Is it worth a career change?

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http://www.gnucash.org /
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Art Greenberg wrote:

Art, thanks for the heads up. I had previously used an older version but not been impressed ... it wasn't a drop-in and it didn't import very well. I'll give this a try.
There's a new laptop in my not-too-distant future. Might as well get one that's Penguin-friendly.
BTW ... bad link ... try this: http://www.gnucash.org
Bill
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I've found gnucash to be a useful (albeit less friendly) alternative to Quicken. It is double-entry tho, which may seem odd to Joe Random Quicken user.
Quicken may also work under Crossover and/or wine.
scott
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Work half time programming and goof off the other half! WL

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The Woodcraft store in Latham, NY only lasted a few years before folding... The owner's cited being required to stock large quantities of slow moving merchandise, carving chisels and hardware in particular, and that tied up their cash. Another problem was that the slick, high profile location was expensive. They bled cash until they couldn't bleed any more...
For me personally, their product mix didn't offer much of interest for a walk in store--Woodworkers Warehouse was far more interesting. ;~) Additionally, the things that did appeal to me tended to be very pricy compared to other retailers prices. As a specialty mail order catalog business Woodcraft looks just dandy but even in an area as big as Albany/Schenectady/Troy, NY the store wasn't viable. It should be noted that there are woodworkers in the area too... my woodworkers club alone has about 1,000 members and most of them are in that area of NY.
I'd due a LOT of due diligence before plunking down the bucks...
John
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I should have gone to bed... too many punctuation and grammar errors for my taste. ;~) Doctored up text below!

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Well, I was at both stores, and the Woodcraft store was 100 times better than WoodWorker's Warehouse. I spend a lot of time and money at Woodcraft, and every time I pass the empty store I get an empty feeling in my gut.
Although - I was getting annoyed at some of Woodcraft's practices:
They would give you a 10% off coupon (on your birthday) but you couldn't combine that with any other sale they offered. I tried to mazimize my purchase value, but the best I could do was get 10%.
They would have a sale each month, but often the retail price of the sale item was raised right before the sale, so the savings was imaginary. I shopped around a lot, and often the Woodcraft sale price was higher than the normal price at another store.
Some of the sale items were great, but they started importing new items for the sole purpose of offering an item at a low cost. Some of those items were equal to (or lower than) the quality that Harbor Freight.

In this Albany/Schenectady/Troy area there are a lot of places when the rental property owners think they have a goldmine. I've seen entire strip malls remain empty for years because they insist on high rental prices, and small stores that try to survive keep failing.
I didn't know about those requirements for keeping carving chisels etc. displayed. But that helps explain the problem. I always wondered about the huge displays, and all that wasted space.
It's a shame that Woodcraft was so restrictive in their policies.
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On Sun, 03 Dec 2006 12:43:14 +0000, Bruce Barnett wrote:

The bothersome thing in those big displays is that there's usually a gap or two where something was sold and not replaced. And that gap is usually where whatever I need today would lie. On the other hand they have a pallet full of their $20 clamp sets. But not a $69.99 Nova Precision Midi in sight.
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On Sun, 3 Dec 2006 12:43:14 +0000 (UTC), Bruce Barnett

Kind of interesting. It looks like (based on this and the comments regarding having 3 years worth of living expenses and then plan on a "nominal salary") someone has figured out how to have employees that furnish their own money for company expenses. Not a bad deal (for the franchising party, not the franchisee). Unless something has been omitted in all of the information, this sounds like a very one-sided deal with lots of downside risk and very little, if any, upside advantages.
The OP may be better off putting together his own "mom & pop" style woodworking shop. If he picks the right location and product mix, he has a good chance of doing well.
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writes:

I'm down in Ulster county (work in Schenectady) and the Kingston Woodworker's Warehouse was one of the best stores in the whole chain... they actually made money in that store and the manager, Phil, was good about getting things for me and making sure I got the best deal on things. I regularly ran into the owners of local cabinet shops and contracting outfits in the store because the store had the tools and supplies to keep those businesses moving. The hobbyists benefited from the commercial business as the store was well stocked with items that sold...
The Albany Woodcraft's business, on the other hand, struck me as doing almost pure hobbyist business. While there is nothing wrong with hobbyists how many sanders are they going to wear out in a lifetime? One small commercial shop I know well of goes through a couple sanders per year, looses and replaces dozens of screw drivers per year on job sites, and the list of constant purchase items goes on...
Also, from what I'd heard the Albany WW was not of the same caliber as the Kingston store which could explain our varying experiences with them. I think that was due to the options available to contractors and cabinet shops as well as management differences.

I'm familiar with that mind-set... don't understand it but I suppose corporate owners might have a portfolio of properties and not really know what a particular location is realistically capable of generating. I recall looking at an appraisal of a water driven grist mill property that was on the market for $1 million. I thought they were nuts as this place was on a dead end road in rural upstate NY and they were using the properties in Merchant's Square in Colonial Williamsburg, VA as comps! CW was doing about a million visitors per year, plus the College of William & Mary being across the street, and other historic sites in the area to draw people to the stores... If the Grist Mill was capable of pulling in 5,000 people per year I'd be shocked. BTW, that property didn't sell for the million. The son took it over and sold it some years later for, as I recall, $350,000. ;~)

Woodcraft is kind of like Subway sandwich shops... the company makes money on everything but the owners of the franchises are often making trivial wages for themselves. Some year ago there was a Wall St Journal article on Subway that laid out how most of the franchises did poorly for the owners but if they owned a bunch of them it was possible to make decent money. About the same time the local paper interviewed the owner of the local Subway and he figured he was making about minimum wage after all was said and done.
John
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John Grossbohlin wrote:
> I'm down in Ulster county (work in Schenectady) and the Kingston > Woodworker's Warehouse was one of the best stores in the whole chain...
Since you work in Schenectady, does that mean you also have the monogram tattooed on each cheek?
Lew
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Nope... work in the big new (2-3 years old) building across the street from the county building...
John
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"Never Enough Money" wrote in message

Resist ... brick and mortar in that line is fast becoming an anachronism.
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A woodworking store doesn't necessarily have to say "Woodcraft" on the sign to draw my business. If the franchise is too $$$$ to startup, why not do your own thing. --dave

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On 1 Dec 2006 09:54:42 -0800, "Never Enough Money"

Without an excellent location you may be in serious trouble starting a store. Plus, you will work 60+ hours a week. I'd definitely shop more at the nearest Woodcraft store if it wasn't so far away. I buy 90% of my needs online, except for wood which I get free or make a purchase twice a year. Gasoline costs are just too high to drive my truck long distances and I don't expect that to change much.
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Phisherman wrote:

OTOH, I work at a Woodcraft store in Spokane and we get customers driving from Idaho, Montana, and spots 100+ miles away in Washington just to come to our store.
-- It's turtles, all the way down
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You can read all you want to on line, but it's nothing like going to a store and seeing the tool in person.
I spent many many happy hours wandering in the Woodcraft store.
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Phisherman wrote:

I spent over 20 years in retail, owning a bicycle store. AFter my experience, I want to comment on two different points of view.
First, many people have pointed out the pitfalls of owning your own store. Those pitfalls are real, not imagined. There are long hours, no job security. The income stream is questionable and unknowable in advance. Getting good employees is difficult (I had 11). Dealing with bookkeeping issues,regulations, marketing decisions, banking options are all difficult and each contains its own learning curve, As the owner of a small business, it strongly behooves you to, if not master, then at least have decent skills in all of those areas. It's the ultimate "jack-of-all-trades" job -- owning a small business.
You need your eyes wide open regarding the downside of business ownership. The downside buries more business entrepreneurs than enables them.
On the upside however, business ownership is a complete rush. You are master of your small universe. If you prove to have the entrepreneurial skillsets necessary to succeed, then ownership is wonderful. If your product is right, your location is right, you know and understand your product, demonstrate good interpersonal customer skills, you can do very well. Most don't. Some do. It's not easy, but you only live once and I think people should follow their dreams if the opportunity presents itself. This could be yours.
I sold my store when I was 44 years old and am glad I did. I was tired of retail, and frankly wanted to spend all of my time with my son (then 7 yrs old) and in the shop making furniture.
Good luck with your decision.
Rick http://www.thunderworksinc.com
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On Sun, 03 Dec 2006 10:32:48 -0600, Rick

Has you shop been in "Woodshop News?"
Your story sounds strangely familiar.
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B A R R Y wrote:

No, I don't think so, but there was an article about me in CWB.
Rick
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