I recently received a site selection assignment from a national retailer to open a children’s amusement center. I was working with a franchisee who was new to the business, and was going to be investing a significant portion of his net worth, so I felt an extra sense of responsibility to make sure that he secured a retail site location that would be successful. Early on in the process, a building became available that met almost all of the requirements that the franchisee was looking for: Clear span construction with no columns in the center of the space, good parking and high ceilings. It was even available for sale and could make a nice nest egg in retirement. However it was missing two of the major components of a successful retail business. The site had no visibility from a main road. In fact the location was well below the grade of the main road, and you had to drive down a road built exclusively to serve the small development to access the building. My client was not overly concerned with the lack of visibility, because it was far and away better than any building we had previously considered.
These aspects of the “3 Legged Stool of Retail Site Selection” are key points for consideration when looking for the right spot for your retail business.
1. Visibility of the Retail Site
This is probably the most important characteristic of any retail venture. If you are not visible from the street, then you had better be visible from the parking lot of the anchor stores. Visibility in some fashion is a core principal of retail.
2. Accessibility of the Retail Site
Retail screams convenience. If you are not easily accessible, then is the customer really going to go out of his or her way to get to you? You must have some degree of accessibility. If you are a more destination oriented business, like carpet or furniture, accessibility is not as important, but you must be reasonably accessible.
3. Parking for the Retail Site
Depending on the retailer, parking is the most variable component. Unless you are located in a place where you will have all pedestrian traffic then you are going to need some parking. For restaurants, parking can be the most important element, but for retailers selling large ticket items like furniture, parking is not as critical.
What Happened with My Client?
Well, my client ended up making an offer on the building that was not visible from the street, and really wanted the location. There was a competing offer from a growing church, with whom the seller ultimately contracted. There was an old Albertsons store that we had been considering for the children’s amusement center that had great visibility from the road, was on a corner and has 2 traffic lights for ingress and egress. The parking is a little less than ideal, but adequate. We ended up signing a lease at a single digit rent. I am confident that this is the right location for this retailer and will be a successful location for this entrepreneur/franchisee.The 3 Legged Stool of Retail Site Selection Click To Tweet
About Francis Rentz- Francis, who is based in Tallahassee, Florida and is one of the founding members of SouthLand Commercial, has more than 20 years of experience and secured numerous transactions valued at more than $100 million. He specializes in commercial properties and land. Click here to view his full profile and listings, or if you would like to contact him, you can call him at 850-877-6000, or email him at [email protected]