There are many costs to doing business and any shop owner is usually aware of them before they open their doors to the public. By the time their first year of business is over they are intimately acquainted with them. There's inventory, payroll, advertising, merchandising, attorney and accounting fee, taxes, shrink, time away from family and many more. None of these are a surprise to me, but one in particular had me shocked (and a little sick to my stomach) by the amount in which there was. You may think you know which one I am talking about: taxes - no; payroll - no....SHRINK.
"What's shrink," you ask. Well, in short its theft.
I am no stranger to the retail business and was very successful in keeping shrink down for the company I worked for. I have dealt with shrink theft on a somewhat small scale in the two plus years we have been open and while it was eye opening, it didn't prepare me for what has gone on recently in the Studio.
I will be honest with you, it isn't just shocking that people would steal from a yarn shop, but that it's the same people that we have invited into what many of us consider a second home. I have always thought that the knitting community was such a cool mix of old and young, artsy and not, boisterous and solemn compassionate people that knew the importance of community. The resounding comment to those that have become aware of the problem is “Really? But these are knitters, who would do that??”
Well, at the risk of sounding out of touch with my business, I am not entirely sure. After doing a little research, I found out that shoplifting caused 30% of small businesses to fail in 2001 and continues to become a bigger problem. A striking statistic I found was that small businesses will incur an inventory shrink rate of between 1-8% of their revenue. What determines their percentage is prevention more than anything. I now know that there are things and procedures that I have to change if I want to ensure that we are still open in another year.
Most changes will be internal and be for our staff. For you the changes will amount to even better customer service and help always available when we’re open! Our hope is that by letting you know what has happened you will be able to help us keep the sense of community and integrity that we have worked so hard to cultivate in the Studio.
We love what we have created and don’t want to see it disappear. We hope that you feel the same.