Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A Long Awaited Update on the Violin Shop: Employee, Business Review and Outllook

I thought that it might be good idea to give you readers an update on shop life after our brief hiatus from holidays.

Ladies, our Bow Maker, Lester, is officially off the dating market. On New Year's Eve, he married his long time girlfriend Sarah Weeder. Our boss Alex played at the ceremony and I got a few snapshots of bride and groom. Afterwards, a big wedding reception took place where the Korus and Weeder clan all came together. Actually, it seemed like the whole town of Lindsay, Nebraska (their home town) were bussed in for the occasion. Mr. and Mrs. Korus, congratulations and I wish them all the best!

As Les, left the next day for his honeymoon in Cancun, we manned the shop in anticipation of the local New Year customers. Our business isn't typical of most retail stores where gift receipt returners are bound to come the day after X-mas. Instead, people tend to through our doors between New Years Day and the first week of school.

Why this is the case? I can only speculate and conjecture. I have noticed that when it comes to buying a musical instrument, people don't necessarily buy because of the holiday occasion. Although I have heard of Alex handling sales in the past where the last minute Christmas shopping husband comes rushing into buy a cello for his wife:) The sale we see are not the x-mas eve shop-n-stop violin at the local Wallmart. These seemed to be more planned purchases. Often times, customers tell us that after their first week back from from lessons their private instructor or strings teacher recommended them to go up a size in the instrument. College musicians returning for home the holidays, will sometimes drop by to trade-in and upgrade. The serious transaction can be daunting to the customer and they usually don't have the time to deal with it during the busy holiday rush. That's why we tend to see a lot more people coming through the doors after Christmas when they have more time and are comfortable enough to talk with us

I've also been hearing a lot in the news and other music retailers that 2007 was bad year because of the rising gas prices and leveling of the housing market leading to less pocket money to spend. Some how though, the business here has been able to make ends meet and scrap by. A year ago, our online string instrument accessories on Amazon were insignificant. This December, it wasn't uncommon to process 20 orders or more a day. My biggest project though is to really make our new A. Cavallo Violins, LLC website comprehensive and consistent in their item list. Quick stocking stuffer sales offers a small holiday side income, but has also generated inquiries about our instruments. At the end of the day, every retailer has their main bread and butter product and instruments are what keeps us going.

While Alex continues to take take of business, I have taken a step back to catch a breather. My graduate school applications were finally submitted on January and that's huge relief. Yes, it's true readers, I'm afraid I won't be able to blog any longer about shop life here in the distant future. I'll find out the admissions results in March or Spring.

Finally, we potentially have some new staff members on the horizon. Our friend Maddy Mayer has been training for repairs since last fall will join the team when she graduates in May. She was great help in our never ending annual inventory count. Currently, Josh Krohn, violinist of the blue grass band South Paw, is coming by on a weekly basis to help us out. We'd love to see him be a part of the team as well.


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