These are my couches

Note from Amy - since writing this entry in 2015, Colorado has lost another dance store in northern Colorado. Being a small business owner, who invests in the community is more challenging than 4 years ago. Not only are we competing with online retailers and mobile pop up shops, brick and mortars are competing in a multi dimensional and pyramid programming of studio selling. Increases in taxes, both in property and commercial, to offset the lower sales tax base, along with higher shipping costs, higher wages and deeper customer discount and retention programs, have small retailers with dwindling profit margins. These margins are what allow your community businesses to higher locally, buy goods locally, and support, advertise and sponsor your community programs. This blog applies in more ways than it did in 2014. Thank you!

These are my couches. I bought them back in 2006 for very little money when I went through a divorce. I know I need to replace them but I can never justify spending money on replacing them. I’d like to tell you why.

(This will be a little dry but please stay with me, it’s very important.)

When you shop at BBW, you trust us with your investment of purchase. You have given us your money for an item(s), we have made a profit, and from which we decide how to spend our dollars made. The majority of your money goes to paying staff (I include myself in this category) as well as other overhead items. BBW has a staff of 8 that cover their rent, pay for their dance classes and feed their families from their paychecks. We also use profits to fund a deeper inventory of dance supplies (to be a dependable supplier) and to diversify our products (ie pointe shoe styles) so our customers can have more to choose from. We pride ourselves with partnering with reputable vendors that offer responsible products and reinvest dollars in development and sponsorship. Our goal for marketing, is community marketing. With this model we spend these dollars with our customers, advertising in local and regional performance programs, local print media and sponsoring local events.

At the register, a customer receives a studio discount for being affiliated with a local, independently owned dance, yoga or movement studio. As an example using basic math, if BBW were to sell $100,000 of merchandise in one month and gave our customers an average of 15% off, BBW saved the community $15,000 that they can invest locally somewhere else, preferably in taking more dance classes, seeing more performances, buying more locally grown food….you get the idea. Now let's take that $15,000 and multiply it by 12 months. (This isn’t real for BBW, we would love to do that amount of business every month but as of now, we don’t.) That is $180,000 dollars put back directly into the local economy per year.

Trooper, Boo and Kiwi on my couches.

Trooper, Boo and Kiwi on my couches.

With each sale you pay a sales tax. As our sales increase, so does the amount of sales tax we give back to the city and county of Boulder and the state of Colorado. This funding is used to pay for our schools, roads, law enforcement and….SCFD! Taken from the annual community report that SCFD put out in 2014, Dan Hopkins (chairman of the board of SCFD) says, “In 1989, SCFD awarded $13.8 million to member organizations. Fast forward to 2014 when $52 million was awarded. One result – nearly all SCFD organizations provide free days that wouldn’t be possible without SCFD support. SCFD also helps support free attendance for school children – 4.25 million in 2014 alone. So looking for one word to describe the region’s cultural scene today, I would choose “thriving.” And SCFD has played a critical role.” In short, your tax dollars matter for a community invested in the arts and the education of it’s youth.

Lastly, many people in our communities fall on hard times. Every year we are approached by school directors who have students that need help getting the supplies they need to take dance class. Fires, floods, economic downturn, divorce and death changes lives and this is when people more than ever need to dance and be a part of a community that will lift them up and help them find their strength.  Since 1997, BBW has been able to provide for these dancers and their families. This is because of you, our customers, who have purchased your items through BBW and BBW is then been able to allocate those funds to help others who need them.

So when the comment is made, “can’t I get this for less somewhere else?” I think, where? Payless? Walmart? Discount Dance? And the answer is simply, only if your wish is to NOT  invest in your community. As consumers make this unfortunate choice, dollars are not kept local or regional and are not reinvested into the community that they serve. For communities to thrive it is essential that every business that is trusted with that community’s dollars reciprocate by reinvestment.

Thank you to all of the school directors, studio owners, teachers and students that patronize and make the effort to support our business. YOU ARE VALUED. BBW knows you may have to drive further, wait in a line or for a special order to come in and not always get what you want immediately but it is our hope you will continue to join us in making this ARTS COMMUNITY strong, funded, healthy and diverse. Without you, BBW would not be able to be a part of building community and that would take our purpose away.

Simply put, the couches can wait.