Any advice on opening a retail location?

  1. the next year or two I'm planning to take my e-boutique to brick-and-mortar here in Toronto. I'd really appreciate any tips anyone can give me whether advice or warnings...I don't know a lot about negotiating commercial real estate, that sort of thing...
    And any other nuggets of wisdom are welcome too!
  2. I am also opening a boutique soon, the SBA has been a great help to me. Maybe you can look into similiar options in your area and get a mentor or go for some counseling. Good luck to you!
  3. I'm not from Canada, so I can't give you area-specific advise, but what I've been doing is to look through the ads in my papers and then picking out certain areas I'd like to be in and then calling the number and just generally enquiring about rents etc. You be surprised at how much you can bargain rents down when landlords are just greedy (especially since my country's property market is rising like someone lit a match underneath) and are asking for more than market valuation.

    Do you already have an area in mind? Say a major shopping mall or something more offbeat?
  4. I think it is really hard to find the right location. Malls offer the foot traffic and the rents will be high. Quaint little streets offer charm but one needs to be in a area where people will be out to shop. Strip malls are hit and miss. Some cater to a certain client and if a shop does not fit in the people will not shop. A few blocks from me is a small shopping area, with maybe room for 8 shops. The daycare center and paint center are the only shops who have lasted. The paint shop owns the building. They have had all the other shops go out of business and new ones in don't last a year. They had some great shops but the problem was that there was NO parking. They had a tiny parking lot and the store fronts for some stores were far away from the parking so people literally did not bother to shop there. I think one has to think about parking and security too.
    Good luck.
  5. Make sure to discuss trash removal and security with the landlord. In some places people pay a premium for trash...a boutique owner I know in a converted school is required to pay $1500 a month for trash removal and her whole shop is about 500 square feet.