How to Open a General Store
Are you popular in the neighborhood such that most people go to you for some things or information they need? If that characteristic of yours comes with an entrepreneurial spirit, you can open a retail business with a general store concept.
If you are thinking of going into the grocery store business, starting a general store is an idea you can consider.
Historically, general stores are those old time rural stores that serve the whole community by carrying everything people need -- from needles to farm equipment. But their function goes more than that. They are like modern time malls in a small county in the sense that they also often carry other businesses like cafes and restaurants. And usually, a general store has a post office at the back such that effectively, all people in the community go there. They go there not only to buy but to catch the latest news around.
General stores have disappeared after the emergence of the modern retail stores. But the strategy that had sustained it for so long will never die in the business world: personal attention to customers. Old general stores are usually run as family businesses and the proprietor knows his usual customers. If you live in a close-knit neighborhood, you can resurrect the general store concept for a grocery store business. Here are some things you should think about if you want to pursue this business:
General stores are equivalent to what are called corner shops in the cities. They are so called because they are usually located where two streets meet. They are strategically located to take advantage of the traffic in either way. In scouting for a location for your general store, find one that is at the center of the neighborhood or where most people congregate.
Since you’d most likely carry food items, you might need an extra permit or license in addition to what most businesses are required to have. Learn all the laws and regulations that affect your business so you can comply with them. Check with your city office.
General stores get such a name because they carry almost everything that people will need. They don’t carry rare items, but one can trust that they’d sell the basic. If you want to follow this style, you must come up with a list to cover this definition.
Smaller stores find it hard to compete with retail chains in terms of price. Those that survive competition usually do so through unbeatable customer service. As a retailer operating with a general store concept, excellent customer is your best asset. Capitalize on it. Be the store where people would like to go to not only to buy but connect with the owner or the sales people and the rest of the neighborhood. You can do this by giving personal attention to customers and by doing those favors such as allowing them to post community bulletins or ads for upcoming events in the neighborhood.
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