Location, Location, Location…

Wondering what we’ve been up to? What’s taking so long for us to find a space to call home?

Well, we have been working on just that! Here’s a look into our trials and tribulations through this process.

Location is one of the most important factors in opening a small business. If we do not position ourselves in the right neighborhood, on the right street, surrounded by the right type of businesses, we will not set ourselves up for success. Of course, the goal is to create a concept that attracts customers from near and far, but the core of our repeat customers will be based on our location.

While creating our concept and writing our business plan, we spent a great deal of time determining which towns will be best for Vanillamore to thrive in. We identified the key factors that are most important to us; the list includes a diverse restaurant scene, a downtown area with busy foot traffic, easy access to parking, and an already present nightlife including theaters and/or museums.

The towns that we have identified attract adventurous, food-loving people looking for a new experience.

When we began to seriously focus on our search, we knew that the process would not be easy or quick! We prepared ourselves to be patient, because the right location is worth the wait and will help set us up for long term success. We will not settle on a space until we know that it’s right.

Aside from geographical location, there are many other factors that go into determining if a space is right – size, rent, build-out costs, etc. We have been working with a contractor and architects to guide us through the process. It’s become a balancing act of negotiating lease terms, understanding build-out costs, determining what work the landlord is willing to provide and ensuring that the space will function properly for our concept. Our intention is to maintain our focus on our brand, and work to bring it to life in the space.

Currently , we are in the middle of all these negotiations for a potential space (in Montclair!). We are taking each step with caution, making sure that we are making the best decisions that we can with the resources that we have.

If it doesn’t work out with this space, we will be in a better place with a broader knowledge of the process for the next time.

They certainly don’t teach you all of these things in Culinary/Restaurant Management school, but I know that learning new things at each step of this process will make me a better and more successful business owner. Managing expectations and being cautiously optimistic are two of my new personal skill sets!

So here’s to learning more about gas lines, plumbing, venting, electrical loads, and costs of everything from tables & chairs to lighting, flooring & ceilings and everything in between!

xo, Risa

A goal without a plan is just a wish -Antoine de Saint-Exupéry

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