Friday, June 26, 2009

To Move or Not To Move

Moving a craft gallery is not fun.
For me, the most stressful part came before the big move. Was I making the right decision in moving? Is moving really going to increase my business? Where should I move to? It had become very clear to me that it was time to move. My original location, while beautiful, was just not attracting customers. It is an area of town that people seem to have forgotten about and just are not coming to shop anymore. Everyone seems to be struggling. My lease was coming up, so I took that as a sign that it was time to go.

So, now that I've made the decision to move, where to go? I spent several months just hanging out in different locations. Hanging out and watching. At all different times of day. The questions I asked myself... Are their people here? Are they coming just to the restaurants & leaving, or are they walking around? Those people walking around, are they actually shopping? Do they have bags in their hands?

I finally narrowed down the area of town I wanted to be in. Fifth Avenue South. From there I narrowed the 6 block area down to about 3 blocks that I really thought were optimal. Then came the fun of looking at available locations, comparing prices, figuring out what kind of build out the spaces would require. It was the end of our busy season, when the business drys up, and there are always stores closing up then, so I had a few good options.
Once I finally picked the location I wanted, then came the bargaining. Here I have to say, I hate bargaining. I'm pretty good at it, but I really hate doing it. I'm actually pretty proud of the deal I got. I emailed the final agreement to my old boss (who's really smart in business matters) to review before I signed anything. After he read it, he called to make sure he was reading it correctly. This whole bargaining process took several weeks. I often didn't know from one day to the next if it was going to happen. At several points I was so stressed, I wouldn't have been surprised if I ended up with an ulcer. But I didn't and now the new location is mine. Here's a few "before pictures".

Now comes the fun of packing & moving...but that's another post.