If there's others of you out there struggling to make ends meet on the small business front, I hope this helps.
I've discovered you cannot sustain a small business off the shelves at the
big box stores. There are a lot of consumable items I use in my shop, from flap
discs on the angle grinder, to glue, to belts for the sander.
First, there's price ...
Angle grinder flap disc - $9.97 at Home Depot, $5.89 off of Amazon.
Sander belts - $5.95 at Home Depot, $2.89 per belt off of Amazon (in sets of
This ultimately lowers my shop costs, which lets me lower the price on my
knives, which in this economy ... moves more knives.
Second, there's availability. These are consumables I use for every knife. I
go through them constantly. I know I'm going to need them so why not stock up? I
keep an inventory of my consumables and whenever I get down to the last 2 of
something, I place an order. In 3 days it'll show up in the mail. We pay extra
for Amazon Prime, so I don't even have to worry about shipping costs. That sure
beats the $4 in gas it takes me to go to town!
And finally, the big box stores only stock a few items at a time on the
shelf. If I need drill bits, there's TWO of them on the shelf. If I need sander
belts, there's 2 of them on the shelf. They don't order until they're out of a
product, and it takes them two weeks to get in a shipment.
All in all, its just easier to run the business via mail than it is off the
shelves of a big box store.