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New location possibilities

Discussion in 'Picture Framing Business Issues' started by Ylva, Jun 16, 2012.

  1. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Some of you might have read my maybe moving thread.

    After some consideration, it would be foolish right now for my business to move out of Gloucester so I have been looking at possible locations.

    First I made my wishlist

    Between 1000-1500 sq.ft. space
    Affordable rent
    Better location where I would be more visible

    As in all wish lists, I will have to pick a few since I won't be able to get it all (and never expected to)

    What comes first is that it has to be affordable. I pay low rent currently and am willing to pay more but not that much more.

    There are several possibilities.

    1. I found the perfect downtown location, highly visible, lots of both drive by and foot traffic on a main street with lots of other nice little shops. The rent is affordable.

    Cons; space is on the smaller side (hence my chop/length dilemma in other thread). There is paid street parking, plenty parking, but metered. So, two out of four.

    2. Other location is also a bit on the smaller side but a little better layout to maybe squeeze in a full workshop. Visibility is not as great, drive by, no walk by. Rent is about the same and it has its own parking lot with ample parking.

    I looked at some other places as well and they met all of the criteria on the wish list...except for the being affordable....

    Will keep you all updated!
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  2. framah

    framah PFG, Picture Framing God

    Don't make the rent the first thing that decides where to move. If a place has a really good visibility and parking , etc, then the increased work coming because of more people finding you will more than offset the higher rent.

    Usually, the rents are low for a reason.. it is in a low business area so they couldn't get anyone to pay more. Conversely, a place with higher customer traffic would command a higher rent.
    Look for the "perfect place" first and THEN decide which one based on rent.
  3. Artrageous

    Artrageous PFG, Picture Framing God

    Ylva, if you did the cutting and joining at home, would the worst case be that the fastest service you could offer would be next day?
  4. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Ralph, the perfect location and so on is about 8 times my current rent....that's a lot of frames to sell and not a risk I am willing to take.

    I can't expect "perfect" for the amount I am willing to pay and be comfortable with.
  5. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Mark, the only way I could make that work if is my suppliers are willing to deliver materials to my home and not my store front. I don't have to ability to transport 10-12' moulding.

    But it is something to look into. I don't mind doing the cutting and joining from home although it's not perfect. I think I would do cutting at home and still have a little workshop in a new location.

    Definitely something to look into....
  6. framah

    framah PFG, Picture Framing God

  7. Artrageous

    Artrageous PFG, Picture Framing God

    The only company that used to not deliver to home based framers was Larson Juhl.

    Ylva, could use keep a small chop saw at the shop and just cut the lengths into more managable car friendly sizes.
  8. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I was talking about LJ.

    But I do like your idea and could certainly make that work....thanks! It opens up possibilities I didn't consider.

    So simple really....just didn't see it!
  9. Framehouse Boutique

    Framehouse Boutique CGF, Certified Grumble Framer

    High visibility and walk-by traffic was on the bottom of my list when I moved.

    I rarely had somebody walk or drive by the store with artwork handy, ready to frame.

    Custom framing has been a destination store for us. My customers would find us online, yellow pages etc and drive to our store.

    Custom parking was very important, as well as been centrally located and easy to find.
  10. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    My store right now is in such a carpy location you won't believe it. I want better visibility. I only have a door, no windows, no display possibility, no walls to display my signage, just nothing except for a single glass door.

    Sure, people find me through my website and googling, making me a destination location when someone is looking for framing and I have been doing okay. But for various reasons, I will have to leave this location. Nothing wrong about creating a wishlist. High visibility and foot traffice wasn't on the wishlist but would certainly help my business in this particular town.

    New customers finding me when online searching have a hard time finding my location.....I can do better.
  11. Artrageous

    Artrageous PFG, Picture Framing God

    Ylva, I have an old Sears Craftman 8 1/4" chop saw that I never ever use. I'll be happy to give it to you for free to use at the shop if you choose to go the route of cutting at home.
  12. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    awww...that is really sweet! Might take you up on that! cyber hugs going your way (((Mark)))

    unless you are like Bill, in that case, send them back.....
  13. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    You could have deliveries made at your husband's new location if he can give you a small cutting space. That would be less disruptive than setting up a space at home.
  14. Artrageous

    Artrageous PFG, Picture Framing God

    Better still...have Alain learn how to cut and join frames. He can do the work in that 300sf area of his new building and then bring the finished frames back home to you each night.
  15. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    His future location is even farther from Gloucester than home so I would be doing even more driving back and forth between 3 locations. But it is something I didn't think about either, so it does open some further interesting possibilities.

    It's good to have people think about this and point out things I missed.
  16. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Better still...he took a framing course about 3 years back, so in theory would know how to do that....

    hahahahaha....he is working 6 days a week already right now.....12 hour days......not sure if this suggestion would go over well. I do want to see him once in a while ya know!
  17. Artrageous

    Artrageous PFG, Picture Framing God

    So it's a done deal then...

    He'll set aside a small framing area in his new location where he can cut and join your frames and then bring them home.

    You'll take the joined frames back to your new, smaller shop, where you can finish the jobs.

    Your home stays frame shop free and you get a newer, better location.

    You can make it up to Alain on his 50th birthday! ;-) Give Hanna a call, maybe she can bring along 23 friends.
  18. susang

    susang SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    There are plenty of successful shops that do "chop-only." You might even enjoy letting that part of the business go to concentrate on other things-your family, marketing, networking....You might even find that not having inventory frees up some money.
  19. framah

    framah PFG, Picture Framing God

  20. Larry Peterson

    Larry Peterson PFG, Picture Framing God

    When I had a storefront, I could never image relying on chops. There are just so many disadvantages; cost, not being able to do rush orders, not being able to take advantages of box pricing and specials, no ready mades, spec framing being more expensive, and so on.

    If it was me, I would get a chopper and find the nearest self-storage place and get a 5x10 (10' deep) storage unit to put it in. Leave the door open while chopping. With a chopper you don't need any power. Yup, it will be cold in the winter but you won't be at the disadvantage that having to rely on chops will leave you.

    You shouldn't to be concerned about carrying around 10-12 ft sticks. Keep a hand saw in the store and pre-cut the mouldings close to the size that you will need to chop or cut to the max size that your vehicle will hold. If you order UPS, you would get them 5' and balance anyway. Any vehicle can handle that size.

    I know a lot of framer rely on chops only but I have always considered it to be a disadvantage.
  21. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Having recently moved, from an "ok" location that was going downhill to a GEM of a space, I may be of some limited help.

    The key is how you negotiate. You will want to negotiate hard with a potential new landlord. Smiling the whole time, but be unrelenting (but with reason).

    After you know what the new location wants for rent, find out what the lowest rent is in the area. If you find a place that is $20psf, see if there's one a block away that is $14psf. If you find a place that is $50psf, see if there's one across the street that is $34psf.

    Lets say you like this property....

    123 Apple Street
    Asking: $45 psf plus CAM/Fees

    (And lets say there's a decent property two blocks down that is asking $30psf. You don't like that space, but its there...)

    Type up a laundry list to propose to the landlord of the expensive space. Don't base the price on what they want. Base it on what YOU want to spend. If there is a variety of price ranges in your area, then that is your justification for asking for a lower rent - even if the properties are not perfectly comparable.

    Ylva's terms for 123 Apple Street

    -$31 psf rent, including CAM/Fees
    -1% escalation per year
    -2 Months free rent when moving in
    -Store hours will be set by business owner (not landlord)
    -No landlord fixtures (eg: trash cans, etc) will be placed in front of the business
    -De-escalating personal guarantee
    (i mean, put everything you can think of in this list)

    Then get an agent (unless its a small landlord who doesn't have their own agent) and tell your agent only what you want the OTHER landlord to know. If you can afford to pay more rent, DON'T let your agent know that. I hired my agent because she used to be a VP for that landlord and knows more about what flexibility they had.

    When they come back to the table and say "we can't do $31, but we can do $39", just tell your agent that your offer of $31 is your "top, top" offer and that you can't safely operate your business at a higher rent. "Our numbers don't work beyond $31 psf".

    The key is to be very polite, meet the landlord's key people (owners) in person, smile and be polite and just be persistent. Smiling, but persistent. You want them to WANT to do business with you.

    The whole time I negotiated (over a period of about a year actually, but mostly in the last 3 months) I kept saying "I understand if this doesn't work for you, but I can't go higher in rent, and I need a certain sized space and certain visibility". You have to make them believe that you are comfortable walking away. "I understand if this doesn't work for you" was a very helpful statement.

    If they say "I have another space that would be in your price range" and if you don't want that one, find something wrong with it. I found that saying "our machinery won't fit this configuration" worked well to avoid them passing inferior spaces to me. "The ceiling is too low, we need an 11' clearance for moulding" "The backdoor doesn't have enough room for freight truck delivery" "The height of the windows won't work for displaying artwork"

    ...and if you're successful, you get a location you want, and a price you want.

    I have to say, I had a very long laundry list, and after me being stubborn, and offered other spaces from this shopping center, I got my space at exactly the price I wanted (I budged maybe 5%) and 95% of the terms I wanted.

    Hope this was helpful and not too rambling! :)
  22. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

  23. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Is this a fixed price lease or triple net where you are responsible for taxes, insurance and maintenance on the property. The place looks great.
  24. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    That's the whole deal, not sure how long a lease agreement I need to sign yet. I am only responsible for heat, water, electricity. I am going to see it on Tuesday but have peeked through the windows and it does look fantastic...just a bit small. I did get a floor plan yesterday and am going to draw in all the things I need to be able to fit it. The saw is a problem and will not fit. But I do have a chopper as well.

    Marble floor entrance and wood flooring, high ceilings. I even like the paint colors. Plenty of wall space for mouldings and artwork. I have to figure out if there is space for a small workshop in the back. I think there is, except for the saw and I would have to build a new worktable.

    There is a small basement storage unit as well, but not big enough for my saw.
  25. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Is it big enough to use your chopper? If you had a small saw to rough cut to size before moving sticks to basement?
  26. Cliff Wilson

    Cliff Wilson SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Ask for a floor plan from Andy Langlois. his space is smaller than that and he uses a saw, wizard, joiner, ... And still has a nice retail space.
  27. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    No, it is a tiny storage space and not big enough for the chopper. I think right now, the option of doing the cutting at home and straight cut quickly at the shop sound like my best option.
  28. josephforthill

    josephforthill MGF, Master Grumble Framer

    The information and ideas posted here are helpful, and can contribute to looking at all aspects and options. But at the end of the day, you know the area, the community, and your experiences. What may seem like a major drawback (parking, shop size), may be quite the norm in your town, and not the issue it might be in a more suburban location (even with my limited experiences with Gloucester, it seemed as though free and abundant parking is not the norm downtown).

    So, go with your gut feeling, as well as the data on this one. BTW, is the upstairs a rental or a condo?; I think I saw this building on House Hunters.
  29. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    She has a store front, the question would be would they deliver to her home... I think they would. I have a feeling if a framer had multiple store fronts and did the assembly at a warehouse that they would deliver to the assembly location. This is a similar situation in my eyes.

    Ylva you would be a destination shop. So the shop at the slow end of Main would be good, but the slow end of a slow side street would be bad. Go for the destination spot on Main. When I was on a side street business was OK, but just moving to Main double, tripled my business. What you want is ample easy parking. who wants to carry a huge frame 2 blocks to their car? Slow neighbors are a plus :) And you could actually help them bring in customers, which will help you to bring in customers...

    Looked at the pictures of the place, and front "on high" with Google maps. Gloucester is an excellent town for your business :) I know quite a few artists in Manchester By The Sea, they'll find you and come to you with your taste in decor they'll hear about you....
  30. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Yes, you are right. Downtown parking in Gloucester is all paid parking. There are many shops, quite a few new shops who are doing extremely well and are expanding, so the paid parking, though of some concern should not be the biggest deal. I can choose to go a bit farther from downtown and have parking but not as much visibility.

    Sure, I can remain being a destination location, I still have to think about that.

    Yes, upstairs are condos and am not sure if they are rentals or owned. I think I might have seen one for sale, but will certainly ask those questions when I meet with the realtor tomorrow.
  31. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Bob, the shop on Main is busier than the other spot, which is not on Main but has a parking lot with a few businesses (hair salon, coffee shop) but is around the corner with limited visibility.
    That spot would be destination location.

    The one on Main has walk by and drive by,but the concentration of shops is a few blocks farther.
  32. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I had a hair salon under my last location. The heat was forced hot air. I was inundated with the smell of perming chemicals quite often. It used to sneak up on you too. You wouldn't really notice it as you were there breathing it in, but when a customer walked in they would typically complain and sometimes even walk out on me. If I left to get the mail and came back in I would smell it.

    Completely unsafe atmosphere to be working in, I hope the salon either doesn't do perms or is not connected to your air :)
  33. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    hm, that is a good point to consider....especially with my sensitivity to scents causing headaches.
  34. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Beautiful spot!

    I looked all around MA to open a shop, after deciding to not take over my father's on Long Island, then settled down in VA instead.

    If I did the math right a5 $1,250 per month, that space is $16.75 per square foot. That price is pretty good, at least given the prices around here.
  35. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Yes, you did the math right (or we both did it wrong) and it is the going rate here, a little below really. A really good location in that spot, with own parking goes for around 24. I simply can't afford that.
  36. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    So is the rate they're asking not what you would like to pay? How much would you like to get it for? What's a comfortable amount that you know for sure you'd be ok paying long term?
  37. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    No, I think the rate they are asking is more than reasonable and I am comfortable paying that. Of course I will try to negotiate that down, but don't think I will have much luck with that.

    I think this space will rent out quickly to be honest. The monthly rent is reasonable, the remodelling they did is absolutely gorgeous and the space itself would be great for many retailers. What I meant is, that if I want everything on my wishlist, I would have to pay around $24 p/sf and I am not comfortable with that number.
  38. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    The best part is as a single net rather than triple net lease there are no surprises. I once had a triple net lease on 11% of a shopping center that was nearly empty when I moved in and as a result of my taking the anchor space they were able to fill many of the vacant spaces in the center. Less than a year of my moving in the center was 80% full. They decided to repave the parking lot to the tune of $80,000 and my share was $8,800. This invoice was due in 30 days.
  39. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Yes, that is one of my considerations as well since I started researching locations.

    I haven't found out about the other location, but since it is shared parking and maintenance, I would assume I would be dealing with the triple net.
    One other location I found (way over my budget) had it built into the rent.
  40. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Well, one thing you can ask for is no increase in rent for the X years.

    You can also ask for no personal guarantee, and if you have to cave into that one, you can say "full guarantee for the first year, 50% personal guarantee for the second year, 25% for the third year" etc, but only if they're forcing a personal guarantee.

    The question I have is why are they asking such a reasonable rent? Have they had a problem renting it? If so, why? Was it higher before?
  41. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I have the same question Chris.....but I can't ask that and still hope to get an even better deal.

    The space just came on the market, has been rented out to a kitchen place who is moving their business to a different town (I think they are consolidating their locations to one location). They are in the middle of moving out.

    I am going to visit the neighbors as well tomorrow, see what their input and feedback is. (it's a cat doctor place) I also want to do some walking around, maybe visit a few shops and ask for input....we'll see.
  42. Artrageous

    Artrageous PFG, Picture Framing God

    Ylva, see if you can get them to leave one of those kitchen cabinet sets up. It would make a very professional break area, where you could store your lunch stuff.

    You could have a very nice break area where you have coffee and such for your customers. An informal place to sit and talk about their design. If you kept an island it would work for a place to lay out their art for designing.
  43. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Mark, I was hoping there was still something left behind, but I peeked again this afternoon and seems most of it is gone but I couldn't see the full space through the window. Maybe an island, which could have multiple uses....will see tomorrow!

    It might take up too much of the space as the front space/entrance is half closed off with a wall (great for display though) and the rest of the space is very much needed if I want to cram in design space and workshop.
  44. Jeff Rodier

    Jeff Rodier SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    Be sure to get the dimensions with the placement of the doors. A rough floor plan will make it much easier to layout in order to see if you can set up for cutting.
  45. Ylva

    Ylva SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God

    I'll have my tape measure with me tomorrow! I already determined that I will have to build a new worktable.....
  46. Kirstie

    Kirstie PFG, Picture Framing God

    Hi Yiva,

    I have followed both your threads on this move with interest. I think that if you have the energy to deal with cutting off-site, then the location looks really attractive. Being at the end of a busy retail area may have its advantages in that it may be easier to find parking. And, as you say, people will walk by your shop to get to the busier area. The shop looks very nice!

    I will put in a plug for having walk-by traffic: We sell something to passersby every day. It might be a card or a print or a framed piece from the gallery, but those extra visitors get a framing brochure and usually learn something about the shop. It looks like you have more window space than we do with our 2400 sq. ft. shop, so you should be able to make attractive displays that will bring people in.

    Regarding the whole chop vs. length issue, it sounds like what you could loose with only chop or off premisis cutting is the ability to do rush jobs. How much rush work do you do now? We do a lot of it, but that is what people in our artsy university neightborhood seem to need and have come to expect, and our business is very different from yours.

    The shop looks cozy and well maintained, a nice plus. Good luck with your decision.
  47. cjmst3k

    cjmst3k SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer

    Can you post the layout specs of the space?

    My last space was 1200 sf and I was able to fit all of our framing production including pistorius saw, vnail, 5000' of moulding, vacuseal, and lots of counter space and matboard storage all in the back 700sf.

    I'm wondering if we can find a way to fit your saw in there...
  48. j Paul

    j Paul PFG, Picture Framing God

    Small Saw Room

    Ylva, I have been thinking about this some more and here are maybe a couple possibilities to making it work with a smaller saw room. 6' x 10' or even smaller.

    Figure out the size of your average largest frame. ( I know ours doesn't usually go over anything that I can't get out of 32x40) If you had even 48" on your right outfeed table and would straight cut your pieces first and knowing that the majority of moulding are under 120" you could get by with a smaller room. Figure anything over that size you would have to order chop. You of course have to make sure you have enough room on one end to bring the sticks into the little saw room to begin with.

    If you straight cut first and had either doors on both ends of your room or a little access hatch on right end maybe room could even be a little smaller. Or at the right end of the wall perhaps a pass-through could be build (opened when needed) If that access was behind a partial wall that had a shelf ledge for display you would still maintain the dust and not impeed too much on the area outside the saw room. That wall would only need to be as deep as you needed for the moulding to slip behind. Front of wall could also be used for display.
  49. pwalters

    pwalters SGF, Supreme Grumble Framer


    While you are accustomed to a saw room, keep in mind that there are thousands of shops across the country that have their saws in open area in their back rooms and they are fine. If you can avoid going with a seperate room for your saw you will immediately see an increase in available space. A seperate room will not only occupy the space of the walls and studs but it will also create another obstacle that you need to consider when the city/county/whatever looks at the space to make sure that there is enough walkway room to move, 36" from X, you need to be 48" from Y, etc.
  50. Bob Doyle

    Bob Doyle SPFG, Supreme Picture Framing God


    Time to diversify. You are heading into a retail area. The walk-by foot traffic you are going to be getting walking by your shop is going to turn into people walking in to your shop. They are going to be looking for something to buy, and many may not be ready to buy a $450 frame job. So they are going to be walking out.

    Then you will see them walking by with their friends. Because of how well you will have your shop decorated you will hear their friends say, "oooh, what a cute shop, let's go in". And their friend that they are walking with will say, "I already went in, it's only a frame shop." The worst words you can possibly imagine hearing when you are looking at your bills.

    Forget the saw, pick up a line of tasteful home items, something not carried in town already. I went with Fair Trade as the umbrella and it is turning into home decor and wedding gifts as the niches in that umbrella. People like the concept of Fair Trade and they are willing to drop $50-$100 on a gift for a wedding. Jewelery is also great, and there is an artist who does beach glass who hales from Nahant. I did well with her work, and being local the tourists will love it. They want something from the area they are visiting and her glass is from her local beaches (and old, I personally think it is the washout from the old old Boston landfilling they did.)

    My thinking is to turn the square footage into sales space and not work space. Let the square footage pay your rent. I think at that price you are paying for rent you need to get back ~$12 a square foot in sales a day. What you sell off the walls and out of a jewelery case and from a display case you don't have to make in the back room. Hopefully the few dollars of added cost the chops will cost will be made up by sales off the walls. And the walk in customer that bought a paer of earrings will come back because they saw that you frame too.

    Now is the season I sell home made soaps, folk art pieces off the walls and African baskets. Great for the beach... Consider ways to add revenue, and turn walk in customers into framing customers.
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