"NICER TO STAY IN BED"—288
When a young fellow out west started a small cafe, things looked rosy because in the community where he was located were many working men and women, but the business didn't prosper. He learned that too many of them liked to stay in bed in the morning as late as possible—often too late to stop in and eat their breakfasts. He decided to do something about it. If they wouldn't come to him, he would go to them. By way of experiment, he obtained a few stoneware bottles, like those used for bottling root beer. Then he got some fibre cans like ice cream factories use to put ice cream in. They were a trifle larger than the bottles and he was able to wrap two layers of corrugated paper material around each bottle. Then he obtained some boxes large enough to bold six cream donuts.
With this equipment, he was able to take hot coffee and donuts directly to the homes of the worker. For those who liked cream in their coffee, some of the bottles contained it. Between five and five-thirty in the morning he would deliver the breakfasts to his customers' doorsteps. Service was deluxe and allowed customers to sleep till the last minute. Before filling the bottles with coffee, they were heated well, and with the protection of the corrugated wrappers, the coffee would remain hot for about three hours.
The idea clicked so well that he built up a route of 250 customers. This decided him to cater to the working man while working, by bringing them their lunches. At the start he featured coffee and delicious donuts, but as the demand for his service grew, he added other items, providing a greater variety of lunches and breakfasts. Soon it was necessary to buy two light trucks to make deliveries in the mornings and noons. Then he started to serve night watchmen, policemen and others on midnight routes.
A service like this has possibilities in other communities. Empty bottles and containers can be picked up on each trip and brought in for washing and refilling. During World War II, establishments made considerable money putting up "box lunches" for workers in various war plants, and the idea generally is growing. It is always a problem for the average wife to decide what to get every day for her husband's lunch, and a service like the one considered herein would be a welcome one. A "breakfast" box (or "box breakfast") could be offered, and it would contain coffee cakes, orange juice in a sealed container, fruit, tiny box of cereal, milk, bran muffin, jam, coffee, etc.
"COCKEYED" RACE TRACK—289-290
In the bleachers, the crowd yells with excitement. As you might expect, many of them have private bets on the different roosters, their favorites. The owner of this sport business does not, of course, provide any system of betting for the audience. His sole purpose is merely to provide the amusement and collect admissions at 50 cents to $1 a seat.
Since 1936, and according to last reports, these "turf battles" have been going on, with weather permitting, on Sundays and holidays. The owner has trained more than 50 racers, He starts their training when they are mere chicks, and Leghorn roosters are used. When they are just a few weeks old they learn to run down the track to the feed box and by the time they are half-grown, they are well-trained racers. He calls his town "Roosterville" and the racing event has become the town's main attraction.
The principal street in this toy town has many small cafes, banks, stores and even a newspaper office. The signs on some of the buildings arc very amusing. The newspaper office displays the sign "Cock Eye Daily News" and the main cafe advertises itself as "Peck & Scratch Cafe".
When any amusement provides possibilities of gambling, large or small, it attracts the public. Witness the popularity of the many different types of slot machines, or horse racing.
While on the subject of gambling, It might not be amiss to mention here that one man has done quite well selling a booklet that exposes many different kinds of gambling methods and pieces of equipment. He sells the booklet by mail for $3.50. About all the secret systems known, as well as methods, tricks and devices for cheating with dice, cards, reflectors, magnets are set forth in the booklet. It is an exposure of about all dishonest practices known pertaining to gambling. The booklet was not created for the purpose of showing readers how to "get the best" of others, but how to protect himself from being cheated.
If you think chicken racing is profitable fun you haven't heard about the "Sunday Afternoon Coon Hunt."
The originator of this idea is reported to have made up to $500 in one afternoon. His assets consisted of one coon (same one used each week), a large field with a good size tree and a place to keep his coon until the following Sunday. Besides this he had to invest in a fair size stock of ice cream, beer, soft drinks, popcorn, hot dogs and other refreshments.
Here is the plan he used: Each Sunday he would use a wet sack (that the coon had been sleeping on all week) for laying down a trail. He'd make about three or four different trails, all of them leading up to the big tree in the center of the field. Of course there would be some "faking"—or clever maneuvering—in the process of making the trail. This was done in order to make the "chase" a bit more difficult for the dogs and of course more exciting for the spectators.
Yes, there would be spectators and they would be watching a "coon hunt" by a pack of anxious hounds! The dogs would be brought out in trucks and kept there until the starting time of the "hunt." Many of the hounds belonged to the neighborhood sportsmen. Usually 15 to 20 dogs were on hand!
Hamburgers, ice cream, soda pop, etc., were sold to the crowds. A house trailer served as an excellent refreshment stand. Picnic tables were scattered over the field.
Where did the promoter's profits come from? From the $5 entrance fees, from the sale of the refreshments, from "gifts" given him by the spectators and sportsmen—his share of their "winnings." Of course the betting going on was strictly between the spectators and the owners of the hounds—or each group betting amongst itself. There were no betting booths and no licenses to worry about. He made no admittance charge—collected nothing that was not gladly given.
The operator didn't keep all of the entrance fees. 50 per cent of this money was used for prizes. A race was held each hour—or four in all—and a prize of $50 paid to the owner of the hound reaching the tree first! In between races the "picnic" was resumed, more refreshments sold and a few games (such as horseshoes) played to fill in the time.
It is hard to believe that a man could make so much money in one afternoon and he claims that he can do it quite regularly! But the fascination of seeing a pack of hounds come up over a hill and into view, every one of them howling away, must be greater than the writer had believed. The operator is clever enough to keep the dogs near the scene of picnicking and betting (in between races). His own dogs were not entered in the race but used to mill around the bottom of the tree where the coon was sleeping. The noise and excitement they created was sufficient to not only arouse the hounds in the truck but also the many spectators! Showmanship was used all the way through this outdoor project!
At the start of each race the dogs would be taken to the start of the trail and let loose upon a given signal. The baying of these dogs gave the crowd the thrill they were expecting and it helped to bring them back each Sunday. Of course the "unofficial" betting helped a lot too!
In the southern states these "hunts" are quite popular. Through out the rest of the country this untried sport should have even greater appeal!
BARBER SHOP FOR YOUNGSTERS—291
A lot of barbers could also have similar chairs for children, and for advertising purposes the chairs should be near the windows, easily seen from the outside.
Specializing exclusively in children's haircuts would get a lot of business and the idea would perhaps appeal to many parents. Some parents do not like to patronize the regular barbers for the reason that some barbers do not like to work on youngsters. A barber, however, "having away with kids" and who likes children should be able to develop a thriving business.
The chairs might be made in the image of horses, tigers, lions, etc. The stuffed kind. No doubt all this would take well with the younger generation. Suppose one of the chairs was fashioned after an airplane with a cockpit to sit in. You can just imagine how tots would "go" for that.
LOST: 200 CUSTOMERS—292
And this started him thinking. Forthwith he approached a local store with the idea of using such an idea; i.e. a reminder card of some kind and the storekeeper was interested. Then he learned how the cards were produced and purchased a duplicating machine and also an addressing machine. He was able to create various attractive postal cards, illustrated, and all done on the machine. His first prospect ordered a series of them, also the local druggist and others and in a short time he was carrying on a direct-mail-advertising business for clients in his city. In less than a month he had paid for his equipment. $2,500 worth of business!
The idea of the service obviously was to remind old accounts about their patronage being missed, and it was an inexpensive service to the merchants and yet profitable to the operator. Operating specialized direct-mail services for local merchants is nothing new but in many large towns and cities there is room for more services of this kind.
Golden Hamsters are very prolific and start breeding when they are about six weeks old. They are not full grown, however, until about four months old. Have a golden color and white feet, resemble a tiny bear and eat vegetables and grain. When grown they are about five and a half inches long.
These creatures are not expensive and you can doubtless obtain information about the price of breeding stock at some wholesale pet and animal house in any large city. One of the earlier breeding farms in the east has had considerable success in this business, having over 3100 breeders. He sells the little animals to laboratories and the demand for them is increasing. This then is an industry that isn't overcrowded, and for the "little fellow" who wants to develop his own enterprise, this opportunity is worth investigating.
COOK IT YOURSELF CAFE—294-297
An owner of another lunch room employed novel means also with success. He converted an old railway coach into a lunchroom. This has been done before, but this man went further. He decided his customers needed the atmosphere or illusion of going somewhere when they entered the stationary coach. With the aid of a little trick painting, he made a large sign that looked like a locomotive. This was attached to the lunch-room-coach, and it created the appearance of an engine with diner ready to pull out at any minute. Obviously, all this got attention and brought many curious people inside to eat.
Another restaurant increased business by providing a little vitamin capsule as part of every lunch sent out to offices. An accompanying note explains: "Light lunches seldom have sufficient vitamins. This capsule will insure a properly balanced diet". Of course the recipient of the lunch and the vitamin is delighted, and the restaurant builds up goodwill by its thoughtfulness.
Still another restaurant in Los Angeles was able to stimulate business materially by providing special menus which informed patrons exactly what each dish contained in the way of vitamin content. Consequently customers could glance over the bill of fare and determine in advance what each preparation contained in the way of vitamins and calories. Women flocked to his place, and his only complaint was that many of them took his bill of fares home with them.
Such is the great power of ideas, and when they are good ideas the difference between failure and success often results. Many business men are just a little way from success, and by the expedient of a little change, a little adjustment, a little improvement success may be captured and held.
Similar parking-lots could probably be put up near other schools to help out the kids and the owners could make money with them if only as side-line activities. Aside from the fact that such bicycle parking places are handy and convenient, the element of safety is involved which appeals to the boys and girls.
MOVIE STAR FABRICS—299
This same process has been used in the United States chiefly for the purpose of transferring pictures to ties and scarfs. Anyone who has some photographic ability could probably start the English fad over here in this country. The chances are that millions of American girls would "go" for it, especially the teen-agers.
A SPECIALIZED BUDGETING SERVICE—300
Here's what they do: Couples are put on special budgets, and rigid ones. Their clients (those in debt) agree to send their pay checks to the bureau each week. Then the bureau send them (the debtors) an allowance, and disburse the remainder to clients' creditors. Clients of the bureau are not permitted to spend any money without its authorization. The bureau contact all their clients' creditors who fully appreciate that if they are to be paid it is necessary for them cooperate.
Some of the creditors often take back merchandise from the debtors when advisable and others decrease the size of the monthly payment. Through the bureau's plan every creditor will have received a payment within six weeks. A budgeting set-up like this is an excellent business for the white-collar worker and it provides a helpful service to many in this age of installment-buying.
"ODD SPOTS" GUIDE—301
By contacting newspaper offices and also local library and chamber of commerce much material can be gathered. If desired a special section of the book could be reserved for the ordinary places of entertainment.
One woman living in an eastern city tested this idea and the results were mighty good! She sold her booklet for 35 cents and made about $375 for one issue. A good part of this profit came from the ad space she sold to the local merchants. Her printer agreed to give her credit on the strength of the ad-space contracted for! Most of her distribution was made through railroad stations, hotels, newsstands and bus depots. These "directory guides" could be also gotten up on other nearby towns and distributed there.
COUNTER DRIVE IN—302
The store is patterned in such a manner that the driver goes through the front entrance and comes out onto the highway through a rear exit.
A great many stores can conform to the highway store. An architect could devise a store of this type with many new innovations, suitable to the automobile trade.
BUTTERFLY LAMP SHADES—303
The beautiful wings of a butterfly are now found on hair adornments, on hats, lamp shades, vases, flower corsages, etc.
A California man made his out of beads, wire and metal. He included all of the butterfly's original colors, even to the tiny antennae. His butterfly brooches were a specialty. He sold 1200 of them by mail in one Christmas period.
LIMA BEANS AND BEANO—304
For "Beano", dried beans were used as markers on numbered cards. They were uncolored until the Michigan man got the unique idea to color them to make them more attractive.
The raw material used is a 100-pound sack of beans of the large California variety. They're divided into as many piles as colors to be used. Each pile gets a coat of the desired shade, applied with a quick-drying material that leaves a high gloss.
That's one idea. Rice is being colored to match the brides-maids' dresses. Inexpensive raw materials can be turned into profit makers if one cares to use a little ingenuity.
He knew quite a bit about the flowers and all vegetation that grew there, and when he learned there was a demand for rare plants, bulbs and the like decided to cash in on it. He started a conservative nursery of Colorado blue spruce and other evergreens. He found also that there was a lucrative market for mountain peat soil which he trucked to nearby cities and sold at three or four dollars a cubic yard. Profits were further increased through the sale of pine-needle compact which he put up in 50-pound sacks. This is an essential material for rock gardens.
This particular field, however, does require some skill, experience and knowledge. For instance, plants will not live if they are moved from the edge of some high mountain peak and transplanted to a sea level garden. Yet some may be moved by easy stages from 10,000 feet to 5,000 feet, and if permitted to grow there for about a year can be moved again to a lower altitude. Now plants that can't be moved can be cultivated from seed in lower altitude gardens.
It may be quickly recognized that a home business is possible even though a person may live on a mountain-top, and the markets of the world are accessible if there is mail service nearby. In certain sections of the country, the elements and the soil are such that certain types of rare plants and flowers thrive; in other parts there are varieties of useful wild shrubs and flowers. Opportunity beckons the person who will take notice.
EMBOSSED BABY BOOKS—306
Various kinds of baby books can be sold by mail to mothers and prospective mothers. For instance a little book or booklet on "How To Name The Baby" would probably find ready acceptance. This could contain many hundreds of popular names for boys and girls. Selecting a suitable name for their offsprings is often a problem for many parents. A booklet along these lines could be sold to them or given as a special premium with the purchase of a regular book dealing with babies.
INDOOR DOG HOUSES—307-308
They were attractively decorated and made of different shape and volume. Some were constructed floorless, others were especially adapted for lap dogs. However, they were built mostly for one's pet's amusement.
Today there is a growing need for utility indoor dog houses wherein house dogs may have a place to stay when necessary and a place to sleep rather than the ordinary, unsightly box in a kitchen or elsewhere. If owners of house dogs were offered something better, something attractive, to replace the conventional basket or box, the chances are they would be eager to buy them.
While on the subject of dog houses, it might be added here that the market for outdoor dog houses is immense. This seems to be substantiated by the experience of a middle-western carpenter. As a result of an injury he was prevented from following his normal trade. From a financial standpoint, the accident was the cause of his developing a profitable business.
That business was the building of dog houses; of all sizes and painted in different hues. He set up quite an assortment on his lawn in front of his house. There was a sign placed by them showing they were for sale. It so happened (fortunately) that his house was on a street where much traffic passed daily. He also carried some ads in the local newspapers. Within a few months, this carpenter was averaging, in net profits every week, more than he had made in salaries while pursuing his regular carpentry trade.
Outdoor dog houses, because of their size and heft, do not lend themselves to store merchandising very well, which may be one reason why the potentialities of such a business have not been generally developed. The outdoor display method therefore is far more suitable. Such dog houses are easy to build and one would not need extensive capital to make a successful start in such a business venture. A large percent of dog owners would be prospects for such dog houses.
As a general thing, dogs that are kept outside are the larger animals and consequently such dog houses should be more substantial than indoor dog houses. They should also be built to provide warmth on cold days and nights.
A college student solved the problem in one city for neighborhood merchants by preparing mailing lists. These contained the names and addresses of all the residents in the buying radius of a certain area. He sold copies of the mailing lists to the different merchants, each merchant purchasing the lists of people in his particular community or neighborhood. The merchant, of course, used the lists for his direct-mailing advertising.
Here, then, may be a money-making idea for others to cash-in on, especially in the larger cities. A bureau could be opened in one's home, or space rented in some office building, and a business made of compiling such lists and offering to interested neighborhood business firms such as grocers, drug stores, beauty parlors, barber shops, shoemakers and others. An extension of the idea would be to offer a complete service by handling the merchants' direct-mail campaigns-mailing out their literature on the respective lists. Also a copywriting service (preparing the advertising itself) could be provided if the operator possessed some ability in creating effective material.
SELLING FORMULAS BY MAIL—310-312
Selling formulas directly to the consumer, no doubt, still offers possibilities. Even the small business man and storekeeper would most likely be prospects for certain types of formulas. There are well-established organizations that are selling formulas to large manufacturing concerns and there are individuals who conduct formula services, some of them operating in spare time.
Suppose you had a good formula that would help a chicken rancher increase egg production, or one that would overcome certain diseases which chickens are subject to. The chances are you could sell such a formula to many chicken ranchers. Beauty Parlors would be prospects for certain formulas that would help increase their business or reduce the cost of certain products assuming the formula or formulas would permit easy "mixing". Likewise Barber Shops would be prospects for formulas that might show the owners how to prepare their own hair tonic.
Some Beauty Parlors have added to their profits by making certain, exclusive brands of creams and lotions which they have sold to their trade. There are some chemists in this country who devote all their abilities and time to creating formulas and often these are procurable directly from them. In purchasing a formula or formulas this way you would have exclusive control of them and could re-sell to others. However, it would all depend from whom you obtained the formulas.
Incidentally, there are many pet formulas and recipes to be found among many families. If you could locate such formulas then you have the opportunity to present them to hundreds or thousands and perhaps millions of prospects—those who could purchase them to advantage.
If one conducted a selling service on formulas and gave samples of the prepared products with the formulas, it would be necessary to mix the required ingredients beforehand. About every large city has a wholesale drug house where the materials for making most preparations are available and many of these drug firms have laboratories that will actually make the preparation from your formula for you and will put your product in tubes or jars, as the case may be, ready for mailing.
Preparing or "manufacturing" beauty creams generally is not a difficult proposition and many of today's famous beauty products had their beginning in someone's kitchen. A formula usually indicates the amount and kind of equipment needed in "mixing" any preparation. However, if selling formulas, as a business, interests you and you merely want samples of the product it would probably be advisable to have them prepared for you by specialists, such as wholesale drug firms.
It may surprise you to know that many creams can be prepared and put up in attractive containers for one-tenth the store price. Some of the fancy jars used today by big manufacturers cost more than the ingredients or product in the jars.
Successful individuals and firms selling formulas conduct their businesses chiefly through the medium of the mails.
A success similar to that mentioned at the start was reported in a trade magazine where the operator sold nearly 10,000 formulas of a shampoo powder, along with a sample of the powder. At the end of three years, he increased his profits through the sale of over 15,000 letters to a letter broker. These letters were inquiries and orders he had received in connection with his formula on the shampoo powder.
One opportunist prospered on a similar idea. He procured a list of several thousand names of ladies reported as being buyers of toilet products. He mailed them a form letter which carried a brief message on the following order:
These labels were impressively lithographed; some were printed in three colors. The formulas were simple and easy to follow. The idea clicked.
Following are a few formulas that can be used in either enterprise: Quinine Hair Tonic: Quinine Sulphate 20 grains; Bay Rum 4 drams; Tincture Cantharides 2 drams; Tincture Capsicum 2 drams; water to make 16 ounces. Mix. Dissolve and filter. Brilliantine: Olive oil 4 ounces, Glycerine 3 ounces; Alcohol (medicated) enough for desired consistency; perfume to scent. Mix thoroughly. Apply to hair to give glossy smooth appearance. Egyptian Beauty Clay: Buttermilk one pint: Fullers earth 1 pound; Mix thoroughly. Apply to face and let it remain there for fifteen minutes. Wash off with clear, warm water. Facial Pack: Dark or white Fullers Earth 1 pound; Glycerine 2 ounces; Benzoate of soda 1-2 dram; add perfume, if desired, using 15 to 25 drops of Lilacol (or any other flower oil). Dissolve soda in 2 ounces of hot water. Add this mixture and the Glycerine to the Fullers Earth. Mix in enough water to make a thick paste. The finished product is a semi-liquid pack. By using 4 ounces of greaseless cold cream in place of the Glycerine a mixture with the consistency of thick clay can be made. One lady tells us that these facial packs are just as good as the expensive and well known beauty clay she had been buying for some time. A well known chemist in the mail order field informs the writer that this particular pack is quite similar to one of the nationally advertised facial packs being sold in stores for $1.00 to $2.50 a jar (1-2 to 1 1-2 pounds). Shampoo Powder: Powdered Borax 6 ounces; Potassium Carbonate 6 ounces; Powdered Castile Soap 2 ounces; Oil of Rose Geranium 2 drams; mix castile soap with perfume oil. Then add the Borax and Carbonate. A small amount of warm water is added to the powder when used for shampooing the hair. All of the materials called for in this formula may be obtained in many drug stores and shouldn't cost more than 50 cents for enough to make one pound. Cold Cream: Lanolin (hydrous type) 4 parts; Coconut Oil 1 part; mix together over a slow fire until thoroughly warm and soft. The Lanolin should be the kind that mixes with water. Whip the mixture while still warm with a beater until it takes on the appearance of whipped cream. Add perfume. A friend of the writer's once told rum she had used this preparation—made in her kitchen—for over seven years! It is reasonable to suppose that thousands of other women in this country would be glad to get this information—to buy a sample of the Cold Cream together with the formula. The high price of living today is forcing the average woman to look for new ways to save money! Hand Lotion: Sweet Almond Oil 4 parts; Fresh Lemon Juice 1 part; add few drops of perfume. Shake well before using. Lemon Hand Lotion: Fresh Lemon Juice 2 parts; Rubbing Alcohol 1 part; Glycerine 1 part; perfume to suit. Massage Cream: White Vaseline 3 ounces, casein 2 ounces; water 7 ounces; ammonia (fluid) water 1-2 ounce; glycerine 1 ounce; sufficient perfume; carmine sufficient to color. Mix the casein, water and glycerine. Stir in the ammonia water, mix thoroughly. Warm the preparation to drive off the ammonia odor. Then add the perfume and carmine. Mix thoroughly again. To be applied every night by massage, rubbing briskly for best results. Hair Tonic: Olive Oil 4 parts, glycerine 3 parts, scent with cinnamon odor. Shake well before using. Snow White Cold Cream: White mineral oil one pint; water one pint; white bees wax six ounces; borax one ounce. Melt the oil and wax together in a double boiler, dissolve the borax in hot water. Turn out the fire and add the borax solution to the melted wax gradually. Stir briskly for a few minutes. Let it cool a little and then add a teaspoonful of perfume oil of the desired odor. Dandruff Remedy: Resorcin 4 drams; alcohol 4 ounces; water 4 ounces; mix all together and apply two or three times a week, rubbing the scalp lightly, but for some time, with each application. Color if desired.
Most of the ingredients necessary in the foregoing formulas are available from your nearest wholesale druggist. The services, however, of a local chemist could be obtained in preparing a formula or set of formulas for you and for your own exclusive use, and is perhaps the best way to start.
Today many women can make their own beauty products, and some household products, right in their own kitchens as the market now provides base compounds, and they are easy to make as only water is added. As examples of base compound products that could be sold by mail today, the following are presented: Bubble Bath, Rose Cream Concentrate, Dual Purpose Lotion Compound (from which 11 different lotions, hand, face, shaving, lemon, etc.), can be made, flavorings of different kinds for baking and cooking, perfume concentrates and many others. A manual could be printed listing such basic compounds and sold by mail for a dollar or two along with free set of test-size samples of the various bases and concentrates. Under this plan women would probably buy the products in small lots for home use. Other women interested in earning extra income by manufacturing preparations in their homes would also be good prospects.
SWEET VERSE WITH SWEET CANDY—313
This business stimulating idea could be worked in various ways. Young men could be induced to buy candy for their sweethearts if a book of poems on "Love" or kindred subject were given away with each box of sweets.
One frugal man who worked in a furniture factory in this country could get all of the old gunny sacks he wanted from his employer. He sold the first batch to a junk dealer, but didn't think 3 cents apiece for the gunny sacks was very profitable. So he started a business of his own.
A sack needle and some twine was bought and then he proceeded to mend 300 sacks in a day, selling the reconditioned gunny sacks to a grain dealer at 7 cents each. Today, the reconditioned gunny sack business has added 25 employees, and machinery for mending the sacks. Among his customers are onion and feed raisers, grain raisers, potato growers, and dealers in all these things. The business now brings In $250,000 a year.
Gunny sacks is just one idea of the many things being discarded daily throughout the country. A little investigation and a subsequent promotional idea should turn discarded material into a profitable business.
THE PUBLIC STOCKS THIS MARKET—315
It is reasonable to assume that there is a growing need for a good, well-publicized market for sellers and buyers, run through commissions. Suppose you had a camera to sell. It could be sold through this market. The market could keep, possibly, 10 per cent of the sale price on each item. Such a Buyers' and Sellers' Market would automatically eliminate any expense on one's part in disposing of an unwanted item. If it were advertised in a paper, one might not find a buyer and would then be "out" the cost of the ad.
Such a Market would find quick acceptance on the part of the public and it would be rendering an excellent service to both buyers and sellers. A good, central location would be desirable for such a place, where it would be convenient for bargain seekers, every-day Shoppers, as well as the sellers. A woman in Virginia started such a shop, but on a smaller scale, and met with considerable success.
Most of the work has been turned out in Bob's basement workshop. The whole thing started when he built a bird house, liked the work, and then went on from there to miniature houses. A mill made of stone followed and then a realistic church! Fruit boxes, obtained from the rear entrances of many grocery stores, provided the material for his project.
The midget city became so large that its fame spread and people from all over the state parked on his street and visited the display. A local newspaper published a feature article under the caption of "The Fastest Growing City in America."
So Bob decided to charge admission. You can well imagine his satisfaction when some 20,000 visitors came to his place during the first year. The next year about 33,000 people came to visit his place.
In the Littleville register you'll find the names of visitors from Australia, Europe, Canada and other foreign countries. Visitors from all 48 states have signed this book!
But what have all these visitors actually seen in Littleville? Just about everything from a castle to a country club! There is a jail, a waterfront with ships, an airport with hangars and planes, a haunted house with cobwebs and a railroad that operates real moving locomotives and cars over some 75 foot of track. One can see a school, a power house, many farms, a grain elevator, an oil station, a water tank and even a long canal complete with ships of all sizes. The many homes and buildings may be illuminated each night and it is quite a spectacle to view! There is a real post office where visitors may mail letters and post cards on which appears the name of the miniature city. The profits from the view cards have been substantial. Bob publishes a pintsize paper, boasting 12 pages, and it is known as the "Littleville News". Each issue carries a number of ads of the nearby town's merchants. They find this little paper to be a good medium because it helps to attract some of the visitors to their shops.
Sound effects have been added by means of phonograph records broadcast over a loudspeaker system. Visitors hear chimes and hymns as they pass by the tiny church and when they near hotels the music from an orchestra greets their ears.
When this article was being recorded, the erection of a complete steel mill was in progress to become part of the industrial section and plans were being formulated to add a drinking fountain and rest rooms for visitors. One of the most attractive places in the little city is the Old Mill by the stream with its turning water-wheel. Billboards along the nearby highway attract visitors.
There is room for more of these tiny wonderlands, but the promoter would have to be handy with tools and own his own workshop. A good size backyard or vacant lot would be necessary. A clever carpenter, craftsman or woodworker would be able to acquire the knack of erecting these miniatures. Profits can be made, from such a project. The chances are admission could be placed at 10 cents on week days and more on weekends. As in the case of Bob's unique project, additional profits could be realized from the sale of cards, newspapers, etc.
THIS PRODUCT STOPPED A TRAIN!—317
It was not long afterwards when he started constructing a gigantic grasshopper, nearly the size of an eight-year-old child. He made it out of odds and ends — paper, wood, cellophane, fur, wire, string and oilcloth. His purpose was to let others see what this interesting insect (a grasshopper) really looked like.
One day, acting on an impulse, and as a test, he placed his finished 'hopper alongside a railroad right-of-way and watched. An engineer, glanced casually at it and then gazed goggle-eyed. He stopped the train and got off to examine this gargantuan insect.
Well, if his grasshopper would stop a train, the farmer reasoned he had something. He took his 'hopper to town and sold it for enough cash to buy a couple of cows. The purchaser owned a store and believed it would attract trade. It did. The farmer didn't stop here, he not only continued making bigger and better grasshoppers, but also huge horseflies, black widow spiders with stomachs like basketballs, butterflies with four-foot wingspreads. They were all lifelike and animated.
As the reader may surmise, all this resulted in the development of a business which proved much better than farming. The farmer in this case no longer had to feed insects unwillingly; they virtually feed him—that is, the mechanical ones.
It would seem that there are important advertising possibilities for such large insects especially for window displays, fairs, exhibits, as life-size toys for children and other purposes. Once one insect is constructed it can serve as a model for future duplicates. Book illustrations, live insects, plans, drawings, blueprints should be of help in such a backyard-shop business.
A TOUCH OF HOLLYWOOD BROUGHT TO THE NEIGHBORHOOD—318-319
Arrangements were made with a local printer to print the magazine. All the advertising contracts were assigned to the printer as security for payment of printing bill. As a result of this arrangement, the Texan needed very little capital. Local merchants gave him advertising and many of them ran the same ads every week. A special rate was quoted to them when they agreed to run the advertisements for twenty-five weeks. Some of the picture-electros were obtained from the theater managers.
Carrying this idea further, one could list all the theaters located in addition to information about what was showing for the next seven days or so. This would be practical if small type were used. A fee should be charged the theaters for larger display listings, while other listings be given free. This is a service to the theaters and patrons.
All this could be extended still further by subscribing to all the large newspapers and magazines in the country which carry a column by a motion picture critic. Take their combined opinions. If fifty critics or so indicate such and such a picture is excellent, a four-star picture or the like, simply jot this down in your own words and in your own weekly neighborhood magazine. If, for instance, a dozen critics maintain a picture is only fair and five others say it is bad, put an this down, mentioning these facts in small type following the name of the picture. Do this for all the leading pictures shown every month.
You can subscribe to a newspaper clipping bureau which will supply you with all the motion picture critic's columns that you want every week or every month. The appraisal of various pictures in such a magazine should prove interesting to theater patrons. It would provide readers of the magazine with advance information about the plays. The value of this service lies in the fact that the favorable or unfavorable comments about such and such a picture wouldn't be the opinion of only one critic but the combined opinions (nationwide) of many for all pictures.
With this information a person would know what to expect when going to a neighborhood theater and would no doubt look forward to receiving your little advertising publication every week. In any event, this idea could be quickly tested out in about any community. Some kind of a "Hollywood" title would be most appropriate on the front cover page. A magazine of this nature would obviously grow as the advertising increased and also the circulation.
RAISING RAT KILLERS—320
With only twenty or thirty breeding stock, the number of ferrets can be increased to several thousand, depending on the quantity of land available for the purpose. A Mr. Gilman in an eastern state has developed a good outdoor enterprise specializing in ferrets. According to his own statement he has been very successful in selling them. The chances are that one reason he has enjoyed such a profitable business is because there is little competition. Some of his customers bought the little fellows for pets, strange as it may seem.
Authority has it that if a ferret is kept in a barn and permitted to run loose now and then, within a short time the rats will disappear.
A PAPER FOR MR. MOTORIST—321-323
"The Used Car Market Bulletin" was the name he gave his publication. The first issue carried the advertising of used car dealers wherein they listed their offerings. There were also the ads of tire stores, accessories and supply houses, repair places and so on. The paper contained interesting and valuable reading matter about how to properly polish a car, helpful driving hints, how to select and judge a used car, how to save money by using certain kinds of rebuilt tires, batteries and other items.
He printed 100,000 copies and distributed them over the city. Rate for advertisements was $1.50 per column inch. He realized a clear profit of $60 the first week. This, after paying the printing bill, the expense of a solicitor, office rent and other incidentals. The advertising contracts were put up as security, and the printer did the job on credit.
Following this initial success, he added a buying service, captioned "The Week's Best Buys." Here he listed two or three cars offered by leading dealers whose advertisements appeared in the publication. No charge was made for this service. If the firm didn't have an ad in the paper, he made a charge of 15 per cent a line for the listings.
Readers had the privilege of requesting any information they desired about any dealers or cars they might be interested in. He informed his advertisers that he would refer these people to them and in every way act as a clearing house for their cars. His business developed so well it wasn't long before his "Used Car Market Bulletin" contained 50 to 60 pages a week of which 8 to 10 pages contained advertising. The distribution, of course, was free. It might be added here, that one section of the publication was a directory of parking places and a list of places to go. This feature was quite popular among readers.
The foregoing gives rise to the suggestion that a publication listing free parking place around town would meet with favorable reception on the part of the public. In about every city there are certain streets or locations which are congested with parked automobiles, but at the same time there are places, not always too far from the center of things that provide ample space for parking. A canvass of the neighborhoods surrounding the downtown districts of any city could be made, checking on the time of the day or night when certain spots fill up-where parking can usually be done and where it is difficult to find space.
In a publication of this type informative articles about little known "of the road" scenic spots, shade trees, picnic groves, fishing holes, etc., would be of special interest as the average motorist knows little about these places. In vacation time lists of interesting resorts, camping grounds and so on could be included in the publication. Also highway conditions, new inventions in the field of motoring, driving hints, personal experiences of motorists and other items deserve a place in this kind of publication.
CUSTOMERS RUN CAFE AS THEY PLEASE—324-326
While the customers handle the cash register and take out change, there is less dishonesty than you would imagine; moreover, according to the proprietor, the customers do not overload their plates. To quote him: "I find people are honest and I never worry. My customers are fine people and would not cheat me. They enjoy helping run the business."
That this idea is workable is proven by the substantial profits the proprietor has realized and it his conviction that other restaurant owners could operate as successfully. The plan obviously cuts down overhead expenses materially, and the idea has definite advertising value from the "serve yourself" angle.
By giving the customer credit for honesty the enterprising businessman is complimenting his prospective customer and his actual customer. Such a practice might make your business a success where it otherwise might have been a failure.
A Restaurant in an eastern city tested out this idea years ago and they've been using the plan ever since. They have also proved that this unorthodox way of doing business will bring success!
The customers in this Cafe are allowed to serve themselves from the display of food. No check is made of the amount taken or the kind. On the way out they pay the cashier for what they have actually eaten. Only the customer's memory backed up by his own sense of honesty, guides him in figuring up the right total. Only a few of the customers try to cheat—less than one per cent—and the losses are so slight that the proprietor has never bothered to prosecute even those erring customers that he knows to be cheating!
This policy of trusting is so unusual in a world of questionable or mixed-up ethics that it is bound to attract attention in any community in which it is tried! Such attention leads to free advertising or word-of-mouth advertising—the best possible kind for any business!
Anything out of the ordinary will usually advertise a business. A San Francisco cafe, for example, originated a plan of their own whereby the customers may have a box of "Pet Pakits" if requested. These contain leftovers from patrons' plates which may be taken home to their dogs and cats. Owners of dogs or cats will naturally remember this restaurant and recommend it to their friends. Just a little extra service like this makes the restaurant different from others. A business personality can be given to about any type of enterprise by adding little extra services of some kind that stand out.
Throughout the country you will find the majority of eating places all about the same—all built and managed, nearly, after the same pattern. Here and there where the proprietor dares to be different, unusual or renders a better service or an extra service, the business stands out and is usually prosperous.
CLIPPING FOR ARTISTS—327
"The best artists use my service as much as the poor man who can't afford to hire models. Here in Chicago hundreds of men and women make their living from art work of one kind or another. They simply can't afford to subscribe to all the magazines available, especially the higher-priced foreign publications. Moreover; they seldom get an idea out of the publications they do buy, yet there is art work in every magazine. I clip the well-drawn illustrations from a group of selected magazines and index them. I am able to supply almost every type of illustration that an artist may want, when he wants it."
In time this man had 47 filing cabinets full of clippings. For instance, one file folder might contain every illustration he could find on the Robin Hood period. Say that an artist calls up and requests a picture of a Robin Hood type of archer. It is a simple matter to refer to the right file cabinet and right file folder, select two or three and send them to the artist by messenger or mail. The fee is only $3.00.
His service was so handy and efficient that one artist told another and it wasn't long before he was averaging 54 calls a week. As the clippings are returned after the artist is finished with them he found it possible to clear $1.80 on each order.
Naturally he subscribed to many suitable magazines and he built up a large library of used magazines, picking these up for little or nothing in the used magazine stores. You might think that the artist could do the same. It isn't that easy. The artist is a busy man and it takes time—and plenty of it—to build up the kind of clipping service that this man has! The artists are glad to have such a collection available for their needs at any time!
A service such as the foregoing could be conducted for artists in any large metropolitan area where there are sufficient artists to justify it. It could probably be expanded through the medium of the mails to take in nearby cities and towns. Little investment would be required to initiate such a specialized service.
Note: To account for inflation, multiply prices by 8 to 10.