How can I hold events at Small Shops Marketplace?

As you may know, Small Shops Marketplace has a designated Event Room. This room is over 1000 square feet, and is specially designated for people to host classes, events, and more!

But how can you get in on the fun? It’s actually quite simple. You can come into the store at any time and speak to a manager about an event you want to hold, and once you’re approved you can reserve a date. We operate on a first come first served basis, so have multiple dates in mind in case your desired time is taken up.

The room costs $50 to rent for 3 hours, with it costing an additional $10 for every hour after that. Nonprofits and community organizations are welcome to use the room for free within reason.

We can also help promote your event! We can boost your event on social media and put it on our event calendar. If you don’t wish for your event to be promoted by us, simply say so and we’ll keep quiet.

How do I apply?

Setting up a Microstore at Small Shops Marketplace starts, like many other things, with an idea. While it may seem simple to just grab some items from your home, or order a box of junk from Ebay and then grab an application, there’s more that must be considered.

The first is your inventory. There are three things we look at when considering whether your items would be a good fit for Small Shops Marketplace:

Uniqueness – That you are not selling a line of products already carried by someone else

Consistency – That your products all mesh with each other to create a coherent ‘Store’. Ex: Not selling both handbags and vacuum cleaners

Availability – That you have a reliable source of inventory for which to restock

The next thing to consider is how often you can be in the store. While you do not have to stick around to sell your items, being able to come in at least once a week to manage your store is ideal. Additionally, while we use email, phone calls, and Facebook groups to connect with our Shop Owners, it still pays to come into the store and personally check for updates and news.

Finally, you’ll need to know what kind of fixtures you plan to use. While we don’t want to stifle anyone’s style, there are a few guidelines that we enforce. A copy of our display guidelines is provided when you apply, if you apply online, you can come into the store to receive a copy.

Once you have everything together, you’re ready to apply! Either come into the store to pick up a paper application, or use our online form! Applications generally take 1-2 days to be processed, and you will receive a phone call to let you know whether or not you’ve been approved.

What does it cost?

Paying to have a Microstore in Small Shops Marketplace is done in simple, monthly installments. However, the exact amount that is to be paid for a given space can at times be a little more complicated.

Our spaces are priced in accordance with their size. For a normal space out on the floor, the rate is $2.16 per Square Foot. Spaces with a wall have numerous advantages over floor spaces, and as such have an additional $0.50 per Square Foot premium.

For our common 80 Square Foot spaces, this means that a floor space would cost $172.80 monthly, and a wall space would cost $212.80. Spaces can vary in size greatly, from as small as 70 ft2 to over 130 ft2. If you’re curious about what spaces are currently available and what they cost, simply come in or call the store at any time during opening hours!

The price of a space is split into 2 parts. The first is the Base Price, this is $2/ft2 (or $2.50 for a wall space). The second is our Advertising Cost, this is $0.16/ft2, and is our amount that we spend exclusively on advertising efforts. While the Base Price is firmly set, the Advertising cost can be cut in half or negated completely by your own advertising efforts! Ask management for current Ad Credit programs to find out!

Some spaces have electrical outlets. Use of these, for lamps, a TV, or whatever else, incurs a $20 Electricity Charge. Note that the fee is only charged when you keep items consistently plugged in. Having the outlet available for customers to test products that require it does not incur a charge.

All of these come together to form your monthly rent cost. The initial payment is made up front, and afterwards it is to be paid at the end of each month, and is late on the 10th of the following month (e.g. May rent is due April 30th, and is late on May 10th). A late rent balance incurs a $30 late fee. If you’d like, you can use your monthly sales to cover your rent balance, more on this can be found in “How do I get paid?”

How do I get paid?

So you’ve done it. Your store is set up, items are selling, and the month is coming to a close. The only question that remains is how you are going to get your money.

One key thing to note is that we charge a 6% commission fee on all sales. If you have $200 in sales, we will take $12 of this to cover costs (receipt paper, labor, etc.). Keep this in mind going forwards.

The first thing to be sure of is that your rent is paid for this upcoming month. As explained in “How does it cost?”, rent is due by the end of the month. If you have not paid your rent balance by the end of the month, your sales will be used to cover the balance. If your sales do not entirely cover the balance, then you must pay the remainder by the 10th. For some, it may even be advantageous to simply let the rent balance be paid off by their sales and then collect the rest. Always be aware of how the system works, and remember to make sure your balance is covered.

So if you have a balance of $0, then you’ve got a check incoming. On the 10th of the month checks will be ready for pickup. You’ll receive a copy of your financial statement as well as a full list of your sales for the month, and ,of course, a check for the amount of your sales minus the commission fee.

In case that was a little much, let’s use an example. Jim started his store April 1st. He’s made $360 in sales over the course of the month. With the commission fee taken, he is due $322.40. His rent for May is $172.80, and he didn’t pay this before April 30th, so that amount is taken from his dues. Now, on May 10th, he can come into the store and collect a check for $159.60. Had he paid his rent, he would be able to collect the full $322.40.

If you ever have a question about your sales or your current balance, you can always ask a manager and they can quickly provide an answer.

What if I want to leave?

We get it, having a store doesn’t always work out. Maybe your source of inventory closed up, maybe something came up in your personal life, or even just that your sales weren’t what you hoped after a couple of months.

Whatever your reason, you’re ready to close up shop. In the spirit of our “Low risk, low commitment” policy, resigning is a simple and painless process. Simply put in a written notice or send an email stating your intent to leave by the end of the month, and you’re all set.

As we operate on a monthly schedule for processing rent and sales, leaving mid-month is largely discouraged. If you pay your rent for April, and then leave April 15th, you will not be refunded for the last half of the month. Similarly, if you express intent to leave by the end of April, but don’t move out until May 5th, we can either work out a prorated rent balance for you to pay, or declare any sales made in May forfeit.

Please note that we do not permit Shop Owners to move out who have an active balance.

Comparison

Competitive Points List

  Small Shops Marketplace Traditional Retail Flea Market
Startup Costs Minimal $25,000-$300,000 + Minimal
Financial Obligation/risk None. No long term commitments. Normally 5 years + and $100,000 or more None. No long term commitments.
Weekly Workload 1 – 3 hours 40 – 80 hours + 20 – 25 hours
Paperwork Minimal Massive amounts Minimal.
Max number of locations Unlimited. Grow into any new location we open. Simply have each location restocked weekly. Unlimited. Only limit is the number of leases you can sign with various shopping centers and number of employees you can hire, train, retrain, fire, and manage. One. You must be in your "booth" to sell items and collect money.
Key Concept Stock your store and let the marketplace staff do all the work and take all the risk while you are doing other things. Commit significant resources, hire and train a number of employees, and sign long term leases to try to build a successful retail business. Turn your free time during weekends into an opportunity to make extra cash.
Risk vs Reward Small risk, virtually unlimited reward. Large risk, virtually unlimited potential reward. Small risk, modest rewards.