How To Start and Operate Your Own

By Dusty and Bonnie Henson, Owners "World Famous" El Paso Saddleblanket Co., El Paso, TX

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Chapter I
Chapter II
Chapter III
Chapter IV
Chapter V
Chapter VI
Chapter VII
Chapter VIII
Chapter IX
Chapter X
Chapter XI
Chapter XII
Chapter XIII
Chapter XIV
Chapter XV
Chapter XVI
Chapter XVII
Chapter XVIII
Appendix A
Appendix B
Appendix C
Chapter VI


Finding what you need.

You can save up to 80% here by doing some careful shopping. Go to an office furniture store or showcase dealer and experience "sticker shock" at their retail prices. Then go home and start reading classified ads. Once you know what full price is, you will be highly motivated to search for bargains. You can get by with nearly all used furniture and equipment because total emphasis will be placed on your merchandise and practically no focus on the display materials themselves. If you don't find suitable shelving or racks, these can be constructed by any handyman at minimal cost.

Besides studying the classifieds, there are other means of locating what you need. Drive around town and look for stores that are closing or offices that are renovating. Call and ask if their fixtures are for sale. Secondhand stores and auction houses are worth a look too. Call the local school administration and ask how or where they get rid of their old equipment. Factories and government agencies also have potential., Once or twice a year there is probably a police or IRS auction where confiscated goods are disposed of at pennies on the dollar.

Some of what you needed might be right in front of you. Look around your house, your garage, your attic, for any articles that might be used again.

The following list includes items of absolute necessity for your merchandise showroom, your office, and the shipping-receiving-janitorial area.


 Cash register

  Check out counter

  Electronic VISA-MG machine

  Adequate lighting

  Wall racks for rugs

  Shelving for pottery

  Clothing racks for mandellas

   Showcases for valuable items

   Pegboard for artifacts

   Shelves for kachinas

   Convex security mirrors

   Fire extinguisher

   Trash receptacle by front door

  Water cooler


  Tiered tables for pottery, baskets, and curies




  3 or 4 folding chairs





   File cabinet


  Card file-rolodex

  Bulletin board

  Cabinet or shelves for paper and office supplies

  Wire baskets or stacking trays for files and paperwork

  Bank bag

  Petty cash box

  First aid kit

   Tape dispenser

   Pencil sharpener



  Broom-mop-just mop-bucket-rags

  Vacuum cleaner

  Cabinet or shelves for cleansers etc.

  Scales for weighing UPS shipments

  Tape machine for box sealing tape

  Space or shelving for box storage

  Containers for packing merchandise or unpacking shipments

  Single medicine cabinet for your personal effects - aspirin, etc.

  Toilet paper dispenser

  Towel dispenser

  Soap dispenser


  Tool box

  Cart or dolly

  Step ladder

  Trash cans


  Electronic security system


  Postage meter


  Shrink wrap machine

  Gift wrap table and supplies


  Small refrigerator

As you set up your office and sales counter you will realize the need for dozens of office supply items. Before you rush out to a store, again use all your own resources first. You and your family probably nave enough unused materials laying around the house to nearly stock your desk area.

  Pens and pencils

  Writing pads

  Scratch paper


  Poster paper

  Markers, colored pencils

  Stencils, rulers, scissors

  Scotch tape

  Paper clips

  File folders

  Typing paper - copier paper

  Measuring tapes - yardsticks

  Staples - Nails - Screws Wall brackets

  Columnar pads

  Postage stamps

  Avery labels

  Paper tickets for price tags

  Light bulbs

after all possible resources have been exhausted, then head for a discount office supply store to fill in your extra needs

Be prudent--a large desk pad calendar can keep you every bit as organized as a $50.00 leather-bound schedule planner. Buying legal pads in large packs can save a fortune over fancy spiral books and binders. Colored file folders are not necessary--put colored file tabs on plain folders. You do not need flowered towels and toilet paper. Little decisions like this cut costs and increase your profits. Watch for coupons, discounts, and sales on these types of supplies. Occasionally grocery stores, drug chains, and K-Mart have better prices than the traditional office supply companies. Look for bargains.

Before arranging your store, visit successful operations in your area or in other towns. Again-- "follow the leader" for merchandising. Collect ideas on displays and make notes about what types of fixtures would best present your inventory. You can build much of what is needed with 2x4's, plywood, metal rods and cinder block. See Appendix A in the back of the book for illustrations and instructions.


Updated 2001
© 2001. El Paso Saddleblanket. All rights reserved
No part of this book may be reproduced without the written permission of
El Paso Saddleblanket Co.

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