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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » From Soup to Nuts » » What would you be willing to pay to keep your local magic shop in business ? (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

markhammagi
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While many of us lament about the fact that some of our local magic shops are closing, a lot of us continue to make most of our purchases through the internet.

What type of premium would you be willing to pay in order to keep your local shop alive, and what do shops need to do to keep you coming back ?

For myself, I would be willing to pay a 12% premium vs the prices I find on the internet ... that translates to an additional $12 on a $100 order.

The biggest problem that I have with my local magic store is that they don't stock very many of the new book titles (at age 42 I guess I am a dinosaur, since tend to purchase 5-6 books for every DVD that I buy).

I would gladly direct all of my purchases to my local store if they were able to meet the conditions above.

How about you ?
Andy
Rob Johnston
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I agree with you Andy.

My local shop doesn't stock all that I need...and so I must go elsewhere. If they could stock more stuff, and provide better customer service, then I would consider paying more.
"Genius is another word for magic, and the whole point of magic is that it is inexplicable." - Margot Fonteyn
magicsojourn
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Suggestion, why don't you ask for the shops to get you these items. I have a shop and if I don't have it, I will get it usually within 1 week. Recently I have ordered $1000.00 in books, tapes & tricks for my customers in 1 order so they don't have to buy on the internet.

John
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John Bodner
Genesis 26:3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you, and will bless you. For to you, and to your seed, I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.
Rob Johnston
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Good suggestion Sojourn. But when I wanted a book ordered...they said it would take a month.

I went home, got online and had the book in less than a week. (And that was from another Brick and Motar shop with a website).
"Genius is another word for magic, and the whole point of magic is that it is inexplicable." - Margot Fonteyn
markhammagi
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John, I appreciate your comments. Over the past 7 years I have made a number of requests to my local dealer to order books, but my local dealer hasn't been very interested in this option. It maybe that my order is too small ($150 to $250 on average), or maybe it is because the publisher discounts for small quantities of books provide the dealer very little profit.

I only started to purchase books through the internet when my local dealer was unwilling to go through the process of ordering the books into his shop.

At any rate, these thoughts may be a bit of a side issue, since books are becoming a smaller and smaller portion of the overall magic market. If most customers are purchasing VHS, DVDs, and various supplies, I would be interested to know if magicians would be willing to help subsidize their local magic shops by paying a premium over what they would pay to an internet provider. I am. But if others aren't, we may not have these wonderful stores to browse in, and shop at, in the future ...
Andy
magicsojourn
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Andy, I have a different philosophy about selling magician's supplies. Take care of the customer and they will take care of you. With a good majority of my life in sales I learned early that without the customer you can not stay in business.
I competitively price my merchandise, and do not overcharge anything I sell. I also take the risk to bring in the newest items, demo the trick & teach it if it is not too technical.
To stay in business as a magic shop, I intend to keep current. the internet has helped with this. I would not have been able to do this 10 years ago as a single proprietor of the business. With the internet I am able to research anything which in turn I can keep up to speed with the magic industry.
Also you can't make a living just selling magic as a brick & mortar shop just starting out. In the near future I intend to have classes, lectures & in-store parties to help me stay in business.
Last but not least, 95% of my business are people just beginning to learn magic. Magicians are 5% of my business; however, some are very influential in donating their time to do shows & just spreading the word to those who are interested in magic that there is now a shop to go to buy magic & learn magic.

Magically yours,
John
Magic Sojourn
John Bodner
Genesis 26:3 Sojourn in this land, and I will be with you, and will bless you. For to you, and to your seed, I will give all these lands, and I will establish the oath which I swore to Abraham your father.
paulsmagic
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John, you certainly put your money where your mouth is. I was by your place and you ordered a specialty item for me. you got it in less than a week. no shipping and handling or any extra fee. your shop and customer service is tops in my book.
markhammagi
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John, I agree with most of what you have said, and you obviously have a lot more expertise in this arena than myself. The 12% premium that I am willing to pay is driven somewhat by Canadian provincial and federal (in your case state and federal) sales taxes that the internet providers are largely able to bypass.

That said, as a customer, I would like to keep stores like yours in business. After 20 years of business experience, I recognize the fact that a brick and mortar shop has more costs than an internet provider, and so I am willing to pay a little more.

In the meantime, your comment that people new to magic drive the lion's share of your business has struck a nerve. When I get queries from people interested in magic (which happens every week), I will try to direct them to my local shop since it will ultimately benefit me in the long run too.
Andy
mikeflex
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I am willing to purchase an effect for more from my local magic dealer for one reason: SERVICE. My magic dealer will demo the trick for me, make sure I know how the effect works after I purchase it, and if I am having trouble with the effect I can always go back and ask him to show me again. I don't get that with the internet stores.
Skip Way
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I have been very fortunate to have grown up near and lived within a stone's throw of some of the finest magic shops in the U.S. and Europe. Fact is, if not for my Columbus (OH), Hampton & Norfolk (VA), Trieste & Milano (IT), Frankfurt (GER) and Raleigh (NC) magic shops and the incredible men & women who ran them, my life would have been vastly different and far less interesting, I'm sure. I am immensely grateful to their nurturing and guidance over the years. Nothing equates to a good, customer-oriented, professionally-managed Brick & Mortar Magic Shop. I will do whatever it takes to keep my local shop profitable.

I include complimentary ads for my local shop on my personal brochures, website and marketing materials. The magic instruction books I use for the beginner magic instruction parties have a "If you want to continue your interest in magic, visit..." promo. My "Birthday Party Planning Guide" sends parents to the local shop for magic gifts, costumes & party materials. Every birthday child receives a thank you package including a Magician's Apprentice certificate & laminated ID card. The card promises VIP treatment at the local magic shop (along with name, location & phone number of the shop)...and they receive it every time they show the card. My back-of-room magic and balloon kits have customized instructions for my character and include a laminated VIP ID card and the statement "For refills and new tricks, books or DVD's, visit...and tell them you're a Magic VIP!"

Like everyone here, I browse the Internet sites to see what's new or to look for ideas. When I find something, I print it out and ask my B&M shop owner if they can get it. Sometimes, I may pay a little more...I consider this the cost of doing busines with someone I know and trust...and someone who knows & respects me. If he can't get it, he tells me so...and I order it online. If he can get it but the cost is going to considerably higher than the online version...he tells me so and lets me make the decision. If it takes him a month to get it in (which is VERY rare) so be it. Unless it is something I need right away, this is, again, the cost of doing business with someone I trust.

Quite often I will ask him about something I've seen online that sounds incredible...and he'll warn me away from it knowing that it's overpriced, overhyped or overused. He's alert to products of shoddy construction or less-than-efficient operation. He's aware of products that are a rip-off of someone else's design & effort (a major concern of mine) and steers me away from it. He knows my style...so, he's alert for new items that may interest me and warns me against buying something that he knows won't fit my character. Try to get this kind of service and integrity from an Internet provider.

If I lose the instructions for a particular trick...or need help sorting out which shells go with which coin trick...or deciphering what trick a long-forgotten gimmick from the back of a drawer belongs to...or need to brainstorm an idea for an approaching corporate or commercial gig...or perfecting or simplifying a certain move...or I need to find a particular trick or prop I saw or heard about but can't recall the creator, the manufacturer, the video or book...I know where to go and I know I will always be welcome. Try to find that onlne.

It is, very simply, up to those of us fortunate enough to live near a professional, caring magic shop to do all we can to help them survive. Internet dealers serve a great purpose and there are several VERY good ones out there...but they simply cannot and should not replace the well-run, "We Care" Brick & Mortar shops.

Now, excuse me while I put my soapbox away...
:o) Skip
How you leave others feeling after an Experience with you becomes your Trademark.

Magic Youth Raleigh - RaleighMagicClub.org
pdmedic
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I think for me it depends on the shop. If a shop is willing to assist me and is more then just a buy the item or leave type place I am willing to spend more otherwise I can get the same service online without the attitude. Fortunatly the shop I frequent near me is very helpful.
Steven Steele
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Whenever I travel, I'm always on the lookout for a magic shop. I find most of my treasures in those stores. Most recently (last week), my wife and I were vacationing and as I parked the car we looked up and there was a magic store. Only about 25% of the store was magic, the rest was games and things, but the magic it had was great. I spent a couple of hours going through the two floor to ceiling bookshelves he had and found 3 books of fantastic material that I would NEVER have found over the internet. The books are there, but I wouldn't have taken the time to even look at them.

That being said, if I find a real magic store (with sales people that are more like trusted friends), I will ALWAYS buy something to help them out. The tactile experience of buying magic cannot be replaced. I buy most of my stuff today online simply because I don't live close to a magic store. That being said, I can also state that probably 25% of everything I have purchased I would not have bought, if I'd seen it in a magic store. Price is not an object...actually from a marketing point of view, it never is. People think it is, but it's not...but that's another discussion.
RickyD
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I'm a little inconsistent in my shopping habits.

There are two magic shops near where I live, and although I had a decent relationship with both shop owners, I've become very good friends with one of them and haven't set foot in "the other shop" in months. While his prices are really competitive with the other shop (often cheaper, but never more than a dollar or two more than the other shop), it's his friendship, personality, and "customer service" that keeps bringing me back there.

However, I buy all of my standard playing cards from Wal-Mart, and occasionally I'll buy something from an on-line shop. Why? Price is a factor. Convenience is another. (Shop's not open in the evenings, and weekends can be busy for me. As far as Wal-Mart goes, if I'm there already, why not go ahead and pick up some cards?) Availability/variety is another. He can only carry so much in his shop, and as much as he likes me, he can't cater his entire business to suit my needs. I know I'm cool and all, but still Smile (For example, if there's an inexpensive something I want that he doesn't typically keep in-stock, I'll probably order it on-line. I could have him order it and buy it from him -- I've done that on occasion -- but by the time he ordered it, paid for shipping, etc. I figure it would be easier for both of us if I just ordered it myself. We're not talking high-dollar merchandise or things he's temporarily out of. I'm talking stuff he wouldn't normally stock, that he would only be ordering because I asked.) And then there are things that are supposedly "exclusive" to certain on-line shops. But I don't buy many things like that.

To go back to the original question -- how much extra would I be willing to pay to keep him in business? IF money was the only factor, I'd be willing to pay maybe 5-10% more. Really depends on the product, to be honest. But as you can (maybe) tell from my comments above, it's not just about the money.
"The grace of the Lord Jesus Christ be with your spirit. Amen."
-- Philippians 4:23
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