Saturday, October 18, 2014

Second Quarter 2014 Recap

by Tracy Zhu, Owner

Well now, here we are past the third quarter already and I'm just getting to the second quarter recap. I'm sure these posts aren't interesting to most people, but I want to record the history of my little enterprise as it unfolds.

By April I had nearly give up on finding a suitable second location for Tango Zulu. I was holding out for all the elements I wanted, and I hoped to be open by summer so we could make the most of the high season. Four months into the search, nothing had worked out and my window for a summer opening was closing rapidly. Then near the end of the month a space we had looked at earlier came back on our radar: the historic City Club building in the gritty and resurgent Pioneer Square neighborhood of Seattle. I loved the high ceilings,  30 feet of display windows, open floor plan, and the quirky wrought-iron spiral staircase....but oh, it needed work. We signed the lease on May 16th and entered into a frenzied month of construction followed by a hard two-week push to get displays and inventory in. Long days with a three hour round trip commute ate me up. I was determined to open by June 30th, but July 3rd ended up being the actual date. We opened almost on time and a little under budget, which I'm proud of. I also am happy with all the big decisions regarding the build-out, hiring, and inventory selection. I couldn't be more pleased with the way the community has welcomed us, and to my immense relief, the store is thriving (so far...we'll see how the slow season goes.)

The Port Gamble store hummed along during this period, largely due to the remarkable work ethic of  employee Kristi Anna. Sales were about even with the same quarter last year, and our growth may be leveling off in that town. E-commerce sales, however, were up about 30%, continuing the impressive growth we saw in the first quarter.

Opening the Pioneer Square store was a tough and stressful undertaking, but it's well worth it when I come down 1st Avenue South in the morning and see our big, beautiful sign and, often, someone pressing their nose hopefully against the glass. On a personal level, Drew and I lived in Seattle for years, spent lots of time in Pioneer Square, and in fact met right next door to our new store at the old New Orleans Café. It feels good working down there and being part of a vibrant, rapidly changing neighborhood that also holds a lot of nostalgia for me. I was feeling a little stale spending all my time in North Kitsap, and this new adventure is doing me good.

Finishing touches days before we officially opened.

See what I mean about the staircase?

The field office, where I tried to retain control of my empire during the build-out.

Getting the floor laid down was a big help.

Our changing rooms. Print by local artist Tyree Pearson.

Jaycee, who has been rocking her job from day one.