Friday, September 5, 2003
Steamboat Springs Mac Moore did $5,000 in sales at his little shop on Ninth Street on Thursday. He was probably wondering where all those customers were over the past three months.
"That's more business than I do in some slow months!" Moore said. After 14 years, he is selling out his inventory in preparation for "not staying in business."
"Basically, I'm out of money," Moore said. "I'm a little tired of it and I'm tired of not getting a steady paycheck. I do everything here. I'm the bookkeeper, I keep track of payables, I do the ordering and I'm a clerk."
Moore said he had a loyal customer base, but they weren't enough to sustain his specialty toy shop.
"I've been feeling guilty the last three days," Moore said. "People have been coming in and saying, 'No, you can't go out of business.'"
Then again, nobody has answered Moore's prayers and stepped up to buy the store.
Moore earned a degree in environmental conservation from the University of Colorado at Boulder in the early '70s. His wife, Roxanne, is a member of the family that formerly owned Alpine Lumber (on the Front Range), and he worked there for five years as an assistant manager.
Then, in 1989, he and Roxanne sold their house on the Front Range, bought a home in Deerfoot Arts Park in Steamboat and purchased the building at 119 Ninth St. that would house Toys and Moore. It all happened in the span of two weeks.
During Moore's first two years in business, December was a very strong month.
"My Christmases were wonderful. I did $40,000 and was shooting for $60,000," he said.
That was before the Steamboat Wal-Mart store opened with a large toy section.
"I've been recovering ever since," Moore said.
It's readily apparent that Moore loves toys from the type of merchandise he has chosen to stock. Nearly everything on the shelves is the kind of toy that has an educational component built into it. Higher on the walls are antiques culled from the estate of his maternal grandmother, Zina Spore. The antiques are for display only.
Potential customers didn't always perceive the value in his merchandise.
"Blue-collar guys look at specialty toy stores and think money," Moore said. "But if you compare my prices to specialty toy stores in Denver, I meet or beat them."
Moore is frank in his assessment of his own business acumen -- he says he didn't learn his lessons about marketing and paying attention to the pace of merchandise "turns" the way he might have.
"I saw something I liked and I bought it," he said.
Moore isn't bitter, and he isn't seeking sympathy. Purchasing his building, which includes two storefronts right off Steamboat's main commercial district, was a wise move that will help to secure his future.
For 13 of the past 14 years, Moore held an "annual staying in business sale." He smiles when he remembers how many concerned customers came in, having misread the headline in his newspaper ad.
This time, he really means it. Toys and Moore is "not staying in business."