Hey all, This is a long post, so only read if you've got the time! The other day, I was in the local Sports Experts (it's a chain store sports place in Quebec, not sure if it's anywhere else other than Canada), and there was a lady there who wanted to buy a racket for her 12 year old son who seemed to like badminton. The store guy asked two questions: "how serious is your son?" and "how serious are you about supporting your son?" The lady replied that her son was just starting out, not really knowing what to say... and that's understandable. And so the store guy recommended the Yonex MP-100 and the Yonex AT800of. Nowwwwwwwwww, i don't know about you, but I think we skipped a few steps here. I got into a fight (verbally, of course) of how that's totally a lamebrained approach. He didn't ask anything about the kid's playing style, he didn't explain anything about how to chose a racket-- flex, price-performance, ISO vs Oval, overalweight, balance, construction materials-- nothing. Just these inadaqute and decidedly uncaring questions about "seriousness". You should have seen that lady's eyes bug out when he took the rackets off the top of the display wall, and she saw the price tags "on special". It must've been quite the shock, considering that the racket that she brought in with broken strings was one of those backyard-badminton kits. And I'm sick of that. I argued with that store guy for a good 5 minutes, and all it got for my trouble is that the manager came by and tried to "calm me down". Which is funny, because I'm a very reasonable person-- it wasn't as if I was jumping up and down beating the the sales clerk with the rackets. I was simply questioning him in front of that lady to proove how badminton-ignorant this guy was. I think if your store has a badminton section, then hell-- get a badminton guy or don't have the section. Don't think that your tennis guy is gonna be able to do the job-- I suppose it's better than nothing, but if your store is called "Sports Experts" then get the experts. Don't just hire anybody 16-30 year old who looks relatively fit and looks good with a store vest and a coach's whistle around their neck. Anyway, in the end, I picked up my tube of Mavis 300 and left, because I wasn't really getting anywhere. Might I add that it cost me 11.99$ CAN, which I think is ridiculous, but I was desparate and was heading to the gym right after. I think the woman actually declined to buy something that day in the end, prefering to come back with her son and maybe do some research in advance. I recommended checking the manufacturers' website for junior models or beginner rackets (if only to save some cash) and to even check out badmintoncentral, heh. So anyway-- I must say that I've never tried an MP-100 or an AT800-- and I have no doubt that some people will argue that those rackets are worth every penny. I just don't think that the current trends of how badminton stuff is sold in uncaring chainstores is right. Remember how there was that discussion on the IBF's attemtps to improove the popular image of badminton especially in NorthAm? Well, my own theory is that all the great elites were once intermediates, and intermediates were once beginners-- but that beginner generation is getting killed off by stupid chain stores that overprice and under-inform. Okay, so maybe some people (like yourselves) might know something about badminton and know what you want before you come in the store-- but the majority of the world doesn't play badminton-- shouldn't the store's service then be tailored to reflect that fact? And shouldn't their response be something other than to simply sell, sell sell without discrimination? Like I said, I have nothing against those rackets-- in fact, I use yonexes myself. And though that was the most extreme case I've ever personally had to deal with, i assure you that when I was first starting badminton, the staff at most of the other chain stores I've tried were just as unhelpful. So anyway. I've been thinking about how fed up i was of paying so much and getting so little service in return... and I've decided to open my own store. I'm 21 and in university with tuition to pay, so I can't afford an actual physical store. My storefront will be online, and my stockroom will be my room. My product testers will be some volunteer friends and family. My girlfriend will help with the website and do the translations for the french version of the website (I live in Montreal). I'll be shipping Canada Parcel Post. I am the president, receiving department, accounting departement, marketing guy, manager, web-designer and janitor. My mission will be to offer badminton to the world, without killing their wallets, and with SERVICE. Now, I don't mean to say i know everything-- but I'm willing to learn, and I'm willing to be honest. The store will be called Jinryu Racketsports Montreal. Honestly, Montreal's a great place-- I've posted in other threads how the guys and gals at the local YMCA basically took me in and is what made me want to play badminton more seriously. I want my clients to ask me questions before they buy, and after they buy, I want them to feel that they didn't just get ripped off. In fact, if my client lives somewhere reasonably close to my home, I'll deliver the goods personally so they don't have to pay for postage. (From personal experience, there's nothing worse than wanting to buy something for 10$ and seeing that postage is 10$ as well) You'd be surprised how hard it is to find distributors who sympathize with a goal like that. I was essentially turned down by Yonex, Black Knight and Prince. They said I needed an actual physical store and that I had to demonstrate "competitiveness"... ah well. HiQua and Gosen were willing too help, but were not willing to offer me wholesale prices unless i bought about 10 boxes at a time... that would be 10 cubic meters worth of badminton gear. Now, I guess it's not their fault that I don't have the capital to buy 10 cubic meters of ANYTHING or to own a physical store. But anyway. On the happy side, I am grateful to RSL (maker of the world's "No. 1 Shuttlecock") and Karakal (maker of "the world's lightest racket") who have agreed to work with me and sell me quantities of their products with no minimum purchase amount. So that's my starting lineup so far, and from what I see of the lists, I can sell things pretty cheaply. The profits I make aren't to make me a millionaire (although it would be nice wouldn't it?) but rather, just to pay the expenses of webhosting, my own time, and to treat my volunteers to dinner every now and then. Annnyway. I read a dozen books about starting your own business, and the one stage i haven't really covered is the tedious "market research" and opinion gathering stage... so that's where I'm asking for your help. I have learned more from fellow badminton players than I ever did from a book or from a store. I'd like to know if anyone has ever started a badminton store, or any store, and what are your experiences? What do you think will be my downfall? how do you think I can improove? My "game plan" is to start off by selling consumables-- feathers and nylons, and grips, and few rackets. Advertising is me using my products at the gyms i play at and putting up advertisments there, and in local university and collge gym depts. I am staying away from eBay like the plague, because nothing says "fishy" like a badmiton racket on ebay (thanks to the hawks at BC!). I'll be accepting cash, money orders, personal cheques, and paypal-- getting a direct business account from visa and mastercard seems complicated at the momment, so I'm not touching that until i see if this store is working out properly. Thanks in advance for helping out. Yes, this is a bit of a poorly disguised publicity post , but moreover, i really need some feedback on this subject if the store is to work out for the whole of the canadian badminton community... (prices are just too high and service is just too low in someplaces!) you don't have to PM me, just post your replies here and maybe a BCer in your area will try the same thing.