Larry Comer started Pocket Change Coin Shop (517-663-7701) in 1991 after a life-long interest in collecting coins. One day he was walking down Main Street in Eaton Rapids and he saw a "For Rent" sign in the window of a small shop. He was instantly struck by the thought, "That would be the perfect location for a coin shop!" He is located at 121 South Main Street. His retail space is approximately 10 feet wide by 16 feet deep.
|Mr Comer researching coin prices|
The Pocket Change Coin Shop serves two distinctly different clienteles.
One clientele values coins for their silver (or gold) content. That is, they see physical possession of precious metals as an important component of their investment portfolio.
The other clientele values coins for their artistic and numismatic value.
The silver bugs
Silver (and gold) bugs see precious metals as money with a longer track record that paper/fiat/electronic money.
Dollar-cost-averaging is a buying strategy where the client purchases the same amount---in dollars---every period. This is a no-brainer strategy that simplifies discipline and results in relatively more ounces being purchased when prices are low and relatively fewer ounces purchased when prices are higher.
|All math errors are by EatonRapidsJoe. Values do not comprehend wear.|
Bear in mind that the coin dealer needs a little bit of mark-up to keep his lights on. You might get a better deal if you are a regular monthly customer....for example, you might only pay the equivalent of what you would pay for postage if you bought your bullion on-line.
|Close ups taken with a Fuji FinePix S700 in Super Macro mode.|
The coin collectors
The other clientele are collectors rather than investors. That is not to say that a collector would refuse a hefty profit on their collection. It is to say that a substantial, perhaps even primary value of the coin to the client is some form of connection, be it artistic, time related, or geographic.
This is a tougher clientele to sell to. Inventory can have birthdays until THAT buyer comes in who is looking for that very coin.
|Clicking on the picture should make it embiggen for closer examination. Or you can download it and view it in a photo browser to really zoom in.|
The last major home run for the mint in terms of general interest in collecting were the "State" series of quarters. Those quarters brought many new collectors to the hobby. The mint hopes to repeat that success with a series of quarters that highlight our National Park System. I posted some gratuitous close-ups so you can see the detail of the striking.
Various books and magazines are available for the budding enthusiast. Books are a great way to feed dreams. Yes, all of this information is available on the internet but it is easier to navigate on paper.
Just for Fun
I asked several readers for advice about questions I should ask Mr Comer. One of my experts suggested "Revolver or Semi-automatic?"
Well, Mr Comer is "Old School". He believes that two is always better than one. And that holes don't count unless they are big enough for mice to nest in.
These are reproductions.
|The original New York reload. Barrels swivel to bring bottom barrel up to the line-of-sight.|
|The business end of a different, double barrel pistol.|
|Some pretty good examples of geodes. Sorry about the lighting.|
Three and a half pieces of advice for business start-ups
Keep your overhead low.
Vast sweeping vistas of plushly carpeted retail space add no value to the coin and make it much harder for your customers to resell that coin at a profit.
Coin collectors have memories like elephants. They remember. They freely share their opinions on dealers. Always be scrupulously honest. Count things out twice if you need to.
You cannot know everything. But have some reference books and magazines available so both you and your client can learn together.
The half piece of advice:
Some people want to start their own business because they chafe when working under a boss. Take a hard, honest look at yourself. If you are "that" kind of person then you might be a poor fit for retail where every person who walks through your door is your boss.
Link to previous small business report
Link to next small business report