By Eric on 2006-08-06

Part 18 – Guerilla business person case study.

On Sawtelle, there was this video store. It had a crappy sign, looked messy, but was packed with tapes. His clients didn’t give a shit how or where they parked, as long as they could get in and out with returns and new flicks. He must have had the hard to find Japanese shows.

Black Market store who’s next door (loves to talk shit about GR we always hear) took over his spot and opened a sneaker store. With his spot gone, I figured he was over.

I was wrong. Instead of hunting around for an overpriced shop, the owner went guerilla and opened on the streets. See the camper in the photo? From a lot of angles, it looks like someone’s in there chillin, but actually, it’s the video store! Walking by, I saw some tapes from the front window. I was wondering who the heck was living among tapes, but the backdoor was open, and I saw dvd’s hanging on the walls and a person inside shuffling through titles. The dvd shop owner was standing in the doorway of his ride.

Keeping his clientele, moving just a block or two down, keeping on the d.l., and paying no rent (he had this camper already), I’m impressed by this dude. He’s using the basic money making pricinples of making people happy by providing a service, making a buck, and doing it DIY. Too Short supposedly got his start by selling his tapes and singles from his car trunk, tons of people make cash from recycling people’s junk, and this dude, we’ll see where he goes and how long he lasts. It’s obvious to me, that he’s got his game down. I saw people driving up, parking, renting, and taking off while I sat and took the photo.

My questions are:

How did he spread the word that he’d be parked in a certain area? Did he call his client list and tell them? Is there an email network going on? When did he start this neighborhood thing? (My guess is right away). Is it working for him? (Obviously does). Trouble? (He’s renting tapes from his car. I’m sure it’s not legal, but in the end, this is totally cool and innocuous). It’s not much different than “those” people who do weekly garage sale, right?

I wish there was more of this guerilla stuff going on in our area. I remember this shop when it was on Sawtelle, and thinking it was old school, a great service, but maybe not fitting in the area as a store front. Now, he’s my hero for the minute. File this guy under punk rock.