If you think moving from one house to another is complicated, try relocating a small business. Transporting fragile merchandise, creating a new floor design that will appeal to customers and managing the transition with as little disruption as possible is no easy feat.
Balancing each step has been a journey for The Foundry Collective, a locally owned boutique store in Clovis, California.
Owner Karen Chisum saw an opportunity when a new building opened just one street over in a busier location. The appeal was the boost in space, increasing the store from 1,800 to 2,500 square feet. It was to be the second move for the business, which quickly outgrew its initial space shortly after opening.
The Foundry Collective's experience is a good example of a complex move. At first, the excitement was evident, both in real life and online. The business's Facebook page featured the latest buzz about the opening and how things would be different.The Foundry Collective is a popular destination for finding home decor, women's clothing, baby items and other original finds. Credit: The Foundry Clovis
"Everyone is really excited, people have been supportive which makes the whole process fun," said owner Chisum. "Our customers are on board and eager to see how the final product turns out."
Yet, the biggest hiccup was one that Chisum and The Foundry Collective team couldn't control – a series of delays that have prolonged the opening date due to the fickle nature of new construction.
Chisum said her team and the customers are taking it in stride. If nothing else, it has driven up interaction on social media as people have wanted to know when the store would open. Communication has been key – by announcing a move-in date, it was important to update customers on how things were progressing, alert them that they were still at the current location, and remind them that the move was still happening.
Despite the complications, a move provides the chance for a business to grow. "Use a move as an opportunity to evaluate your product and your best-sellers," she said. "Analyze how your products are selling and take advantage of a chance to expand on inventory or pivot in the areas you need to."
Of course, there are details to work out when it comes to analyzing whether a move is right for you and your business. Will customers like the new location? Does it create opportunity for a new section of town?
Additionally, don't underestimate the importance of conducting a thorough financial and marketing analysis. A move is often an opportunity for better visibility or a newer building, but the rent or lease will cost more. Deciding whether that is a worthwhile investment requires quantitative work.
While the planning and time investment undertaken in the move was substantial, Chisum found it was the right step to take for her business.
"At the end of the day, having adequate storage space, higher ceilings for taller displays and the opportunity to rethink the design of the store were well worth the minor inconveniences," she said.
A final piece of advice is to plan what the first day will look like. Will it be more of a soft opening or a big splash with decorations and goodies? That decision, like others, depends on the type of business you have and the needs of your customers. When it's all said and done, a fresh start with excited customers will be well worth the effort.