The Next Big Thing, a specialty retailer located on Sandusky Street in downtown Delaware, closed its doors for the final time over the weekend. The store was open for a record breaking six days before going bankrupt.
Selling a variety of trash cans and novelty candies, The Next Big Thing received a lot of buzz last week on Facebook when the company announced its grand opening. Local real estate agent and blogger Bobby Royce wrote that the business knocked the pants right off of his ass.
Owner Scott Stevens also thought the business was off to a great start.
“We had over 50 fans on Facebook, a cash register, a sign out front with our name on it, shelves full of shit, “ Stevens said. “I don’t know where things went wrong.”
Stevens postulated that perhaps he read the wrong self help book. He also cursed his cousin Ned Yarmond, who swore that selling trash cans and candy in the same store was an amazing idea that had never been done before.
“After tearing the plastic wrapper off a delicious Three Musketeers bar, and savoring its chocolaty goodness, what is the next logical step in the process?” Yarmond inquired, while Stevens was shaking his head, looking over his application for food stamps. “You throw the wrapper away, of course. Why doesn’t anybody else get that?”
Stevens is certainly not the first downtown business owner to experience failure. Nearly two hundred downtown businesses have gone under in the last two years, including a late night hot dog stand, a do-it-yourself auto repair shop, and batting cages exclusively for battered women.
Delaware City Bank loan officer Janet Small, responsible for giving loans to a number of the failed ventures, said that she felt sorry for their failure, but not responsible.
“My role is to give entrepreneurs a chance,” Small explained. “I am not here to teach people that businesses don’t run themselves, or that ‘unique’ doesn’t mean ‘good’, or that the blessing of your uneducated hick of a cousin isn’t a ticket to success.”
Small wouldn’t share the number of families that have faced financial ruin because of the debt burden brought on by business ventures, but she did state that individuals were responsible for repaying business loans regardless of whether they were successful.
Delaware real estate mogul Arnold Masterlick, owner of the building that housed The Next Big Thing, said he wasn’t concerned about finding another sucker to take Steven’s place.
“I’m already talking to a man who wants to open up a new Nazi antique shop,” Masterlick said. “And if he doesn’t take the space, Adena Cohen will set up an accounting firm.”
Masterlick said there is an endless supply of people willing to start a business without knowing anything about starting a business.
Jacob Rondo, a colostomy bag salesman and owner of new downtown store Jacob’s Bladder, said he isn’t deterred by business failures in the area.
“I read a book by Suze Orman,” Rondo said. “I know what I am doing.”