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"The Saskatchewan Edge" Columnists

Kelly Macsymic Business Manager, Stuart Commercial Inc., Sales Associate, ICR Commercial Real Estate
Barry Stuart Managing Partner and Senior Sales Associate , ICR Commercial Real Estate


More than meets the eye when selecting a retail site

My short commute route takes me past two nationally branded gas stations. Both locations seem to...

My short commute route takes me past two nationally branded gas stations.

Both locations seem to be compatible in exposure and traffic count with front elevations that showcase up-to-date versions of their respective brands.

Why then is one site far more successful than the other?

Planning leaves nothing to chance

There are plenty of factors that come into play when assessing the reasons for the success of a retail merchant.

My intention is not to oversimplify this discussion by leaving the impression that location is the only factor. Selecting the correct retail amenities that will service an area’s needs is important.

As an example, adding a recognized coffee express kiosk, an automated bank teller and an effective automatic car wash to a gas bar will increase the odds of me choosing that location to be my go-to gas stop.

Friendly staff and a clean, well-merchandised store are obvious amenities that can make a difference to the success of a store.

Look at Tim Hortons and McDonald’s as examples.

They often spend money refreshing a storefront on a building that by many standards, seems current. But, they’ve discovered the financial return justifies the investment through increased sales volumes.

What factors make a difference in the actual site?

Assuming we were looking at two sites, both reporting compatible traffic volume, easy access/egress should be the next most important consideration. Are the site curb cuts too close to a controlled intersection which frequently endures a stack of vehicles, limiting access to the development?

The size of the parcel needs to be right to accommodate all planned building improvements, free vehicle movement flow and adequate parking.

Are there clear sightlines from the important intersecting streets?

Some specific merchants need a minimum number of residential rooftops within a defined distance to ensure success.

Where is the competition? Competing fast food operations often prefer to cluster, whereas typically pharmacies need distance between them and their competitors.

This offers a high-level discussion of retail site selection.

If you’re a new retailer considering your site options, take the time to engage a professional to further examine the questions that need to be asked.

It’s an understatement to say your site choice will substantially impact the success or failure of your new business.

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