Put Your Camp Store To Work

The 100-percent mark up doesn’t apply to all items equally. Pre-packaged food items are often marked up less if the store is likely to sell every one in the case (high turnover) with little theft or damage, like breakfast cereals or packaged snacks. But the price of items with a high rate of spoilage–like produce, or those hot dogs rolling on the grill at the gas station at midnight–need to cover a lot of product that never sells. It’s the same with “fashion” items, like clothing. There will always be sizes or styles left that nobody wants, and they’ll have to be marked down before they are finally shipped off to Marshalls at pennies on the dollar.

Feel badly about charging so much? Look at it this way–if the people who actually buy your shirts, snacks and knick-knacks don’t pay what it actually costs you to sell them (see all the expenses above), then all of your campers and donors will have to subsidize those purchases through your budget. And I’m guessing they don’t know they’re doing that.

Don’t like to nickel-and-dime camper parents? Yeah, that’s why Disney World includes T-shirts, snacks, drinks and souvenirs in the price of admission, right? No, because a park ticket costing $120 per person seems outrageous. People think it should cost $50 to get into a theme park, and they want the freedom to choose how much they add on or not. “But doesn’t Disney want people wearing Mickey Mouse shirts? That’s the reason we give shirts to every kid.” Let’s follow that idea.

An Inviting Floor Plan Means More Sales!

“It’s Good Advertising To Have Our Camp’s Name Out There”

It’s good advertising to have people actually wearing your camp shirts in front of other people who can make the decision about which camp to go to. There’s no value having your T-shirt in the bottom of a kid’s drawer because he or she won’t wear it, or in the rag bin because it ripped the first time it was used. And that’s often the case with really inexpensive “give-away” shirts. “But we only pay $2.50 each for them.” And if half of those kids ever wear them to school, then you’ve actually paid $5 each. And if one out of 10 of those kids is ever asked “What’s that camp?” it becomes $50 each, and if one out of 10 of those kids ever tells a parent about seeing that shirt, then it’s a $500 a shirt. Hmm.

Most resorts create shirts that are so nice in quality and design that you’re willing to pay for them. And because you choose one you really like, you’re inclined to wear it. And the biggest score is getting Mom or Dad to wear your shirts or jackets. Then real decision-makers will see them.

Now, if they feel good about seeing your attractive shirt, what do you think they’ll say about a cheap, plastic flashlight that breaks before it gets home? That flashlight might be something that a kid needs if it costs you a buck and you sell it for two. But if you have it “custom imprinted” and have to sell it for $6, then a parent (or camper) will have reason to be concerned. So the lesson here is that some things—high-quality items that will last as souvenirs–are appropriate to have your name on them. But utilitarian things—like bottles of water and cheap fans–may be better off “anonymous” and less expensive as a result. You’ll make a better margin, and campers will be happier.

Attractive Inventory Control

Where, Oh Where, Did My Merchandise Go?

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