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New shop in a small town.

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March 21, 2012 7:55:10 AM

I'm thinking of opening a small computer store in a small town. The space is about 1,000 square feet right in the middle of downtown on main street. It's actually kind of close to the only computer shop in town, but no body likes him and his selection is poor. I think he's still in business because he gets free rent from his brother.

Do you think it's going to be an uphill struggle to sell retail with Walmart and Bestbuy a few miles a way? I'm assuming I'll see more local middle aged and older people in my shop, that don't shop online and hate big box stores.

What about gamers or business users? What products do you struggle finding that you would assume you could find locally?

Any suggestions on what would be a good niche for a small shop?

Currently I work from home and serve mainly home users. RAM upgrades, virus removal, new computer setup, etc.

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March 22, 2012 7:38:56 AM

I'm thinking maybe just a repair shop stocked with critical components only? Anyone who can wait would probably order online (yes even the middle aged people). If you think about it, even big box stores are losing out to Amazon/Newegg. You may have heard that Amazon was encouraging shoppers to price compare B&M prices with their prices and order from their site. Pricewise it's just impossible to compete. So maybe if you establish yourself as a reliable repair-guy who has the necessary components ready in stock, you could make local businesses and consumers part of your customer base.

I'm thinking carrying a processor or two from every common socket type. A mobo or two from these socket types. A few common RAM types. PSUs. Hard disks. An optical drive or two. I think your inventory shouldn't be big since you won't really make money on components, but rather fast, quality service.
March 22, 2012 8:46:48 AM

bgrt said:
I'm thinking maybe just a repair shop stocked with critical components only? Anyone who can wait would probably order online (yes even the middle aged people). If you think about it, even big box stores are losing out to Amazon/Newegg. You may have heard that Amazon was encouraging shoppers to price compare B&M prices with their prices and order from their site. Pricewise it's just impossible to compete. So maybe if you establish yourself as a reliable repair-guy who has the necessary components ready in stock, you could make local businesses and consumers part of your customer base.

I'm thinking carrying a processor or two from every common socket type. A mobo or two from these socket types. A few common RAM types. PSUs. Hard disks. An optical drive or two. I think your inventory shouldn't be big since you won't really make money on components, but rather fast, quality service.


Good points. I've been playing with my business plan trying to get my cash flow projections to work for 3 years. It's hard because I can't just replace 5 items, i'd be paying way too much. I'll sell 5 things and order 20. It'd take me about a year to kinda level off on increasing inventory. I can probably only spend about 12-15K on my initial inventory. I'm trying not to use credit until I really know what sells and then purchase some higher qty. So components will probably be a lot easier. I also may also end up with about 6 decent used computers from a client I could put in front.

The retail section is only about 250 sq feet. I will have 750 in back, most of which could be retail with some work.

I'll probably end up buying from New Egg or CDW since I need such little qty of everything. I've gotten some good discounts from CDW in the past.

Any thoughts on a good source for wholesale?

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March 22, 2012 6:14:35 PM



Good luck in your venture but I gave up stocking more than a month's needs when I found prices and therefore values could go down while my stock sat on the shelf.


March 22, 2012 6:47:44 PM

Saga Lout said:


Good luck in your venture but I gave up stocking more than a month's needs when I found prices and therefore values could go down while my stock sat on the shelf.



I figured I'll have some items that'll be there a while, but hoping I'll learn quick enough to at least have a majority of my inventory move within a month.

Is it difficult to become a distributor for specific companies, or do you just buy from a warehouse store?
March 23, 2012 7:59:11 AM

Not sure about wholesalers. I see CDW ads, and there's NeweggBusiness as you know. I'm not sure how much volume you need to order before it becomes worthwhile over ordering retail.

About inventory dropping in value, I think the best way to take care of this is to just carry mid-range to low-end components. People will not come to a local shop to buy the latest video cards or CPUs, which drop by hundreds of $ every 3 months. Like if you just carried some Core i3s, i5s, 400W generic PSUs, cheap mobos, you won't lose as much value as quickly. AND there's probably a larger number of customers who need the mid range stuff rather than the high end stuff.
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