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With many recent businesses – SAM’S Club, Toys R Us, Macy’s, GAP and Ann Taylor – closing down their retail stores, opening up a brick and mortar store for your small business can be quite frightening, but very rewarding if you plan ahead. Like many other milestones as a business owner, it takes much needed time, dedication, and planning out your vision to put forth the work to owning your successful brick and mortar store.

Before diving head first into sharing your ideas of what your decor will look like for your store, it might be more important to establish some key fundamentals on how your store will remain open and running for business. Just Add Honey, a tea company who started its roots on Auburn Avenue in 2014, and later relocated in the heart of downtown Atlanta at Sweet Auburn Curb Market in 2016, understands the process and steps it takes to make your dream of starting a retail store a successful reality.

Brandi Shelton, founder of Just Add Honey, shares her 3 tips below on how to start your own successful brick and mortar store in Atlanta.

Hire people that are excited about your product/brand and teach them everything know.

As small business owners, we sometimes just need a warm body to fill a job and that’s a HUGE MISTAKE (been there. done that). That warm body is the face of your company while you’re running errands, putting out other fires, etc. Hire people that are excited about you, your brand, and your vision. Their enthusiasm will reflect in the customer experience and business. You can always teach them how to do the rest.

Systems. Systems. Systems.

Nothing is worse than overhearing a customer say, “I like it when so-and-so is here. He or she makes my tea just right.” Systems help avoid a customer walking by because their favorite sandwich maker isn’t working. Systems make the store open and close properly. Systems keep the staff accountable. Systems help you grow your brand.

Be Flexible in your vision of your store.

When I envisioned the initial storefront, it was a stark white space with a modern look and feel. We quickly realized it was too sterile almost to the point of being uninviting. We warmed the space up with more color, added living elements (plants), and we watched the customers become magnets to the instagrammable space.

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