December 10, 2011 Neil warshafsky

10 Tips – Retail Site Locations

  1. Look at Demographics reports that are most current to determine the most suitable area to sell your products or services.  Being close to large high density residential area with a lot of walk by traffic can be a strong indicator of a vibrant and successful retail area.
  2. Don’t just choose the lowest rental rate area to open your business you have been dreaming about for years and years.  Find the area that is either smack dab in the middle of the most trendy Neighborhood or get the are that is on the cutting edge of becoming a hot shopping area. Rule of thumb for the leasing industry is that rents higher than $25psf net are prime retail areas.  Aim to find a price you are comfortable paying and can sustain for at least a year from your own savings.  Remember you get what you pay for.
  3. Location near Starbucks, Banks, Liquor and Grocery stores are always good to be located in a plaza or nearby. Every business has a ideal location to be situated. Look at where your competition is located and understand why they are located where they are.  Is it a office area with busy lunchtime business?  Is there a MTO licensing office nearby that brings a lot of drive by business constantly.
  4. Subway and transportation nearby.  Access for customers and staff is important to everyone.  Get yourself in the centre of radius from where you want your customers to travel in from.
  5. Signage and being visible from the street is your best advertising. Look for areas that signage can be installed. Check with City by-laws to verify signs are allowed.  Usually landlords will want to review the signage that you will want to put up first. Make sure the landlord agrees to allow you light or unlighted signage in your Offer to Lease agreement.
  6. Traffic generators as with Location mentioned above are the most important customer draws for walk by business.  Check the area for parking and other positives that make it easy to bring business by your location without you having to spend oodles of money on advertising in your infancy stages years 1-2.
  7. Selecting a commercial real estate broker to represent you is the most important detail that you are going to need to facilitate this important decision.  You wouldn’t take medication without first checking with a doctor right? Well getting a Real Estate agent first of all if free for almost 99% of the time. The Landlord pays his fees.  The Leasing representative will negotiate you the best deal and help you with explanations to some of the complicated deal making pointers most people are not familiar with such as asking for Landlord work and getting free rent during the construction period.
  8. Once you have selected the Real Estate agent that knows the area well that you want to be located in. 1. Tell him what intersections you want to be near. Example between Yonge Street and King St West and west to University and east to Church Street.  2. Give the leasing representative a price range you are comfortable paying per month.  He or she will tell you if that is realistic or whether you need to expect to pay more for that area.  3. If possible have a business summary or plan ready that you can send the Leasing Representative to review so he knows you are ready to shop around for the amazing location you are dreaming about. The most important thing to working with an agent is that you trust them and are comfortable with there timing and professionalism.
  9. When the right location is identified spend some time watching the store from across the street. Count walking traffic and cars driving by.  The Toronto Real Estate Board offers a traffic count map that can provide very current traffic counts to help you with your choice of location.  Speak to local tenants about business and learn who the local BIA group is. They can inform you about the area and sometimes give you a approximate rate that most tenants are paying according to new leases signed by members in the last 6 months.
  10. A commercial real estate lawyer is the next person you want to help you once the Draft offer has been prepared.  Ask for exclusivity for your business since the landlord may own neighboring properties and could put you out of business if he allows another tenant to compete against you.