Is Business Slow? This might be why.

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Are you concerned about your reputation? If you own a business with lights out a few things are happening, First, you’re likely frustrated at the constant maintenance or regular maintenance or even occasional maintenance you must employ. It seems whenever you change a bulb or two, a few days later there are new ones to change. Yup, that is frustrating.

Here’s what else happens. People don’t stick around.

As we investigate potential clients we come across many businesses with lights out. It seems an epidemic in some areas and in other areas the business owners are on top of it. At a Sunoco station in southern Sanford, Florida on the tip of Lake Mary the owner doesn’t see the correlation between his lack of business and his dark and dirty food mart/Sunoco Station.  Paul, the owner also thinks it’s okay to let his interior restroom sit in disrepair.  It stinks to high heaven and his customers can’t and won’t use it.  It’s like he thinks he’s out in the dessert and the only station within miles.  He’s not, there are many in every direction from him.  People have choices and obviously they chose to go elsewhere.

Along the same road there are three places owned by Sam.  Sam’s are even worse than Paul’s.  In the same community a beauty supply has a third of their lights out like Paul and Sam and they wonder why their business is slow.  Around the corner and up the street not even a mile away is a beauty supply that is well lit and busy.  A mile an a half from Paul there’s a Wawa station, brightly lit, clean and their gas is more but it is always busy.

What are they thinking?

Then there’s the Sunoco station on the North end of Sanford.  His plan, like many business owners of his kind seem to think they shouldn’t do any improvements and let the place go.  His hope is one day someone will come along an offer him enough money for a pay out.  He got his way.  His place is so trashed the neighbor is going to level it and build a new building.  That was a good gamble.  However, drive down Orlando Ave in Sanford and you’ll see a handful of gas stations and convenience stores that didn’t have as much luck.  Boarded windows and padlocked doors are the symbol of an owner with the same mindset – lost interest in upkeep.

Blame the economy

So often retailers blame the economy.  I would guess that’s what Paul is doing.  If that’s the case why did Wawa build a brand new station on the same location of a station that was in disrepair?  Now that Wawa is thriving when the old owner could have made adjustments to thrive too.  Why did that happen?  I believe it is because that owner created his own reputation.  Wawa has a great reputation and that Sunoco has a terrible reputation.  One day Wawa will buy his location or the one across the street and he’ll be finished.  If Paul gets bought out by Wawa he has hedged his bet properly.  My guess is his asking price won’t be met if he’s failing as much as it would be if he was succeeding.

Over on Celery Ave Ronaldo has more lights out than Paul.  He said he didn’t need to fix them.  Was I surprised?  Not really.  When these business owners have the slumlord mentality they encourage slums.  Celery Avenue has a mix of demographics.  If you sat in the parking lot and watched the thousands of cars go by everyday, the lost revenue that Ronaldo doesn’t take into consideration, you would see late model vehicles seven out of ten times.  Yet the people who patronize him are walking or on bikes.  What does that tell you Ronaldo?  The only reason to go to the market is because it is close enough.  It is dark and dirty.  The man behind the plexiglas isn’t particularly groomed well.  He doesn’t pay attention to you when you walk in.  He’s Ronaldo’s relative, he’s not a great choice for a customer service representative.  At Wawa and Racetrac they vet their employees.  Those people provide great customer service.  It pays for them!

Back to Paul.  I wonder how it is that a guy like Paul can own the Sunoco and another Market in Midway Florida.  Where did he get the money and why is it okay to let the places deteriorate?  I would like someone to explain to me why a business owner would buy a place only to let it deteriorate.  How can that possibly make sense?

Is Sanford still viable?

People in Sanford make a combine $1.2billion plus.  A community of 58,000 people and over a billion dollars.  My research tells me that the people I know in Sanford shop outside of Sanford.  Sure there are places that are thriving but those are the chains.  The places near the chains where there’s an expectation of excellence are thriving.  People are spending over $250 million from Sanford.

Guess what Paul, you’re not getting your share because you don’t care.  As your store deteriorates some other store will get your portion of the economy and it won’t be their fault it will be yours.  Once the corporations realize the opportunity that you’ve squandered away they will come in an take over.  Paul, your competition is as bad and worse than you.  All you need to do is improve your store and you will eliminate them, just like Wawa intends to do to you.