Keeping a small business going in Montreal is no mean feat. Put magic into the equation and its even harder. The Ice Storm didn’t help, nor did the language laws, or the competition. But we learned a lot along the way. We have a love/hate relationship with the Internet. Since we started in 1977, we had to learn a whole new way of doing business and continue to learn every day. It’s one of the reasons we don’t retire. I think without this daily challenge our minds would deteriorate at a faster pace than they are now.
There is a whole lot of competition out there on the web. Many at discount prices. Our loyal customers say they know they can get it cheaper elsewhere but do not want to lose the magic shop. They understand its not just the product they buy but the service they get and they also understand we have more expenses than the on line only shops. I mentioned in an earlier post the a guy came in and asked if we carried the Voodoo or Haunted Doll DVD. I said yes. He said he bought one and can’t figure it out and would Phil help him. Phil asked if he bought it here. He said no. it was cheaper on line somewhere else. Phil told him to call the place he got it from and ask them for help. He said he tried but there is no phone number and they don’t answer the emails. Phil would have spent the time with him had he bought it here. Someone phoned a few days ago and asked for something we didn’t have and we said we would order it for him. He said okay. He asked how many weeks it would take to get? Weeks? You’ll have it tomorrow or the next day and he did. He could not believe it.
But I am not really writing this to tell you the benefits of a magic shop in your community. I write this as I am now in the process of adding a line at the end of each product’s description to inform magicians when instructions are available in French or Spanish. Sometimes it says on the DVD’s that there are are explanations in different languages, but many tricks only have instructions in English.
Phil and I did not need Language Police and Language laws to understand that in order to sell to the French population, which is dominant in Quebec, we needed French instructions. Do you have any idea how expensive it is to have things translated from English to French. And there is another problem. To do a proper translation you would have to be a magician to understand the effect, in order to describe it properly. That’s when we learned about people. Many Francophone friends and customers offered to translate them for free. in 1977 Le Grand Marcis (deceased), who had his own little boutique and gave magic courses, gave us many translations, even though I know he was not happy that we opened a magic shop, yet he did this and like the gentleman he was, was always friendly with us, even bought supplies from us. Denise Tesher, did wonderful translations for us. Professor Shadow, Kurylo Le Magicien, Patrice Meunier, Denis Kino, Dave Harvey and I am sure there are others, all helped us I want to thank all of you. I remember Jean Prentergast’s wife doing translations for us and telling me it was her pleasure to do it.
We did have some translations done professionally and I just came across them so you will be seeing a lot more French on the French side of the site. But it won’t happen till after Passover and Easter. A lot of cooking to do. So thanks again and Happy Easter and Happy Passover to all our customers and all my readers. By the way, did you know that in French, Easter and Passover are both the same word. “Pâques”