The Lull of January

Josie Leavitt - January 18, 2012

I always forget that after the crazy blur of the holiday season, January really feels slow. Our sales days are good for this time of year, but the precipitous decline from the record-breaking sales always catches me off guard. I feel like there should be a bridge month for retailers so we don’t go from the lunacy of the holiday to the slowest month of the year. Maybe if could move Easter or Valentine’s to January, then there wouldn’t be such a stark contrast.
I look out the window to a grey, rainy, 34-degree day and feel tired even though I’ve done comparatively little. It’s funny how much more tiring a slow day can feel than a day that has me running from nine in the morning until I drop, exhausted, at six. The rhythm of a January day is leisurely. This leisure allows for projects such as massive returns and intelligent restocking, as opposed to the frantic grab of December. We do a lot of planning in January. Normally, this month would find us at the ABA-sponsored Winter Institute, but we’re skipping this year, so we are around for the whole month.
One of the big things we do in January that adds to the sense of change is we furlough staffers. We ran the numbers and realized that January, February and March are slow enough that we don’t need our full complement of staffers. Fortunately, we have staffers who are flexible with their schedules and are happy to have the time off. So, we went from a store brimming with five staffers to a skeletal crew, and I must admit, it’s kind of nice.
Elizabeth and I are working together more to make up the difference and it’s so nice to have it be just the two of us some days. It reminds me of when we first opened and we worked together all the time. The only real change is there are no mice fighting over our heads in this building as there were in the early days of our old store.
The best part of the winter slowdown is I get to read more. Next week, I’ll post about what I’ve been reading and loving.

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