The Answer To Breaking This ‘Curse’ In Westport [OPINION]
If you're a local Westport resident, you've most likely seen businesses come and go from the 542 American Legion Highway location.
For as long as I remembered, the location where Joe's Bar and Grill is has been somewhat of a bad luck spot for local businesses who are just trying to get by. So far, Joe's has survived just fine, but according to All Friend's Smokehouse owner Jonathan Abreu rent is constantly increasing.
The two business fronts have been many things in the past... from a 1950's style hot dog bar to Mediterranean Pizza to as far back as Kent's and as recent as All Friends Smokehouse. Unfortunately, these businesses all struggled with either the price of rent or perhaps even a lack of interest. As far as location goes, it's a pretty keen spot, as it sits right off a major highway in Westport that connects Dartmouth to Tiverton, RI--so it's not like people aren't passing it.
So what's the solution to all of this? It's simpler than you think.
To thrive, you need to be seen, and not just as one half of a building. In order to make money, unfortunately, you have to spend money, hence the answer: buy out both sides of that building, not just one. BE SEEN!
Again, there's no problem with having two businesses attached to one building, I'm just trying to solve the problem at this specific location.
Buy both sides. Go big or go home.
Once again... BE SEEN! There are two road signs for each side of the businesses in that lot. Eliminate one of them, and make the other larger and brighter. You may be known to the locals who often don't like to travel outside of the town of Westport (for the most part), but for those who just pass by on their daily commute, bring to the table something they want to see, something that will catch their attention and say, I have to check that place out! The key is to reel in the outside customers to build a following, not just with the locals.
Finally, with all the space that land provides, use every inch to your advantage. Build a business that will thrive in today's market, but will also be wallet-friendly to repeat, loyal customers. It doesn't necessarily have to be a high-priced establishment, but the problem right there lies with the landlord. It's Westport for goodness' sake, not fancy schmancy Melrose. Give the good local people a break! We're all just trying to make an honest living.
So, to recap everything above... it basically boils down to this:
-Merge both sides into ONE business (instead of the usual two)
-Make yourself SEEN, and make your businesses enticing to daily commuters in that area.
-Don't overdo the product (whatever type of business you choose to manage).
-Know your demographics. Westport locals will most likely be your main flow of customers.
-Finally, to the landlord, the more affordable your rent is, the more business these people will make, the more monthly checks you'll receive. It's basic economics...but you already know that.