So, I have a business plan. Words on paper, organized and ready to show anyone who might be able to help me move forward from here. I was nervous about showing people my plan. I had never written one before so I didn't even know if it was "good" or not. I had to get over that fear very quickly because my next step in this process was all about the plan.
I needed to find a space for the store. An actual store front, out in the big, wide world. Whenever I dreamed about my little shop it always just existed already. I never dreamed about location scouting, dealing with landlords and brokers, and lease agreements. Ew. I dreamed of products, customers leaving happy, a store full of color and twinkle lights. I didn't know how to find a location, honestly, but I lucked out with a cold call from a broker.
Daniel called me one day after he noticed my LLC filing and offered to meet to start me on my way to finding a location. Daniel works for a large, local commercial real estate firm but he was young and eager, which I liked. He did not seem like a "suit" to me, so I set up the meeting. We talked about possibilities and I started scouting around. I drove around A LOT through Cary, Apex and Holly Springs peeking in vacant store front windows and strolling through existing boutiques. I sat in center parking lots and watched traffic come and go. I was a bit of a shopping center stalker now that I look back on it. The choice of location overwhelmed me because I knew it was one of the most important decisions of this whole process. I had to get it right.
This was a long, hard process for sure. A roller coaster of stress, but I had to go through it to find what I wanted for Gifted. In essence, I was searching for a home for this dream of mine, and it was a very emotional journey. I got denied by my first choice which I now see as a blessing in disguise even though it upset me at the time. I backed out of lease negotiations with Park West Village due to a conflict in retail hours and simply being overwhelmed by their scale. I was learning as I went along what I really wanted. It took me 6 months to figure it out. Where did my brand belong? What is home for Gifted?
My final choice turned out to be a center that I had been considering from the beginning, Main Street Square in Holly Springs. Gifted needed a quaint place, surrounded by other small businesses, to set down roots. MSS is perfect and Holly Springs is such a wonderful town full of blossoming businesses, growth and spirit. My store front was attractive and located on a circle within a live, work, play community. It was perfect and I happily signed the lease in October 2015. You can see it down there in the pic. I added my sign and some flowers through picture editing cause it made me happy ;)
Cute, right? A great location for a boutique. One problem... the inside looks like this. Yikes! 1400 square feet of a whole lot a nothing.
On to the next challenge. What do I do with it now that it's mine?