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Review of Magic Shop Illusion Warehouse

November 4th, 2010 7:30am
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Reviewed by BRUCE CHADWICK
A STORY ABOUT BRONSON CHADWICK’S ILLUSION WAREHOUSE

Well, here I am, back in the magic dealer business again. My name is Bruce Chadwick. Many of you know me as an illusion builder. I purchased a 4000 square foot stand alone commercial building in Fort Worth, Texas back in the late 1990’s, right before receiving a substantial illusion order from Warner Brothers, Germany.

For the first couple of years of operation, the building’s sole use was to warehouse our illusion show, provide workshop space, and give us much needed space to fabricate and display stage illusions. Before that I started the illusion fabrication business in a small workshop I built behind our home. After a couple of years in the new building, we remodeled the front of the building and started a small magic store. We couldn’t think of a better name and so we named it “Magic by Bruce Chadwick “ Illusion Warehouse.”

The store had little magic stock in the beginning. I was not one to go out and buy a bunch of stuff with high credit card interest. So we started small, selling one item, and then with the profit buying two. That’s how inventory grows, you know. After almost three years of taking virtually no profit from the small store, we woke up one day and realized we had a very well stocked magic store with over 800 different magic items!

Shortly after that, we started the website www.illusionwarehouse.com. From the beginning my goal was to do everything right. As a kid, I remember the turmoil of having to save up my money and order magic by the US Mail. Usually I was very pleased with my purchases, but sometimes I was “taken” too. So my goal in running the store was to carry only items that I felt were good quality, and items that I would be proud to own myself. Also as a Christian person, I bind myself with the ethic to treat everyone with respect and dignity, be true to my word, and to do my very best with ever aspect of dealing with other people.

The store tooled along for over a decade. With the illusion fabrication business (see www.ChadwickIllusionFabrications.com) and my work as a pro magician (www.BruceChadwick.com) , it wasn’t necessary to take a lot of money out of the magic store. Eventually however, it began to pay a few of the bills.

My son Bronson was born in 1990. He grew up with magic and loves the art very much. He has since evolved into being a very good performer. Not quite as good as his old man you understand, but never-the-less proficient as an entertainerI never pushed him toward magic, but he gravitated that way anyway. And so the moment he graduated from high school in June of 2008, he wanted (begged) to run the magic store. I let him sort of manage it for a few months. After all he already had a lot of experience working behind the counter during the summer months while in high school.

I finally “gave in” to my son. I decided to call retail magic sales quits and just continue solely with the illusion fabrication business. Magic by Bruce Chadwick “ Illusion Warehouse officially went out of business in December of 2008. I sold the existing inventory to my son for one dollar and on January first of 2009, Bronson Chadwick’s Illusion Warehouse went into business. It is important to understand that Bronson did not “take over” the Illusion Warehouse store. Rather I went out of the retail store business and he opened the next day as a brand new business.

I would like to say his new business went smoothly, but there is a lot to running a business, and especially with the challenges of the recession. Bronson acknowledged but I don’t think really understood that most magic is marked up only about 40%. So if an item is purchased wholesale for $15, you sell it for $25 retail. Bronson never seemed to be able to set aside the $15 to replace the item he sold however. Also I don’t think he ever understood the importance of taking the $10 “profit” and paying his other overhead such as insurance, the phone bill, electricity, bank and merchant account charges, and so forth. So out of the $10 “profit” came these expenses. When the day ended, it is sobering to realize that a magic dealer can only put into his wallet $3 to $4 out of a $25 sale! I am exaggerating a bit by saying that Bronson’s attitude was “Wow! $25! Let’s go out and eat and go to the movies!”

Throughout 2009, Bronson sold from the store and replaced very little of the stock. By the end of the year, the store stock on the shelves was becoming quite thin. He was beginning to realize the adage that you can’t sell out of an empty wagon! Also during this same year, my wife Cindy lost her job at Lockheed and found a job in Houston. So we (my wife and I) moved 300 miles south from the Fort Worth area to Houston. This left Bronson to run his business on his own. Bronson lasted through the end of December 2009, and then things really go rough. He began to falter on his bills and couldn’t meet his expenses. The magic wholesale companies began to shut off his credit due to delinquency. Utilities and phones were shut off periodically, and his business was on life support.

Long story short, in July of 2010, Bronson Chadwick’s Illusion Warehouse went bankrupt. He has since moved from Texas to North Carolina to pursue non-magic dealer avenues.

What is the status of www.IllusionWarehouse.com? Upon Bronson’s departure, I took back the website and now run it as a virtual magic store. The storefront in Fort Worth remains closed to retail store customers, but we own the building outright. The building still gives our company illusion fabrication studios, a place to store our magic shows, and a place to stock merchandise for our virtual magic store.

So www.IllusionWarehouse.com is alive and well. We now list close to 1200 items and that list grows daily. Know that when you deal with this “new” website, you will be dealing with “Chadwick Senior” who has over 44 years experience in magic, and about 30 of that as a magic dealer. We carry a lot of magic and it is priced competitively. So if you need a magic store that will deal with you properly, with fairness, and dignity, give us a shot. If you are not happy with any purchase, we will work with you until you are happy.

I love the art of magic and magicians are my friends. I have never had a “real job” all my life. Of course I have never gotten rich, but I am rich with magic friends. The Illusion Warehouse name will endure, just with a slightly different twist now under new (old) ownership. And yes, we are still thinking about opening a retail storefront here in Houston. Lord help us all.

Bruce Chadwick

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