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Choosing The Best Retail Space For Your Business

Choosing The Best Retail Space For Your Business

As every business owner has known throughout the history of time, the number one determining factor in success is location. Other factors are important like starting capital, an innovative idea and great customer service, but inevitably it comes down to choosing the best retail space for your business. Even in the online world of the Interwebs with its collection of "tubes", strong branding with multiple websites from the same retailer determine customer accessibility and sales. Let's take a look at some aspects to consider when choosing a great retail space.

Customer Friendly

A customer friendly location encompasses a few different ideas. On the inside, the retail space should be inviting and easy to navigate. Proper retail space design ensures a consistent flow which allows customers to make a circuitous journey evaluating all you have to offer and then leading them to the check out. On the outside, is your retail establishment in a scary unsafe dingy part of town or is it in a pleasant family-friendly secure location? Be wary of leases which are too low for what you get because it may mean a location is undesirable with multiple business failures over a period of years.

Legal Requirements

There are numerous federal, state and local legal requirements to fulfill when opening a retail space for your business. The Americans with Disabilities Act ensures proper accessibility for all individuals including ramps which are wheelchair friendly and bathrooms with doors wide enough to accommodate walkers and other assistance devices. Fire codes must be followed which includes properly labeled emergency exits unencumbered by debris and a specific number of fire extinguishers or a sprinkler system to adequately suppress a conflagration.

Zoning Laws

Every metropolitan area has three specific zoning designations which are residential, commercial and industrial. If you're building a retail space or are unsure if your business can operate in a specific stone, consult with the city's building inspectors to ensure your business is properly zoned. Failure to do so could lead to a revocation of your business license and a temporary or permanent suspension of business operations while the issue is sorted out. Certain adult businesses are normally located away from parks and schools while auto mechanic shops and gas stations have other zoning requirements.

Room to Grow

Many businesses find it cost-effective to lease a retail space instead of building or purchasing a property. In the event of a lease, many are multiyear which can be upwards of 5 to 10 years which makes proper planning important with respect to business growth. Strip malls are much more conducive to expansion since many property owners will allow a business to modify a non-loadbearing wall to connect two spaces. Other locations may not be as amenable to expansion plans which should be considered. If you open a successful business and two years later you have to relocate, it can significantly impact sales and confuse customers.

Competition Adjacent

If you've found the best retail space for your business it's possible your competitors have had the same idea. Part of selecting a retail space is locating all competitors in a given geographic area and ensuring adequate spacing. On rare occasions in certain industry's the opposite is true. It is very common for certain types of businesses to build directly next to or across the street from a competitor. This often happens in building supply stores, gas stations, fast food and convenience stores. In most other circumstances however, a business will want to fill a niche and provide their product or service in a currently underserved neighborhood.

Lease Instead of Buy

If you have the capital to either self fund your business or receive a loan, it is highly recommended to build or buy instead of lease. Much for the same reasons of buying a home instead of renting an apartment, you receive additional tax benefits and build equity which is realized when the property is sold. If you have to lease, then keep an eye out for small print about penalties and fees. Also ensure any requirements your business needs to operate are written directly on the lease using an amendment. A typical business lease will include advanced notice of contract termination, notice of payment increases, an option to buy the property and any and all other obligations for both parties.