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    2 Replies Latest reply on Feb 3, 2010 6:38 PM by Ocellaris

    A first location question for storefront

    Ocellaris Newbie
      I am working on starting a salt water aquarium store. I really don't know too many people who own their own business to ask a few questions. I found this site, which looks like I'm going to be up late reading for a a few days.

      With a storefront. There's many available right now of course.

      There's the high traffic area where monthly lease is 2,000/mo. It's right next to a major grocery store where there's a strip mall off to the side and has some other stores that get traffic. One small store is a "Take and Bake" pizza chain. So while wait for a pizza, they can cruise over for a few minutes to check out the store.

      Then there's a half hidden store for 1,000/mo. It's off a side road less than 300 feet from a major highway. It's behind a major chain restaurant, another strip mall, a hotel. So it gets traffic, I'm just afraid it won't get seen by people who will come in casually to check it out.

      Then there's downtown of course, which after a recent renovation during '00 to 05, it's starting to become more vacant. Rent averages 650/mo there. Our downtown is like any other midwestern river city downtown. Antique stores, pawn shops, and what not. But there's really not that much traffic down shopping wise.

      Of course there's pros and cons to every place. Should I try for downtown, since it's cheaper and could possibly last longer if I struggle the first few years?

       

      background

      I currently have a freshwater set up and a local daycare I'm maintaining. Soon I will have one at our cty library for display. Once I get the library tank set up, I'm going to go full force on trying to get other clients (I have 4 already, ie nursing homes when I start the store). I have already gone to a few places with a portfolio I've printed out to show what I want to do. I have gotten positve responses from everyone. Which makes me feel great, but I'm still nervous about taking that step to formally get everything going.

      I'm hoping that the maintaince part will eventually cover all costs with enough clients and be able to run the store as profit. I'm at that stage right now where I've planned all I can, I have been through SCORE, filled out a business plan as well as I could. I just have that apprehension of making the jump.
        • Re: A first location question for storefront
          YesYouCan Scout
          Have you asked your SCORE Counselor these same questions? What was the answer?

          The basic answer to your question is - Pick the location with the most traffic THAT YOU CAN AFFORD.

          Don't mean to shout but unless you have a better way of attracting customers to your business (and that may be the case) you will need people to see what you have to offer and that means a high traffic location.

          If your Business Plan was done right you should have done a Cash Flow Analysis, a Break Even Analysis and a projected Profit and Loss Statement. With these you should know what you can afford for rent, projected against income so you can feel more comfortable getting the best location possible. Your Business Plan should also have included a Marketing Plan section that lays out just how you are going to market your products (how and to whom) that should help determine what kind of location you need.

          As an ex SCORE Counselor, I would feel better about trying to answer your question and since you have a Counselor you have worked with I'd put the questions to him or her directly.

          Most of all remember (with proper preparation) "What the mind can believe, the mind can achieve." Be confident, you can do it.

          Good luck.
          1 of 1 people found this helpful
            • Re: A first location question for storefront
              Ocellaris Newbie
              Thanks. I've been reading about why some businesses fail and doing what I can not to make those mistakes. Like expand too early or under estimate costs.

              I have ways of getting the word out. The two tanks I have going already I'm volunteering. My kids go to that day care and the library I figured would like nice to tell people in the future. I haven't posted any business cards or anything of the sort yet on those tanks. Not until I step further into the business.

              I have done a cash flow analysis and other projections. With the huge difference in price of leasing a building is where I really start to fork off (loss focus I should say). As of now, with no advertising of the such. I will bringing in roughly $300/mo with the maintaince clients I have gathered. I went to a smaller places (nursing homes, offices, etc...) to get my approach down, be comfortable, not sound like a fly-by-night-business, and build my confidence. I've yet to hit dr.'s offices and other more professional places.

              I figured the store would be open roughly everyday except major holidays and half days on Sundays. I did my total hours and how much I'd have to make to break even and earn a profit.

              I have done the marketing plan also. Hence is why I jumped at the chance to maintain the day care aquarium and the one soon to be at our city library. High traffic once I put my business name on the aquariums. That's just the start though, but it's getting my foot in the door.

              I also went through the other fish stores in a 250 mile radius and evaluated them. I noticed a lot more than I expected. Some stores I'd frequently buy products from and noticed a lot of things I wouldn't have if not reading the score information online about evaluating competition.

              There's no other pet store that offers maintaince/leasing of aquariums in the area. For example, the elderly or just someone who likes them and doesn't want the hassle. So I'm really going to be pushing that sector because it's an untapped source right now.

              On a shoe string budget. At a 1,000/mo. I can get the store open and running for 12,500. That's products, livestock, and everything. Only covering 2 months lease. I'll feel more comfortable with 20,000 and be able to offer a bit more. I grow corals at home, build acrylic tanks, and been in the hobby for a while and gathered a lot of equipment to run the store tanks on So I'm no depended 100% on wholesalers and to get a store running, my big expenses to start up is new big show/display tanks and remodeling the storefront. That's what's keeping my start up price down.

               

              Thanks again for your advice.