In 1980, a husband and wife, purchased their first home in Arizona. The husband was managing a vacuum cleaner store, and the wife was a cashier at a grocery store. The husbands only day off was Sunday, and the wife was off 2 different days of the week, so, they never had much time together. They had no children, but the wife was breeding Afghan Hound dogs.
The husband was watching TV one peaceful Sunday afternoon, and all of a sudden the TV sparked, smoked, sputtered, and lit on fire. He jumped off the sofa, opened the front door, unplugged the TV, picked it up and threw it in the front yard.
Even with both the husband and wife working, they didn't have enough money to buy a new TV. The new house had eaten up all of their extra money, and there were a lot of new expenses in owning a new home.
The husband was talking to a friend of his about his financial problems. His friend mentioned that his father used to own a vacuum business, and said, "Why don't we go to the Flea Market in Phoenix on weekends and sell vacuum cleaners, bags, belts, and parts". I told him that it sounded like a good idea, but my only day off was on Sunday. We agreed that he would work Saturday, and we would both work on Sunday.
The only other problem was that this person had no money for inventory, so his friend said that he would put up the money for some inventory to get their business started. They both agreed that they would put all the profit into buying more inventory, and vacuum cleaners that they would both rebuild and sell.
They followed through with their plans, and their new business was a success. They were selling huge amounts of bags, belts, and parts, as well as buying old vacuums, fixing them up, and reselling them. All of the profit they made went back into the business, and they started doing more and more business. It was all very exciting, but the only problem was that one of the partners was now working 7 days a week, and still didn't have enough money to buy a new color TV.
After about 2 months, the one partner mentioned that he would like to get a little money from the business to buy a new color TV. He was kind of surprised when his friend said, "No Way". He tried to talk his friend into it, but his friend was totally against the idea of taking any money out of the business. His partner said that he would rather just buy him out of the business that they started, and have the business all to himself. They agreed, and the one partner was paid about $ 800.00, for his share of the business.
Finally the one partner was able to go out and by a new color TV. Then, he thought of what he could do with the other $ 400. Well, right or wrong, he called the vacuum parts distributor that they were both buying from, and ordered $ 400.00 worth of bags and supplies, and the following Sunday, he went to the Flea Market, and started his own business. His friend ran into him and kind of smiled and said, "Oh well, I guess we didn't talk about you doing your own thing out here". The other partner said that all he wanted was some money to get a new color TV, and that he was the one who wanted to split up the partnership. They both laughed and remained good friends and competitors that helped each other for many years.
The one partner continued to buy more and more supplies, and soon had a huge display of parts, bags, belts, and new and used vacuum cleaners. He was so busy that most of the time, he had no way of going to get lunch, or a coke, or anything. After a couple of months of suffering alone, he needed help so badly that he asked his wife to quit her job which she did, so that she could help out with their new business.
During the next several years they continued to grow, and soon they had a 30 foot trailer and 4 employees helping them at the Flea Market, and at their home, where they were repairing and rebuilding vacuums during the week. They got to know all of their neighbors at the Flea Market, including the ones who sold futons behind near their stand.
After a few more years they became friends with their futon friends, and they decided to rent a store together. It was their first actual store, and they split the store space and rent. I all seemed to be going well for both of them, but one morning, after a couple of months, the vacuum people went to open their store, and all of their futon friends things were gone. All of their futons, desks, computer, everything was gone. They had vanished in the night. All that was left was a note explaining that they weren't making it, and that they felt bad, but they had to abandon ship and move to Seattle. This was quite a surprised to the vacuum people, who were left with all of the expenses of the store, but luckily their business was able to handle the bills.
The first day that the futon people were gone, they had 2 or 3 people come into their store and ask them where are all of the futons were? They could have told them that the futons were gone, and that all there were now were vacuums. Instead, they asked the potential customer what size they wanted and what color, and they knew enough about futons, and where to get them, that they were able to make a couple of sales without any futons in the store at all.
This was the beginning of a kind of a strange combination that was not planned at all, but it worked, and they had many customers who bought both a vacuum cleaner and a futon. Eventually the futon part of our business was so busy that they had less and less time for the vacuum part of the business, so they ended up selling it to one of their competitors. This futon business has continued to grow year after year, but was never planned.
That is a story of how 2 people started a business on the side, which developed into a full time business, and then completely chaged to a different business altogether. It shows how in business you must be able to adapt, and to go with the flow, in order to survive.