One thing that I really want to do with my hobby shop is to buy and sell used items. One of my favorite parts about going to different hobby and games shops is browsing the used section - you just never know what you will find. I am a habitual collector of role playing games, board games, and miniatures. If I see something that looks neat I will buy it, I also have the bad habit of trying to track down rare things even if they aren't that good - I'm just a sucker for small print run RPGS.
So building off of this interest I am planning on buying used merchandise from customers, auctions, and wherever else I can find it. There are a few problems that you run into with this though. Quest for Fun has a really solid article up on how he handles used merchandise. I am planning on mimicking this form of handling the used marketplace. I am running into a few issues though. The first is that I am just starting up. I do not have a large budget to buy these things right now. Since I am also trying to run a real lean business and space is at a premium I don't have a ton of room for merchandise that might not sell for up to a year.
One thing that I keep reading about is your turn rate. Ideally you want to move your entire stock four times a year. This is some magic number that someone, somewhere came up with - you can use your turn rate to get a real good judge of the health of your store. Used merchandise has the lowest turn rate of any category, but at the same time it also has one of the highest margins.
So lets say the general plan is to buy used softback RPG books for two dollars a piece - thats pretty fair for something you don't really want anyway - and that I will then turn around and sell them for six to eight dollars, that ends up being a pretty nice margin. The only thing is that it might take three or four times longer to sell the item than it would something new and popular.
Were it not for my love of old RPGs and board games I probably wouldn't even be considering taking on the whole used section, but they say follow what you love and the money will follow - guess I will be checking that out.
Something else along these lines is offering a bits service for miniatures. There are a few sites online that offer up bits, but they are pretty pricey. What I am thinking about doing is just having a big tub or two of bits and selling whatever is in there at a flat rate. A good idea that Jester came up with was having big ziploc bags of specific army bits - that way it would be easier to find what you are looking for. At this point I am thinking about having two tubs - one for the "regular" bits, and one for the "premium" bits (powerfists, special weapons, really cool stuff). I'm not sure about pricing on these items, but I will probably start off at $1 for the regular bits and $2 for the premium. I always have an absolute blast digging through other peoples bits boxes, so this will hopefully be a good way to draw in people and give them something neat to do.
Used boardgames is another area that I have actually already broken into. When I moved into the shop I brought all my games from the house down. For one this gets them out of my house (something my wife is excited about), and it also gives me a big collection of games to demo to people if they are interested. As I set them up on the shelf I also figured that if someone want's to buy one, I can always order another and open it up for store use. This will give people a chance to play before they buy, and also a chance to get games at a discount.
Does anyone else out there share my love of the old, used, or rare? What are some other neat ideas along these lines that you have seen? Let us know in the comments!