Real estate agents say, "location, location, location" is of utmost importance for successful business properties. While I know that is true, there were other factors at play in this decision - curiosity about historic preservation and what the Charles Lee Mansion once was and could be. Being a part of one of Saginaw's most historic renewal endeavors spoke to my belief in the power and beauty of transformation both for the structure and for myself.
That didn't mean I stuck my head in the dirt and jumped in. I explored available real estate on both sides of the Saginaw River including buildings with more visibility and potential for walk-in foot traffic. But what these spaces had in visibility and space, they lacked in character. Plus many were too huge, which is not ideal for someone who has no retail and little entrepreneurial experience and doesn't want to bite off more than she can chew.
Just as searching for a house to call home, finding a place for your business is just as personal. And, not only does the building you select need to satisfy the buyer's needs, it needs to communicate what this business is and the vibe at a glance, entice people to want to know more, fit what you're attempting to create in myriad ways, fit in your budget, and be a place people want to go. A tall order, for sure. Were these bigger, closer-to-the-action spaces the answer? Did they fit what I was envisioning for a bookstore? You'll have to read the next post to find out.