How we started our Gift Store - Part 1
1 Year Ago....Back in May 2018 we were approached by our landlord that additional space was opening in our plaza in Naples, FL. We were already renting the back portion of this space, and used it for storage and sometimes overflow deliveries. The front end / storefront was the other portion that was shared.
We were informed our shared space tenant was leaving and we either needed to take over the entire unit or vacate within 30 days because someone else was willing to pay for the entire unit.
To be honest, the place was a mess and we had no plan. The ceiling was falling apart, the floors were gross and it had walls that served no purpose. However, we also new if we turned it down and vacated, we would regret it because we were bulging with deliveries, stock and consignment pieces and that was in our off-season!
With that said, my wife and I laid out on paper what we thought it could be. Additional storage? Coffee shop? Office? Design space? So we listed our needs, challenges and most importantly what does this space offer that we currently need?
Our list included:
-walking traffic count
-whats unique about the space (next door restaurant)
-who is the walking customer makeup
-what is missing nearby
-what can help our existing business
-the space required demo and light construction
-timing - Naples is a seasonal market and it was just the start of our off season
-time - we have 2 kids, 2 stores, 1 dental company and NO time
With a little research, we soon realized our little next door restaurant averages 400 customers per day, 6 days a year. During season this number can jump to 700+ customers who line up outside on Saturdays.
A side note to our story - we have been open since 2013. Against all marketing strategies, we do not advertise other than using social media (Facebook and Instagram). Our strategy is word of mouth experiences from our customers. That is where we realized whatever we place there will be advertising up to 400 customers a day!
It was far too good of a opportunity to only use the space for a office or storage. The space did not have the stop in for coffee crowd, instead it was a wait for breakfast crowd. They linger..they wait...they need somewhere to go. Once we narrowed down we wanted it to be a store, we honed in on the "what to sell".
To be continued....