Fifty Feet from Success
By Tony Ozelis

If you’re like most people, there is nothing as sad as seeing any good restaurant or retail business slowly wilt and die. But it’s especially heartbreaking when that business was within an arms reach of being successful and possibly could have thrived, if only their location or position within the shopping center or trade area were a bit better.

Although more common in urban or metropolitan settings than its suburban or rural counterparts, being almost within arms reach of a busy or convenient pedestrian traffic area is one of the most common mistakes many entrepreneurs make when choosing an urban, or walk-up location for their business.

Many times, the offending sites are located just on the fringe of a busy area, street or CBD; which makes them feel close enough to the action to possibly be successful but due to physical or psychological reasons, they actually miss the mark by a lot. What makes these sites especially tempting is that often landlords will ask a relatively cheap rental and/or offer attractive terms for the area. However, whether it’s only a few feet out of the “action” or situated round a corner from it, to the walking public, the site might as well be a thousand miles away. Making matters worse, just about every good retailing area, including some major malls and shopping centers, have them.

Now in all fairness, there are some businesses that can and have succeeded in these types of locations; but remember, these are usually exceptions to the rule and many times rely on memberships, appointments or some other compelling reason to draw traffic to their doors. No matter how good your products or services are, the average person is frequently guided by convenience (which is why you always see the parking spaces nearest an entrance packed and those further away; merely delineated asphalt orphans).


So, how can you avoid making this mistake?

The Sirens of cheap rent can sometimes sing a very alluring song, but just like Ulysses did on his odyssey, you too must (metaphorically, of course) tie yourself to the masthead of your business and marketing plans and stay your own course.

If you can’t afford the area that you’ve been salivating over, put on your blinders and focus your attention on the areas that are within your budget. Taking on more rent than you can afford can be just as bad as leasing a location fifty feet from success.

Happy Hunting… $7.49 .com

About the Author: Tony Ozelis is a real estate development consultant and frequent contributor to  Mr. Ozelis' 23 year career has primarily been focused on restaurant and retail development throughout the United States where he has served as a Director of Real Estate for companies such as Pizza Hut, Inc., Boston Chicken, 7-Eleven and Wendy's International.

With well over 700 successful projects completed to date; he has been at the forefront of incorporating new technologies into corporate real estate development and regularly teaches on subjects such as; Strategic Market Development Planning, Contract Negotiations and incorporating Green Technologies into site design.

Mr. Ozelis is a member of both the International Council of Shopping Centers (ICSC) and the United States Green Building Council (USGBC).

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