Thursday, December 26, 2002

Christmas was good. Low key. Little one got most of the presents. One especially annoying gift she got was a chicken suit elmo. You press a button and elmo sings about being a chicken and dances like one. Of course, little girl loves it, at 1 she already has some serious grooves, so any excuse to dance, even to elmo, is welcome.

We went to see the festival of lights in Prince George's County, Bowie, MD to exact. There were a half million lights. Very nice, but the little girl was too sleepy to appreciate much of it. Spent the rest of the evening working on my new Dell and doing stuff. The wife had craft gifts to finish up.

I'm not overly thrilled about my Dell yet. I think once I work out all the kinks I may be more statisfied. One thing I would say about Gateway was that their customer service, online and over the phone was pretty good. I'm locked into this Dell thing for the next four years, so I hope they have manners.

I've certainly hit the ground running this year. Primarily with business stuff. Retail sales for the industry were at a 30year low this Christmas. St. Martin Catholic Bks & Gfts did not do as well for December as we originally hoped, but it was not terrible either. Either way we did much better for the year and next year seems quite good. My theory about why we didn't do badly is this. We are a novelty retailer and so we lag behind the other retailers who sell necessary items. So generally when retailers have big shopping days, we don't, because people go to Walmart and JCPenny's before they come to buy Catholic gifts. However, this season, because the retail climate was so bad, the large retailers had to offer deep discounts, thus leaving consumers with extra credit room or cash to go for novelty items. I have thus concluded that we probably do better when regular retail is slumping and it is a buyer's market in general.

I now have to spend the next few days and maybe weeks getting everything ready for taxes and simply closing out 2002 files. Since this is our first full year with no exceptional circumstances, no move, no terrorism, etc, planning for 03 is going to be much better. But because I was computerless for so long, I am lagging behind in all that stuff. An example of something I need to greatly reconsider is advertising. Prioritizes advertising dollars. I am very tempted to go the TV commercial route and will be meeting with a maketing rep to discuss that possibility. i also hear that radio is very effective. Besides those two outlets, there's two local Catholic papers and the four regional papers that I have to advertise in. And then there's internet advertising. I no longer believe in banner ads but I believe 100 percent in You bid on key words. I swear it did wonders for us, but at the present time, I'm not concvinced that it gives the most bang for the buck, especially since we are primarily a brick and mortar store with an internet outlet, as oppossed to being primarily an internet operation. Needless to say, all this advertising could easily run into the tens of thousands. So for it to be effective it has to be planned strategically, or it looses its bite.

Okay, that's enough. Back to work, I have a AP photo to hunt down.


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