July 13, 2024

TDmonthly Magazine

April 2011 | Vol. X - No. 4

Want to Find a Good Retail Location? Check the Trash

How to Avoid Neighborhoods That Are All-Show But No-Go

By Bob Phibbs
April 2011

The following article was reprinted with permission from the author.

“Is now a good time to open a retail business?” I get questions like this a lot. If you have the money, the intelligence and desire to make it work -yes. Much like deciding to have a child or get married, it is your conviction that makes the difference.

If you want to open a retail business because you, “think it will be fun,” “want something to do,” or feel a need for “a change,” don’t do it. It would be like going into a bar at closing time, finding the worst possible person for you and then marrying them. If you think a divorce could be messy, wait until you see what happens to get out of a five or ten-year lease!

Save Money/Lose Money
Part of your retail success will come in choosing a location; you don’t want to be 100 yards from success. Rent could be cheaper around the corner, on the backside of the development or in an older center but there’s a reason rent is cheaper – less traffic and visibility.  You’ll have to advertise more to get people to just find you so there rarely is any savings.

When I was helping select locations for a franchise, new franchisees would pitch me why a development was so good, “… and it’s surrounded by million dollar homes.”  After awhile, I began to question just how many “million dollar homes” an area could afford.

Now we know – few. In fact many of those homes are still vacant or being rented. Here’s a tip for you looking at locations with leasing agents who might be selling you on a bill of goods about an area: check the trash.

Is Anybody Home?
With so many abandoned homes in major markets like California, Florida and the like, you want to know how many customers you could actually count on in your two-mile trade area.

Here’s how: Find out the trash collection days and times for your intended area.  Go and observe how many have put their trash out prior and you’ll have a good indication of how dynamic your neighborhood really is.

Is now a good time to open a retail business? It can be if you use tricks like these to make sure you aren’t sold a bill of goods.

Read more about choosing a location in How to Start a Toy Store, Part I: Locations, Teams and Business Plans . And check out Bob's book, "The Retail Doctor's Guide to Growing Your Business."

Copyright © 2024 TDmonthly®, a division of®, Inc.