1) No, the store is not dead, though it may have appeared so. Pandemonium has in fact moved to
2) The move was unexpectedly traumatic, owing to the fact that we were closed for over three months.
3) While we had kept our core customers, the store had taken on a lot more debt than was really healthy for it, but we would persevere.
As it turns out, I was overly optimistic.
There were more grinding noises from with the store over the last few months, and so I had to severely lighten our overhead by letting most of our people go. The good news is that the store is now operationally in the black. The bad news is that the amount of debt the store has is rather staggering. Not only is interest a problem, but all my creditors are (very politely but very insistently) asking for their money all at the same time. Lastly, there is the large amount of back taxes that Pandemonium owes on a State and Federal level. So, ouch.
I have been in contact with Pandemonium’s vendors, and have been able to work out repayment plans that should work assuming I can keep store revenues up during the winter months. In that regard, I will be putting into play a number of new things that will, I hope, get us through the winter.
However, the owed back taxes are a major problem. If the store can’t get those paid off Very Soon, I don’t see how it can survive. Tomorrow, a gentleman from the IRS will be coming by the store. I am going to need to convince him that Pandemonium will be able to pay the taxes it currently owes. Otherwise, things will get very sticky very quickly.
And so I have a cunning, if desperate, Plan.
As was announced yesterday on Pandemonium’s LJ blog,
(http://community.livejournal.com/pandemonium_bks/78457.html?style=mine#cutid1), the store is going to be putting out a line of new t-shirts at a rate of one/month. Not all of them are going to be “store shirts”; we plan on doing just plain fun and arty shirts as well.
I have put together a t-shirt pre-ordering site here for our January and February shirts:
If 1000 customers pre-order and buy a store shirt, the proceeds will be enough to pay my Federal (and hopefully my State) back taxes.
If 1000 customers don’t pre-order the shirts, I’ll probably start looking to roll up the business. I’ll consider every available option, but it’s unlikely I will be able to keep the store afloat.
I realize that this sounds like sounds like the worst type of emotional blackmail: “Buy a shirt, or the store gets it!” But there is more to this than money. Note that I am asking for one thousand PEOPLE to buy at least one store shirt, not for a thousand shirts to be sold. I need a thousand people to take part in this.
The reason why is that I am now working 11-12 hours a day, six to seven days a week, for a salary that is not currently sufficient to meet my needs (stupid, stupid, student loans). I have fought to keep my little store alive for seventeen years, and I am prepared to fight for another seventeen years, as long as I know that Pandemonium is appreciated. I need, need! to know that at least one thousand people give a damn about the store.
Maybe this is how booksellers have their mid-life crisis. Maybe it’s these frigid February days that keep the store empty for hours at a time. All I know is that I’m 40 years old, the store is in serious trouble, and maybe this is the time to wrap up things and get a 9-to-5 job with weekends off, vacations and health plans.
But the thing is, I do love my store. I love this life, these people! I just need to know other people appreciate Pandemonium, at least a little. The store has been the center of my life for seventeen years, so obviously it’s important to me. I just need to know that it’s important to you.
With one thousand people, I can pay off Pandemonium’s back taxes.
With one thousand people care, we have a real chance of getting through this.
With one thousand people, Key will become human.
With one thousand people, an angel gets its wings.
With one thousand people, Tinkerbell doesn’t die.
With one thousand people, a thousand cats will wake up tomorrow morning, look around and realize that they are not supreme overlords of the world…yet.
Whatever happens, it has been a magnificent seventeen years, and I would like to thank all Pandemonium’s employees and customers, past, present and future, for a wonderful ride. I simply pray that it’s not over yet.
Thanks so much,
Owner & President, Pandemonium Books & Games Inc.