If you are starting a new business, finding the perfect retail location is the sort of thing that can keep you up at night (if it doesn’t, it probably should). It’s a critical component of your business’ success.
At Great Harvest University, we teach that there are six things that a new bakery owner has to get right in order to be successful:
- Product quality
- Customer service
You can improve on those as you progress. But, out of all of those elements, there is only one that is really difficult to change: location. That’s why you have to get it right from the start.
Getting it right is different from getting it perfect. Some locations are better than others, but ─ as with most things in life ─ perfection is elusive. There will almost certainly be one or two things that you would change if you could, whether it’s lower monthly rent, a few more square feet, or a more impressive building facade. Maybe the location adds 10 extra minutes to your commute every day that you’d prefer to have back. But you choose to live with it because it’s a high traffic location with ample parking, and in the bigger picture, it’s a no-brainer.
Give up on the idea of perfection, but certainly you can find a “better” location in retail.
Here at Great Harvest, we have made an art and a science of helping our franchise owners find the best retail location for their new bakeries.
There are quite a few ways to find good locations but we take a combined, common sense approach. Site selection, location hunting, retail real estate or whatever you want to call it . . . it’s a combination of many things.
Here are just some of the factors that go into finding the best retail location for your store:
- Market trends
- Traffic patterns
- Shape and layout
- Condition of the building
- Does it feel right to you?
All these and many other specific issues come into play. They don’t all have the same weight. How do you balance them?
I think the most important factor in a successful location choice is demographics. Make sure the market is there. Then look for traffic and shopping patterns. Find the places where the people in your demographic are shopping. Then look for what is available. Odds are there is more than one location that comes through that filter. So how do you decide which area to focus on?
Real estate is a very efficient market so odds are that the prices for your potential locations won’t be extremely different─ but the prices probably won’t be identical, either. This is where the idea that there isn’t just one single predestined location comes into play. You will have a number of potential store locations that come through your filter and you can then review them and weigh their pros and cons.
At that point, more likely than not it comes down to the nuances of the deal. Find the best price, which is a combination of rent and allowances to help pay to develop the space, and then you can rank the locations and find the one from the many.
Location is a critical part of your new business' success. That's why we have become extremely good at "location hunting," so you don't have to lose sleep. Finding a location takes longer than any other period on the path to opening your new bakery. It’s another example of Great Harvest’s signature approach: do something right, even if it means taking it slow.
Learn more about how Great Harvest helps bakery owners find their best retail location:
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