Why I Run a Shop instead of Hoard Gear

Seattle Store Owner Turntables Trails

Gear can be an addiction. Many people might laugh at this, but it’s true. I’ve met more gear hoarders in the past 9 months since opening this store than I have in my entire life. People on a regular basis walk in and say “wow, this looks like my basement.” Or, “My garage has almost as much stuff as you.” We are a nation of people that collect things, and it’s awesome! Personally I love Audio Gear and Outdoor Gear, which is why my store is filled with these items. I feel lucky that I was able to turn my collecting passion into a way to pay the bills!

Of course, I didn’t open this shop solely to make money. I’m here for a bigger reason, passion. I LOVE gear but I LOVE LOVE when I get to share that passion for gear with someone else. I want to be the Seattle shop that people leave and say “That guy made me exciting about hiking and listening to music!” I dream of running this store as a place where people can come for advice with no obligation to purchase anything tangible but always leave with something (a smile, new knowledge, excitement about gear, hope for their next adventure). A common phrase I hear people say when I offer to help them is “Oh I’m just looking, I don’t need you to do that”, and I respond often with “I love this stuff, if I can help and you enjoy the shop then my day is made! If you buy something then I also happened to make money doing what I love.” What many people don’t realize is that I WOULD BE DOING THIS EVEN IF I COULDN’T MAKE MONEY AT IT.

In fact, I WAS doing this before I was making money at it. I was collecting the gear and loaning it to friends, setting them up with HiFi speakers, or allowing them to borrow my GoLite Backpack for an Overnight in the Woods, or telling them to take my Kayak on their camping trip, or offering to setup a vintage Kenwood receiver at their house for their next party. That is why it’s so great to be able to run a shop that pays the bills while doing this. Instead of making money at a job I hate and then doing what I love on the side I get to do what I love and occasionally make money at it! They say money can’t buy happiness, and it’s true! Surrounding yourself with stuff you are excited about sharing and teaching people about can give you happiness though. Doing what you love and are passionate about as your means of income can also give you happiness. \

So that is why I run a shop instead of hoarding this gear, so I can SHARE what I love. I run a shop so that I can hang out with people who share similar interests. I run a shop so that I can be surrounded by the things and people I am excited about! In a word, I run a shop because of PASSION.

Or maybe I just run a shop so I don’t have to call my addiction what it is, an addiction.

 

6 Months Old and Happily Growing

Turntabels and Trails is almost at the 6 month mark. WOOT! We are so excited to be successfully running a small local business in a niche market! We could take all the credit saying it has been all our hard work and dedication, but truly, the success belongs to you! All our wonderful customers and supporters in these first 6 months have been critical. If you stopped by and bought something, or stopped by and spread the word, you are the reason we are still here! THANK YOU.

 

So what have we learned in 6 months?

1: Invest in Good Shelving up front! It helps a ton!

This is what we looked like when we started:

Come shop at my store and be my first "REAL" customer

This is what we look like now!
Gear to the Ceiling P1012314 P1012315 P1012316

 

2: Don’t use a personal cell phone for your business purposes.

This should be self explanatory, but it took me a few months to realize. Luckily we now have our own shop phone and number (it’s 206-508-6841). This helps keep WORK and WORK.

3: Renting gear is AWESOME, but ALWAYS get a credit card number saved.

p1010217

Yep, we rent snowshoes, and it’s great! We can provide a valuable asset to our community and neighbors at a low cost, but, we learned we need to ALWAYS get a Credit Card saved. As much as we expect people to be awesome and return items when they say they will, it doesn’t always happen. If perchance you happen to be that person who rented a pair from us and never returned them…. we would appreciate if you brought them back. 😉

 

4: Don’t change what makes us different!

We are a small local and specialty shop. That is what makes us great! Early on we tried to contact a bunch of companies to try and carry their new products in the store. We got a few companies to let us carry their product but they haven’t sold well (other than those sweet U-Turn Turntables!). Why is this? Well it seems obvious to me now. We are a niche store and the value we provide is in being DIFFERENT from say BEST BUY or another NEW retailer. So we want to provide BUDGET options, SAMPLE buys, CLOSEOUTS, or USED things for sale, not the generic AMAZON available option. Duh?

 

5: Another word for customer is friend.

Our customers are the BEST. In fact we don’t even like to call them customers, we call them friends! We aren’t here to make a million dollars, we are here because we LOVE what we do! So, if you come into the store and want to learn about outdoor gear, audio gear, or nostalgic games and toys, we are EXCITED to do that. A customer is someone you are trying to make money from. A friend is someone you want to help regardless of what they give you. We want to treat everyone that walks in our door as a friend, and we hope we do!

FRIENDS

 

So thank you all for supporting us. Let’s hope that we will make it another 6 months, 6 years, and possibly 6 decades!

 

 

Are we “the” Seattle Nerd Store?

Is Turntables & Trails “the” Seattle Nerd Store?

 

nerd-seattle

Maybe.

According to a large portion of our customers we are the perfect ecclectic blend of Seattle interests. This was put most apptly by a customer who stated, “You are the Seattle Nerd Store!” Personally, I disagree, we aren’t the Seattle Nerd Store.

We are the Northwest’s Nerd Store!

It seems that the Northwest has attracted the curious and unique crown of folks from around the world who love all the best things. Hiking, Biking, Skiing, Snowshoeing, Travel, Camping, Climbing, Disc Golf and other outdoor activies seem to draw people to the NW like fish are drawn to… well, whatever magic lure you happen to have. We love to get outside and go outdoors in the Northwest. Maybe it’s the beautiful green colors that thrive around us, or possibly the large expanses of lakes, rivers, ocean, streams and other bodies of water. Whatever it is, we love it. Does it make us nerds? Maybe.

We also love music. When I say love… I mean “love”. We aren’t some group of people who are content to listen to the latest boy band (do those still exist?) playing through our cell phones built in speaker. We demand an audio experience. We support our local artists at gallerys, coffee shops, theaters, on-stage, at the farmers market, or even in our own living rooms. So, what do we want when we choose to listen to music that isn’t live? Only the best (within our budget, of course!). We might not have the room for massive 3 way tower speakers, a seperate subwoofer, and a full rack setup, but we certainly don’t want to listen via generic headphones, or our built in laptop and cell phone speakers. We want simple, well built, (and typically wallet friendly) setups that allow us to be invited into the music. As one customer put it “we want to hear the depth of sound in music.” We choose vintage gear, or Made in USA products. We want Marantz, Sansui, Kenwood, Dynaco, Heathkit, JBL, Advent, Polk, Infinity, Acoustic Research, Thorens, Technics, JVC, Hafler, and other quality pieces of gear. We don’t settle for your “all-in-one” speaker-tuner-ipoddock-cd-player type devices. We realize that power of a small bookshelf set of speakers, 70’s receiver, and a U-Turn or Pro-Ject Turntable is more than adequate to fill our house, apartment, or office with encompassing music. Does this make us nerds? Most likely!

What else? How about board games? Yes! Cartridge Video Games like the N64, NES, Sega and Gameboy? YES! We want to create experiences with our friends when we get together; have nostalgic feel good times. Let’s play Settlers of Catan, Small World, Dungeons and Dragons, or Killer Bunnies when we get together. We want to build lego structures that are unlimited in their scope. We want to play pokemon on the original Brick Gameboy. Are we nerds? Yes.

 

So maybe we are the Seattle Nerd Store. Maybe we are the Northwest Nerd Store. If liking adventure, fun, high quality audio, well made outdoor equipment, nostalgic games and toys, and good times with friends is being a nerd. . . we will glady be nerds, and Turntables & Trails will gladly be your Seattle Nerd Store.

 

We Sell Nostalgic Toys, Games and Fun for Seattle

Turntables & Trails – That’s us! At first glance we might appear to sell only Audio Gear and Outdoor Gear, but it isn’t true! Turntables & Trails is the Seattle Go-To spot for Fun of all kinds! We have vintage toys, games, board games, video games, role-playing games, books and more! Obviously you can grab a turntable or vinyl at the store, but you can also get Pogs, Micro Machines, or a Classic Brick Gameboy!

Zbots, Micro Machines, POGS

 

If you remember Micro Machines you probably also remember their Zbots. These tiny little action figures were super well designed, bright colors, strange appendages and they were tiny! These fun little toys fit in every kids pocket, and still do! They also make GREAT keychains, just drill a hole and attach a chain and you have a unique and classic keyring! Of course we also have the actual Micro Machines cars, planes, tanks and more!

 

D20 Dice and More Roleplaying Books

 

Of course, we also carry a small amount of board game, and roleplaying dice, along with roleplaying books. Whether you want some unique D20, D12 or six-sided Die, or a cool D20 system Roleplaying game, we probably have them!

 

Classic Handheld Games Retro Video Games

 

And of course, what toy/game/nostalgic section would be complete without Video games! From NES, Gamecube, Playstation 1, Xbox, N64, Gameboy, Gameboy Color, 3DS, Nintendo DS, Atari, Sega Genesis and more we have games and systems. It might not be a video game shop, so our selection is small, but we do have some! Take a look!

Of course this isn’t all we carry, don’t forget the large quantity of Record Players, Backpacks, Hiking Shoes, Rain Jackets, Sleeping Bags, Receivers, Amps, Speakers, Snowshoes and more that we have!

I think the biggest takeaway is this: We Sell Nostalgic Toys, Games and (all sorts of other) Fun for Seattle. No matter when you come to Turntables & Trails near Greenlake in Seattle, we will have something fun and entertaining for you. We want you to leave with a smile! So come stop by!