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Setting up shop - For some established North Vancouver businesses, moving from high-traffic Lonsdale to a drive-to location was a good option. Location, location, location
Rising price of storefront real estate has some business owners changing their address.
It’s a fine balance for business owners: deciding whether to pay top dollar for a prime storefront location or save costs to be situated in a less noticeable area.
But since high customer traffic typically leads to an increase in sales and profit, it may be hard to pass up, even for small businesses, whose financial budgets are already stretched thin.
Over the years businesses have come and gone from the North Shore shopping streets: Marine Drive, Edgemont Village, Park Royal Village – and others. Lonsdale Flooring, a well-established family flooring business, moved last year from their Lonsdale location to one on Main Street in North Vancouver after 46 years.
“Lonsdale was great for foot traffic,” said Kevin Kupferschmid, part owner of Lonsdale Flooring. “Now we get fewer people just stopping in, but the people who do come down to see us are more interested in buying our products.”
Lonsdale Flooring moved, mostly, to get better value for square footage.
At their new location they were able to use the bigger space for more products and a better layout. For the same reason, Long & McQuade, a chain musical instrument retailer previously located on Lonsdale, moved next door.
Retail space prices have been rising exponentially in high-traffic shopping areas.
And consequently, some of the more established businesses have been moving to less developed business districts, like Main Street near the Second Narrows Bridge. For new businesses, moving to a less visible location to save costs is a serious consideration.
“We have been around for so long that people remembered us when we moved,” said Kupferschmid. “But I think it is harder for new businesses to be in a drive-to destination because they need that early exposure to get established.”
While it seems that foot traffic is on the rise on Lonsdale with all of the development which should theoretically offset high rent costs, Vivian Kranenburg, past-president of the Lower Lonsdale Business Association, said it’s too early to tell if businesses are benefiting or not.
“We are in transition down here and they are still building,” she said. “I haven’t heard any (business owners) lauding about increased store visits yet.”
Business owners should also consider the ease with which consumers can shop at a store, which may determine whether or not they are willing to drop in.
Sure it is easy to walk up and down Lonsdale or Dundarave – but parking is problematic. In business districts, there’s plenty of parking, which is attractive for shoppers.
And for business owners with super-sized products the extra space to store and display products is a bonus.
Plus, if an owner decides to open a business in a popular commercial area, and the rent is high, the price of the goods will probably increase to cover the costs and that could turn away potential customers.
No matter what the location, great service and good value, quality products are the best way to attract customers and keep them coming back.
For more information visit Lonsdale Flooring www.lonsdalecarpets.com, stop by 1357 Main St. in North Vancouver, or phone 604-987-6612.