How To: Find The Perfect Location

Driven To Success

Many new business owners want to locate near the people most likely to buy their products or services. That was a consideration for James Farley in locating his store, Rosebay Fine Gifts & Etc., in an established tourist area in Port Orange, Florida.

The shop is in a waterfront restaurant on the main highway. "We get a lot of tourist traffic,' Farley says. "The drawback is the cars are driving past at 55 miles per hour.' The restaurant's large billboard, which mentions Farley's gift shop, helps attract these travelers, he says.

Speeding cars aren't the only traffic issue a new business owner must consider. Nobles wanted large numbers of shoppers walking--not driving--around the neighborhood. Small retailers, dependent on such foot traffic, are better off in local shopping centers, such as those that surround grocery stores, than in retail malls anchored by department stores.

Traffic patterns can be more important than volume, according to commercial real estate broker John Khami of Morris & Berke in Southfield, Michigan. "A bagel shop is a good example,' he says. "Bagels are a morning purchase, so the shop wants to be on the side of the street on which traffic is going to work.'

"Do a simple traffic survey yourself," consultant Kraus suggests. "Spend some time at a location to see who comes there, whether they walk from shop to shop or just run in and out of the anchor store.'

In fact, never lease or buy a site without visiting it. "You have to walk the site; get a feel for it,' Khami says. "Drive around the neighborhood. Are there one- or two-car garages? Are there basketball hoops and bikes? Are the trees mature? What kinds of cars do the residents drive?'

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This article was originally published in the February 1998 print edition of Entrepreneur with the headline: How To: Find The Perfect Location.

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