.

Wikky 12-13-2012 04:37 PM

I've worked in 3 different tennis retail settings, never considered opening my own though. I can tell you its no cake walk, I'd say its a bare minimum 60-70 hour a week job even with additional staff.

zapvor 12-13-2012 05:20 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cluckcluck (Post 7061273)
I've been kicking around the idea of opening a specialty tennis shop in my area. Unfortunately there's nothing around me except for the big box stores who, in my opinion, don't know squat about tennis.

I would offer a complete line of services, stringing, customization, etc.
Carry no more than 4 of each model racquet, some balls, and shoes.

Have any of you opened a shop? What's your experience been?

location is key. where are you?

zapvor 12-13-2012 05:21 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by Wikky (Post 7062034)
I've worked in 3 different tennis retail settings, never considered opening my own though. I can tell you its no cake walk, I'd say its a bare minimum 60-70 hour a week job even with additional staff.

agree. 60hrs easy esp in the beginning

SoBad 12-13-2012 05:28 PM

Given your prior hands-on experience and knowledge of the local market, you are in the best position to decide, but on the face it sounds like a viable undertaking. True, many standalone tennis shops have gone out of business in recent years because of online competition, but many of those were very poorly managed by greedy people.

kimguroo 12-13-2012 06:18 PM

Opening a tennis shop might be very challenge nowadays because the competition is very tough against online stores and big chain companies.
If you buy small quantities from manufacturers or whole sellers, they will give you much higher prices. Even though you sell rackets for MSRP, your margins might not be high. Samething goes to every items such as apparels and shoes.
Stringing might be also challenged by local stringers too.
Monthly rent and operating cost will put you into more pressures every month.

asusundevils1971 12-13-2012 06:43 PM

Open A Store!!!
 
The first thing is to do a business plan. You will need to know your customer base and who is the competition in your area. How much does the customer base spend on tennis equipment per month/year, also how much money does your customers make in a year. You will need the manufacturers to sell you the equipment at wholesale and also letters/email stating that they will sell you the equipment at that price. There might be other places that won't sell you equipment because they have contracts that will not let them sell you the equipment in the same area. Also the manufacturer on what you want to carry might make you order a lot of stock to get the discount on materials. That is just the tip of the iceberg... I did a business plan for my small business management class in college and it was 30 pages. There is a reason most start ups fail within the first three years in business. All the best if you go through with the business idea.




Quote:

Originally Posted by cluckcluck (Post 7061273)
I've been kicking around the idea of opening a specialty tennis shop in my area. Unfortunately there's nothing around me except for the big box stores who, in my opinion, don't know squat about tennis.

I would offer a complete line of services, stringing, customization, etc.
Carry no more than 4 of each model racquet, some balls, and shoes.

Have any of you opened a shop? What's your experience been?


AlfaAce 12-13-2012 09:39 PM

Quote:

Originally Posted by goran_ace (Post 7061417)
...and you really only make money on service.

^^^Did you catch that nugget? Maybe to get started you might consider "servicing" all those prospective customers with... stringing. You can do this from your home (read: no overhead), advertise at all the local courts, high schools and colleges (offer discounts to students and educate them about the importance of fresh strings and new string technology - maybe even a "coffee card" where you "string 9 racquets get your 10th free" type deal).

If you do this (or any business for that matter), just remember one thing... "The customer is KING."... without them you don't get paid. Bend over backwards to deliver quality/professional/prompt/delivered with a smile/fix it with a smile S-E-R-V-I-C-E. Remember, word-of-mouth is the BEST form of advertising.

Customer service is a lost art :(.

AELTC 12-14-2012 07:08 AM

There's a successful tennis shop (they've been in business a long time; I don't how profitable they are) in Bloomfield NJ called Hapward's. The guy runs it out of his garage, though, so that probably helps expenses-wise.

lwto 12-14-2012 10:47 AM

Quote:

Originally Posted by cluckcluck (Post 7061273)
I've been kicking around the idea of opening a specialty tennis shop in my area. Unfortunately there's nothing around me except for the big box stores who, in my opinion, don't know squat about tennis.

I would offer a complete line of services, stringing, customization, etc.
Carry no more than 4 of each model racquet, some balls, and shoes.

Have any of you opened a shop? What's your experience been?

Where do you live? Can tennis be supported 12 months of the year?
Stringing will be the backbone of your or any tennis shop, need a good string machine with appropriate attachments.
Get into the right programs with your distributors
Sell high
buy low.


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