Converting empty buildings into business warehouses or warehouses is a common practice for small businesses in small towns. Marking is a good idea for at least two reasons.
Retail businesses may stock additional products. Manufacturers may have additional materials or finished products for shipment. Service and repair companies need to keep spare parts and supplies somewhere.
A sign makes your city look better
If there’s no sign, people will assume it’s an empty building or full of someone’s trash. If there’s a sign, it’s a business. It’s just natural.
And doesn’t an active business building look better than another empty building? Agriculturalist Deb Brown pointed this out to me, and I agree. Here is an example of a building he found. It is clean and well maintained, but there is no sign. It could be someone’s muscle car collection, or a social club, or a local manufacturer. We just don’t know. (And we probably assume the worst).
Before you tell me that everyone in town knows, remember that other people drive. People visiting the town have no idea if it’s junk or an active business. This could include people considering moving to the city or businesses considering your community.
Put a sign on your warehouses and storage buildings and you contribute to a city that looks more active and prosperous. It’s good economic and community development.
It can deter thieves
My first thought about putting up a sign was that it could make your business a target for theft. So I asked someone who has some insight into the thought process of people breaking into rural buildings.
Your local thieves already know what’s out there. Adding a sign doesn’t change that. (Hint: You didn’t tell me everyone in town knows?)
Thieves are more likely to look for buildings that don’t have a lot of traffic. If there are weeds growing and not many tracks and no signs, it looks like a better target.
Here is an example I saw. It is not very well preserved, but clearly in some current use. The old faded sign may be replaced with a new one that identifies the local business that uses this building. And a little paint on the door and trim wouldn’t hurt either.
Adding a sign makes it look more like you’re there often, so it makes it a little less attractive as a target for theft. Will the token stop all intrusions? Of course no.
Bonus points. Create a window display
Billy Cook Harness and Classic Saddles in Sulphur, Oklahoma, uses a converted downtown building for storage and shipping. They put up a display of saddles and the molds used to make them in the window, along with a sign. You can see from the stack of boxes that I walked past right before I picked up the courier.
This window display and sign makes the building and downtown look so much better than just another empty building being used to store who knows what.
Send us your small town business stories and let us know what questions you have.
About Becky McCray
Becky started Small Biz Survival in 2006 to share rural business and community building stories and ideas with other small town entrepreneurs. She and her husband own a small cattle ranch and are lifelong entrepreneurs. Becky is an international speaker on small business and rural topics.
- Use the building as a warehouse or warehouse in a small town? Place a sign – March 13, 2023
- How to get customers to the doorstep of small town and rural retailers – February 19, 2023
- Check your small business website for outdated pandemic changes, missing information – January 31, 2023
- Rural tourism trend. electric car chargers can drive visitors – January 15, 2023
- 2023 trends for rural and small town businesses – December 26, 2022
- Local reviews on Google Maps bring lasting value – December 17, 2022
- Additional agritourism income from camping, cabins and RVs associated with HipCamp – December 12, 2022
- Harvest Hosts welcomes vanlifers and RV tourists, Boondockers Welcome – December 2, 2022
- Holiday 2022 Marketing. tell the story of your founding – December 1, 2022
- Holiday 2022 Marketing. tell your customers’ stories – November 30, 2022