If you're thinking of opening a retail store, one of the first things you'll need to do is find a storefront to either lease or purchase. While you may be tempted to jump on the least expensive option that comes your way, cost is only one factor to consider when looking for a retail store location. Here are four other things to look for as you talk to commercial realtors and browse the market.
Low Crime Rates
Retail stores are a common target among criminals. You don't want someone holding up your store or breaking in after-hours to empty the cash register. So, make sure you carefully look into the crime rates in the area where a certain storefront is located. Don't rely on looks alone for this determination. An area can look very "safe" and actually be a hotbed for crime, and an area may look a bit sketchy but actually be low-crime. Talk to the realtor who has listed the storefront, or reach out to local police for the numbers.
Moving a retail store is a huge endeavor, so you really need to find a space that leaves you some room to expand in the coming years. This is true not only of the actual "floor space" for shopping, but also for backroom storage space. Keep in mind, too, that a larger backroom means you can store more and schedule your deliveries less frequently, which may save you on delivery charges.
If your customers have to park a half mile away on the street in order to shop at your store, they're not going to shop there very often. Make sure there's plenty of space to park. It's best to find a spot with its own lot so you can ensure the lot is well-maintained. However, if there is a public lot nearby, this can suffice, especially in a larger city where it's not so common for businesses to have their own parking.
Heating and cooling a storefront is always expensive. But a more updated storefront with energy-efficient windows and a relatively new furnace and air conditioner will be vastly less costly to heat and cool. Check when these items were last replaced. Ideally, you want a commercial furnace and AC that are less than 10 years old, window that are still in good shape and don't leak, and a good layer of insulation between the walls, too.