For Rent

Does a For Rent sign make you get excited or sad?

Are you optimistic that that great apartment or retail space is now available? Or, do you think with fondness of the bakery that has moved out of that cute little space on Main Street?

Let’s stick to the retail side of this for right now.

It makes me sad.

I rarely think of that sought after retail location in the great shopping center because those retailers never leave. It’s the ones that open and close and don’t even make it through their five-year lease, let alone year 1 or even 18 months! If they get to year 3, I know they have the stamina, the staying power and the right business to be there.

I think of the dreams that the owner had. I think of the joy with which they painted their walls,  put up their signs and merchandised their displays.

Then, I think, did they embrace every part of their business with as much excitement and energy and investment as they could have? Did they market enough? Were they open enough (I mean, when customers wanted to shop from them… were they open during normal retail hours?) Did they have great customer service? Did they do everything in their power to be the best?

No. I have to say for the last eight years my perspective of the For Rent sign in the window or sticking out like a placard on the side of the building is not a good thing. Why? Because I hear the stories all too often of what they thought it would have been like, and they didn’t understand how very much they had to do to make it work. Maybe they wanted to work less, and they didn’t work harder for themselves – or they just didn’t have the support from all of the variety of suppliers that you need in your small business to make it through years 1, 2 and 3. There were definitely reasons.

I am optimistic; however, and I do get excited when that new shop opens. I want to support that new retailer, the new bakery or boutique for women’s clothing. The jewelry store, art gallery, coffee shop and even the pharmacy – though it’s an independent pharmacy and I am not sure how they can compete against the big ones. Good luck. I’ll be seeing you soon… just be open when we get there.

I want them with all of my heart and soul to be successful. I am optimistic that they will succeed and that, in a year’s time, we don’t see a sign on the front of the building that says For Rent.

~ Dawn aka Hat Girl

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