5 Simple Ways to Make Your Vacant Space Retail-Ready

Just had a long-term tenant vacate your space and have yet to find a replacement? Or, using your space for other purposes but need to generate extra income to reduce expenses? Prepping your vacant space for retailers who want to rent it out for a pop-up shop is a great solve – and easy to do with just a few steps.

Here are a few cosmetic things you can do to attract even more renters and provide a positive renting experience for all.

Prep Your Storefront

If your vacant space is street level or exposed to a lot of foot traffic, the storefront is absolutely essential.

Many brick-and-mortar stores have large window displays at the front. The floor-to-ceiling view gives pedestrians a peek inside, as well as retailers a chance to flex their creative muscles with appealing displays.

Fruit of the Loom’s The Früt Store pop-up shop had a storefront with a creative display of their products — undergarments hanging from a tree. This piqued consumers’ interest and lured them into the space. Large windows at your storefront gives retailers that opportunity to express their brand through engaging displays.

Create a Blank Canvas

Every strategic retailer wants to create a unique, true-to-brand pop-up experience. If they’re viewing a vacant space with a blank canvas, or a “whitebox-ready” space, it’s easier for them to imagine and execute on their specific vision.

Neutral walls, customizable features (like lights or signage), and empty space can draw a larger range of retail brands to rent your space. This White Box Gallery in downtown San Francisco is a perfect example: Blank white walls and a gray floor, plus bright lights and a large display window, can easily be transformed into the perfect space for all types of retail brands.

Get Your Tech Up to Par

There are a few common technological needs for retailers. The basics, such as outlets and adequate lighting, are straightforward. A quality sound system and (optional) televisions are also appealing for many retailers. But going the extra mile can make a big difference.

Complimentary Wi-Fi can increase bookings, as many point-of-sale systems need an internet connection. You can factor the cost of providing Wi-Fi services into your overall rental fees.

Brit + Co livestreamed their pop-up event, and though they don’t sell products, the retail vertical is also integrating technology into the pop-up experience.

Offer Conveniences

There are ways to prep your vacant space for retail pop-ups while offering conveniences for renters. For example, one thing every retailer has: inventory. Oftentimes, this stock is kept in the back of the store (out of customers’ sight), an off-site warehouse, or even several warehouses. If you can offer access to a stock room, that’s a major perk for brands.

Aside from backstock space, here are a few other perks:

  • Fitting rooms may be another useful addition for apparel brands specifically — such as these rentals in LA, New York and San Francisco
  • Parking, especially if the spot isn’t easily accessible by public transportation
  • Garment racks, again best for apparel brands, makes it easier for retailers to set up in your space
  • Furniture, such as a lounge space, will make your space more comfortable for shoppers, but make sure the furniture isn’t too difficult to move (or remove, in the case they don’t want to use your furniture)

Mind the Details

When putting the finishing touches on your space before listing it for rent, you’ll want to go through it with a fine-tooth comb. Every inch matters, and there are lots of small things you can easily miss if you’re not detail-oriented. Here’s a checklist to help:

Fix up any areas that need an extra coat of paint
Update fixtures (door knobs, switches, lights, etc.) — this spot in SoHo has updated light fixtures that has attracted big names like JCPenney
Hire professional cleaners in between tenants
Remember the space in front of your space — small things like sweeping the sidewalk could make all the difference

At the end of the day, put yourself in the shoes of the renter and examine your property through that lens.

Find some inspiration for prepping your property from these unique pop-up spaces in New York City >

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