A few years ago I was this close (imagine me holding my thumb and finger very close together, but not quite touching) to getting out of the web design and SEO businesses and starting a chain of skate shops. And by “skate” I mean “skateboard”, lest anyone think I’m talking about roller skates or something.
I had the business plan, I had the brand, I had the dealers lined up, I had everything but a signature on the retail space, and then…I didn’t do it. Mostly because I needed a pile of money and couldn’t get anyone to give it to me.
Over the next few years I saw Active implement my business plan and every time I’d see something about them I’d think “Man, that’s exactly what I was going to do.” I also saw a local Utah skate shop open their second store in virtually the same location where I was planning on putting my first retail location. I’d go in and talk to the guys there sometimes and ask them how business was doing and they’d say “It’s going pretty well” and I’d think “Dang it! This could be my shop!”
Fast forward to last month, namely March, 2009. That shop that set up shop in my space? Closed. And today I read that Active has filed for Chapter 11, lost $7.7M during the past year, and owes $8.8 M to unsecured creditors. Ouch.
So now I’m a freakin’ genius. Remember how I didn’t start my chain of skate shops because I couldn’t get anyone to give me the money? Yeah, that used to be the story, but now it’s different. You see, I looked at the high debt levels carried by the American household, the real estate bubble, massive deficit spending, and the likelihood of a Democrat win come 2008, and I thought “No…this is not the right time to get into a retail venture. This economy is headed for rocky times, and I better wait it out.” And hey, my plan worked. I mean, I’m like $16M richer than those guys at Active, and I didn’t have to lift a finger. You can bet they’d love to trade places with me today. Suckas.