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How to Open a Sneaker Store on

December 8, 2009
  1. Secure a high-profile location for your store—ideally one that is located in a strip mall where shops catering to your demographic are already in business. Decide upon the most likely location, but before you sign a lease agreement, check out competitors within a 25-mile radius to make certain the area isn’t already saturated with sneaker boutiques.

  2. Write a business plan that includes a budget. Include start-up cost projections, advantages and disadvantages of selling a single product line, marketing strategies, goals, objectives and long-range forecasting models to convince investors that you’ve thought through your business idea. Expect to spend at least $50,000 to get your enterprise off the ground, remembering that regional cost-of-living variances will make a difference in your fiscal needs. Include store set-up expenses like a computer system, wall fixture units and display counters.

  3. Make contact with a variety of sneaker companies like Converse®, Nike®, Reebok® and KSwiss® brands by calling each one’s corporate headquarters. Ask for the regional sales director so he can introduce you to your area representative, the person who will be your conduit for everything from ordering new stock to obtaining co-op advertising approvals.

  4. Invent a memorable name for your store that’s a reflection of your sneaker shop’s style. Choose an outrageous name if your goal is to attract young, radical thinkers, a fun name to appeal to a wider base or a safe name if you’ve analyzed the neighborhood into which your store will open and it’s upscale. Hire an interior designer to advise you on colors, window dressings and layout so you maximize both the space you occupy and the ambience of the store itself.

  5. Conceive marketing, advertising and promotional campaigns that support your goals and appeal to sneaker shoppers. Consider discount coupons for the middle-of-the road audience, in-store sneaker design competitions for the more sophisticated crowd and a solid Web presence to drive sales into your store. Suggest co-op advertising to commercial neighbors whose product lines are a good fit with your sneaker lines.

  6. Hire sneaker nuts to staff your store. Choose a worker with a passion for sneakers over one who may have sales experience but no real interest in the product you’re selling. Offer extraordinary service to turn casual browsers into loyal patrons by standing behind your return policy and making every effort to know frequent shoppers. A single phone call to a Reebok fanatic, letting him know that the shipment of sneakers he’s awaiting has arrived, is your ticket to customer satisfaction and repeat business.

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