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Choosing a location

        Now that we have determined the legalities of owning a headshop, you will need to decide where to open your business. The location is without a doubt the most important part of owning a business of this nature. More often than not, leasing is the most viable option for a new business owner. However this is a matter of personal choice and it will depend on your capital investment.

        Consider who your ideal customer is. Headshop customers are in the 18-35 y.o demographic, and typically an area that is middle class is best. You receive the best of both worlds. The customers have enough money to splurge on high priced items, while it is not so high class that they look to run your store out of the area.

Pick an area that tend to attract those types of people, whether they live there or work there. Some of the most successful shops are local to a large mall. The demographic of mall shoppers is ideal for success. You can also use census data to help find suitable areas.

         Drive around your prospective neighborhoods. Make note of any vacant storefronts and get contact information for each (it's often posted in the window). Also note the exact location of each one with the phone number. Use Google maps to plot and compare locations on a large scale. Call and check lease prices and the size of each space. Prices are often expressed as the price per square foot for a year. Be careful to inquire about CAM charges. These Common Area Maintenance charges add up quick, and are often used to recover lost rates when advertising a low price per square foot rate.

        Set up appointments to view all of the spaces available that are even close to your price range (you may be able to negotiate terms that fit your budget). Schedule these appointments for a time of day when your business would be open, and preferably for a time that you think will be particularly busy so that you can check traffic levels.

          Get a copy of the lease terms for each property you view. Review these in comparison with each other, and have your lawyer review any that you have questions about. Compare the lease rates, terms and any renovation allowances being offered. Decide on which lease best meets your needs. Try to negotiate a better lease term if possible. While you may not be able to negotiate a better rate, you might have more luck getting a bigger renovation allowance, or lowering Cam charges. Sign a lease only after your lawyer has reviewed the paperwork.

        Return to the prospective storefront MANY times during the week. It is imperative that you get a good idea of what goes on around the storefront during the week. You would hate to open a store just to find out there is a Christians farmers market in your plaza parking lot during the weekends.

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