by Poppies Books
last updated 23/06/2021
For The Love Of Books
by Poppies Books
last updated 23/06/2021
A much-loved Poppies Books franchise is for sale in a popular location
Brett Bennett is sitting in the middle of several large piles of books right now. With 150 new books to price, label and shelve, it’s going to be another busy afternoon at Poppies Havelock North.
In an age where everything seems to be moving online and over in a flash, Poppies Books has carved out a very successful niche. Brett and his wife Pam bought their franchise 15 years ago and have watched the world of bookselling change dramatically as the big chains reduce their shelf space and specialist stores make a comeback. They love the lifestyle, but as retirement beckons so the time has come for a new franchisee to take over in the stylish Hawkes Bay township.
The Poppies philosophy is all about creating a personal and unique customer experience, starting with the intimate nature of the shop. ‘The printed word is making a real comeback,’ says Brett. ‘There are new bookshops opening, and e-books seem to have lost their popularity in recent years. People like the whole experience of books, the touch and the smell, and with Poppies we offer an experience that can’t be found in an online store. It’s light, airy, we have wide aisles and low stacks for accessibility, and plenty of cosy spots to sit and browse.’
To grow the business, though, franchisees must be able to connect with readers of all ages to establish Poppies as their bookstore of choice.
‘You can’t just wait for customers to walk in and pick up what they want – you need to be an avid reader and booklover yourself,’ Brett explains. ‘Every book we buy is something we’ve handpicked. We have return customers who holiday here and come in whenever they are in town. We have another who asks Pam for recommendations and buys ten books at once. We order books and Pam knows exactly who will buy them, even if they don’t know themselves yet.’
Words and numbers
While Pam is a real bookworm, Brett delves into the numbers that make the business so successful. ‘It’s not a business that you can just walk into and make a fortune – like any business, you need to put in the time and effort, so it has to be something you love to do. Turnover and profitability are crucial, though, so you also need careful management and good support. Some suppliers will allow you to keep books for a time then return them for credit – this can really affect your cashflow, so there’s a puzzle of what to order, what to return and when. These are areas where having a good franchisor makes all the difference.
‘When Tony Moores became the franchisor a few years back, he negotiated deals that lifted our buying discounts with some suppliers to 40 percent. That is a big bonus when we’re buying a hundred books at a time – but we still have total discretion to choose and buy what we want. It’s our bookshop, and it’s part of our local community. That’s what Poppies is all about.’
Tried and tested
Tony Moores says this community element is key: franchisees are encouraged to exercise their own taste in the look and feel of their store so that each has its own personality, alongside Poppies’ distinctive branding elements, trademarks and signage.
‘At the same time, it’s a tried-and-tested formula – the business is yours to manage and grow, and we’re here to help you,’ Tony says. ‘Poppies provides ongoing support including assistance with inventory ordering and ranging, budgeting, cash-flow management, marketing, advertising, website content and more. Ultimately, the lifestyle you achieve is a reflection of the effort and belief you have in yourself and the Poppies core values.’
Finding a new owner for Havelock North is the priority right now, with another existing store for sale in New Plymouth and opportunities for new outlets in towns all over the country. Investment levels vary according to size and location.
‘If you’re a knowledgeable and enthusiastic reader with a head for business and a desire to play a real part in your community, we want to hear from you,’ says Tony. ‘Poppies Books is a business to love.’
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