Have you decided to look for a new showroom location? Perhaps you see how an additional showroom can create new customer engagement in an emerging market. Or maybe you see an opportunity in an affluent area of classic older homes. Consumers here may have ample budgets, and their homes could be ripe for remodeling.
Maybe you want or need to downsize your location. Your current showroom could be larger than necessary, as today’s consumers arrive more prepared with their own style interests and product knowledge already in mind. Yes, they’ll still want to see and touch first-hand – but they may not need to experience quite as many different options.
In my travels, I have met with more than a few storeowners who have taken the chance on moving to a new location. Many even moved during a down economy. Happily, most have found good results. Once the pain from the moving work was past, they were thrilled with the new business they won. Their growth in new markets has proved out the wisdom of
For example, one long-time kitchen and bath firm in Ohio decided to relocate its main showroom from an industrial area to a much busier, retail-rich suburban intersection. Their new signage can now be seen from the passing interstate highway. Not only that, the showroom is within sight of other home remodeling stores. So now many more retail shoppers see them as another good option to consider, and the greatly increased showroom traffic has re-energized the entire business. The company’s overall growth has not been limited to just the new main showroom location.
Could the time be right for your own kitchen and bath firm to consider a move?
Sometimes circumstances can make the decision easier. Your lease may be coming up, and the rent may be rising. A nicely located retail space may have just become available at a reasonable cost. Perhaps your younger team members are itching to try new things. Or there may be other energetic professionals you know who are interested in joining your business, to help ensure its long-term sustainability.
As always, it’s a question of risk versus reward. Change is hard. A move may be scary. So you’ll need to think this through.
I recommend that you consult with other business owners who have already taken the journey. Here are some key questions to consider:
1. Which location – current or new – will be the stronger draw for your customers? When Willie Sutton, the famous thief, was asked why he robbed banks, he answered: “Because that’s where the money is.” It’s not so different for a kitchen and bath firm. You should locate where your customers are. (Though no stealing, please!)
Are there many homes likely to need remodeling within a 25- to 50-mile radius of the site? Are nice new homes going up nearby? Check to be sure the area’s residents match your targeted demographics, especially in age, household size and income level.
2. Does the site provide easy access and high visibility for homeowners driving by?
Even better, is the store at or near a stoplight, so the driver has time to take a look and get a sense of what you offer? Do the storefront’s windows help draw in the driver’s eyes?
Be careful, though, that the intersection isn’t too busy – with a tangle of tortuous traffic and score upon score of other stores. If there’s too much going on, your storefront could get lost in the blur. And drivers irritated by a tough commute may be in no mood for kitchen and bath shopping.
3. Is there good signage, clearly visible, to convey your brand and inspire shoppers?
Think how you’ll advertise your business in signs on the front door, on front windows and roadside. Can shoppers see your business from a distance? Will they see you from the street and the parking lot, and while visiting other shops in the same strip? Will your signs’ night lighting keep working for you even at times you’re not open for business?
There’s a kitchen and bath firm I know that, through a recent move, has won the trifecta for success in location and signage. For their new showroom, they found an open storefront (1) with large windows all across the front, (2) just off a busy, but not too busy, highway intersection, and (3) near new and older homes ready for remodeling. The town’s excellent schools draw young families on the rise. The many other upscale shops nearby bring affluent shoppers. Moving to this area, with its residents ready to spend, has provided the perfect fit for the staff’s exceptional design talent and selling know-how.
4. Will the location’s accessibility be an asset – or a hindrance – to your business?
Size up the traffic and parking situations: Will they be workable for your customers at all times of day? Can you foresee any new construction on buildings, byways and bridges that could put your business growth momentum at risk of stalls or shutdowns?
And be sure you have the locals’ love. It’s important to gain the municipality’s favor and support. Your store’s move should be a win-win for your business and your community.
5. The building itself: Is it right for your store? Will it stay right for years to come?
First, consider the building’s character. Does the style deliver the image you want? Will the look and feel help you competitively match to your targeted customers and partners?
Now consider the building’s condition. Is the construction solid? Is it ready to occupy, or will you need to invest in upgrades? Will maintenance remain affordable? Before committing to a move, you’ll want to have your finances in place and your paths to profitability clear. All support resources should be aligned to your vision for success.
6. Bottom line: Will the move help build relationships and jumpstart your sales?
In the end, it’s all about people. The kitchen and bath industry is, at its core, a people
business. Customers connecting with designers, professionals connecting with peers, owners connecting with partners…and if relocating your business will help strengthen these bonds and boost productivity and success for all, it could be just the move to make.