What Makes a Great Retail Location?

“What makes a great retail location?”  Seems like a simple enough question, but there are so many variables to consider. Here are my Top 11 criteria for selecting the perfect retail location:

1. Location: Should you choose Urban or Suburban? Do you you want an A, B or C location?

Hint: This depends upon your business model and your desire for proximity to complimentary businesses and/or distance from competitors. Good urban locations are harder to find but can offer much greater density and foot traffic. Maybe a mixture of both makes the most sense when planning for future expansion.

2. Visibility: Is the location visible from the street? Is there ample window exposure? What about the building height?

Hint: Visibility is a key to your success. If they can’t see you, they can’t find you and you have to rely on planned visits. If customers have to work to find you, they won’t.

3. Signage:  The building signage is typically dictated per city/village code. Additional questions you want to know: is there a pylon available, and if so what is the size and location.  Also, can you access to any free standing or blades signs?

Hint: Without good signage you risk the possibility of being difficult to find.

4. Parking/Access:  Determine the parking status; free surface parking, deck parking, street parking, parking meters, paid lot nearby?  What, if any, curb cuts exist? What is the access in and out of the property? For example, is it right in right out, full access curb cut or left out only?

Hint: Your customers need to be able to come and go with ease (it’s critical).

5. Frontage:  How much frontage does the location have? And is it in good condition?

Hint:  Frontage should never be less then 20′.  There is a direct correlation between store sales volumes and a store’s frontage.

6. Rent/Extra Charges:  Do the numbers make sense/occupancy cost you’re your specific business?   What is the pro-rata for CAM, taxes, insurance?

Hint: Work backward. Determine your projected sales volumes and decide what kind of rent you can afford.

7. Concessions:  Will the Landlord do any work, provide a tenant improvement allowance or possibly a rent abatement?

Hint:  Always ask for concessions; each landlord’s position on concessions differ.

8. Positioning:  Which is best or your business?  Endcap, Inline, Free Standing orStorefront?

Hint:  The eye typically catches the end cap position first, however, these locations aren’t always available.

9. Co-Tenancy:  Is the synergy of nearby tenants important?  Do you fear or thrive on competition?   What is the quality of the anchors and the other tenants?

Hint:  Big anchor tenants such as Wal-Mart/Target/Walgreens, do extensive research before selecting a location and often provide a guideline for your location.

10. Traffic:  Gather information on car counts and pedestrian counts.  Is it a signalized intersection?

Hint:  The stronger the counts, typically the stronger the sales volume for your store.

11. Condition of Space:  Know the condition of the HVAC, electric and ADA compliant handicap accessibility, prior to committing.  Find out who is responsible formaintaining, repairing or replacing HVAC and other mechanicals.

Hint:  Avoid excessive build out by understanding what you already have within the space and what the landlord will pay for.

Call me at (312) 593-2183 or email me at Brett@CRBChicago.com