You’ve heard the mantra before. It echoes the thought that a structure’s location is the most important factor in its value . . . both now and in the future. And while there is absolute truth to this thought, along my journey I realized there were actually two meanings behind the old saying - the first one related to the general area in which the building resides, and the second related to the physical position of that building relative to other nearby structures.
When you are searching for the perfect place to conduct business, you typically look for characteristics of a general location that are most likely to positively affect your business, such as favorable demographics, i.e., age groups, population, income levels, education level, and crime rate. Then there are other things to consider, like visibility, ease of access, parking, zoning, and real estate value. In my opinion, all points are equal in weight and should be sought while looking for the ideal place. For instance, if your business caters more to young couples and weddings, but your local demographics are comprised of the elderly and nursing homes, you may need to go further down the road. Or if you are selling high-end items in a low-income neighborhood, you should probably rethink your location as well. Same goes for parking. Let's say you found the perfect place that covers all the bases listed above, but you don’t have adequate parking. Well, no one is going to want to buy anything from you if they don’t have an easy way in and out.
The second meaning behind the hackneyed phrase relates to where the building physically sits next to its neighboring buildings. What I mean by this is: the building is going to either be in the middle of a shopping center, on the end, or standing alone. I honestly had never thought about this until I was about to put my very first offer on a space, which coincidentally got snatched up before I could even send in my offer! (And thank goodness too, because it would have never worked. More on that later.) After I found out my first pick had been taken from under me, I was told by my local health department’s code enforcer that fire marshals prefer restaurants or any place that sells food to be on the end if they are among other spaces. Why is that, I thought? Simply put, because if a fire were to break out, as they sometimes do in food establishments, being on an end cap gives the fire department more leverage and ease when it comes to extinguishing said fire. Additionally, if a restaurant is on the end, it is only affecting its one neighboring space and not two. Or if it stands alone, the only building that is going to have damage is the restaurant itself. That makes perfect sense! Then it got me thinking, and noticing . . . almost all the restaurants in my town are either on the end of a strip or stand solitary.
Then I realized another shocker! The food establishments that were not located on the end or standing alone were the first ones to go out of business. Now I am not saying this has anything to do with fire marshals and code enforcements, but maybe it does have something to do with that whole ingress and egress thing. Not to mention the added benefit of putting in a drive-thru window, if you so choose. Next time you go into town, I want you to look at as many restaurants as you can and tell me what you see. Where are the successful ones located? And the ones that have closed up shop and twelve others have taken their place since . . . where were they located?
In my previous post, I gave you three pictures of spaces I have considered to lease. Most of you guessed building B as the space I might have chosen. And you were correct! Initially, I did pick B, because it fit my vision. But like I said earlier, it got snatched up before I could sign papers, which was a blessing because its biggest flaw didn’t become apparent until later. If you take a closer look at the photo, you will notice it is not on the end nor standing alone, which defies my previous observations about successful food establishments.
But the biggest pitfall was the fact that this building’s restroom and party room were upstairs. How could something so obvious have clouded my judgment? I shudder at the thought now. I can only imagine Grandma trying to make her way upstairs to get to her precious granddaughter’s birthday party or just to use the bathroom. Or eager, sugar-induced children flying down the stairs and climbing back up, having races and what not . . . no thank you! It had disaster written all over it.
So it was time for plan B, or C, that is. Taking everything I have learned thus far, I felt the next best decision was to put an official offer on building C. More on that adventure in the next post! [EDITOR'S NOTE: Ooh, another cliff-hanger post from Rebecca! I eagerly await the next one!]
Rebecca Litterell is owner of Litterelly Delicious Cakery. She started decorating cakes for family and friends in 2006 and eventually incorporated cookies into the mix in 2011. She is completely self-taught and passionate about teaching her skill and know-how to others, both online and in the cake and cookie classes that she hosts at her local community college. Before cakes and cookies, Rebecca spent most of her career in the medical field. She is a mother of three and a wife, and loves living in the country. When she’s not in the kitchen, she’s riding her horses.
Photo credit: Rebecca Litterell
Note: Storefront Diaries is a monthly Cookie Connection blog feature written by Rebecca Litterell that chronicles her journey of opening up a brick-and-mortar business after years of baking out of her home. Its content expresses the views of the author and not necessarily those of this site, its owners, its administrators, or its employees. Catch up on all of Rebecca's past Cookie Connection posts here.