“Brand of Brothers”-How QuickBooks and QuickBooks Point of Sale helped a feed store.

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Frank and Lloyd Ormsby started the “2 Bar O Country Store” about 38 years ago. The feed store, located in Tucson, and handled feed and supplies for horses, cows, mules, dogs, cats, chickens, ducks, geese, pigs and any other farm animal you can think of. ( The name 2-Bar-O comes from the cattle brand for their ranch, 2 brothers Ormsby)

Their inventory consisted of a large amount of horse tack on consignment, a large selection of Western and English riding gear, and feed and pet supplies. They had QuickBooks Point of Sale version 5, and QuickBooks Pro 2004, but had not really used either program to any great extent. The previous couple of years had been a rough ride!

The troubles began, when the brothers decided to sell the business.

They met with a man, whom we will call “Fred”, and worked out an agreement for Fred to purchase the store. Everything seemed to go well for about a year, and then they began to get some troubling information.

Customers began calling to say how sorry they were that” Frank and Lloyd were having such severe financial problems”. The brothers were more than a bit concerned.
The customers informed them that several letters had gone out to long time customers (mostly wealthy customers), advising that “the business was in dire straits”, and asking for money. When the brothers contacted Fred, the whole house of cards fell.

It appeared that Fred had opened lines of credit, taken out loans, and written fraudulent checks in the brother’s names. He had run up large balances with the suppliers, and had drained the business accounts. To top it off, he had taken the computer with the accounting data, and erased the Hard Drive! After the police began to investigate, it was found that Fred had done this before with other businesses.

The brothers reclaimed the store, but it was almost empty. Their business bank account was drained, and their credit was damaged to a significant extent. The business which they had grown for over 35 years was in a horrible state. The QuickBooks Point of Sale software that had been purchased for the business was there, but there was little data entered, and the brothers had not been trained in its use. It was not an asset. That was 4 years ago.

Since that time, the brothers had been rebuilding the business, investing their own money, slowly luring their old customer base back, and trying to work with the suppliers to get back on a good standing. It had been a trying time.

As far as the Point of Sale software, well, they had no manuals, or training. After a year they had figured out how to enter a Sales Receipt, or a Paid-Out, but that was all.

They phoned in their orders for feed and supplies from hand-written notes, paid for the goods in advance, but had no real tracking of the inventory. They often did not know if everything was being delivered or not. And when a shipment arrived, it could take several days to get the merchandise priced and put on the shelf.

Frank ran the sales counter, while his brother Lloyd delivered feed, picked up merchandise, and loaded hay and feed in customer’s vehicles.
All of the costs, prices, and quantities were kept in Frank’s head.

This had advantages, and drawbacks. He could quickly reset a price for a valued customer, but could cause himself problems if he forgot something.

Customers that Charged on Account, well, the charges and payments were entered on a slip of paper and put into the Cash Drawer.
Ringing up a receipt was an issue, as you might or might not find the item in the inventory list.
It was a system that had worked in the past, when they had fewer customers, less merchandise, and the business operated on a handshake. But times had changed!

They knew from the description of the Point of Sale and QuickBooks software, it had many more capabilities, but they had hired supposed experts, who were unable to complete the setup.

They had even purchased a different POS system, at a cost of $40,000.00, but could never get it to work, nor could they get help setting it up!
It got placed in the attic, while they continued to make payments on it. A system they could not use!

They were “hog-tied”, and saw no change in their future.

A “Hay-Day” meeting…..

At this time, Scott Fair worked for Intuit. He, and his Service Dog, Monk, went to work each day. He worked for the “Red Line Help Desk” in QuickBooks Point of Sale support.
Scott, and his wife, had switched to a different dog food, and happened to purchase that food from the Brothers at 2-Bar-O.

When Scott and his wife’s Service Dogs had a litter of puppies, Frank and Lloyd said to bring them into the feed store, to help sell them. To help out, sometimes Scott’s wife would answer the store phone.

One day, while on the phone with a customer, she saw Frank ringing up a customer’s sale, and realized they were using the QuickBooks Point of Sale software.
Frank explained that they really did not know how to use it. She suggested that Scott could come in and take a look.

Scott jumped at the chance…. Here was a business that wanted to setup Point of Sale and QuickBooks while the business was running!

Working in tech support, we would often speak to customers in this same situation. It would be interesting to see how a highly trained person from QuickBooks Point of Sale technical support handled this.

In short order, Scott was there….and found out what a “hard-trail” this scenario really is.

Entering inventory is time consuming, and difficult while there is a steady stream of customers. And what made the situation even more difficult…There was only one computer!

They started slowly, and soon had the first “Purchase Order” for a vendor created. Frank called in the order.
A few days later, the items arrived. A large shipment of products that would need to be sorted, priced, placed on the shelves and accounted for.
Having already entered the items through a Purchase Order, they were able to receive them in a matter of minutes. They had merchandise barcode tags printed, applied them to the items, and had the items on the shelf in less than half an hour. They even printed a new copy of the Purchase Order which showed the items on backorder.
They had accomplished in minutes, what had taken days in the past.

As time progressed, more inventory was added to the system, the UPC codes recorded, costs and prices updated….. They are starting to use more aspects of the program, gaining greater control.
As each phase of the implementation was added, they gained more control of the business, and tasks were accomplished with greater ease, more speed, and greater accuracy.
This was a learning experience for the Brothers, and for Scott. They even added pictures of the inventory and saddles to verify the items being sold.

In the past, they had shut down for 4 days to perform a physical inventory. Using a Physical Inventory Scanner, the inventory was counted and uploaded in a few hours.

As for the brothers, they were getting control of the store, their accounts, and having to work less to get better results.

For Scott, it brought a new and deeper understanding of what it takes to implement the software into a business that is running, and the challenges customers face while they “wrangle” with new ways to do things, the time involved in setting up the software and inventory, and the difficulty of accomplishing these tasks while a business is running and only has one computer available.

And our story does not end there!  Inspired by the progress made, the brothers then decided that they want to upgrade to the next version of Point of Sale and QuickBooks when they became available.

They implemented the QuickBooks Point of Sale Merchant Account Service for processing the Credit and Debit Cards. This allowed them to track the merchant processing with greater ease and reduced the number of miss-entries.

Using the QuickBooks Point of Sale Pro version 8, and the newest version of QuickBooks Pro available, they were able to reconstruct the checking account register, reduce their expenditures, increase productivity, and return the business to a profitable status.
In a short time, the business had become stable, with a good profit margin, and they were able to sell the business.

This was an excellent example of a business that was “corralled” into a bad situation, and by implementing accounting and inventory controls from the QuickBooks, and QuickBooks Point of Sale, they were able to turn it around.

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