Wednesday, July 6, 2011

What We Don't Know (Might Hurt Us)

Here are the things we know about our business:
  • We know books.
  • We know how to sell books.
  • We know how to recommend books.
  • We know good books from bad books, but we love them all.
  • We know how to give great customer service.
  • We know the importance of the bookstore to the community, in both a micro (the Palos Verdes Peninsula, in our case) and a macro (well, the world) way.
  • We also know about writing schedules and managing payroll and other mundane stuff like that.
 Here are the things we don't know about business:
  • Everything else.
For example. Until a couple of weeks ago we didn't know what a "letter of intent" was. We received one from our landlord and it looked great. Three free months of rent! 10,000 bucks to improve our space! Wow! We liked the letter of intent, because it told us all of the great things our landlord was going to do for us.

Then we got a lawyer.

We are truly lucky. One of Pete's oldest friends has a sister who is a lawyer, and she is helping us wade through all the scary stuff and negotiate a reasonable lease. And she's doing it for free; as her people would say, pro bono

Anyway, we sent Janet our LOI (yeah, that's insiderspeak...we're down with all that now), and she called us a couple of days later.

"Pete, Becky," she said, "this is bullshit."

Now, Janet is a nice Mormon lady, so we thought it was both wonderful and hilarious that she would speak this way to us.

Janet went on to point out to us that although the LOI stated that we would receive three free months of rent, it also had us signing a sixty-three month lease, meaning that those three months got tacked on at the which time we'd be paying three times the rent we'd pay at the beginning. She also showed us that we'd be paying the ten grand back over the course of our lease, and that if we got out of the lease early we'd have to pay it all back at once. And, oh yes, the best part of all, we'd have to personally guarantee--Pete and I, not our limited liability corporation--all five years of rent. Even if we parted ways with the landlord.


Janet has put together a much more renter friendly LOI and submitted it to the landlord. They just got it this morning, so we're still waiting to hear what they're going to counter with.

I wonder what we'll discover we know nothing about next.


Barbara Fisher March House Books said...

My goodness, that’s scary. Thank goodness you got a lawyer.

Rebecca Glenn said...

Yes! The funny thing is, though, that we know our landlord isn't evil at all...they're just doing what commercial landlords do, which is to get whatever they can.

Thank heavens for Janet!

EnriqueFreeque said...