Carytown to Short Pump: A tough move for retailers

The nuances of running a business in Short Pump continually stump retailers that started out in Carytown.

Maternity store It’s Hip to Be Round joins a growing list of Carytown retailers who have opened second locations in Short Pump only to close one or both locations. Others include Glass & Powder Boardshop, Bev’s Homemade Ice Cream, Martha’s Mixture and Soak.

Anne Kennon opened her maternity boutique in Carytown five years ago. Last year, she signed a lease at the West Broad Village development. She was the first retailer to take the plunge and get space in the mixed-use center.

“We got out there a year too early and weren’t able to last,” Kennon said. “I’m sad and really disappointed. I didn’t open with intentions of closing in nine months.”

Besides the lack of foot traffic, Kennon said, her customer base was different from those who shop in the Carytown store.

“Customers always said, ‘I really wish you were in Short Pump,’ but [the clientele] is really super different. I went out there with the intention of bringing my same store out there, but found that the store was having to provide a different product mix,” she said.

Kennon says traffic at the West Broad Village shop increased dramatically when the new Children’s Museum of Richmond/Short Pump opened last month, but it was too little, too late.

“I really honestly believe in this [development]. I chose it over more established ones because I think it has a great future. If I had just held off a year, things could be completely different, and I’d never say no to going back out there.”

Kennon said that E/Class Partners, major investors in the center, bent over backward to help her out but that she had no choice but to close. (You can read a Q&A with the partners of E/Class here.)

“I wanted to refocus myself and get back to where the business as a whole was several years ago,” she said.

“Once the center’s retail mix is there and is more concentrated, even in six to 12 months, I could step back into it,” Kennon says , adding that she feels she’s leaving just as the development is getting itself off the ground, with a coffee shop, candy store and several restaurants planning to lease space in the near future.

“I have no hard feelings toward West Broad Village or E/Class Partners, and I could be back in the future.”

Trevor Dickerson runs DowntownShortpump.com, where this story first appeared.

The nuances of running a business in Short Pump continually stump retailers that started out in Carytown.

Maternity store It’s Hip to Be Round joins a growing list of Carytown retailers who have opened second locations in Short Pump only to close one or both locations. Others include Glass & Powder Boardshop, Bev’s Homemade Ice Cream, Martha’s Mixture and Soak.

Anne Kennon opened her maternity boutique in Carytown five years ago. Last year, she signed a lease at the West Broad Village development. She was the first retailer to take the plunge and get space in the mixed-use center.

“We got out there a year too early and weren’t able to last,” Kennon said. “I’m sad and really disappointed. I didn’t open with intentions of closing in nine months.”

Besides the lack of foot traffic, Kennon said, her customer base was different from those who shop in the Carytown store.

“Customers always said, ‘I really wish you were in Short Pump,’ but [the clientele] is really super different. I went out there with the intention of bringing my same store out there, but found that the store was having to provide a different product mix,” she said.

Kennon says traffic at the West Broad Village shop increased dramatically when the new Children’s Museum of Richmond/Short Pump opened last month, but it was too little, too late.

“I really honestly believe in this [development]. I chose it over more established ones because I think it has a great future. If I had just held off a year, things could be completely different, and I’d never say no to going back out there.”

Kennon said that E/Class Partners, major investors in the center, bent over backward to help her out but that she had no choice but to close. (You can read a Q&A with the partners of E/Class here.)

“I wanted to refocus myself and get back to where the business as a whole was several years ago,” she said.

“Once the center’s retail mix is there and is more concentrated, even in six to 12 months, I could step back into it,” Kennon says , adding that she feels she’s leaving just as the development is getting itself off the ground, with a coffee shop, candy store and several restaurants planning to lease space in the near future.

“I have no hard feelings toward West Broad Village or E/Class Partners, and I could be back in the future.”

Trevor Dickerson runs DowntownShortpump.com, where this story first appeared.

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Brian Glass
Brian Glass
12 years ago

Mom and Pop retailers have to realize, at the outset, that the second location is often more difficult to succeed with than the first. One of the primary factors is that you can’t be in two places at the same time. This creates many issues such as having proper systems in place;providing for expanded employee training ; the possibility of a diferent merchandise mix; and yes is the location of your second store at the right place and is there tenant synergy in the shopping center. A good starting point, in my opinion, is to really study the demographics and… Read more »

Peter Bunin
Peter Bunin
12 years ago

I wanted to jump in to emphasize Brian’s important point. He & I have both been engaged in commercial real estate specializing in retail for over 25 years, individually; & we both have retail backrounds prior to that. This gives us a different perspective than many when helping retailers evaluate a site & putting together a business plan. I was telling a successful, one store tenant who’s planning to expand just last week that the 2nd store is the HARDEST one to plan for success. I won’t reiterate Brian’s salient perspective except to reaffirm that it’s unfortunately VERY easy to… Read more »

Linda Heath
Linda Heath
12 years ago

Brian Glass, it’s good to read your comments. You assisted my husband and me in selecting a location when we brought the Signs by Tomorrow franchise to Richmond and gave us excellent guidance. Your comment that the business owner should study and contrast the demographics of two locations was on target…but it might helpreaders if you and Peter could list some resources accessible to layman that would provide useful and reliable intel. As a former commercial banker, SBA underwriter and virtual CFO, I concur with you both that the operational challenges of dividing management and cash flow between two locations… Read more »

Peter Bunin
Peter Bunin
12 years ago

In my 2nd comment, there was a typo; I obviously meant to say ” I take my hat off to any retailer has navigated a road to success in any economic environment”

I hope my other remarks re: obtaining demographics from the site’s representative, tracking your zip codes to insure the 2nd store doesn’t cannibalize the first (as Linda smartly observed), were somewhat helpful in response to Linda’s comments.

Thank you