Bulbs for India/ mom n pop /speciality businesses

Susan Hayek susanann@sbcglobal.net
Mon, 04 Dec 2006 13:44:28 PST
At 9:18 AM -0600 12/4/06, James Waddick wrote:
>	I am inclined to say the basic reason is greed - too much
>work and not enough profit. But there used to be lots of folks
>willing to do this before.

**Oh dear, I had to reply to this.
We owned a specialty storefront (non-nursery) for 10 years after I 
injured my back. We were hoping we could augment our income; I was on 
disability and my husband, an ed psych was burning out.

I was open 7 days a week, 10 am to 5 pm, and then I went home, ate 
dinner and spent the rest of the evening selling on the internet, 
eBay, and taking care of mail orders until close to midnight. Our 
rent (this was over 10 years ago) was $2,000/month, not including 
utilities (electric alone was $200-$300/month), telephone, fax, 
internet server, computer maintenance, advertising costs, shipping 
costs (it does cost $ to have UPS make daily pickups), etc .
You have to have capital to buy suppies/merchandise.

Telos isn't even a mom & pop. Diana runs it alone, a mom business. 
Her work is overwhelming. Watering, collecting seed, harvesting 
bulbs, shipping, printing and mailing catalogs, maintaining an 
internet website, cleaning, spraying, fertilizing, advertising, 
answering email and answering more email along with the demands of 

When "there used to be lots of folks willing to do this", times were 
vastly different. Mom-pop businesses were not competing with 
world-wide businesses on the internet far larger than a single 
enterprise. In the past, every area did not have big-box stores who 
buy in bulk and can offer discount pricing. (I had a customer make an 
email inquiry asking if I could get an item he saw in WalMart, and 
when I tried to explain why I couldn't, he told me we were probably 
snooty and he couldn't afford us anyway.)

Many mom/pop stores/businesses relied on family to help run the 
store/business. My children all have to work to support their own 
families. I couldn't pay them a living wage even if they had lived in 
the area; many wives/mothers now have to work, so they aren't free to 
help with family businesses.
We had to eventually hire help. Once you employ staff, you have 
workers comp to pay, and I had to hire an accountant to help with all 
the paperwork involved with having employees. Employees come and go 
quickly because small businesses (and we paid higher than most) can't 
afford to offer medical/dental benefits, paid vacations, and most 
people can't live on the wages paid.
We constantly fed the business, money went back in, and business are 
hungry beasts.

Rents and land costs are now exorbitantly high. In the old days often 
family, and extended family, lived on the property. In CA, and we 
live in a depressed area in NorCal, acreage, when you can find it, 
runs $100,000 an acre and that's often without a house. Property 
taxes are high. And there is always natural disaster to contend with. 
We had a flood our second year open. We got a small loan, but 
anything above $10,000, we would have had to use our house as 
collateral. Considering we'd lost $30,000 worth of merchandise and 
suffered from lack of walk-ins (except those who wanted to look at 
the damage) for months, it took us a long time to get back on our 

I have to agree with points made by both Ellen and Diana and Ken.

Helping people in India would be dandy. Helping locals from our own 
areas would even be dandier.


susan hayek, North Coast of CA, USA, zone 9b, Sunset zone 17.
15 miles south of Eureka, CA, overlooking the Eel River, with a peek 
of the ocean.

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