Friday, March 13, 2009

Storefront Shopping on Newbury Street

Yesterday afternoon we met with our broker, John, to look at some open retail spots on Newbury St. John had set up an appointment with another broker, Tom, who represents the company that owns almost all the buildings on Newbury. We were supposed to see about 5 spots, but ended up seeing only 2. Why? Tom explained to us that we were very limited in our options as a quick-service restaurant concept. He said that the Tenant Association, which approves new development projects on Newbury St. would reject us in a heartbeat (because of the nature of our food operation). Tom chimed that the process of obtaining a permit to build our restaurant on the odd side of Newbury would probably cost us about $30,000. Tom suggested one spot on Newbury (on the even side) where we actually had a chance (simply because it abuts Boylston St. and not residential property).

Let's talk about this spot. It's great, it's in our price range, and it's right next to a competitor. Drats. Who says "drats" anymore? So let's review: great location, good price, nice layout, wouldn't need too much work, right next to competitor. One can argue that on any high-traffic street such as Newbury, you are essentially always next to a competitor. If I'm not next to one, I'm down the block from one. Alright, I'll be fair: the competitor is not a direct competitor in the sense that Starbucks is to Dunkin Donuts or Trident (all on the same block). However, for a new brand as ours, we run the risk of being dwarfed by our competitor's name.

We continue our search. Choosing a location will be the most difficult decision our team must make, but as a very wise someone once told me: whatever you choose, it will have been the right decision for whatever reason. Maybe this is true, but we'll just have to make the right decision and find out. = )

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