Opening a store… the solution to my unemployment woes

I'm not sure which sport's fans they cater to. Maybe jai alai, or competitive cat hearding?

I don't know which sport's fans they'll cater to. Maybe jai alai, or competitive cat herding?

The Great Recession is stopping me and millions of people from finding a job. We’ve all seen the unemployment numbers, and they aren’t good. But this doesn’t seem to be keeping entrepreneurial types from opening stores in Jackson Heights. Every time one closes – which seems to be often – another pops up within a couple months. New or soon-to-be new stores are everywhere. It just occurred to me, while munching on a foot-long BMT at Subway and staring out the window at the grandiosely named “La Casa Del Internet,” that opening my own store and putting myself in charge could be this blogger’s ticket out of unemployment. Everyone else around here is doing it. Why not me?

Wifey brings up the idea periodically, usually in a half-joking manner meant to downplay that she’s also half-serious. I only gave the idea much thought once, a few years ago, when I was gainfully employed but not terribly happy about it. At that time, Jackson Heights lacked a decent coffee shop or even a Starbucks. There were plenty of places to get good coffee; Colombian bakeries make a mean cup. But there was no place to meet friends, hang out, read a book, check email or get exiled from. The idea of opening a little cafe has a certain romantic quality. It also has a major downside, as I discovered in the Slate Magazine article entitled “Bitter Brew.” The author methodically tells his story of opening up a Manhattan cafe and how it destroyed his life. That was the end of that pipe dream and the last time I seriously considered opening a store.

Maybe dismissing the idea out of hand was a little rash. I’m a reasonably bright guy, sometimes. I have an MBA and some work experience. I’ve shopped in stores. And I like money. That practically makes me William H. Macy, Joe C. Penny or one of those other department store tycoon types. Besides, three of the more difficult questions – what to sell, where to sell it and what to name the store – have been essentially answered for me.

Jackson Heights only supports certain types of businesses – hair/eyebrow salons, sports bars/chicken restaurants, hoochie mama clothing stores and 99 cent emporiums. If I can incorporate some or all of these under one roof, I’ll be assured success. Gainful employment and early retirement… here I come. The rents on 37th Ave. – the nicer shopping street – are supposedly outrageous. People on the neighborhood message board openly speculate how stores with nary a customer continue to survive there year after year. I like having kneecaps, so I’ll keep my opinions to myself. High rents on 37th Ave. mean my store would have to be on Roosevelt Ave., under the subway tracks. Elevated trains rattling my fixtures every five minutes will just class up the shopping experience anyway. And that’s more money in my pocket. Given my products and location, the store name almost doesn’t matter. I just have to misspell on the sign, as per neighborhood custom.

There we have it… Norm’s Hair and Ibrow Salon Chickon Sport Bar 99 Cent Hoochie Mama Boutick Emporiam is born. I may need a double storefront to accomodate the sign; I’ll have to look into that. Everything will sell for 99 cents, or some multiple of that. Stay tuned to Jobless and Less for info on the grand opening. You won’t want to miss it.

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  1. underemployed wrote:

    Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 10:41 am | Permalink
  2. Dan wrote:

    This is not a bad idea, I think about it often and agree, WHY NOT… I think sometimes we are just too scared to face failure. But the truth is any step forward is moving in the right direction… So I Say do it Man I will stop in… Of course I will take you cheapest plate of fries and the cheapest beer you have, but I am always willing to try a new spot. Good Luck and be good.

    Wednesday, July 8, 2009 at 1:39 pm | Permalink
  3. Ben wrote:

    I would make the trip for your store, man.

    Tuesday, July 14, 2009 at 4:19 pm | Permalink

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  1. These are the people in my neighborhood | Jobless and Less on Thursday, August 6, 2009 at 4:58 pm

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