Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Bits & Pieces -- Inching Slowly Forward

Moving forward on the business plan -- Last Friday we met with the Small Business Development Center here in Hickory. The meeting covered what we are doing. We talked about the many places we've checked on for location. They were impressed at our progress and research. (Guess we must be doing something right.) And the one place on 127 (next to Ace Hardware) remains a question mark. The price is right, size is right, location is great. But we've got concerns about limited parking in front. Will this be an issue? We believe that we can work around it since our heavy traffic in and out will be in the morning before the other stores next to ours open their doors. One of the guys at SBDC said he drove by that and another location we'd looked at nearly every day along the same routeand he'd scope it out as well and give us feedback.

The pros at SBDC took our copy of the business plan we've managed to come up with thus far, are going to look it over, and then meet again once they are ready.

Location, location, location -- In the mean time we continue to look at locations. There are quite a few. But there was another one that stood out to us yesterday. It is a charming refinished home in the downtown area on 4th Ave currently used as a real estate office. Beautifully refinished with hardwood floors, fireplaces large front rooms . Possible side area that can be converted to drive through. If we do this, then the traffic will have to come in the back way. Upstairs, partial attic, with some work might be reworked to be a usable room, but the stairs are very narrow. Stairs could be reworked, but could be expensive.

Here's where Teena and Jeff disagree. There is ample parking in back and the property's driveway adjoins another business driveway nextdoor, making for a wider entrance and exit along the side. It is wide enough for coming and going. However, there is absolutely no parking in front. No street parking allowed and a small spot of grass in the front that could possibly (we need to look further) be paved for a couple of spaces. But people might have to back out onto a busy road.

Jeff says no problem. Teena disagrees. The house is for sale or lease so that's a nice option. We also don't know what type of traffic there would be after business hours.

Fundraising -- When we first started our Java Journey Teena set up Escrip a fundraising program that has not worked all that well. Though they claim to be nationwide, the bulk of the stores you can shop at is on the west coast, so we've not earned much from this program. To help us pay for start up costs and operations Teena has been researching alternate fundraising options. She saw potential in the volumes of used electronic items people have laying around and has managed to set up a recycle program for collecting used ink jet cartridges, cell phones, ipods, palm pilots, and more. We've just signed up with Kopec. This program is nationwide and people can collect anywhere. If you would like to help us out by collecting yourself or getting other groups and businesses involved, please email Teena at smartwords@embarqmail.com. It's as easy as putting a box out with flyers. She is also checking into recycling cars and computers. So keep us in mind for those. We'll update our website regarding this soon.

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