Nick Zurcher co-owns and runs Zurchers party supplies with his two brothers, Dallas and Kyle. Zurchers currently has 13 locations in Utah and Idaho, growing from their first retail store in Boise, Idaho in 1983.
The Zurchers story started in Idaho in 1952, when the brothers’ grandfather, Clarence Zurcher, started selling toys out the back of a truck to convenience and grocery stores. Their Dad, Bob Zurcher, took over the company in 1981, and in 1983 converted the warehouse to a retail store, put party supplies in it, and started selling direct to consumers. He then sold off the toy company.
Nick was referred to the Salt Lake SBDC through the Goldman Sachs 10,000 Small Business program. He commented, “I saw there was a big opportunity (for the SBDC) to help us with market research to expand.” he said. Through the Salt Lake SBDC’s market research, Zurchers received the needed data and analysis to feel comfortable increasing the size of one of their locations by 75%, and to select a new store location, which will open in 2017.
Zurchers has become a household name in Utah over the last two decades, and in the age of Pinterest and Instagram, party supplies are more popular than ever. For Zurchers, Halloween has become the busiest time of the year, but this has added a huge challenge with regard to costume sales. Nick commented, “This is our fourth year in the Halloween costume business…The first couple of years were really hard. Every year it gets easier as we get used to the huge influx of inventory and customers in the store. As we have been getting used to that, it has become a smoother operation and every year we balance the workload a little bit better.”
When asked to give three nuggets of wisdom to someone starting a business, Nick replied that it is imperative to have a forecast of the first 12 months and be aware of your cash flow. Second, be kind and fair to your employees and vendors, and third, leave as much money in the company as you can so it can grow.
“Retail is a tough business, but at the same time it is very rewarding,” he said. “It is fun to have customers come in and be excited about what you have and appreciate having a store nearby.”