Finding the right location for your brick-and-mortar store is a huge part of whether it will be successful. Small Business Trends spoke with Bruce Schultz, co-founder and CEO of Boardroom to get some tips just after the men’s grooming salon chain opened its 30th location in Dallas.
Finding a Shopping Center Location for Your Store
Match Places and Demographics
If you’ve already made up a business plan and done the research, you’ll know who your target market is. Schultz says matching this data up with locations is the first step in narrowing down your choices.
“We start with the big picture and look for the areas and markets that meet our general demographic,” he says.
Look for Vibrancy
Narrowing down your choices further means looking for the most successful and vibrant area in that market. There’s a couple of key metrics that you need to be looking for here like high occupancy coupled with low turnover rates.
Look for Brand Recognition
Of course, you’ll want to have successful businesses that draw in customers around you without poaching clients from your target market. Schultz suggests an excellent benchmark to use here.
“Overall, you’ll want to pick the center that has some of the best and current brands so it’s bringing in a lot of shoppers” he says.
Look at the Competition
You might think establishing a brick-and-mortar store around competitors is a bad thing, but that’s not necessarily so. There are a few benefits including the fact that you’re choosing a location your target demographic already knows.
Look at Traffic
Taking a look at any information you can get on the people who drive by and walk through the center can be helpful. The marketing people for the shopping center itself might have some numbers for you to look at.
Look for Complimentary Businesses
Another way to find a great shopping center location for your brick-and-mortar business is to look for complimentary tenants. For example, Schultz says he favors neighboring restaurants because people waiting to get seated will often use the time to get a haircut.
Look for Visibility
You need to be seen to sell your goods and services. Another metric to picking a good shopping center location is visibility. The best locations have great exposure so you shop can be seen be seen by folks who walk or drive by in their cars.
Having a location with one side fronting the parking lot and the other facing the inside of the mall is best.
Look at The Long Term
It’s also important to find a shopping mall that is currently busy and has a good forecast for the future. One good litmus test is to check the brands already in the store to see how long they’ve been around.
“You can tell the brands that have been around since the early 1980s and 1990s,” Schultz says. Those are generally the ones that stay put in a successful shopping centre.
Look at Zoning
You need to consider your location from every angle and that includes the local zoning bylaws. There’s going to be rules and policies for any location. If you find that your business is incompatible with the place that you really want to be, you can apply to have it rezoned.
The local City Hall is a great place for the information you need here.
Look for Some Help
Trying to put together all this information on your own might be daunting for the average small business owner. That’s why Schultz suggests having a team of professionals on your side to pick a location like a real estate broker.
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