Help starting my own retail store

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MiaJ

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Feb 25, 2019
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Hello,

I am looking to start my own business which is an Asian grocery store in a town where the nearest Asian grocery store is a 50-minute drive away. This would be a small store that I would run by myself but maybe hire other people in the future. I spent 6 years living in Japan and have traveled to South Korea, so I have an idea of what food to sell and what the grocery stores there look like. I have been doing as much research online as I can and it seems I need to get some licenses. I also need to find a distributor or wholesaler who can supply me with the items that I need to sell. This store would start out as one not selling alcohol or refrigerated items. If this business were to work out then I would consider selling alcohol and refrigerated items. I know for selling alcohol I would need to get a different license.

I prefer to research as much as I can and get as much done as possible before I decide if this is a worthwhile venture. However, when I try to contact wholesalers they ask for my business name which I do not have yet. I also need to have my business set up before I can get any licenses. I would prefer to do as much as I can before making a decision but it seems like I need to get my business together before I can view wholesalers websites and obtain any licenses. This means that I may have to pay a whole month's rent or more before I can even open my store. Is this correct? I would prefer to have these things figured out before I rent out a store.

Besides checking my finances and finding a place to rent what else can I do to prepare for starting my own retail store?

If you have any other information about me opening up this type of business I am grateful for any information you can supply me with.

Thank you so much for your help and your time,


Mia
 

djbaxter

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Not my area of expertise at all but a couple of thoughts come to mind:

Could you rent a small space on a short-term lease to start selling a few items? That would give you a business addsress and you could register a name and get the necessary licenses and get the dialogs with suppliers rolling. Even if you were only selling a couple of dozen items at first it would provide some information about the viability of the business in your area.
 

ckyap

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a facebook page would get you customers living in your area then you could stock up some items to ship to them providing recipes or remedies you have experience in. just buy and sell at market price online before you make any moves on wholesalers. be sure to put up lots of content and info on the products even though you may not have a lot of stock.
 

djbaxter

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Or you could take orders like Avon ladies do, bring in the items from wholesalers, and start by operating out of your own home to save on expenses. Add a website or use social media to advertise your service and then when you get going you can actually set up a storefront.
 

MiaJ

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Feb 25, 2019
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Thank you, everyone, so much for your advice. I found a small commercial building within walking distance from my house. It is 525 square feet for $750 a month. I may go there to view it later this week. I have joined a Facebook group for my county that has over 10,000 members that I can advertise on and hopefully bring in more customers. I was torn between ordering a lot of items in the beginning because I feel like most of my customers would come when I first open and it won't look good if I don't have that many items and I may lose them as future customers, but I guess I could post on Facebook when I get new items in and that should be okay.

We have weekend markets starting in the Spring but it is in the next town over. I heavily thought about this idea because it would be cheaper but most places that go to the Market have their own business and I am also looking to do something closer.

I am still thinking about this but I would much rather have my own store even though I know this is a gamble that may wipe out most of my savings I think it is a chance that I want to take. But since it will be so costly I am still trying to decide if I want to do it.

Thank you again for your help.
 

VirtualGlobalPhone

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Hello MiaJ ,

If your intention is very clear of starting a retail business in a whole new country. Then the best and optimal next step will be to join as a trainee in one of the near by bigger retail store. That will give you the sense of whole business and also you get paid for your time.

In this way you dont get caught with early failure due to UNKNOWN factor of business environment. This no one can predict, it needs to be experienced!! b the individual.

Best wishes.
 

djbaxter

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Hello MiaJ ,

If your intention is very clear of starting a retail business in a whole new country. Then the best and optimal next step will be to join as a trainee in one of the near by bigger retail store. That will give you the sense of whole business and also you get paid for your time.

In this way you dont get caught with early failure due to UNKNOWN factor of business environment. This no one can predict, it needs to be experienced!! b the individual.

Best wishes.
VirtualGlobalPhone I believe you misread her initial post. She is not starting a business in another country. She is starting an Asian food business in the U.S.
 

SARubin

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Apr 19, 2018
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Excellent MiaJ,

I always love to see a budding entrepreneur take their first steps. And I encourage you to continue.

I only have one question to start with (it's kind of important)...

I see you're doing your due diligence on setting up your store, and that's great. But I don't see you mentioning if you've done any market research?

So my question is... "Have you determined if there's a market demand for this type of physical business in your community?"

I don't mean just a few friends or neighbors saying it would be a "good idea".
I mean have lots of people been complaining about needing to drive 50 minutes, and they wish there was a closer Asian grocery store they could shop at?

Or have you done any other type of research to determine demand?


If there is a strong market demand, then I'd say go for it. Because filling a strong need (or strong want) is the most direct path to success.

On the other hand... if there's not a strong demand for this type of store in your area (or if you're just not sure how strong the true demand is) then I'd agree with the others who've recommended starting small. (Local farmers markets, on demand delivery service from your home, etc.)

Because while filling a strong need or desire is the most direct path to success... Trying to create a demand where there is none can be a very long, expensive road to travel. And it's often a futile endeavor.

So if you're not sure, then starting out as a side gig would be a good way to test the market, and see whether or not it could be lucrative to open a physical store. (before you empty out your savings)

Whichever way you decide to go, MiaJ, I wish you the best of success with your venture (adventure?)

All the best,
SAR

P.S. Also, if you do decide to go with the physical store, you may need to look into insurance (if you haven't already done so) because not only will you have a physical location where people will be entering your store, but you'll also be selling food. So liability insurance should be factored into your expenses.
 
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