Here is some very basic demographic info: http://www.city-data.com/
Re: the Mall not wanting to give rate info you should contact a Commercial Real Estate Service company. A qualified broker can not only give you a pretty accurate idea of what that mall's rates are but also give you the rates for nearby locations and suggest alternative sites. Their job is to know what is available at what price. They should have aerial photographic maps of your community with population clusters marked and commercial real estate locations. A good one can even provide you with information about how other locations are faring in various locations.
If you cannot find a referral then go to other franchise businesses operating in the mall you are targeting and ask to speak to the owner. They may or may not tell you their rate but they may be able to suggest a commercial broker. Just don't ask the ice cream shop owner if you are going to be selling smoothies! Just kidding, you will find some very sympathetic and surprisingly open to new frachisees, others not so much. No one wants to operate in a location w/ vacant store fronts.
When it comes time to negotiate the lease terms you need a commercial broker at a minimum anyway. Even better you should have an attorney familiar w/ commercial leases read over the lease and negotiate modifications. The property owner will ask for the moon in both rates and terms...you need someone on your side that knows the local market and who will look our for your interests.
I know I sound like a commercial, but I am not a commercial broker. I am looking to buy/start a franchise myself and just met with one yesterday after being given that advice by another business owner. It was eyeopening and cost me nothing.
An attorney may or may not give you a free initial cosultation but many will. Some will offer a flat fee for both the real estate and franchise agreement review/negotioan/modification. Others will charge by item or by time. Good luck.
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First off, I just wanted to comment on how great this website is and how much this wealth of knowledge is appreciated by a wannabe new business owner such as myself.
I'm in the process of submitting an application to open a franchised smoothie/juice bar in the local shopping mall. Several of the things that are required are:
- Demographic profile of your target market. (My main target market would be pretty much all shoppers but mainly those in the 14-45 age group both male and female. How do I articulate this in a manner that would be appropriate to submit to the leasing agent? How detailed do I need to be? )
- Financial data, such as budget which would include your projected start-up fees (construction, fixturing, architecture) and proposed expenditures (rent per square foot, taxes). (the mall won't disclose what the average rent per square foot and taxes are, what numbers should i plug into my budget?)
- A full sales forecast and cash flow analysis for your first year operating. (what sort of month by month sales growth would be considered realistic?)
Any help with this would be greatly appreciated!