We are about to open our 6th store. Actually, given we have closed two mall stores in the past, this will be the 8th store that we have opened. You would hope by now that the process would be somewhat streamlined.
Well, it is from our side, yet it remains ridiculously bureaucratic to do something as simple as secure supply of magazines into our new Sydney store. With two of the three main suppliers, it is all plain sailing. We have long term relationships with them, they understand what it is we do, and when we open a store, we simply tell them to start stock piling mags for us so that when we open the doors, we start with a decent range. Our range obviously builds over the first few months as new titles come in, but at least we can showcase something impressive on day one.
However, with one of the three major Australian magazine suppliers, we have to apply for supply and fill in details more relevant to a newsagency. They then have a meeting at irregular intervals during which they decide on whether to approve all applications before them. Until this meeting takes place, there is no way that magazines from this particular supplier can be put aside in a stock pile for delivery prior to opening.
In practice, it means that we will open the doors to our first Sydney store (in King St, Newtown – near Missenden Rd) and be without some standard, mainstream magazines. The Sydney public does not know us as well as the Melbourne public, and our credibility as magazine specialists will be at risk when customers’ first impressions have them asking questions about where are some of our bread and butter titles.
I called this one supplier, but there is no way they will bend the rules and allow common sense to prevail. We are not a new, tiny mum and dad operator. They know us. We have history with them. They know our business model and appreciate what we are trying to achieve in reviving the magazine retailing industry. So why can’t they help us? Because bureaucracy gets in the way. Our application will be approved. They know what titles we want. But they cannot preemptively stockpile for us. We will open without putting our best foot forward in terms of our magazine range. We will get there in the end, but in the meanwhile, I am one very frustrated magazineologist.