Thursday, February 26, 2009

Location Location Location. Location....aaand more Locations

I must say that this business of trying to start a business has taken us on many adventures, which we love to share with you.

Over the past few weeks, we have been scouring the streets of Boston for retail space. In fact, you may have seen us. We have been all over the place: through Beacon Hill and the West End, up and down Newbury St. several times, in Fenway, near Berklee, Kenmore Square...we're exhausted from all this walking. What we have found from our thorough exploration is a record number of open retail spots. We collect phone numbers from the "for lease" signs and text message them over to our broker, John, who then calls on these properties.

We have run into some interesting characters on our quest for the perfect location. For instance, Chin and I were walking through Fenway and saw a dingy looking storefront that looked like it used to be a Mediterranean cafe. There was no sign, so we went next door to a karate studio and Chin asked the owner if he had any information on this neighboring space. He then referred us to an office building next door to talk to the people who own the entire block. So we found the office and rang the bell. A frazzled woman came to the door and informed us that the spot about which we were inquiring was currently undergoing renovations to be leased out in the future. We left our contact information and bid her adieu.

And in the Back Bay, we saw a For Lease sign in front of a corner property...a convenience store. Chin decided to ask the employees about the space.

Chin: Hi, could you tell us when you guys are closing? (ok, perhaps this wasn't the most sensitive of approaches)
Employee (in a thick Middle Eastern accent): What?! What makes you think we are closing?!
Chin: Uh, there's a For Lease sign out front
Employee: But what makes you think it is us??
Chin: Because the sign was in front of your store. We assumed--
Employee: No! What makes you think it was not the store above us?
Renee: Because the sign was on this property.
Employee: Why you asking?
Chin: We are trying to open a business.
Employee: What business?
Renee: None of yours.

Never in my five years of living in Boston have I seen so many empty spots on Newbury St. I never thought I would see the day. Our adviser informed us today that there was a live news cast on Newbury reporting on this anomoly, "a record number of vacancies in the last eight years," they said. Now, don't get me wrong, I think it's quite depressing that fashion and specialty retailers are being forced to close up shop because of the recession. That said, it does give new businesses an opportunity to move into a playing field that would have been a distant dream a few years ago.


Stacey Perlman said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Stacey Perlman said...

Here's an article from September that addresses the issue you found on Newbury Street...Granted, it's focus is on the recent closing of the Newbury Street Gap store, it puts things in perspective.