- Our current retail location is bursting at the seems. We've been renting an additional 1,500 sq ft of storage space across the alley and I haul dog food 2-3x/day on a hand truck. The layout of our current space needs some work/remodel and isn't as efficient as we would like. So, we are thinking that a 2nd location might take a little pressure off of our current location and keep our staff at a lower stress level :)
- One of our competitors in town is relocating. We can't figure out why she would relocate, as the area of town that she is leaving is a vibrant, high-income area with lots of dogs and lots of foot traffic (with respect to our current location). So, we are going to open our 2nd location really close to where our competitor is leaving from. Ideally, we will be open at about the time that she closes ... minimizing the "gap in service" that will exist in that area of town & providing some insta-customers that will need a good "dog store" to shop at.
- Self dog-wash. We are planning to have 2 self-wash dog stations in this new location, with a slightly upscale feel to them. Currently, the only place to wash your own dog in Bozeman is at car-washes ... most of which are on the out-skirts of town. When people are in your store for self-wash, they are "captive customers" while their dog is drying and generally spend some time shopping in your store for longer than they would normally.
- We might be kind of bored ... we've built our current Dee-O-Gee up to a pretty manageable state. Our staff team is great, our systems in place work pretty good & things there are pretty stable. You're right ... we should probably just enjoy that for awhile, right? We've spent 5 years growing Dee-O-Gee into what it currently is (with God's provision and blessing, of course) ... why not just enjoy that for awhile? Well, what if there are more/bigger plans that God has for us? We have great knowledge on relevant experience in this industry ... we have a clear "gap in service" to fill with a 2nd location ... we have funding in place to cover it ... seems like God is blessing this for us, even as we get going on the beginning stages of it.
There are a few concerns too ... well, lots of them actually. Here are some of the main ones:
- Cannabalization of customers. We know that we have some customers that currently come to us from the East end of Bozeman. But, as we look through our database of addresses, we see a much larger % come from the southern and western sides of town. So, we are theorizing that our "cannabalization rate" will be low ... that we will attract lots of new customers at our new location and sales at our current Dee-O-Gee will be minimally impacted. I do realize that all of this is "in theory". I guess that is where hope comes in.
- Staffing. This has been our biggest challenge and biggest source of stress as small business owners. We are "super praying" for the right staff people to be in place for this new store and concerned about the potential for increased staff-related stressors/challenges as we grow our business and the number of people we employ.
What do you think ... are we nuts?