It’s been a whirlwind of a month! It feels as though I only blinked once since we officially opened the FEED Shop & Cafe on May 3rd. There are a lot of things I wish I would have known before opening our first store. Most of the things are positive — such as how incredible it feels when you see customers interacting, mingling and shopping for the very first time (probably because there truly aren’t words) — some of them are stressful, and many of them are comical.
In the spirit of passing it on to other would-be shop keepers, here are a few lessons I’ve learned along the way.
1. Location is everything. This is one that we definitely aced, which I’m so thankful for. As we quickly learned, the right location means much more than an address. With a location comes a support system of people who will reassure you and answer all of your questions (see #4), your regulars, your neighbors and your home.
2. It is not necessary to sample all of the edible inventory. Once you’ve tried most of the cookie varieties, the croissant and the chocolate zucchini cake, it’s safe to assume everything is delicious. Have a little faith and save yourself a month of chocolate chip cookie angst.
3. Read the fine print. Take this one broadly and apply it literally and figuratively to every situation you encounter, and you’ll be very thankful that you did.
4. Ask questions (and then ask more questions). Did you know that there are laws pertaining to in-store trash separation beyond just trash and recycling? Neither did I. I figured it out by asking questions and listening intently to the advice of those who have gone before me in the ecommerce to brick and mortar journey. I am a big proponent of leaping in and learning as you go, and I’m still learning every day at the store.
5. Take a breath and take a picture (or 100). Opening your first store may bring some of the most stressful days and weeks of a career, but also the most rewarding. Make sure to make time for moments of observation and reflection.
Come see for yourself. Visit us next time you’re in our new ‘hood!