This column is sponsored by Biz Launcha division of Arlington Economic Development.
By Alex Held
Relocating a small business to a new location is a significant undertaking with many challenges. For small businesses, relocating to another location can be a daunting task due to reasons such as expansion, cost considerations, and changing business environments.
After running her Columbia Pike business in the same location for over 35 years, when Reena Bawa, founder of Beauty Fair Hairstylists, knew she needed to find a new location, the process seemed daunting. Luckily, she was able to take advantage of her BizLaunch to find a new space for her business.
First and foremost, finding the right space to meet your business needs can be a major hurdle. Usually this process takes him 1-3 years. Vacant retail space is hard to find in Arlington, especially along the Columbia Pike, and rents are rising as supply is scarce. Currently, the retail vacancy rate along the Columbia Pike is he 2.8%. If clients are looking for industrial space, the challenge can be even greater, with Arlington’s vacancy rate at 0.8%, according to CoStar.
For beauty fair hairstylists, Bawa’s rents were already nearly double the industry average (about 17% of sales) and were facing further increases in their current space. But Bawawa wanted to stay close to his customer base along the Columbia Pike and make the space easily accessible.
Through ReLaunch, Beauty Fair was able to leverage Revby’s expertise to analyze different options, such as buying the space, renting another space, or increasing the rent and staying in the existing location. . However, with rising acquisition, construction and rent costs, none of these options were economically rational and did not align with Bawa’s goals. So she decided to rent a space within her existing hair salon. Such arrangements are commonly referred to in the industry as booth rentals.
Once it became clear which direction Bawa wanted to go, the BizLaunch team identified several booth rental opportunities throughout Arlington. Ultimately, Bawa settled into a new location inside the Samaris Hair Salon at 38 S. Glebe Road.
Choosing a location presents the logistical challenges of the move itself. Small businesses need to plan and coordinate the physical movement of equipment, inventory and furniture, which can be complex and disruptive to daily operations. In Bawa’s case, the space was rented from an existing salon, so much of the equipment was unnecessary and had to be disposed of or stored.
In addition, BizLaunch supported Beauty Fair through their relocation, helping them update their address and apply for a partial occupancy certificate for their new space, as well as assisting with the transition. In this case Ms. Bawa has lived there for over 30 years and was understandably attached to the place. It was part of her business identity and it was important not to lose that identity.
Another key challenge is informing customers, clients and suppliers about the move. Small businesses rely heavily on their existing networks, and relocation can destroy established relationships. Communicating your new address and contact information is critical to maintaining strong connections and minimizing potential business loss.
Thankfully, Revby helped create collateral such as flyers and business cards with the new address, and was able to update the website and Google My Business page to inform customers of the change. Additionally, the Revby team extracted customer information from the owner’s phone into a spreadsheet for easy access in one place.
“Although it has been a difficult adjustment, I am grateful for the resources Arlington has provided for my business and the support of my customers and colleagues within Samaris Hair Salon,” says Bawa.
If you are a business facing a decision to relocate, please contact BizLaunch as soon as possible as it can take time to find a suitable space for your business. Book your time with one of our experts today. For more information on BizLaunch, please visit www.bizlaunch.org.