Why It Matters Where You Locate Your Pet Store
A client of mine recently decided to move her dog-training business to a new location. Options were few—after all, as anyone whose business involves pets knows, landlords are often hesitant to take on the risk, noise and other things that can come with the nature of this business.
One of the options she considered was in the same lot as a vet clinic, and she posted the following question on social media: Would being located near a vet clinic hurt, help or have no discernable impact on her dog-training business?
The answers she got varied, but the question got me thinking… What goes into ensuring the location you choose is a good one?
Here are a few tips that I turned up in my research:
Is there enough parking?
This is a big deal. A while ago, when I surveyed pet owners, those who shopped in urban areas consistently said having enough parking was a major factor in whether they choose to shop at one store over another.
What are the neighbors like?
Like my client, you should consider what other businesses are nearby. Are there complementary, but not competing pet businesses? Where is the nearest pet specialty chain store? Big-box store? What do they offer and how does it differ from what you offer? But don’t stop there. Also be sure to do some research on typical residents—what are incomes like in the area? Are there residential areas nearby?
Be sure to look into zoning laws locally for anything that might impact your ability to use signage, your hours of operation and your ability to keep pets at the store—and do it before you even look at that lease!
Look at the Lease
What terms is the landlord offering for the space? How long do you have to agree to stay (a short lease comes with flexibility but risk of a rent increase when it’s up!) and are you and aren’t you allowed to do to the space? If you’ll have dogs in the store on a regular basis, make sure you won’t get in trouble when their owners inevitably walk them on any nearby grassy areas (and occasionally forget to clean it up…). Also, look at what’s included in the rest - trash? Security? Janitorial help? You’ll need to know all that and more.
Foot traffic and/or other exposure
Is the location in an area where a lot of cars pass by? What about foot traffic? Considering these things can help you get a feel for how busy you may be and can help reduce the amount of marketing you’ll need to do to bring in shoppers. And hey, every little bit helps!
Whether you’re considering your options because your lease is almost up or you’re looking to open your very first store, I hope these tips help you figure out the best place to open your doors.