Saturday, January 10, 2009

What a Difference a Mile Makes

There's that old adage in real estate: location, location, location. My experience working with Allison is another testimony to that truth.

Allison is one of the sweetest people you could ever meet. She has a ready smile that lights up her face when she sees you. Her business, like any business, relies on repeat customers. When I first met her, it was easy to see why people would feel at home in her store. As I got to know her better, I saw the determination with which she ran a successful business. When Allison wants something, she pursues it. And what she wanted was a new location for her store.

Anime World had been open for five years. Allison had a loyal customer base, but the store was located in a quiet strip shopping center that was difficult to access and off-the-beaten retail path. In recent months, some of the neighboring businesses had closed, surrounding her with vacant space. In addition, she was paying for about 500 more square feet than she needed. Allison contacted me mid-summer, about four months before the end of her lease.

I always like to visit a client's current location to get a sense of what works and doesn't work, and that is what I did in my initial meeting with Allison. I toured her store and we discussed her search criteria and requirements, including size, geographic location, amenities and business model. Allison's #1 priority was a more desirable location, but close enough so she wouldn't inconvenience her customers. She also wanted smaller space to better accommodate her store layout.

I found Allison a new location for her store in the Sully Place Shopping Center anchored by Lowe's & K-Mart. Her new store is about a mile from her old one, adjacent to a bank and offers greater visibility from the road. At just under 1,000 square feet, it is the perfect size to display her DVDs, comics, books, clothing and other Japanese animation merchandise she rents and sells. When I visited her yesterday, Allison welcomed me with her bright smile. She reported that all her old customers have followed her to the new store, which she opened just after Thanksgiving, and she is getting 3-4 new customers a day! They drive by, see her sign and wander in.

Anime World is located at 13881-F Metrotech Drive in Chantilly off Route 50. Google Map

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