OK… UPDATE ON ARCH GRANT PROCESS….THERE’S ONE LITTLE PROBLEM…..
I emailed the committee through their website requesting permission to submit my business as a valid entry even though it wouldn’t be located within Downtown St. Louis, but IS still located within the city limits. I have yet to receive a decision…so I am currently stuck in limbo, but I am not stopping any momentum I am trying to build up. I am continuing on as I have been for the past year, and hopefully will get a big thumbs up…soon. There are major reasons why I want to launch outside of downtown; which I expressed my main ones through my email to the Arch Grants, and wanted to express in a little more detail why I don’t feel downtown is the best market to consider at this time (not to exclude it completely from future local expansion plans)
1.) Limited pedestrian traffic, and limited vehicle traffic. — Yes, this area is rebuilding and rebounding, which is awesome and amazing, but it hasn’t yet hit it’s peak, and there is no guarantee that, once it is completed, that it will pull people back to the downtown area. My business could actually have a GREATER chance of FAILING by simply having to “wait and see” if the area does in fact, rebound. Currently, I don’t see a lot of daytime traffic (pedestrian or vehicle) outside of Washington Ave. and Market St. And even then, it is only certain blocks on Wash Ave and Market that would make it a viable market for my company.
I don’t have the time to wait for my target market to come to me, nor, do I have the extra finances to invest in additional marketing, advertising, and enticing promotions. I have to go to them….SIMPLE! I find locations that ALREADY have the pedestrian and vehicle traffic established, in combination with, my customer demographics. Downtown, currently, is a POSSIBLE market, but not appropriate for my action plan at this time…unfortunately.
2.) Not exactly an open market….anymore — My initial excitement about launching in downtown was the fact that it was an open market opportunity. There were no current resale providers (with a positive public image) within the area. However, last June, MOV clothing store launched at Washington and 13th. (My Round 1 Arch Grant submission last Feb/March listed CTA’s location to be at or near Washington and 4th) One of my stronger advantages is locating open or under-served locations, and as closely located to my target market as physically possible. It’s having that “head-start” in building the company’s customer/client loyalty that will be a big factor in CTA’s overall sustainability, and most importantly, being EASILY ACCESSIBLE to my customers and clients. I welcome the competition, but there are big perks in being first!
St. Louis (as a whole) is a very business-loyal community. If you execute your business correctly, you will have loyal customers for life — FOR EXAMPLE: The Coffee Cartel (located at Euclid and Maryland in the CWE) is a single location, and yet, their customers and associates are so die-hard loyal that this one little St. Louis coffee shop put big ‘ol Starbucks (which was located across the street) out of business.
3.) Crime in downtown – Being a police dispatcher for areas bordering with St. Louis City, I hear of a lot more that goes on than what most St. Louis residents and businesses know of. Most crimes never make it to the evening news, and my confidence is still insecure for a few different reasons that I can’t currently disclose of at this time (professional/political conflict of interest) but they are compelling.
4.) Target market conflict – Like I said before, my business needs to be located as close to my customers as possible. This is one of my marketing strategies that will greatly increase my appeal to my customers, the flow of customer traffic into the store, and provide me with an endless supply of potential employees. I do not have this advantage if I launch in downtown right now. The building I have picked out to become my “living business model” has a large concentration of my target market located right across the street, and directly next door….no joke. This is an area that most in my position could only dream of having, and yet, here I am, looking at the big FOR SALE sign on the building and dying a bit inside by truly knowing its full potential.
……I am really hoping that they will accept my business submission, and that I will be able to confidently pursue the competition! Right now, only time will tell.