In 2010 Philip and Kim Spiers bought Tom Taylor Custom Belts Buckles and Accessories, 108 East San Francisco Street, downtown Santa Fe in the historic La Fonda Hotel. This 26-year-old establishment was started by Tom and Jean Taylor and had a strong brand of high-end buckles and belts. When the Spiers purchased the business it had been impacted by the downturn in the economy beginning in 2008 but continued to have a very positive cash flow to owners.
Ideally when a business transition occurs, the business is solid and the new owners have a concept of how to take it to a yet higher level. In spite of the economic downturn, the Spiers have achieved growth through the beginning of 2012. Because of this, it seemed appropriate to have insight to how they have achieved the growth.
These are components that the Spiers feel have contributed to their success.
- A strong brand that the Taylors built over the years, first as a couple and followed by Jean after Tom died in the late 1990s.
- The La Fonda Hotel is a terrific location for a retail store, particularly one building on the nature of being in the southwest. The hotel has been bringing in better events that support the retailers.
- There has been some economic growth from the low of the downturn and many tourists originate in Texas and California where individuals have done well.
- They expanded display casing, advantaging available square footage and improved lighting and display fabric, enhancing the inventory display.
- A new buckle artist and expanded accessory lines, e.g. purses, have been added.
- Changing merchandising to bring the higher-priced items forward.
- Receptions for artists have been added, giving higher exposure to locals and tourists.
- The owners are a part of the staff schedule, increasing owner presence and they participate in the community.
- Management of the sales transactions has changed from hand-written sales slips to a point-of-sale system, reducing errors and time for management of inventory.
It is so fun to watch the Spiers have their business purchase turn into a retail success. Businesses often benefit from new ownership. Certainly this is true here.
Go ahead, buy a buckle and belt. I did, one designed and manufactured by Jean Taylor, original owner.