By NEIL HARTNELL
Tribune Business Editor
The defunct Robin Hood retail chain’s owner yesterday said he was personally “100 per cent responsible for the failure”, adding that he had a choice between “brain surgery” of returning to retail.
Sandy Schaefer, speaking to Tribune Business amid preparations for the November 27 launch of his new Everything Must Go!!! retail venture, said the two-store format’s 2012 demise was largely due to his own errors.
Emphasising that he hoped to have learned the necessary lessons from Robin Hood’s closure some two-and-a-half years ago, Mr Schaefer said he had little choice but to pick himself up and mount a comeback with another entrepreneurial venture.
Pronouncing himself “convinced” that Everything Must Go is the right concept (see other article on Page 1B), Mr Schaefer likened himself to a person “riding in on a white horse” to once again bring lower prices to Bahamian consumers.
“Let’s be clear,” Mr Schaefer told Tribune Business in relation to Robin Hood’s demise. “What happened was in great part to do with mistakes I made.
“What I’m hoping to do is to have learned from them. I don’t regret it one bit. I’ve got three children to put through college. They’re working with me for a year, and will probably learn more from me than from five years in college.”
Explaining why he was unable to turn his back on retail ventures, Mr Schaefer said: “I’ve been in retail since I was 13 years old. It’s in your blood. It’s who you are.
“I love the action on the buying side, making deals, and I love the action on the retail side, seeing people afford things they were not able to get.
“I had a choice between brain surgery and doing this, and thought it would be for the betterment of the public if I went back into doing this.
“When Robin Hood went out of existence, prices went up. Phil’s Food Services was the only one trying to hold things down.”
Taking the positive from the bad, Mr Schaefer said he had “spent the last two-and-a-half years getting to know my family and children, and I don’t want to lose that”. Hence his new venture’s three days per week opening plan.
“You know what? The whole experience I went through and my family went through was extremely hurtful,” he told Tribune Business.
“There was a time when power was shut off to our house, and I’m still fighting to hold on to it. It has given me a new perspective. I would say that my desire to be successful hasn’t weakened at all. I think I’ve got a whole lot smarter.
“I take 100 per cent responsibility for the failure [of Robin Hood], but that’s not why I’m doing this [Everything Must Go]. We’re doing this because this is the opportune time.”
Mr Schaefer, as with Robin Hood, said the “bottom line” motivation for his new retail venture was to help Bahamian consumers with lower prices.
“I’m convinced, but that’s what entrepreneurs are,” he said of Everything Must Go. “I know it will work, mainly because of the pricing, the cost savings. We will have a variety of products that are clearly needed here, and it’s the right thing to do at the right time.
“Someone has got to come in riding on a white horse to help out consumers. I hope this will also be a financial success, but these are not mutually exclusive.
“It’s very important to be sensitive to their needs and listen to them, and not dictate to consumers.”