Choose Multiple Locations For Small Retail Stores
As your family business expands, you may be faced with choosing locations for additional retail stores. This growth is exciting, yet also beset with its own sets of problems. Here, we will look at some considerations for choosing locations for your store branches.
If you are considering locating a new store in another city or branching out into another state, make sure you do your research. You will need to know about the area’s general population, the average income, and the most prevalent age of your potential customers. If the location you are considering is not near the demographics that your product appeals to, you should consider a different location.
You also need to be aware of zoning laws and code enforcement. Cities and towns differ in the types of signage they allow. Some cities, for example, have a limit to the size of signs within a certain number of feet of the street. In those cities, you will see more advertising on the sides of vehicles parked in the parking lot.
Check with the Chamber of Commerce in your target area to get this information. You can also get information from the Census Bureau or the library.
Most retail stores depend on foot traffic. While you may offer online ordering, the fact that you are considering an additional brick and mortar store testifies to the need for foot traffic. There are several ways to gauge the traffic in the potential location.
There may be a lot of shoppers in the area you are considering but are they the type of shoppers who buy your product? By the time you are ready to expand, you know who buys your product the most. Seek out neighborhoods populated with that type of person.
Shopping vs. Buying
Are the people you see actually buying, or are they just shopping? You know people in the area have money to spend when you see them leaving stores with bags. If not, they are just shopping, and your store will struggle.
Who Are Your Neighbors?
In general, if you have a store near a big-name brand, you will see more traffic. Increased drive-by traffic can increase your visibility. Increased foot traffic can increase the number of customers who browse your store.
This being said, the type of traffic will affect your success. If you offer high-end designer home décor, you won’t find the clientele you want next door to the dollar store. Once again, the type of traffic will affect your sales.
The more visibility your store has, the less advertising you will need. This is one of the benefits of being in a high traffic area, or near a well-known store. If you are locating in a shopping center, will your storefront or sign be easy to see?
Will you have enough parking? For every 1000 sq.ft. of retail space, your store will need from five to eight parking places.
Make sure there is room in the parking lot for delivery trucks to navigate. If your share of a shopping center is inaccessible, your deliveries will e a problem.
If you are leasing a space, be clear on who is responsible for maintenance. The landscaping, HVAC, plumbing, parking lot, and other maintenance issues should be clearly outlined in the lease agreement. Get an estimate on utility costs, too.
Make sure there is sanitation service for your new location. You should also check to make sure emergency services are provided, such as fire and police. Some locations are outside of their jurisdiction.
Will your parking lot have plenty of light? What about your storefront? Lighting is important for security. Also, check the crime rate in the neighborhood you are considering.
You may want to provide a canopy to protect customers in bad weather. Check on public transportation, too.
Public restrooms may present their own security concerns. Determine ahead of time if you will allow customers to use the facilities. Make sure your employees have ready access to a restroom, but whether or not you make it available to the public may be dependent on local codes.