Sunday, March 2, 2008

Location Location and Location!!

Well I bit the bullet and moved my store.

I always wanted to have a store in an out of the way place and have it become a very popular place to visit. That's what my goal was for Soapier when I opened my store in Tarpon Springs in 2006 at it's location on Safford Ave.

Safford Ave is in the historical district of Tarpon off the main thoroughfare of Tarpon Ave. I know many many businesses have become successful even when they are off the main path of shoppers, I thought I could do that also.

Maybe I could have, but my focus wasn't just on retail. I have a web site (actually 2) and a wholesale business that needed my attention. The retail store took up time but to make Soapier a brand name and a place customers hunted for (and returned to) took up more time and resources than I had.

Plus, having the manufacturing in the same store (and with some rush orders) it never failed that product that was to be shipped always spilled over in to the retail portion of the store making for a less than pristine looking retail space. So we battled with keeping the store looking good while rushing to manufacture for our wholesale customers.

The Sponge Docks of Tarpon Springs is a wonderful place to visit and I'm told it gets 1 to 2 million visitors a year.

Hmmm... lots of foot traffic!

So I met a fellow store owner down there and he recommended I see his landlord for a space in The Sponge Exchange Mall.

To make a long story short (too late), I did that and I got a space for a reasonable rent with more than enough square footage to merchandise my products.

Now "the season" ends in 6 weeks and I was determined not to miss a day of it. (The season is during the cold months up north when the snow birds come to stay for the winter in Florida)

Our lease started on March 1st and the other tenant moved out on the evening of February 28th so we (myself, my daughter and son) took leap year day to paint, clean and move in ready for opening on March 1st.

Are you wondering if we did it? We did and the store looks good. It is a work in progress but our sales for yesterday surpassed anything we did on a normal Saturday at the old store. I'll post our pictures of before, during, and after.

So now I'm convinced if you are going to open a store do it in a good location and pay the additional rent... it's usually worth it. The fighting for customers on an off-the-beaten-track location is an uphill battle depleting energy and monetary resources that you might have been able to use in a more productive way in a better location.

Our old location will still be ours but it will only be our manufacturing plant. We did need more space for that so the new store helped us out in that way also.

It was fun but very tiring and I'll be taking my vitamins just to get some energy back.

One of my philosophies is don't give up. Try to think of new and different ways to get business back on track.



Anonymous said...

Congratulations! I started my little shop in a mall too, about 4 years ago and I've never regretted it! Ok, it's more expensive to rent than other places but worth it anyway. The mall is filled with small independent boutiques, so we support each other a lot, and customers on their way to other shops often come in and browse my shop too. Good luck! Carola

Kay @ The Rustic Cottage said...

Linda - how exciting! What a beautiful mall. And to be able to have your own manufacturing place! Can't wait to see pictures of the new store.