(This week, we get a look into an average day for Fiske's General Store owner John Paltrineri.)
"My day begins around 7:30 a.m. I have coffee with my wife and maybe a muffin or some toast. I then head off to work.
I open Fiske’s around 9 a.m. most days. We use to open earlier, but we found that since newspapers don’t sell any more, and we don’t sell cigarettes, we didn’t need to be open much before then. So we open at 9 a.m. and have done that for a couple of years and that works out pretty well.
I get in, I open up the store, I turn on everthing. I get all the machines going that need to be turned on: the fax machine, the copiers. Then, everything kind of gets going.
Deliveries start by 9:15—9:30 a.m. We have products coming in the back door in the delivery area and we start sorting through those items, passing them out to the various people in the store who ordered them. They’re in charge of merchandising and pricing those products. I also will start taking phone calls and checking my email. I do a lot of my buying on the Internet now, so I have to look at new products constantly. Of course, when the mail comes, I get a lot of catalogs that I also have to peruse and look through.
I am also in charge of all the everyday accounting for the store, so I will usually spend one to two hours a day working on accounting. That means paying bills, checking invoices, making sure things are coming in as they should. I also call and clarify problems with orders, which is probably the biggest pain in the neck, but it happens all too frequently.
I would say that approximately 50 percent of our orders come in complete and correct. The other 50 percent have a problem with them of some sort. Either we were shorted or they sent the wrong item, so I have to call and clarify it and make the adjustments.
Noon time comes and everybody has their lunch. We usually take turns in the back room so there is always somebody out front.
The afternoon is usually a little bit busier, when school lets out and the kids come in with their moms. They do their after school shopping, whether it is for a birthday present or some school need or just some treat because they’ve been really good. During Monday through Friday, it’s pretty much a standard, steady flow of everyday items.
There’s not too much preparation for the weekend until Friday and Saturday. That’s when we’re really busy. That’s when we blow most of the balloons for birthday parties and other events. Kids are coming in for birthday parties while on the way to the party knowing they can take advantage of our “Gift on the Go” program. This is where you come in and find the gift you need. We wrap it up for you at the register, tie a pretty balloon to it and send you off. Everybody has so many time constraints today, especially on Saturdays with all the sports and extracurricular activities. We found that this works very well.
There are constantly new products coming in every week. We’re actually going to be putting up a chalkboard that lists the new specials every week that you will see when you walk in the store. It’s something my wife Carol thought of. It’s just another way of letting people know what’s new.
We are revamping our website right now. We are also collecting email addresses, because we are going to hook up with an advertising group that sends out little email blasts to people, to let them know about products that just came in or specials that are happening here in the store. So we are moving forward and becoming more technology oriented.
That’s kind of what our day is like. We close at either 6 or 7 at night; 7 during the week and 6 on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. It’s non-stop, it’s always looking at new products, it’s always talking to customers and schmoozing and having a lot of fun."