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OT: Does anyone own a hockey supply store?

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Old 08-08-2003, 09:23 AM
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Default OT: Does anyone own a hockey supply store?

I am considering getting out of the fortune 500 rate race and opening my own business. I've had many thoughts of business types and would appreciate any advice anyone would offer.

One idea was a specialty hockey/skating supplies store that offered hockey, figure and inline skates and equipment and also skateboard items also... There's only one hockey equipment store town and there are four ice rinks so there is, in my opinion, a need. Since I played hockey (including NCAA) for 26 years and grew up in Michingan I do have a working knowledge of the product/services and could make it work.

Thoughts or suggestions?

Thanks,
Dave

Last edited by Vyper340; 08-08-2003 at 10:01 AM.
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Old 08-08-2003, 09:33 AM
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If you have any verticle elevation around you, maybe look into snow boards....also wake boards are a huge hit right now.

Any business can work, but it takes tremendous dedication. Especially in a one store retail outfit. Don't let that scare you, but be prepared for 80 hour weeks at times when you are starting out. If it is something you really want to do, get yourself together a good plan and go for it.

Find a good attorney, accountant and banker. You will need all 3

Good luck, have fun!!
 
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Old 08-08-2003, 11:44 AM
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Vyper,

Just a few links to browse over to get an idea of how deeply the online discount shops go. I check prices with these sites, but buy most my equipment from a local shop called Pro-Fit Ski and Skate.

www.hockeygiant.com
www.hockeymonkey.com

You have a good inline team down in Williamsburg. They are part of the MLRH that travels up to the DC area.

Good luck,

Ty
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Old 08-08-2003, 12:43 PM
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The internet really changed the lanscape of businesses like these. The only real way to compete is to offer a service that can't be had over the net. People will go to your store and buy your product at a higher price if you can offer a service they can't resist.
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Old 08-08-2003, 01:00 PM
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If you can't beat 'em perhaps you should join 'em. Have Internet sales as well as a bricks-and-mortar shop. The two are not mutually exclusive. Each entity of the business can reinforce the other.

And remember what people want whether they go to a web-site or the mom-n-pop on the corner: Service!!!! Great customer service should be your number one product. People can buy hockey supplies anywhere -- if you can give them personal, valuable service then you will go far.

Make sure you go after the gravy, too. Look into jersey and equipment sales to the local teams, clubs and leagues. Low margin but it gets people in the store. For instance, when Susie-8-year-old-hockey-player comes into your store to pick up her team jersey she will need a new set of the hottest skates. All sort of possibilities limited only by your business acumen and creativity.
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Old 08-08-2003, 01:30 PM
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Either find a really good skate sharpener, or learn how to do it well. When I played hockey, I drove out of my way to go to a shop that always did a great job on sharpening my skates. As a result, I bought the majority of my gear there as well.
Same thing goes for tuning snowboards, if you decide to go that route, although I wouldn't suggest it. One of the big problems with boards is that you have to sell everything you have that season, otherwise you'll have to practically give it away. Every board manufacturer changes the line each year, even if it's only a simple change of the graphics on the board. Nobody is going to pay full price for last year's board, even though it may be physically the same.
Another issue is that you'll have to forecast really well. Some companies, like Burton, for example, are nearly impossible to get anything from in the middle of the season. When the new stuff is available in the fall, you have to get it while you can. Then, if you don't sell it during the first half of the season, see the paragraph above.
I've been boarding for over 15 years and basically watched the sport grow up. Worked at several shops in my younger days as well. Much easier back then, as there were only a handful of board manufacturers. Not the case anymore.
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Old 08-08-2003, 03:56 PM
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Great input guys! Keep it coming.

Rainmn - I too would go out of my way for a good sharpening when I could not do it myself. My plan was to buy a new fully loaded Blademaster sharpener and re-learn my lost skills. I, like you, realize that the radius on blade is key to a great sharpening and most shops never change the wheel or check what the customer need is based on size, weight, age, type of use, etc. I would definitley offer the "customer touch" that would keep them coming back.

Et all - good advice on the pricing and the internet competition. I had not really given it thought to compete with the internet but it may be a good idea to offer the service as another revenue stream

The only shop down here is in one of the 3 rinks and the open hours are VERY limited and only cater to the skater when they are at the rink. I for one did not want to go all the way to the rink for some simple supplies when it was closer and more convenient. I also needed something done and did not have time to wait which would be a problem. Location, location, location will be the key in addition to advertising and getting the name and services out in the public eye.
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Old 08-11-2003, 08:13 AM
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TTT
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Old 08-11-2003, 09:23 AM
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I am in!!!
I have thought about doing this for a few years. Our local shop is at the rinks and way overpriced. Most of the time I go there to try things on and then order on line...
But I always get my skates/ sharpening there.
I have an I dea..I can move down there or you can move up here!!!
Go for it
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Old 08-11-2003, 12:28 PM
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If you like working with the public and can take the retail hours it's a great market. People that want to play hockey better get right into their equipment. The best hockey shop in our town has been around for years and has built a loyal following. They sell only hockey in the winter and lacrosse in the summer. Good luck!
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