[Archive] Getting a job to save my hobby store

Tarrakk Blackhand:

Hey everyone!

As you know, I own Monster Hobbies in High River, Alberta, Canada.

Well, recently, sales have been low. For the first time since I opened it 7 years ago, the monthly sales have been adveraging instead of up drastically one month and down the next…but they are adveraging at @ $500 lower than what I need to pay bills, pay myself, restock, etc.

So I have decided to look for work to keep my dream of owning a hobby store alive.

Well, as luck would have it, one of my customers who works for a paiting company is going to college on September 1st and he is leaving his job. when he told me this, I phoned his boss, who I knew from when I took Tae-Quan-Do a few years back. Well, I got his job and starting this Thursday, I’ll be painting houses from 8:30 AM-5:00 PM and getting Saturday and Sunday off!

My wife and I will keep the store running, pay off some bills and such with the money and I’ll also have Friday night off and all of Saturday to run the store’s gaming events and model building. The new store hours will be from 12:00 noon- 6:00 pm and game nights will end at 11:00 pm at the latest (instead of 3-4 am).

When I get a few paycheques under my belt, I’m going to start restocking for Halloween and X-mas as well as get the needed supplies to restock my Games Workshop wargame models as well as the Magic : The Gathering cards.

I’m also going to save up and have a nice 2 week holiday next summer…which is something I haven’t had in over 3 years!

I’ve also decided to advertise in the model magazines like FSM, SAE and MRR. Hopefully those efforts will put me on the map. I might also get a spot here on Hobby Talk as well! :wave:

Anyway, wish me luck in the next little while and look for the growth here at Monster Hobbies!


I wish you all the luck you need in keeping the store and the dream alive (:

Blue in VT:

Tough times al around…congrats to you for making the adult decision that was needed to keep your dream alive. here’s hoping its only temporary.




It’s always sad to see a hobby shop go, glad you can keep yours going for a while longer.


I wish you the best of luck! good hobby stores are hard to find, hope you can keep yours.


Great effort getting that 2nd job. I am sure the decision was not easy, but you had to do what was necessary. I can relate to your situation in having to get a second job, to keep the bills being paid. My wife has started umpiring netball games 3 night a week (and I look after our young kids), and I tutor 2-3 students a week on Dreamweaver and/or Photoshop. We both have full-time work, in a leading Australian University.

So I applaud your efforts, and I sincerely wish you all the best with your hobby store. As a side note I have visited your store, using Google Maps, I walked around the main street, and had a look around the town. It was the best I could do from Melbourne, Australia.

Tarrakk Blackhand:

Thanx everyone! Actually G.2, on my web site you can also walk in the store via my old You-Tube video. :smiley:


Actually G.2, on my web site you can also walk in the store via my old You-Tube video. :D

Tarrakk Blackhand
Yes, I remember viewing that too. A very interesting store you have, it has a little-bit-of-everything in it.


Good luck! Hope it’s just a temporary blip and you soon get back on track!


Wow - that’s rough.

I was out of work for nine months last year. I was laid off two days after my wife had our second child!! Pretty brutal.

However, we’re both back to work now - I work normal days while my wife looks after the kids, and the we switch when I get home - she works 2-3 evenings a week and both days on the weekend… we’ve had three days off together in the last five months. It sucks, but we’re really trying to make the best of it. One thing we’ve learned is that it’s a lot easier to save money than it is earn it. We wrote everything we spent down for a month, and were a little bit shocked at where our money was going. A little bit of sacrifice and hard work, and we’ve cut our monthly expenses by several hundreds of dollars and learned to live off just what I bring home while we use what my wife earns to get rid of things like student loans and car payments while hoarding away some cash for our retirement and saving for our children’s educations.

I’m hoping that the economy will turn around (aren’t we all?) and people will start feeling OK about spending money again. I’ve instituted a ‘scratch build five pieces of terrain’ = ‘feel OK about a miniature purchase’ system. I went a bit overboard with my Chaos Dwarf acquisitions a few months ago - the $50 a month I allow myself to ‘spend it on whatever you want’ doesn’t go very far.

I hope things get better soon!


Best of luck buddy! Reality always bites hard with a small business. There is a guy in Canberra who does exactly what you’ve had to, to keep his store viable. even moved the store into a (I think his) garage (rents can be a killer) and only opened at limited times to keep that dream alive.

Tarrakk Blackhand:

ThanX for the encouragement guys!

@ Zobo1942 - It’s great that you can cut back on spending on certain items. I have to do the same thing. I have an interact system that I stopped using because another company had a better offer. What they didn’t tell me was that to cancle the original interact machine, I have to either find another customer that wants one or pay them $500 to break the contract. So that machine has been service charging me to death…and I’m not even using it. I just can’t find someone who wants the machine and I don’t have enough to pay the $500. So that’s going to be the first thing I get rid of on my first paycheque.

Also, before the recession, we leased a car. When the lease expired, the new version of our car was 1/2 of what we paid for it in 2007. So we bought ourself a SUV for our family and we pay $60 more per month than what we were paying for our little car. Once we pay off the SUV (In 3-4 years) we will have $500 more per month. I’m also thinking of making higher payments to get the car payments finished faster.

I’m thinking that most people in Canada might be in the same position…having to pay off old stuff from 2007. We got into big spending on credit and when the economy tanked, people were left with big debt and no means to pay it. I mean, did people really need 4 flat screen plasma TV’s in their houses? :smiley:

I’m thinking that with the jobs opening up again in Alberta and other parts of Canada, that sometime in the new year the economy will get back up again. Problem is that we have to get to that point again, and how long will that take?

@abecedar - Well, I have thought of that kind of thing…shutting down my Brick-and-mortar store and moving all my stuff into a storage area and selling primarily on the internet…but so many kids come here to play (But with no money usually) and my store is the only one in the Foothills of Alberta, serving 20 small towns.

Now, if I can get the money to re-stock the place and advertise again, I should be able to pull the crowd back. But I need some paycheques under my belt to do it.

Also, I’m not into having the shop in my house. First off, I don’t think our area’s zoned for it. Secondly, I don’t want new customers (Like first timers) knowing where I live. Only my close and trusted customers have that priviledge. Thirdly, I really have no place for those customers to look around. I think keeping the store open in it’s present location, where people have been going for 7 years is best.


That sucks about the POS terminal. Those things can cost a fortune.

We did things like move our car loan onto our line of credit (+ $40 per month), got rid of our cellphones (+ $60/month each, for a few ‘Can you pick up some milk?’ calls?!), cut off our cable TV and bundled our internet & phone service (+ $60 per month). We also started to use websites like ‘save.ca’ or ‘flyerland.ca’ - that saves a couple of hundred per year. Also, (and I can’t stress this enough): Meal planning. That saves us at LEAST $150 per month.

Doing these few things made things a lot easier for us - maybe they could help you out.

Tarrakk Blackhand:

Yeah…well, we’ve paid for our POS when the recession started…the Interact Terminal is it’s own thing though. Actually, in our personal bills, we’re down to a car payment, a mortgage, phone, heat/electricity, insurance and water/utillities.

The store is in a simular position with a few things that could be eliminated.

So we’re in a good position to get out of debt and get into having our own money…but with the recession…no one’s spending. That makes it hard to spring back up and get ahead without having to look for another job.

When is this recession going to end?

I know what you mean about spending though. We’re also crawling on the floor at Extra Foods, getting the yellow label food from the bottom shelves in order to strech our $100 grocery money to include an extra can of soup or something. “Calculator shopping” to make sure we aren’t overspending. I also have 2 girls age 3 and 1.5. It’s a grind…but with the extra job money, I’m hoping to pull myself, my store, and my family ahead of the game.

Man! It’ll be nice to shop for food and not feel guilty about it! Guilty that I’m feeding my family instead of paying a bill. That kind of stress can drive you loopy!But with the new job, I can do both and have $ left over to have a holiday and buy stuff…making my contribution to end the recession faster. It will be good times! :smiley:


I can dig it - my kids are 1.5 & 4, and I know how overwhelming it can be. Check out that save.ca site - it helps us stretch the budget a bit.

Glad the extra gig will help you get back on track. Good luck!

Tarrakk Blackhand:

Thanx! I can’t wait for the 15th! :smiley:



Lol, Tae QUAN Do…


Anyway, sad to hear your tale. Hope it all works out and your store bounces back up. Good luck getting the job and hope everything goes well and the kids that play at your store start bringing some cashish!!

Tarrakk Blackhand:

Yeah…Cashesies would be great! Most of them are getting jobs now, so we’ll see!

First day of work and we were painting an IGA into a Super Value (Grocery Store). We worked outside and I got REALLY sunburned!


Just a thought but how many older players do you get? My local gaming club is run in the back room of a pub, we pay £3 for a Wednesday evening of gaming every week. Could be an idea for extra cash if you get the numbers. Obviously you’d need a suitably appealing gaming area too (no idea what you have available).


It could be worse it could be picking some hideous thorny acidic fruit or doing something that was on that dirty jobs show (I think those guys tend to be well paid as a rule though).

Long sleeve shirt, hat and sunblock and it shouldn’t happen again. Hopefully it won’t be as bad next time.

And by the way as someone who lives in an area where the local hobby shop closed down for just this reason even though there’s nothing like it for miles. I applaud all you efforts it’s always a huge blow every time a store is lost especially in areas where there�?Ts nothing to replace it.