How many times have you seen a boutique, restaurant, or retail store close down their doors only for another hopeful store owner to occupy the same premises and fail as well? Location isn’t the only thing that matters when it comes to Houston commercial real estate, but when it comes to planning and projecting the success of your new business venture, location is extremely important. After all, there’s a reason everyone knows the saying, “location, location, location”.
When choosing a retail location, it’s important to consider the type of customers you want to attract. If you want to open a new restaurant downtown, you’ll need to consider that your customers will more than likely have to pay for parking which might deter potential customers who don’t want to spend an extra $7. There are plenty of resources online to help with demographic (here’s a freeby) research and there are also professionals you can hire to do the research for you. Just take a moment to consider who will be buying what you’re selling, and then figure out where those people are.
Parking is an often over-looked factor when choosing a retail location. We’ve all experienced the frustration of trying to get somewhere and having to battle over parking spots with other cars or park four blocks away and walk fifteen minutes. As the owner, you can change the menu, start a BOGO promotion, or hand out mimosas to people browsing your shop, but you can’t build more parking spaces.
Another thing to consider is safety. If you go somewhere and your car gets broken into, chances are you’re not going back there and neither will your customers. Does the location you’ve chosen provide security to patrol your lot? Is the parking lot very well lit? Do you have a budget to hire security personnel? There are many things to consider in regards to choosing a safe retail location.
Can potential customers who are driving by see you? Can those who are looking for your store find it? You want to find a location that has a very high visibility. Whether it’s a detailed sign right off the street or a location that is street adjacent, people need to be able to see your store from the road and know what it’s about. There’s a reason you can see the golden arches from ten miles away. Keep in mind you want to be visible to people in cars, busses, and those walking about.
Competition is a double-edged sword. On the one hand, you might want to choose a retail location away from competitors in order to dominate the market in a certain area. On the other hand, if you believe in your product, having competition near you can be a positive factor. Whether your product is better, cheaper, of higher quality, or tastier, having competitors occupying space near your retail location can actually drive potential customers to your store. Your competitors will spend money on marketing or promotions in order to attract customers to their store. Conveniently, their expenses will also drive traffic to your store assuming you’ve got the goods!
The last thing to consider when choosing a retail location is the personal factor. If you’re going to be working at this location, you might want to consider finding a place near where you live. Commuting an hour both ways might take the joy out of your new venture. You want to feel comfortable working at your new property and you want to invest in a space you and your employees can enjoy.