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Alaness

Opening a telescope shop. Still worth it?

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I too wished the was an astronomy shop here in Oxford.  Recently I visited my mother in law who has two Astronomy shops very close to her.  "A ha" I thought "I can pop in and get a counterweight that I need".  Both were really helpful but said they would have to order it.  As I was only there a day or so it wasn't as beneficial as I thought.  So now I feel that it doesn't matter that there isn't a shop nearby. 

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Sorry to be so negative but I have to agree with most of the previous post.

You have to consider where your customers originate?

Are you going to rely on passing trade and word of mouth? Will this provide another sales?

OK you want to draw customers from a wider area. How will you inform these potential customers? Take a look at the monthly Astro Mags., the main bricks and mortar stores seem to run adverts. every month. Can you afford to do this? Remember this is going to be an ongoing expense which in all likely hood will show little initial return. 

I wish you well but reluctantly have to conclude that without an exceptional amount of good fortune this is a venture that is doomed to failure.

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A friend of mine owned a Model Shop in Stafford and did well until 2007 when the ecnonomy dipped thus did the cash flow. He operated online but his prices were not competative enough because he had overhead of the shop.

Also people would come into his shop to ask for advice, then shop online at some box shifters and then come back to his shop to ask advice on how to build the model, how to fly the model or even ask if he would by the model off them as they could not get on with it. By 2010 he had to close even though he had slashed prices for fuels for the model planes as these were only the repeatable stock items he could sell but it was not enough.

Opening a shop or even an online shop will require many many thousands of pounds to get enough stock (at least 3 of everything) and people demand next day delivery so you have to have it in stock to send out or have a very good relationship with your supplier that the supplier could deliver directly next day.

Also Astro gear is very expensive, even if you stock the cheaper end of ccd camera ith will cost quite a bit and then you have to make sure you have the accessories as well like filters and filter wheels.

Speak to FLO and see it they would consider a franchise operation?

Edited by SniffTheGlove

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Shops specializing in decent binoculars and telescopes are unbelievably rare. Theres 1 shop in Carmarthen, and another shop over 100 miles away in Llandudno (and that only does binos). I know of absolutely no others and therefore think its certainly a good idea to setup another one. I have tried to find other stores in Wales online, but their stock seems very limited. I personally dont like to buy optical equipment online either.  I would also like to add that many telescopes costs many hundreds. If you are able to flog such telescopes to people who have more limited budgets then its likely your shop will do well.  As a potential customer I think it would be very important that you have a wide range of stock as this increases the chances of me being able to buy something suitable, in budget and also check out a greater variety of equipment. Cant sell something you dont have in stock. I recently purchased a pair of binos for £60 even tho I was intending on buying something double that. It was the most suitable binos that they had and also bear in mind what I just said about scope shops.

Also GET A WEBSITE! I cant stress this enough. This is how many people searching for your business will try to find you and to see what you sell, so keep it updated too. Many times I have searched for certain businesses only to find their address and business name, only for me to end up checking out those with a website. Its so much easier than having to phone up asking questions. I would also suggest you provide a telescope maintenance service (collimation, cleaning etc) to help keep your business ticking as scopes are not something people routinely buy afaik. 

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