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Choosing a location

Now you have decided that opening a retail business is right for you, how do you decide where? In this instalment of the How to Open a Shop Guide, we’ll look at what makes a location viable for a retail business, including demographics and where to find useful information.


Shops can thrive in the most disparate locations from secondary sites such as market stalls to top shopping malls and even as concessions within department stores. The success of the store will depend on a number of factors including demographics – the analysis of the composition of a particular population. Demographics offer statistics on the age, income, health, politics, and the propensity to buy consumer items such as newspapers, cars or even vitamins.


Consider the demographic for the area you may have chosen to open or purchase an existing store. The local library will be able to offer assistance in obtaining demographic data for the area. Secure as much up-to-date information as you can.


For example, if you wish to open a shop selling body-building products, it makes sense to be close to a number of gyms or perhaps even an army base. Or if you’re considering opening a café, base your shop near a busy office community where there is likely to be an opportunity for food-to-go too!


Finding the perfect store

Trade magazines have Businesses for Sale advertisements. National websites and magazines will also have listings too. And don’t forget word of mouth. Ask around among trade contacts, business associates, at exhibitions and conferences. Another good way to find suitable premises is through appointing a commercial agent. You can find one online, or via a local Chamber of Commerce.


Commercial agents have expertise about the property market in the area and can keep you up to date with any new developments. They will also send you detailed specifications of suitable premises, which can prove invaluable, particularly if you are limited by time.


Commission is payable to a commercial agent for acting as an intermediary between you and the landlord or seller. Managing the relationship is an important aspect of appointing a commercial agent. While they will obviously bear your interests in mind, they may not be passionate about your business. Equally, they may not fully understand your needs. Having regular contact with the agent will help.


You should always draw up a contract with your agent, even if the relationship is informal. This will help to set out expectations and clarify your legal obligations to them.


Go to next section – renting vs buying a property

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Go back to How to Open a Shop Guide