On this week’s Shop Talk, I’d like to discuss a topic familiar to a lot of business owners these days: staffing.
When I first approached Jason, the owner of Sports Zone, the Pennsylvania hobby shop where I work a little over three years ago, he wasn’t certain he could add a full-time employee, but he took a chance.
The pay wasn’t life changing, but it was good enough to get by and my thought was if I helped grow the business I would be rewarded on some level. And more importantly, I left the job that was sucking the life out of me for something that I was passionate about, which is a choice I will make every time.
Fast forward three years and businesses is, as Antonio Brown says, booming.
We got to the point where Jason and I literally couldn’t do it ourselves all day, everyday.
Our friend Zach comes in and helps us for a few hours so on a Monday morning, which is the busiest day to ship. Considering the shop business is closed on Sunday, we have to handle all of the online orders and questions that have come in from Saturday afternoon through early Monday morning. Zach is a huge help as our combined efforts ensure that we are not starting the week behind the 8 ball.
We also have our town super hero, John Simpson, help us with a few of the menial, time consuming tasks on occasion and Jason’s mom and dad will also assist us at times, but all of those efforts still aren’t really enough to take the load off Jason and me.
So a few weeks ago Jason decided to hire some summer help to see how it would go. He decided to hire some summer full time help to see how it would go.
He hired a young man named Kyle, who is a regular customer that comes in and generally does box breaks and buys basketball singles from time to time.
When Jason mentioned this to me my first thought was to manage Kyle’s expectations because it’s definitely not all basketball singles and box breaks at Sports Zone.
Aside from the wide array sports items we carry, you will find RC cars, sports action figures and few non-sports items. Moreover, it’s a certain level of business we do online that involves a lot of shipping, receiving and some more shipping and receiving. Did I mention shipping and receiving? As is the case with many hobby stores, we need to be more than just a physical shop.
There are days where I’m buried in the back room from open to close with only my lunch break to save me and my sanity.
Like I’ve mentioned before, the highlight of my work day or work week is when customers bring in cards and they want me to either tell them what they have, even appraise them or the most fun and exciting- sell them to us. It’s also great getting out to the front counter and chopping it up with our regular customers and new customers for that matter about good old athletes on cardboard. It really is one of my favorite things to do in the world and I am lucky enough that I get to do it on a regular basis… and get paid for it.
But I digress. Kyle has been with us for just a few short weeks now but its already clear that he’s been a great help. He’s hard-working, knowledgeable and personable. Unfortunately for us, Kyle will be receiving his degree within the next year so this isn’t a long-term fix but a short-term solution. Make no mistake, I’ll still take it.
It looks like we’re going to have a great finish to our summer with him joining the team for the next several weeks. He and I have really connected through our mutual enjoyment of sports and sports cards. we both have similar personality, so it’s been a joy to have him in the shop. Hobby shops should never take a good employee for granted, no matter how many hours of work they’re able to offer.
Here’s hoping he comes back to help us out for the holiday season!