Which Is Better For A Shop

Business By Spectra Updated 16 Mar 2014 , 3:19am by Spectra

Spectra Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 9:27pm
post #1 of 14

AHi all, I'm in a debate with my husband as to which location would be better for a dessert bakery shop. So specializing in gourmet cupcakes, a few cakes, and decorated cookies, to either pick up or have a few tables to eat in and have coffee.

The city I live is not very big, 55,000 in city limits, and prides itself of buying local, Farmers Markets, etc. downtown is where you have the foot traffic from government offices, and other businesses. So that is option #1. Find a spot downtown for the foot traffic, but crappy parking.

Option #2 is outside of the office area, but in a strip mall location, located by multitudes of homes, subdivisions ranging from mini homes, and the expensive homes right beside the potential spot. Located also off the highway, basically in an area where many people would pass in their cars on the way home.

But I have no idea what the better option would be. Foot traffic, or catching people on their way home. We don't really want to focus on wedding cakes or character cakes at this time. Mostly people stopping in to pick some cupcakes up for events and such.

Any advice would be greatly appreciated, thank you! :)

13 replies
craftybanana Posted 10 Mar 2014 , 9:44pm
post #2 of 14

Have you read this? http://www.sba.gov/community/blogs/how-choose-best-location-your-business

 

Or this? http://www.entrepreneur.com/article/73784

I like how in this article it says to choose it based on your target demographics

 

I don't have a business, these are just my two cents to help you get started though :)

costumeczar Posted 11 Mar 2014 , 1:19am
post #3 of 14

When people are on their way home from work they're not going to stop to pick up a cupcake, but they will if they're out for lunch downtown. If you expect to sell a lot of individual items and coffee, I'd say downtown would be better. You could also set up a twitter system or text alerts for when the cupcakes are ready and fresh in the cases to lure in people from offices in the area. I heard of one bakery who sent out "THE BROWNIES ARE READY" types of texts to the businesses around them, and they'd have people running from work to get them.

 

If you want to target suburban families who would need things like birthday cakes, cupcakes for parties, that kind of thing, the mall would be better. Think of it as weekday traffic vs. weekend traffic.

Spectra Posted 11 Mar 2014 , 2:01am
post #4 of 14

AThank you both! And what you said Costumeczar made me realize my husband was right, dang it! :) I was worried about parking and such that I guess I overlooked the bigger market of all those office workers.

Thanks again!

costumeczar Posted 11 Mar 2014 , 12:11pm
post #5 of 14

Quote:

Originally Posted by Spectra 

Thank you both!
And what you said Costumeczar made me realize my husband was right, dang it! icon_smile.gif
I was worried about parking and such that I guess I overlooked the bigger market of all those office workers.

Thanks again!

I've always said that if you really want to rake in the cash, just have a food place located near a downtown college campus and the bars, and be open when the bars close.

craftybanana Posted 11 Mar 2014 , 2:30pm
post #6 of 14

Quote:

Originally Posted by costumeczar 
 

I've always said that if you really want to rake in the cash, just have a food place located near a downtown college campus and the bars, and be open when the bars close.


That's how our pizza place stayed in business: we were open after the bars closed.... That's when we would get busy and get the best tips, lols xD

Spectra Posted 11 Mar 2014 , 6:55pm
post #7 of 14

A

Original message sent by costumeczar

I've always said that if you really want to rake in the cash, just have a food place located near a downtown college campus and the bars, and be open when the bars close.

Haha, so true! And we are a campus town, so that would work! Ha! :)

craftybanana Posted 11 Mar 2014 , 7:11pm
post #8 of 14
Quote:
Originally Posted by Spectra 


Haha, so true! And we are a campus town, so that would work! Ha! icon_smile.gif


Campus town? You'll be a hit with the late nighters then! Especially if you serve coffee.... I wish we had a place like that near my campus, would've helped with the late night exam studying, too bad I live in a retirement town though. Good luck! :D

 

edit: I should prob mention I lived in a busier town when I worked at the pizza place, lols

Spectra Posted 11 Mar 2014 , 7:21pm
post #9 of 14

ALol, you mean all those retirees weren't coming to your pizza place after bar hopping?

craftybanana Posted 11 Mar 2014 , 11:47pm
post #10 of 14

Quote:

Originally Posted by Spectra 

Lol, you mean all those retirees weren't coming to your pizza place after bar hopping?


Now THAT would be something to see! :party:

SweetRevengeATLA Posted 14 Mar 2014 , 7:46am
post #11 of 14

Coming from a background in promotions, while reading this, my mind went strongly for the second option. You have a cake shop and in a subdivision surrounded by homes, there you have a built-in and guaranteed customer base. People have birthday parties & celebrations all the time. The key is to work  your promotions,marketing and advertising about your business to those surrounding homes to your best interest. This is what I mean. In the month or weeks that you are opening, create and print up flyers to post/pass out to the homes in the area. The FIRST WEEK offer a small percentage off for everyone's first purchase. While at the store, create an email or customer capture record (so you won't have any first-time buyer repeat offenders). This is how you build up your customer base, capturing emails, addresses & the like. Once a month or weekly, send out newsletters, emails, etc that link people to your site when they click on it or in the newsletter/email show off one fancy cake/cupcake. It gives your customers a visual to remember that whenever they start thinking 'cake' the visual of your cakes pop up in their heads. Oh! After the initial opening, send out a 'thank you for buying' thank you card to all who came in under the 'opening day special.' this builds a repore (sp?) with customers. You're thanking them for giving you their business. A lot of customers like and appreciate this. Or, every time a customer places a large order, you send out a Thank you/leave comments email. You can take the comments, and put them on your websites "testimonial' page or whenever you run a small ad in a cheap local newspaper. It's like those book blurbs on best sellers. You weed out the best comments that represent you and use em. You don't have to use the customer's name, but you can use the comments. You aren't falsifying comments, because these are actual and real comments from real customers. 

 

Get active and inventive!  

 

"Option #2 is outside of the office area, but in a strip mall location, located by multitudes of homes, subdivisions ranging from mini homes, and the expensive homes right beside the potential spot. Located also off the highway, basically in an area where many people would pass in their cars on the way home."

 

This is your best shot, in my opinion. While foot traffic is good, is it going to be good & guaranteed foot traffic? Can you guarantee that people are always going to stop in for a cupcake, as opposed to living next to a multitude of homes and subdivisions and having a built in and guaranteed customer base. Never underestimate this! These people are some of the best customers and are the bread and butter of small business. You said 'a multitude of homes and subdivisions" and all I really see are "endless birthday parties, endless graduation parties, engagement parties, anniversary celebrations. Get well cakes, sweet 15/16 parties,etc. I'm seeing your Holiday season of Halloween, Thanksgiving and Christmas be your best season because people are going to want a Halloween cake for Halloween parties, Thanksgiving cakes (red velvet cake or pumpkin spice cake anyone?) or Christmas cakes & desserts. These people are going to need cakes/desserts! And where should they get it from? You! The local cake/dessert person in their area. Like you said, you want a spot where people can come in and pick up something, but you won't get that if you're in the first location. More times than not, its always the parking that drives away a customer. If i want to pick up a cake on the way home, but i know it's going to be a 10-20 minute fight to get parking, then i'm not going. I don't want to get frustrated trying to find a parking spot to get to the spot. The only time I go thru this is if i'm going to the mall or when i'm a tourist in another city. A local resident shouldn't be given a hard time for supporting a local business. Because I guarantee you, the first thing you will always hear about, is the parking! :)

 

A location in a strip mall is a good location, because it gives plenty of parking and if it's off the highway. you may have to invest in a decent sized sign to draw some customers in, but its worth it in the long run. Making flyers and printing them up, as expensive as it sounds, is rather cheap. You can hire a cheap graphic design student to design the flyer (most of them will trade the job for the experience and being able to say they did something legit (resume building) and print up the flyers at your local staples/office depot/fedex kinkos. Get in your car/company truck and go into those neighborhoods and pass out those flyers! This is grassroots marketing & promotions and free advertising and it works! :) 

 

I should know, I used to work for a major nationally famous record label. This is how we promoted our artists before social media & the internet (2001-2002 ;) ) really became the place to be. But you can also integrate Social Media into your promotions, marketing & publicity also. Have weekly specials or contest giveaways. It draws in and builds customers. Who wouldn't like to enter a contest to win a free dozen of cupcakes. Use FB to show off what's going on in your bakery and show off cake/cupcake flavors. Become interactive on FB and engage with your customers. Don't just rely on how pretty your cakes are, sometimes you have to go out and bring those customers to you. ;) 

costumeczar Posted 14 Mar 2014 , 10:36am
post #12 of 14

AI don't know, based on what the OP said she'd be offering more cupcake and cookie options rather than sheet cakes for little kids' parties. It would depend on what your product line included, IMO. There are cupcake shops here that are in strip malls, one is doing well because it's near a natural foods store and they get traffic from there. The other, not so much, because it's near a lot of non shopping-related businesses and more destination businesses, daycares, attorneys, nail salons etc. Some of it depends on what kind of strip mall it is, but if you're opening a coffee shop kind of place the downtown area would be good.

There's one shop here that does late-night desserts and they have quite a following. They used to do wedding cakes but they only do small dessert cakes now, sold whole or by the slice, and other one-serving option kind of desserts. They're located in an urban area. There's also a place in Boston that I've heard of that does the same kind of thing, and they cater to late-night customers, theater-goers, etc. It would depend on what your product line was as far as what the best location would be, but i'd say that if you want to do birthday cakes go suburban, and if you want to do individual itms and coffee go urban.

sugarjones Posted 15 Mar 2014 , 5:45am
post #13 of 14

AI can tell you from experience that you want to be where there are rooftops! Your busiest days will be on the weekends when none of those workers from downtown will be around (if you were to open downtown) My first shop is in a small strip mall in the middle of a neighborhood and we sell a boatload! You will have most of you customers running in, grabbing cupcakes and jumping back in their car. Trust me, I see it all day long. If parking is an issue, they will simply not stop.

Spectra Posted 16 Mar 2014 , 3:19am
post #14 of 14

AGood points! But CostumeCzar is correct with what I want to sell. I have thought about it and realized if I want to focus on celebration type cakes suburban is the way to go, but I want to actually get away from that and focus on the gourmet style cupcakes and cookies, with coffee.

In the spring, summer, and fall, our downtown is the place go be with tourists and the city folk who love go support local businesses. Weekends, all year round, see almost as much traffic downtown as they do by the malls uptown. Though I find those downtown are more apt to spend more on better quality and local items in general.

The only trouble is waiting for the perfect spot to pop up to lease. Most openings are too big, or specifically for office space only. In the meantime I can finish all that business plan stuff! Blah!

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