If you are planning to open a new floristry shop or you are looking at buying an existing shop, then you must give a lot of thought to the location. The decision of where to locate your shop can make or break the business. Thinking about this may not be exciting, but you ignore the issue at your peril!
Effective florist store site selection is not just a matter of what retail space is actually available; it is an exercise in understanding your potential customers and the opportunity that exists for your business to thrive in any given location.
Note: we here at Tesselaars are not experts in this retail space, but there certainly is an abundance of information on the topic. What follows is a convenient summary of some of the major points according the resources I discovered – but I recommend you also research further. Some resources are listed below.
Understanding Your Customer Wants and Needs
If you understand who your target customers are, typical age, gender, income levels, stylistic preferences, etc., then you can use this information to guide your choice of location.
For example if you are targeting high-end, middle aged women there would be no point putting your shop in a slightly run-down suburban mall sandwiched between a “two dollar shop” and a fish and chip shop!
If you are targeting a more youthful, trend-conscious demographic then there is no point opening your shop amongst a row of shops that collectively target high-end, middle aged ladies.
Knowing your customer is key. Once you have a very clear customer profile you should research the location to see if you can identify how many of them live nearby (assuming you believe that local trade is important to your business).
Are There Competing Florists Nearby?
Look around – are there a lot of competitors in the local area. If you are opening a general floristry store – is there another one in the immediate area? If not – why not? Maybe the absence of one is an opportunity or maybe there is a reason why there’s no local flower shop. Did a florist go out of business nearby in recent history? If so – why?
If there are competitors nearby, are they thriving or struggling? Either way, is this an opportunity or a threat to your proposed business? Can you differentiate yourself from the competition enough to thrive or should you look elsewhere?
Is the Premises Suitable for a Flower Store?
What is the history of the premises? Did another business exist there prior and why did they close down? Can you locate the prior tenant and ask them for any inside information on the suitability of the location?
Is there enough space? What if you need to expand? Do you really need a whole traditional shop sized building? Is it fitted out already or do you need to get that done? Will you be able to do this or will the council, landlord etc have issues with modifying the premises?
Is your business dependent on foot traffic? If so – spend some time outside the building analyzing foot traffic volumes. Are there other businesses dependent on foot traffic thriving in the same area?
What about car parking? Is it easy, plentiful and free? Remember a shop in a high traffic location but without adequate parking. Is the shop near any public transport hubs? Are there any major developments slated for the area in the near future?
Before you enter into a lease you must make sure you are making the right move. Firstly the cost – will the business be able to easily absorb the rent? What if your revenue projections come under by 30 or 40 percent? Will you be able wear this?
What other costs are provided for within the lease? For example insurance, maintenance, repairs, common areas, and alterations.
Are you able to assign the lease? This refers to the ability to sell the shop and let someone else take over the lease. You don’t want to be stuck paying rent on a shop you no longer occupy!
Do not take the initial terms and conditions of the lease as being non-negotiable; they are not set in stone. Be sure to engage a specialized solicitor to make sure you don’t sign anything you regret!
When it comes time to negotiate the price and the terms it puts you in a position of power if you try to remain detached. By this I mean, be fully prepared to walk away if you cannot get the terms you require. If the landlord or agent can tell you have your heart set on their location only, they will use this information to drive a harder bargain.
Be sure to check that the local council does not uphold any rules and regulations that will impose on your business. Make sure you are allowed to trade on weekends should you desire. What about placing your flower displays on the street/ Will you need a license for this? What about signage and alterations to the premises – any restrictions there?
Do not rely on landlords or real estate agents to inform about these issues, do the due diligence yourself or via your solicitor.
There are plenty of details that must be analysed before jumping in and signing the lease (and please note that this is not meant to be an exhaustive list) but probably most important is to keep a balance between your natural tendency as a creative person to rely on gut feeling and the more rational – if tedious – considerations as per above.
But what if you are already firmly ensconced in a particular location? Here’s how to maximize your existing florist location by attracting new customers and increasing sales volume.
Resources for further reading:
Written by Seamus – Tesselaar’s website manager and marketing nerd
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