After smacking my lips at the charcoal grilled yakiniku, Carla-san called out to me.
“Boss, I’d like to talk to you about the second store.” [Carla]
“Yes, what is it?” [Ryouma]
“We have more than enough money from the medical treatment and the store proceeds, so I think it’s about time we put up the branch store.” [Carla]
“Already? Don’t we need more time to teach the managers how to manage a store?” [Ryouma]
“That’s true, but in the first place, Caulkin-san and the others are former researchers, so they already know how to read, write, and compute. Normally, we’d have to teach that on top of also teaching them how to stock the store and how to haggle with other stores and customers, which is why it normally takes so much time. But our store doesn’t even need to negotiate with competing stores or haggle with customers, so Carm and I just focused on teaching them what to do if a problem arose and how to work the books. We’re done with that, so all that’s left now is for them to put what they’ve been taught in practice.” [Carla]
“…In other words, you want to put up a branch store not just to make money but to teach them?” [Ryouma]
“Exactly. But of course, either Carm or I will work at the store temporarily at first to teach them the ropes and see if the store could be entrusted to them. There’s another reason.” [Carla]
Carla-san handed me a document. When I glanced over it, it turned out to be a summary of the store’s income.
…The store’s income from the first day until yesterday is here, but… Hmm? The page is still continuing.
Below the earnings call is the expected income and expenses. Several documents have been bundled together as if these have been rewritten several times. Based on the ink and the feel of the paper, these seem to have been written a long time ago.
…At first, when the store had just opened, probably because I was using whatever I could get my hands on to publicize and advertise the store, there’s a huge difference between the predicted numbers and the actual numbers… No, even before that they’ve been using the number of customers and other businesses as a reference to come up with these numbers.
“…Is this information meant to help us with coming up with a strategy?” [Ryouma]
“Very insightful. Presently, we are the only business that focuses solely on laundry. It’s an extremely rare industry. As such, there’s no information to use as reference, so we’ve had to rely on various data such as our earnings. We’re sort of just fumbling our way through, but this is necessary to ensure that we don’t miss customers and proceeds.
So far the predictions are good, but that doesn’t change the fact that we don’t actually have a good way to reliably predict our future earnings. As such, I would like to increase our stores and gather more data in order to improve our predictive abilities.” [Carla]
We’ve been managing just fine without Caulkin-san and the others, and the other workers have gotten used to work, and we’re also not just throwing Caulkin-san and the others to manage a store, as there’s a training period, so I think it’s okay. The attacks have gotten a lot less too, and there’s also the guards protecting the store. There’s also no problem with me going out by myself now. Moreover, I also need more places to deposit my steadily increasing cleaner slimes if I am to continue this business.
I’d love to say that I could just take all the excess cleaner slimes with me, but I don’t actually know my own limit when it comes to the number of slimes I can tame. So, that’s one more reason in favor of increasing the number of stores.
I can also look at this as opening the business up for franchising. If nothing else, it’s a way to immediately cull the numbers of the ever increasing cleaner slimes in order to protect the store’s secret! But that’s not really a concern right now. We should just focus on the topic at hand first.
Hmm… I just realized it, but I think I’m still acting too much like an employee instead of a manager. Back then our job was just to make things meet the deadline regardless of how absurd the request is… I’m really glad that Carla-san and Carm-san are here.
“I understand. Let’s start that branch store. What I need to do now is to decide the town where we will be putting up the branch store, acquire the land, and then prepare the store, yes?” [Ryouma]
“Yes. Is that alright with you?” [Carla]
Since it’s the advice of a manager like Carla-san and also an idea that I personally agree with, then sure.
As I told her that along with how I got to that conclusion, Carla-san heaved a sigh of relief and laughed.
“Thank you for understanding. I’ll leave it to you then.” [Carla]
“And I’ll leave the employees to you. I’ll drop by the guild and ask about the store.” [Ryouma]
Like that I ended up going to the merchants guild.
“You came.” [Grisiera]
“Thank you for always taking care of me. I’ll get straight to the point. I want to talk about opening a branch store.” [Ryouma]
“So, you’re finally opening it. I’ve prepared a list of recommendations for the choice of towns. There’s Delma, Azul, Shikumu, Zilman , Rufes, and so on…” [Grisiera]
So she’d already prepared a list of recommendations for me beforehand. I’m really grateful. It’s my first branch store, so I’d like to have it somewhere near Gimuru, so I can easily reach it if something goes wrong…
“Somewhere near would be best, right? I’ve also prepared that.” [Grisiera]
I’m started to get used to it already… This mind reading ability of hers.
“Thank you.” [Ryouma]
“For the mean time, these are the towns I recommend that’s near here: Shuchiro, Harken, and Renauph. Renauph would be the nearest town.” [Grisiera]
“Can I buy land there?” [Ryouma]
The guild master meaningfully smiled.
“I’ve already prepared it. I don’t have any lot big as your current one, though.” [Grisiera]
The lot she showed me was just half of my current store’s, but it was near the center of town and came with a building that could be used. As I asked her details about it while looking at the blueprint, it turns out that it used to be a general store. As such, it also had a storage room. That being the case, it won’t take a lot to get the place functional again. Of course, if that’s no good, then I could always just break the place down and remake it.
“This lot is diagonal Pioro’s store, so I’ve had him check the place for me, and he says it’s well built. There should be no problem. Ah, but you’ll need to process the papers through the guild there.” [Grisiera]
“I see. Thank you. I’ll go with this lot then.” [Ryouma]
Like this I decided on my new store. There’s someone I can rely on, who also happens to be a specialist, so everything is able to go so smoothly.
I immediately returned to the store and told Carla-san and Carm-san about my exchange with Grisiera-san at the guild. After that I spoke to Caulkin-san and the others about the branch store and once again made them promise that they wouldn’t hand the cleaner slimes to anyone else. They’ve already formed a contract that forbids them from doing so when they were employed at the guild, but just to be safe.
Caulkin-san and the others promised without any hesitation.
And then dusk came.
“Excuse me.” [Ryouma]
I left the store early today and dropped by Serge-san’s store before going home.
I told him that I will be leaving for Renauph very soon to prepare my branch store, so I got a huge number of cloths. I will be preparing for my trip starting tomorrow, but I want to make as many waterproof cloths before I leave. That way we won’t run out of stock.
Serge-san says that the waterproof cloths are starting to get around and that there’s a good demand for them now. The customers are usually adventurers and peddlers. That’s probably because there’s a lot of adventurers who want to reduce the things they carry with them in order to make themselves lighter and more mobile.
As for the peddlers, Serge-san says they mostly use the waterproof cloths on their roof and as curtains for their cart to keep the rain from their goods. They’ve been using a leather cover until now, but it’s heavy, takes up space, and adds more burden to the horse.
Peddlers can’t overburden their horses too, since doing so would make it hard to flee from monsters and bandits. If they overburden the horses, there’s also a chance they could die, and they’ll be forced to buy new ones. That would be huge loss in profit. Moreover, peddlers also consider their horses as their partners. It’s more of a tacit understanding, but it’s well known among the peddlers that any peddler that doesn’t treasure his horse doesn’t have the right to become a peddler. If others were to find out that a certain peddler treated his horse poorly, they would immediately give him the cold shoulder.
Compared to the leather cover, the waterproof cloth is light, doesn’t take up much space, and is super effective against water. As such, it’s gotten popular among the peddlers, or at least, that’s what Serge-san says.
I should probably start feeding the sticky slimes a lot to get them to increase their numbers more, as it seems I’ll have to create even more waterproof cloths in the future. Gotta reduce the burden on each individual slime…
As I thought of things like that, I went home.
4 days later.
I asked the others to take care of the store, so I could prepare for my trip. There were some changes in the store’s management that came with that.
One such change was the introduction of the bag with a bamboo and slime logo on it and the name ‘Bamboo Forest’. The craftsmen Serge-san deals with makes the bag by stamping the bags with a custom stamp they made. The branch store will be using these bags right from the start. As for the main store at Gimuru, the customers can exchange their old bags with this new version.
The second change that came is the fixed day off system. Until now, the workers have been taking their day offs in turns, but that makes it harder for the workers to get to know each other, so I changed that policy.
In order to let everyone know of the changes, I put a board in front of the store that said, ‘the following changes will be implemented in the next month~”.
The 3rd change is regarding the management of the cleaner slimes. Caulkin-san and the others will all be going to the branch store, so there won’t be any monster tamers at the main store for a while. If so, then I won’t be able to go on any extended trips while they’re away. That is a problem.
Fortunately, one of the three girls working away from home, Maria-san, has been studying monster taming these past two months. One day, while I was talking to her, I found out that her mother was a magician. Unfortunately, her mother passed away and she lost the opportunity to study magic, but she had the mana pool necessary to cast spells.
In a later date, when the time was right, I asked her if she’d be interested to learn the art of monster taming, and she agreed, so I had Robelia-san, whom she got along with, teach her in their day offs.
She can form contracts with slimes now, so I can leave the management of the slimes not just to Caulkin-san’s group, but also to her. I will have to retrieve the cleaner slimes once they hit the maximum number of slimes that they can tame, however.
Still, I wonder if I really have a limit when it comes to the number of monsters I can tame. The otherworlder who founded monster taming supposedly didn’t have one, but then again, that was her specialty. I should ask Gayn and the others.
Oh, it’s almost time.
As I exited through the front door of the store, all the workers saw me off.
“I’ll be going.” [Ryouma]
“Take care, Boss.” [Everyone]
Like that I started walking.
When I eventually exited through the gate, the morning rays of the sun, the peaceful blue sky, and the ever extending road was there to greet me.
My first trip alone since coming to this world.
Tl Note: Posting way later than usual, so here’s a full chapter. Next chapter tomorrow.
 – Not to be confused with Zilmar.