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Key steps to opening a retail store, what to start with, assistance in opening a store or a café/restaurant.

We have gained a lot of experiencerelated to opening stores, restaurants, cafes, etc. and are ready to share itwhile making friends, partners, and getting new knowledge in return. Our article is an attempt to clarify issues,which retailers facewhile opening their first stores, and the opportunity to warn them about some of the pitfalls. Below is the table that presentskey stages of opening a retail store project, and further we will tell you in more detailwhat to start with and what the order of those stages of opening a store is. As an illustration we use the photos of the projects carried out by Unique Technologies.



1. Selection of premises
2. Signing the lease agreement
3. Development and approval of thedesign project
4. Development and approval of architectural design
5. Development and approval of electrical design
6. Development and approval of the air conditioning and ventilationdesign project
7. Development and approval of fire-suppression, fire detection, fire alarm project. Installation of fire protection system.
8. The tender and selection of a contractor
9. Signing the agreement for construction and repair works
10. Performingclient and technical supervision functions
11. Submission (receipt) of as-built documents
12. Ordering materials for walls, ceilings, flooring, lighting equipment
13. OrderingPOS system and software
14. Production of advertising equipment and materials
15. Production, delivery and installation of the signboard
16. Selection of a retail store furniture manufacturer
17. Signing an agreement for production and delivery of retail store furniture
18. Installation of furniture
19. Installation of antitheft systems, video surveillance systems
20. Cleaning the premises
21. Signing the store acceptance act
22. Personnel selection and hiring


1. Selection of the premises.

When selecting the premises for a store, first of all, pay attention to the premises and their location compliance with the required criteria: the premises configuration, shopping mall class, storey, pedestrian and car traffic, parking lot availability, competitive environment, area coverage, population, and, finally, prospects of the city itself for your business.


2. Signing the lease agreement.

Careful study of the lease agreement will allow youto focus peacefully onyour business in the future. We particularly recommendthat you pay attention to the following clauses of the agreement:

- the rental, which, as a rule, is composed of constant and variable components
- operating costs
- marketing fees
- a deposit
- opening dates
- rent holidays for the period of remodeling
- the conditions of leaving the project
- tenancy liability insurance, property insurance.


As a result of negotiation, professional agents achieve more than 30 percent lower rental rates, compared to the original offer.
Having signed the lease agreement, the tenant signs the act of acceptance of the premises. Usually,the lease agreement comes into forcefromthe moment of itssigning. It is necessary to pay attention to the following: whether the actual property condition correspondswith the description in the agreement and whether the works have been completed, otherwise, it can lead to additional costs: glazing, screed, readiness of utilities that pass through your premises.


3. Development and approval of the design project.



Even if you have obtained the BTI plans from the lessor, you should still do the measurements of the premises. Measurements are carried out using adigital tape measure and a levelling instrumentto determine the deviation of the plane of the floor and the walls, with inclusion in the project documents, which minimizes the risks when ordering retail store furniture and commercial equipment, saves the time and your investment budget.
The design project includes:

- Location of utilities (cable entry, panel installation, drainage, ventilation, heating medium parameters), utility tunnels, passing through the premises, which are served bythe mall.
- Zoning of premises, determining retail floor space, storage space, arrangement of commercial equipment, POS location.
- Lighting system plan of the sales area.
- Entrance area, signboard design. Technical specification for the entrance area and the signboarddesign should be obtained from the lessor (operating company, CTO, etc.)


You have to get the lessor’s approval of the design project, the entrance area, and the signboard.


4. Development and approval of architectural design.



The architectural design is developed based on the requirements for the premises determined by the lessor, with the design project and the chosen concept in mind. The developed design is presented to the customer for approval, and after thatthe appropriate adjustments are made.
Based on the comments on the design from the customer and the lessor (the management company) the final draft is prepared and approved by the customer and the lessor. It is printed in triplicate for each side.
During the development of the architectural design it is necessary toremember that this document will be the basis for the contractor, who will bebringing it to life, and any inaccuracy or mistake can lead to an increase in the term of the project and toan increase of the initial estimated cost of works and materials.


5. Development and approval of electrical design.

Electrical design is developed on the basis of specifications provided by the lessor (operating company). The project has to be approved by Rostekhnadzor authority. After the work completionthe IR testing is performed.


6. Development and approval of the air conditioning and ventilation design.

Ventilation of a store or a restaurant is one of the essential conditions for the functioning of anestablishment. Installation of ventilation is mandatory under the law. Air exchange pera store or a restaurantcustomer should be, at least, twenty cubic meters, and, at least, 60 cubic meters per an employee. During ventilation and air conditioning design development, it is necessary not only to take into account the comfort of staff and customers, but also follow the existing regulatory documents standards.


7. Development and approval of fire-suppression, fire detection, fire alarm design project. Installation of fire protection system.

As a rule, thisdesignis developed by a company specialized in installation and maintenance of fire protection systems of the whole building. It is necessary to remember about the fire evacuation plan signed by the lessor and developed by specialized companies, andabout the purchase of fire extinguishers (not expired) according to the plan.


8. Tendering and selection of a contractor.



Pay attention to the contractor work estimate. You need to know that the work estimated costs, made look lower on the estimate sheet, will necessarily produce additional costs. It is also worth paying attention to SRO membership (self-regulatory organizations).To some extent, it protects you from unscrupulous contractors.
Also pay attention to the availability of operational and human resources to complete the project on time. Sometimes, a contractor does not have all the resources necessary for the successful completion of the project on time, because at the moment all resources might beengaged on other objects.
You can judge on the complexity of the work they are able to perform by the photographs of the completed projects.
For information and yourserenityask the contractor for a copy of their Statute, Memorandum of Association, the CEO appointment protocol, registration card, the extract from the CompanyRegister, BIN, TIN, KPP, evidence of changes.


9. Signing the agreement for carrying out construction and repair works

In the agreement it is necessary to highlight the conditions and terms of payment, term of work completion, schedule of work completion.


10. Performing the client and technical supervision functions

The client is responsible to the lessor and third parties for the contractor’s activities at the site, the work performed must comply with the requirements of SNIP standards (Construction Norms and Requirements).
At the time of carrying out the works under the contractor agreement the contractor is your representative at the site, as reported to the lessor in writing specifying the contractor and the responsible person of the contractor.
Carrying out repair and construction works in the existing shopping mall has a number of features that should be paid attention to: access control, night work, the requirement of residence registration of workers and the work permit in Russia.


11. Submission (receipt) of as-built documents

Before signing the act of acceptance of the store, it is necessary to submit a number of documents to the lessor: the as-built project documents; concealed works acts; conformity certificates, fire certificates, sanitary-epidemiological certificates for the materials used for walls, ceilings, electrical and lighting equipment. Ensure the compliance of those certificates with the requirements of SNIP standards for your premises.


12. Ordering unique materials for walls, ceilings, flooring, lighting equipment finishing.



This item can be carried out on your own, if you have a sufficient amount of time and patience. As a rule, if you choose to order the “turn- key” store opening solutionfrom a specialized company, it can get you impressive discounts when buying construction materials and equipment,due to theirscope of work and good connections, which will significantly reduce the costs of construction and finishing works as well as the term of their completion, compared to the situation when you deal with the procurement of all materials yourself.


13. OrderingPOS system and software.


14. Production of advertising equipment and materials.



This point includes development of so-called corporate identity and product placement, that is, the choice of color and style ofuniform for the staff, a logo design development and the choice of its location, the development of interior advertising, window display and signboard design.


15. Signboard production, delivery and mounting



16. Selection of a retail furniture manufacturer.



Currently, the market of commercial equipment manufacturers is full and varied. But if you still have any difficulties with the choice, you can always order the production of retail furnitureat our company according to individual designs.


17. Signing the agreement for production and delivery of retail furniture



18. Installation of retail furniture.


19. Installation of anti-theft and video surveillance systems.



Installation is performed by specialized companies. The project documentation shouldincludelaying low-voltage cables for the installation of those systems.


20. Cleaning the premises.


21. Signing the store acceptance act.


22. Recruitment


To successfullycomplete each stage of the project it is necessary to satisfy the following conditions: the choice of a contractor or anexecutant, meeting deadlines of the start and the end of works.
At the same time, it is necessary to monitor issues related to preparing for the store sales. We have had to deal with situations of delayed store opening due to lack of goods, lack of cash register registration in the tax authority, staff untrained to work with the POS system, lack of cash tape, etc.
At each point we repeat the word “necessary” - it is necessary for the store opening, because exact compliance at each stage saves you time and money.


In conclusion, we wish you every success and hope that this article has helped youto solve the matters associated with opening a store from the ground up, however, only a specialist based on a huge experience can foresee all thepossible issues.