Client Corner: MOORE Toys & Gadgets
Located in Wheaton, IL, Diane Moore owns and operates the toy store MOORE Toys & Gadgets. Originally a forensic accountant, Diane was looking for a way to spend more time with her family, and possibly get them involved in a business, and thought a fun toy store is something her town needed. Her toy store is special because she sells unique toys that you would be hard pressed to find in big box chains. Merchandise is chosen with care, and she appreciates the valuable feedback from customers on items she should begin carrying in the store. Diane sat down with us and told us the value behind a strong community, shared how Small Business Saturday has been important for her business, and offered some valuable advice for those looking to operate a small business.
When starting her business, Diane wanted to be closer to home. She was ready to trade in the corporate lifestyle for something a little different that left her with more time for her family. At the time, that was her main goal and she wasn’t looking for anything else, but since becoming a small business owner, being a part of a tight knit community has become her favorite part of owning a small business. Along with other local businesses in Wheaton, she features a sign in her store that says “Shop Local So Local Lasts”, because if consumers switch all of their shopping to online only, the local businesses and main street areas that people love are going to disappear. Additionally, since starting her business, she has been able to incorporate her three sons, who will occasionally be seen working in the store or visiting. In fact, she is so dedicated to her community and helping small businesses succeed, when it comes to making purchases for her personal life, she will make some purchases from big name retailers, like the Gap, but she truly enjoys supporting other local businesses, such as Jeans and a Cute Top Shop also in Wheaton. Ideally, she tries to keep her shopping within two zip codes.
Small Business Saturday
For MOORE Toys & Gadgets, Small Business Saturday is key to the success of the business. Diane has participated in the event every year, and each year has been stronger than the one the year prior. She mixes advertising by posting on her Facebook page, and promoting the business through the Downtown Wheaton Association of which she is a board member. Diane spends a good portion of the year preparing for Small Business Saturday because it is the store's busiest day of th eyear leading up to the holidays.
When we asked Diane what the most surprising thing she has learned in her time as a small business owner, her answer was staffing. Even with no prior retail experience, she knew that hiring for her small business was going to be complicated. While she has found, and retained, several good employees through her time in business, she has also run into the problem of employees quitting with no notice, and people just not interested in working. Today, she has a small, but mighty team, of seven employees, including a mix of full-time, part-time, and seasonal employees, and looks to hire people who are truly interested in the store and enjoy the merchandise being sold. The bonds between Diane and her employees is so strong, that they will visit when they aren’t working, and have even stopped in before high school dances to visit and take pictures before they get dinner and head to the dance.
People are always interested in owning a small business. As someone who made the switch from corporate to small business owner, we thought Diane would have some helpful advice for those who are looking to get started. She stressed the importance of talking to others who are business owners before starting up yourself. Diane actually mentors people who are looking to start a business and will review their business plans and even help them go through financial statements to see if it makes sense to start a business. Additionally, she tells people to be sure of their goals before starting a business and reminds them to not go into business just to pay the rent. By this she means, if you rent the location of your business, be sure that expenses will cover it but also generate a profit. If your income is only going towards the rent, there is no point in opening the business. By laying everything out on the table and thinking through everything ahead of time, you set yourself up for better chance at success.
While Diane will do bookkeeping on her own, she said she would never tackle payroll herself because it’s such a big risk. She has seen other business owners think that they have more money than they do, not set enough for taxes, and be in trouble when tax season does hit. In retail, sales tax is involved, and if she doesn’t stay on top of paying that, those fines can be costly. By choosing SurePayroll, she knows that her employees are going to be paid accurately and on time, and she appreciates the peace of mind of knowing it will be ok, so she can focus her attention on her small business.
Interested in learning more about MOORE Toys & Gadgets? Check out her website: https://mooretoys.com/
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