Back in 1970 I had a large and growing larger retail store. Business was great and I became a “big buyer”. While sales continued to grow, my inventory was growing even faster and I was running out of cash. I brought in a company to help, but they only confused things, so I set out to develop my own open to buy program. It took a year, but I figured it out and in the process was able to reduce my inventory by a whopping 75%. Sales continued to grow, but now turnover and cash flow were also growing.
After several other businesses, in 1984, I spent a year and a half refining and packaging the system and began marketing it to other retailers, first as a paper based (forms and instructions) system, then software and finally in its current configuration as an online system.
So, why am I thankful? To begin with, in 1970, open to buy saved my store from bankruptcy. Of course, I did something that is impossible today and that is to go an entire year without buying anything new. But back then it was possible and I had so much inventory I had to do it. Once my open to buy was in place, I saw what I needed and let it guide me forward. When I sold my store in 1974 my inventory was clean and current – every retailer’s dream.
Once I went into marketing my system, it afforded me the means to make a living, so I’m thankful for that. But the best part of this story is that my open to buy system has helped thousands of retailers to take control of their buying, inventory position and cash flow. For some, this wouldn’t be a big deal, but for me it has been everything. Having the opportunity to talk with my customers and help them with the system, the process and the potential of their stores has been extremely rewarding.
So, I think I’m a lucky guy to have developed and shared my system with so many retailers over the years. Their feedback and appreciation lets me know why I’m thankful for my open to buy plan. I wish every one of you, customer or not, a wonderful Thanksgiving and strong business for the holidays.