by Jill Hendrix

#118, 14 April 2008

Store Layout

How to Start a Clicks-and-Bricks Used Bookstore Series

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Part II: Fixtures

Fixturing your store will be one of your top expenses. Buying new fixtures from a company like Franklin Fixtures is the most expensive way to go (up to $200 per square foot) and usually outside the budget for most used bookstores. Cheaper alternatives include buying used fixtures or building your own.

First, familiarize yourself with the appropriate ADA guidelines for retail establishments.

Used fixtures can be purchased from stores going out of business or relocating. Store closings may be announced on bookstore lists, craigslist, your local newspaper - or might be handled by local auction houses. Don't limit your search to bookstores; fixtures from other types of stores may be suitable for gift items or displays.

The chain bookstores often throw out old fixtures when they get in new ones. Try to contact an assistant manager at a chain a town or two over from where you are planning to open and see if they'll give you first dibs on any fixtures they no longer need. (Your in-town chain store may not be friendly, but the store the next town over competes against them for district glory and so may be more willing to help you out.)

If you are planning to obtain used fixtures, make sure to give yourself a lot of lead time and have your own transportation, able bodies, and adequate storage space. Also, keep in mind that you may still have to purchase accessories, such as sign holders for them.

Alternatively, the most popular plan with used bookstore owners is to have your fixtures custom-built by a local carpenter. This way, you can ensure that you are making the best use of every inch of sales space. Also, the carpenter will be responsible for transporting and installing the fixtures in your space.

When planning your fixtures, try to build in as much flexibility as possible by using adjustable shelving instead of fixed shelves. Many used bookstores that had their shelving built specifically for mass-market paperbacks are now having problems handling the influx of trade paperbacks and taller-size mass-markets.

>>>>>Click here for page two>>>>

Questions or comments?
Contact the editor, Craig Stark

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