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third Lifestyle Express store in Middlesbrough, called Saltersgill Convenience. It’s a small store, just 400sq ft and it’s half a mile from my two other shops, Bellevue and Beachwood.
Here are two key things to look for when you’re considering opening a new store: is there a need for it, and is there a chance that a multiple could move in near by?
My new store has a Premier half a mile down the road and there is a Sainsbury’s on the opposite side of the road. But I knew there was a niche in the market because some of my customers already travel from Saltersgill to visit my shops half a mile away for certain products.
Next you have to consider the rent you’ll be paying and how much you’ll need to invest to get the store up to scratch. For my new shop the rent is cheap and we’ve only had to invest £20,000 to make it look like it does. In the first week of trading we took £5,600, and I have set a target to be taking £10,000 every week.
It’s really important once you’ve chosen a site to make the shop look right. There’s nothing more important to people than a nice fresh, new-look store. Save costs where you can. I managed
putting the flooring in and putting the fridges in, and we cleaned it ourselves. Lifestyle Express gave us great support and suggested two or three designs for how it could look inside.
Finally plan your marketing. We took more than £5,000 in the first week without any marketing. We will be sending out 3,000 leaflets and there will be free giveaways of glasses, T-shirts and energy drinks. Make sure you show people you are a responsible retailer who invests in the community. We are holding a raffle for local charities and I’m going to match whatever is raised.
I’m going to be telling people our staff are fully trained and that there will be no selling age restricted products to under age customers because we are a responsible business.
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