September 10, 2016

How to Pick a Good Store Location

If you are selling products, rather than services, at some point, you must decide whether you will be selling your products out of a store location. If you decide you need a store, there are several factors to consider when deciding where to establish your storefront.

You want to find a town that has reasonable rents (and other costs that you will incur with renting), that has low taxes, the right zoning and other regulations, and enough available labor to staff your store. Is there public transportation that runs through that town or is that not an issue for your customers?

The location within that town is also important. Is the location consistent with the image of your business, is the neighborhood safe, is there sufficient parking nearby, will your customers have to feed parking meters or can they shop as long as they like, is there enough foot traffic in the part of town in which you are interested, are there other stores nearby who will attract similar customers? Is the commute easy for you on a daily basis?

Once you have found a part of town that suits your business, can you afford the rent? Frequently, business owners must make a trade-off between the amount of rent they can afford and locating their store on the most heavily trafficked streets. Do your types of customers need special amenities that are available in that part of town and will they be available in your store? Will your store be able to be seen from the street?

Before you sign a lease, talk to other store owners in the area. How is business for them? Is there any construction in the area planned in the near future? Are there any competitors very nearby? Are there any other stores that would complement yours and feed you some traffic? Talk to other store owners who would have the same landlord as the one you are thinking of renting space from. How is the landlord to work with? Does it (or the management company) respond promptly to problems? Will your store need special wiring or fixtures installed and will the landlord provide them?

Give yourself plenty of time to choose the right location. It may take months to find and you do not want to have to settle for whatever is out there because you are in a rush. When you finally choose your store location, consult with an attorney who will, at the least, point out the problem areas with the landlord's lease. If you can afford it, have your lawyer negotiate with the landlord to get the best deal possible.

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