The Different Types of Retail Locations

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Commercial retail locations are available in many different forms. Stop and think about the businesses in your town. Like most communities, there are probably older shopping areas, new bustling retail locations, and some tucked away shops. Retailers have many store location factors to consider when choosing a place for their business. Here are a few of the more common types of retail locations.

Mall Space

From kiosks to large anchor stores, a mall has many retailers competing with each other under one roof. In a mall, there are generally 3 to 5 anchor stores or large chain stores and dozens of smaller retail shops. Because of the high amount of customer traffic malls generate, the rent is much higher than other retail locations.

Before selecting this type of store location, be sure the mall shopper demographic matches that of your customers. Mall retailers will have to make some sacrifices in independence and adhere to a set of rules stipulated by mall management.

Shopping Center

Strip malls and other attached, adjoining retail locations will also have guidelines or rules for how they prefer their tenants to do business. These rules are probably more lenient than a mall, but make sure you can live with them before signing a lease. Your community probably has many shopping centers of various sizes.

Some shopping centers may have as few as 3 units or as many as 20. The types of retailers and the goods or services they offer will also vary. One area to investigate before choosing this type of store location is parking. Smaller shopping centers and strip malls may have a limited parking area for your customers.

Downtown Area

Like the mall, this type of store location may be another premium choice. However, there may be more freedom and fewer rules for the business owner. Many communities are hard at work to revitalize their downtown areas, and retailers can greatly benefit from this effort. However, the lack of parking is generally a big issue for downtown retailers. You'll find many older, well-established specialty stores in a downtown area.

Free Standing Locations

This type of retail location is basically any stand-alone building. It can be tucked away in a neighborhood location or right off a busy highway. Depending on the landlord, there are generally no restrictions on how a retailer should operate his business.

It will probably have ample parking and the cost per square foot will be reasonable. The price for all that freedom may be traffic. Unlike the attached retail locations, where customers may wander in because they were shopping nearby, the retailer of a free-standing location has to work at marketing to get the customer inside.

Office Building

The business park or office building may be another option for a retailer, especially when they cater to other businesses. Tenants share maintenance costs and the image of the building is usually upscale and professional.


More and more retail businesses are getting a start at home. Some may eventually move to a commercial store location, while many remain in the business owner's spare room. This type of location is an inexpensive option, but growth may be limited. It is harder to separate business and personal life in this setup, and the retailer may run into problems if there isn't a different address and/or phone number for the business.