1 September 1016
I have spent the past few days examining the contents of our shop’s storeroom, where the bulk of our goods for sale are kept; for our shop is a rather old-fashioned shop, where most goods are behind the counter, and the shopkeeper finds the items for which the customer asks. And what I have discovered is that our storeroom is an overstuffed monstrosity in which feast and famine are to be found side-by-side.
Of staple items, those things which everyone needs daily that are not made locally, we either have such a supply that boxes and barrels line the aisles and are stacked in front of less common items, or we have virtually nothing, all depending on when the last order arrived from our suppliers.
And for those less common items—spools of thread, packets of needles, washboards, knives and forks and spoons, tools of various kinds—we either have more than we will sell in an entire year or so little that we can hardly find them. Amelie tells me that these things might be called for at any time, and so she must have them on hand; but once demanded they are gone until more can be ordered from Mont-Havre, for there is no room to keep more. Except for those things of which we procured a large supply at some time or other, and which are now taking up space that could be better used for other things as the supply slowly dwindles.
Some items are naturally small, like pins, and so are easy to store, even in quantity; others, like flour and beans, are not so, and it is these items, both commonly asked for and bulky in size, that make it so difficulty to find the pins and needles.
A wagon came from Mont-Havre just today—one built here at the wagon-works, huzzah—and brought with it, among other things, several new novels from M. Fournier’s bookshop, both Provençese and Cumbrian; for I have an account with M. Fournier, and anything new he sends to us as a matter of course. And it led me to think: everyone needs flour, everyone needs beans, everyone needs similar bulky staples, and they come to our shop to get them. But what if we purchased a small wagon of our own, for the use of the shop, and arranged to deliver these items to our customers?
Our folk could order them at the counter, a little ahead of time, and we would deliver them when they came in. Dried beans would come in from Mont-Havre, and would be loaded onto our wagon, and we would make the rounds of deliveries—thus saving much space in our storeroom.
We should have to maintain a small inventory—for those who find themselves caught short—but it could improve matters greatly. We should need to hire someone to make the deliveries, of course, but rising demand should make that pay.
I shall have to think on this further.