Guys, this is it, the long-awaited UP Garage USA is here! Well, sort of
I am quite sure many of you watched this UP Garage’s documentary video below and noticed that the founder of UP Garage announced the plan expanding to the US.
If not done so, you must watch it now!
The good news is, we now have a warehouse in the USA at a very secretive location on the West Coast. The bad news is, it’s a warehouse, not a store.
Wait, what just a warehouse? When will the shop be opened?
It is still uncertain when will we open a UP Garage USA. But this will be our trial run before we pour our investment into a full-fledged UP Garage shop.
As many of you guys are aware, the USA is a VERY different landscape compared to Japan. To make things worse, having the largest Japanese Auto parts retailer filing chapter 11 bankruptcy at their initial expansion is not really assuring as well.
Thus we want to make sure we can successfully penetrate into the US market, starting with a few baby steps at a time. That said, we have FULL intention of opening a store if everything goes smoothly.
So what is the warehouse for if you don’t have a store?
The warehouse is for selling online locally in the USA. We plan to launch some domestic events and maybe a few pop-up stores in the future but the main functionality is selling online. We now have a very special section on the Croooober which sell parts specifically for our American customers.
In addition, we will also plan to use the warehouse to teach us about the skills required to survive in the highly competitive business world in USA. As I am sure you guys are very well aware of how things work in the USA is very different than in Japan.
1) Employee training & management
As many of our customers will most likely have visited a UP Garage in Japan before, we want to ensure we do not fail to provide the same level of service and enjoyment when you walk into a UP Garage USA.
We want to right the wrongs of the previous Japanese auto part company.
1.1 Hiring & Firing
The labor law itself is very different in America. In Japan, once the employee passes the probational period, it’s almost impossible to fire them. Hence, in Japan when companies do hiring, they tend to be extra careful when sending out the offer letter. However, if we use the same rigorous process to screen our potential candidates in America, this method might result in understaffing.
In addition, we also need to get used to the concept of firing employees when they are underperforming – something that is difficult even for American companies.
1.2 Work Style & Expectation
American and Japanese are motivated very differently and have a different standard and attitudes when comes to work. Although both countries expect excellent customer service, both are achieved by different means.
In Japan, it sort of a social obligation to provide a high level of customer service, while in the US, high-level customer service comes from many other factors.
2) Safety & Security
Safety & Security is very different too. In Japan, we do not have to worry (most of the time) that our inventory in store will be stolen by staffs or customers. Nor we have to worry about a break-in, under the table deals nor vandalism.
Here in America, we have to take extra steps to make sure these things do not happen or, at least, reduce the number of them.
3) Business model
Our business model is very unique. As you guys should have known by now, our business model is very dependant on the local community and we are still very unsure how to the local community in California will interact with us.
As we work like a reseller of parts our customers bring to us. Will we be able to bring in a sustainable flow of parts? Will we able to get good parts from the local community? How many of them will try to scam us? These are all still questions waiting to be answered.
So that’s it folks! Please wish us the best of luck on this venture and support UP Garage USA by purchasing parts from UP Garage USA at Croooober