Location, location, location. We all know how important it is and that was the case when we were searching for a site for our third store, but with the competition to find a cracking site fiercer than ever, how to find one is the million dollar question.
You will come across a good operator in a poor location who, despite their excellent skill set and great personality, just can’t get the store firing. And then you’ll find another retailer that has no concept of modern needs and trends, but because they are in a key location are cooking on gas.
When we began our search, the remit initially was pretty open. The site could be empty, or a going concern. I’m a firm believer that you usually get what you pay for, so paying good money for a good store wouldn’t have put us off.
I registered with various online business agencies and set up email alerts through Daltons Business with parameters for budget, distance, leasehold or freehold and price and so on.
However, aware that not all gems are available online, building a rapport with established and reputable business agents such as Christie & Co, was also vital.
As I waited and waited for the right site, I found myself making viewings to stores many miles away and would often travel over an hour through winding A-roads, and I had to question ‘Could I do this on a daily or regular basis?’.
As fate would have it, after months of searching, one afternoon I decided to do a random manual search on my ipad and a newly listed store popped up. I was instantly excited. The store wasn’t far from Bromsgrove, so I jumped in the car and went to visit it as a customer to see if it was something we could work with.
We then contacted the agent who was in charge of the listing and arranged a formal viewing with the vendor the very next day. We had a family meeting that night in which we all agreed that despite the huge amount of work needed, including an extension and total modernisation, the potential was clear.
Just 48 hours later we shook hands with the vendor, and in my next column I will talk about the Forge Shop in Inkberrow and how I plan to polish it from rough gem to sparkling diamond.