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Does Your Business Really Need a Retail Store?

Here are some questions to ask in deciding whether the life of a retail shopkeeper is for you.
Posted by Carol Tice | April 11, 2011

Does Your Business Really Need a Retail Store?I took a tour around my town's main street last weekend and saw several recently emptied storefronts. It reminded me of a basic truth of retailing: Having a physical store costs a bundle. 

Not only can the expense of keeping up a storefront smother a budding business, established chains often flounder when they have too-big or too many stores. Case in point: the once-mighty movie-rental chain Blockbuster declared Chapter 11 bankruptcy last fall and was recently sold for a bargain-basement $320 million to business ally Dish Network, after closing more than 1,000 stores. Blockbuster's huge footprint hobbled its ability to ride the change wave to digital downloads, and the chain buckled under the weight of its leases.

Whether you already have a brick-and-mortar location or you're just thinking about opening up shop, here are some questions to ask yourself:

Is real-world retail right for you? Leave a comment and tell us why brick-and-mortar retail works for you -- or doesn't.

Correction: An earlier version of this post incorrectly stated that DirectTV purchased Blockbuster. Dish Network purchased the company.