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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Tricky business » » Why do you think magic shops don't last long (4 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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magicmax1
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I think its that the internet is so big and all the magic shops on the internet have thousands of items to choose from and you can shop from your home. that's my two Cents on this subject.

-Max
Magicray69
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1.) The core market is too limited.

2.) A Metro location is necessary, however the overhead to do so is prohibitive.

3.) The prolification of magic apparatus, DVDs, books is too great these days. This would take a huge inventory and tie up $$$$$$$$ with minimum return on investment. Turnover would not justify the inventory necessary.

4.) Competing price wise with Internet magic shops that have little overhead would be impossible.

5.) Long hours and small net profits, if any, causes eventual burn-out.

PM Brad Burt. He is an expert on this topic.
There was a time I had the blues,

the reason was I had no shoes.

Until I met upon the street

a man who had no feet.
Sammy J.
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What is sad to me is that if it wasn't for the brick and mortar shop, I would have missed out on what I love. I stumbled into a magic shop 30 years ago, with no agenda, curiosity or desire. I left with an invisible deck. That was the start of one of the most fulfilling parts of my life. I can't help but wonder how many potential magicians will never appear because they never stumbled into a shop to discover that this is something they could enjoy and love.
Sammy J. Teague
Review King
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A real magic shop that builds long term relationships will always be around. I hear
Morrissey Magic in Toronto, Williams Magic in Tucson, Denny & Lee in Rosedale and Las Vegas and others are like that.

I've been to shops that were staffed either with rude, over bearing sales creeps, or people that had no interest in magic at all. They go out of business because no one feels comfortable spending time in them.
"Of all words of tongue and pen,
the saddest are, "It might have been"

..........John Greenleaf Whittier
ku7uk3
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I owned a magic market stand for 3 months. It just broke even before I decided to close it down and go entertain at a holiday camp instead.
The magic barely sold, and I only made the money from selling stink bombs to kids.

Since I only broke even on my product costs, I practically worked three months without getting paid, and still only had one box left with stock in. There is simply no money to be made from selling magic in a shop.

As anyone ever thought about creating a Christmas catalogue for magic and posting it to all their past clients...

Steve
Rick Fisher
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Rick Fisher
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As an owner of a 7000 square foot magic shop I can tell you that being diverse is the key....we manufacture our own items, have a very large retail shop with a theater...to be successful you need a good online presence,your own line of exclusives, wholesale items, and yes, in my opinion, a real store. It is so easy these days to open an internet only store..heck anyone can do it! Unfortunately these folks come and go and the owners of the sites usually have limited knowledge of magic. These sites put anything and everything on their site - without first looking at the product - as long as it makes a buck. Then the consumer gets 'burned'. Do we look at everything? No way possible but I make a concerted effort to list and stock only the items that are commercial/well made/user friendly and reasonably priced. We take pride in knowing when a customer has a question about an item they will FIRST AND FOREMOST get an honest answer before the sale is made! Isn't that the way it is supposed to be??? This business is a labor of love for me - as I know it must be for Denny and others - I cannot wait to go to bed at night knowing I can wake up (God willing) to my dream - 6 years and I haven't encountered not one bit of burnout...just the opposite actually.We are bucking the trend...looking for ways to open branch shops across the U.S. - the magic shop is needed - and us 'old timers' want and need them - it is our heritage - our roots - and we must find a way to keep it alive.
Rick Fisher, President FAB Magic

"One of the largest magic shops in the world!"

www.fabmagic.com
Al Angello
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I would like to add that Rick Fisher's shop is in Colon Mi. which doesn't have a convience store, or a red light, but it has three magic shops. Rick is sucessful in a highly competitive market, so I believe what he tells you.
Al Angello The Comic Juggler/Magician
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http://home.comcast.net/~juggleral/
"Footprints on your ceiling are almost gone"
Mike McEathron
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I am very lucky here I have morrissey magic, now being run by Herbs son Dan and Browsers Den Both in Toroto. As for shop closing I don't know why this is going on most tricks are the same price on the internet as a brick and mortorshop....so that shoots down the ....it is cheaper arguement. It is sad because nothing better than going to the shop on a saturday and meeting with old freinds and seeing the latest magic effect done live.
Matthew W
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Quote:
On 2008-08-06 06:06, Dennis Michael wrote:
It's a new ERA, Here in the millions of people in the Tri-State Area (PA-NJ-DE) Centered being Philadelphia, I've watched EVERY "Brick and Morter" Magic Shop close, in the past 50 years.


What about Kens?

He has been in the same location since the seventies.

That was the first magic shop I went to, and I would hate to see it close.

-Matt
-Matt
toomuchmagic
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The internet : Magic Shops :: walmart : all other shops
wizardofsorts
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As an employee of one of the oldest magic shops in North America, Magic Inc. (originally founded as Ireland Magic Co. in 1926) my thoughts are this:

1. B and M shops fail because it's hard work. You need a dedicated knowledgeable management and staff which will work long hours for less then executive pay.

2. Not long ago the magic shop business was all mail order, through these big heavy paper things called catalogs. Then that sort of went by the way side. Then we hit the golden age of the b m magic store. They lasted for awhile. Now we are back to mail order business; just via the internet. So, the stores (ours included) had to join the digital revolution and remember how to be a good mail order company.

3. The owners of most brick and mortar shops are of an advanced age or have passed away. This makes change slow or not at all. When Jay Marshall was around, he didn't care if we sold a thing all day. He was happy to check his stocks online, hang out at the store, take someone to lunch and fall asleep in the chair in the corner. When he passed away our store had to become a business again and not just a club house for Jay and his admirers. There were some hiccups and burps along the way but if you stop by Magic Inc or it's website (www.magicinc.net) you will see we are making a come back.

I want to let you know that all of the above is just my personal opinion and is not the views of Magic Inc. it's staff or ownership.

Edd
Edd Fairman, Wizard of Sorts is a corporate magician available for your next trade show, hospitality suite, client luncheon, or company event. http://www.wizardofsorts.com
J.Buddy
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I would certainly advice others to listen with more attention- to those who have actually been employeed by, or actually owned a B&M store. Many years ago as mentioned above, and before mail order; magic shops were in a way threatened and deeply affected by mail order, businesses closes as a result. It took decades to adapt. Internet is actually a fairly new thing, and there are so many who have adapted immediatley. They will return sooner than we might think.
J.B.
Rediscovering the magician inside.
demente42
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Our brick and mortar just closed at the beginning of this year after 14 years in business. I worked there for the last 11. We had several problems, one big one was magicians. We used to have many hang around and some were great and very helpful but we also had some who were the know it all type. We would be in the middle of making recommendations to a customer when they would say something along the lines of, "You don't need that, you should only learn things with a regular deck." I know as we grow in magic, as Jay previously pointed out, we will need different things and often as someone starting out you need the easier self working things to gain confidence. However, these magicians would convince them not to start with the Svengali or whatever we were suggesting and get them to get a DVD or book on sleights. Now this would be a larger sale for us so they thought they were helping but the poor kid doesn't have the experience or confidence to do multiple shifts, double lifts, etc. so gets frustrated and never returns. We'd also have some that would convince other customers not to buy a DVD or other effect they were looking at because they could give them a link where they could learn it for free online or find it cheaper or buy it used from them or suggest they go to the magic club where they had a DVD library that could be checked out instead. All of this right in front of us. Some were so consistent with this that even after trying to explain how their behavior was hurting us they still didn't get it. We actually had to bar them from the shop.

We would also get many people who would just come in to see the effect and then buy it online. Some would even try to return things bought online to our shop and insist they purchased it here (even if it was a product we never carried).

Things like this forced the owner to increase the prices to try to make up for some losses, which just compounded the problem. Even though the owner would allow us to price match in most cases sometimes we'd be losing money on that too as some of the internet merchants can purchase in larger quantities so therefore can sell way cheaper (sometimes even for below what we paid).

Also, it is hard for a B&M to have the stock that online retailer do (or claim to have). I know many of the larger online retailers keep actual stock but anyone can have a site and claim to have tons of items without having to purchase any of them until they get orders they need to fill.

We also had the issue of being in a smaller area (in FL you seem to have a lot of suburbs of no city in particular) with three different magic shops within 20 minutes of each other. We were the only strictly magic shop. The others had to expand to selling not only costumes but cake decorating, candy making, embroidery, inflatable’s, and even carpet cleaning at one point.

I also think if you look at many magic shops they open in somewhat out of the way places. If you don't have the attention and walk in traffic you're already doomed before you start. Which also killed a magic bar that opened in our area.

Sorry for such a long post. I'll stop my rant now.
Brandon Smith

Imagine The Impossible
www.MagicForAnyOccasion.com

Creator of Dough or No Dough & Show Me the Bunny.
westo
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I agree with a lot of what has been said. 'Tam Shepards' in Glasgow has been open since 1886, but would certainly have closed if it wasn't also a Joke/Fancy Dress (well Masks really) type shop. You can't get inside on a Saturday for kids buying Stink Bombs and the like. On a week day you can get in for a chat about Magic and to see some of the latest stuff. I try to buy something every month, it just seems right. That said 99.9% of my stuff comes from the internet.
Says it all really.
Creator of 'The Famous Westo Peek' and 'The Westo Dump'
JeffWampler
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I was a co-owner of a magic shop for about 4 years...the biggest problem besides differences with the owner was the internet...when you have other people selling from their basement, it's really hard to compete with price...

we tried several ideas too, like having a party room...with a party we could've cornered the birthday party market in our area, but that never got underway...we taught magic classes with limited success...

I think to have a successful magic shop, B & M or otherwise, you need to do what successful shops do:

first of all, be where magicians are. you're not going to survive by local sales alone, unless you're in a tourist area...you'll need mail order or internet sales...go to magic conventions, that's where magicians are...collect a mailing/e-mailing list AND use those list...

secondly, as foreshadowed above, need to be online. I can't think of any business anywhere that should NOT be online...

thirdly, must have exclusive products not available anywhere else...you can get TT and slush powder anywhere...have something that only YOU have...

fourthly, GREAT customer service...magicians are a finicky bunch...when they order a trick they want it NOW...they don't want to wait 4-6 weeks for shipping (illusions excluded)...they want a knowledgable person on the phone or email that can answer questions about their product...prompt and polite...
bobn3
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Living in Wichita, KS, I have been fortunate to have Stevens Magic around. They have been here since the 70's. They have kept up with the times, as well as keeping what worked back then...customer service (that is something that is hard to get in an online "shop." I worked behind the counter back in the late 70's and early 80's, and do consulting work for them now in developing their online videos for their online catalog.

If I had not been there in the past, I would not have had the influence of my two mentors that I had through being there...primarily John Novak and Jay Marshall. That kind of stuff would never had happened strictly by going online. I would not trade my experiences that I have had just for saving a few bucks.

Bob Phillips
Decomposed
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Quote:
On 2008-08-27 23:38, toomuchmagic wrote:
The internet : Magic Shops :: walmart : all other shops


And one more add on, the economy.
Senor Fabuloso
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I believe I know the biggest secret to b&m shops staying in business? EXCLUSIVITY. What do I mean? When any Tom, Dick or Harry, can buy anything they want online, what separates the b&m shop? Unique products you can't buy anyplace else. But Mr. Fabulous, won't that severely limit how much the business sells? I mean without a saturated distribution plan, how can the b&m sell enough to stay in business? Through developing a high end clientele that distinguishes between the common place and the extraordinary.

1. Offer a membership to the shop for a fee. Nobody can buy without being a member.
2. Offer high quality unique items unavailable anyplace else.
3. Offer a meeting place for local magic clubs to meet for free. This brings magicians to the store.
4. Offer a hangout space for store members to meet, drink beverages and talk magic.
5. If selling something available elsewhere offer a unique spin on the item like an instructional video only available from your store.
6. For working professionals willing to pay, offer a overnight service for standards in magic.
7. Host lectures in the store for a fee.
8. Have a weekend magic show open to the public for a fee.
9. Have in store magic competitions.
10. Provide excellent customer service in a classy respectful manor to all members.

There are other things you can do but the TRICK is to stand out, from the online vendors. Like a Rolls Royce, the shop must be seen as the optima of excellence and craftsmanship. Only the most discerning can own that which is sold by this store. Just the name will inspire a sigh of wanting, when considering a product. In store the experience will be like going to a fine salon.

I could go on but I doubt any magician, would want to put the time and investment into such a place? If however there ever is, I'd be glad to become a partner in the venue.
No matter how many times you say the wrong thing, it will NEVER be right.

If I'm not responding to you? It's because you're a TROLL!
Oscar999
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The brick & mortar magic shop in my area, and I'll give them a plug, it's Merlin's Magic Shop in New Port Richie Florida ... is successful because in my "outsiders" opinion, they have multiple streams of income and ways to engage the magic crowd.

For example, they also have a magic theater and book professionals for shows. And, the owner is also a "working" professional magician who still gigs. And they have an online component to their shop. Plus, their shop is very well stocked. Not to mention they create original effects for sale.

I went there this Saturday and hung out for over an hour just talking with the owners ... and that occurs rather frequently.

As far as engagement, they have slipped a little in this area lately, but previously they were very active in the Magic Club and they hosted a meet-up for magicians once a month at their shop, which was sort of a round table discussion and safe-zone performance space to tryout things you were working on for feedback.

I think these are all good practices for a magic shop. The main thing is (as I see it) you must be engaged in the local magic community.

Oscar
Senor Fabuloso
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You hit 2,3,4,8 and 9 on my list.
No matter how many times you say the wrong thing, it will NEVER be right.

If I'm not responding to you? It's because you're a TROLL!
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