I have my own take on our economy these days. Well sure, things are changing. But maybe it’s just a shift from what was to what is. I noticed this is a pretty glaring way on a recent day trip to Blowing Rock North Carolina. I took a friend there for a day and we spent the day walking around downtown Blowing Rock. We saw the sights in art galleries and book stores and coffee shops. We really enjoyed “looking”. We looked a lot. Finally we visited a Thomas Kincade art gallery. It was beautiful. The gallery probably had 50 Thomas Kincade prints as well as another 50 or so from other very talented and well known artists. I chatted with the shop keeper and asked her about business. She told me that times were tough. She said that there are some days where she will get close to 200 lookie loos (like me) and only sell one print for a few hundred dollars. And some days she sells no prints. She went on to point out that the ice cream shop three doors down from her shop is packed all of the time selling candy and ice cream and other goodies. She was obviously quite disgusted with this fact. After we left the store we were a little hungry so we went next door and bought an ice cream ! Sure enough the ice cream store was packed with a line out the door. It seemed to me that the average purchase was at least $10 and in some cases upwards of $20.
Well this got me thinking about our current economy. People are still going to buy things. They might not be out buying expensive art work. But they certainly are buying. Most people are willing to part with ten bucks if it will make them feel good for a few minutes and make their tummy feel yummy. Have you ever read the book “Who moved my cheese?” Me neither. But I understand that the concept is pretty true to reality. Maybe the gallery needs to re-consider their charter. There are what, 30 art galleries in Blowing Rock? And one ice cream store. Now there’s an opportunity. I’m no business guru but I would have to venture that some one needs to provide a little healthy competition for the ice cream store. Maybe the gallery owner could start selling the prints on e-bay and get a business permit to start selling ice cream. I’m sure there is pretty good mark up in selling Thomas Kincade prints but if you are only selling one a day what is your net margins. I would venture a guess that at the end of the day the gallery owner is upside down about $500 bucks for the day if they only sell one print. Meanwhile, 3 doors down the ice cream vendor is probably netting $2.50 for every cone they sell.
Now, obviously, not every business can re-tool to accommodate the needs of our new “ice cream cone economy”. I mean, the company making custom leather sofas can’t start making Oreos or something. Or can they? Do you remember the Nauga doll from the 70’s. Probably not. Well, I gotta tell you that those little creatures were pretty crafty. Probably in some furniture factory somewhere there was some left over couch material and someone from the sewing dept. thought it would be pretty funny to make one of these little monsters. Well these little buggers have been around since the early 70’s . And they still sell them. For $29.95 no less !! Now, I’m not saying that Nauga dolls are the answer to our struggling economy. What I am saying is that companies need to take a hard look at what people in our day and age want and need and then start selling that to them.
Apparently in Blowing Rock people want ice cream. And one lucky vendor is going to survive the “Ice Cream Cone Economy”
Kathy Cleveland Bull: Who Moved My Cheese? - Funny blooper videos are here