Profile - How We Expanded Our Space

Being Adaptable Is A Must

Lisa GavoniTo move or not to move? It’s a decision many business owners eventually face for a variety of reasons. Florida-based Brand O’ Guitar Company (asi/41461) recently took the step to expand into a larger building, seizing on a chance to improve its offerings.

“We simply needed to expand our production capabilities to accommodate our clients’ needs,” says Lisa Gavoni, owner of Brand O’ Guitar.

Before Gavoni agreed to move into a new building, she had to answer a long list of questions. Read on to see what Gavoni chose to do and get a sense of what challenges you might face if you relocate your company.

Q: Why did you decide you needed more space?
A: The demand for our products was growing. We also saw the need to increase our profit margins, but didn’t want to raise the wholesale pricing. We could do this by lowering our manufacturing costs by implementing our own equipment to keep everything in-house.

Q: How did you search and what were you looking for in a new space?
A: I visited with a friend in another business who had just expanded to a 9,000-square-foot facility that included multiple shipping bays and a great floor plan. We also used the Internet to search for locations and ironically found an ideal building on the website of our current leaser. One of the key things we wanted was more climate-controlled space to house our new and delicate production equipment.

Q: So then you continued to lease, not buy?
A: That’s right. Since we were already renting and had a great relationship with the lease holder, we decided to continue by transferring the current agreement to the new building and expanding it another couple of years. We also took out an option for an additional five years and we’ll see how that goes.

Q: How long did it take to complete the deal?
A: It literally took less than an hour to get the paperwork in order and the new lease done. We negotiated a variety of build-out features that would help suit our business model. Originally, we wanted to knock out a large loading wall in order to increase the size of the warehouse area. We compromised, though, by turning that area into a climate-controlled storage room that actually worked better.

Q: What challenges did you face when you moved?
A: The largest challenge we faced was the reliability of the contractor hired to make the changes we needed. Plus, constant delays kept us from getting things like phone lines and security systems in place, which stalled the entire move. We planned on five weeks to move the office, warehouse and new production components, but ended up having to do it all within four days. Fortunately, the move was only blocks away from our old location and on the same street.

Q: How did you communicate the move to customers?
A: We used the opportunity to reach out to clients via e-mail and social media platforms, turning our move into a marketing opportunity.

Q: What are the best features of your new space?
A: We still haven’t been able to capitalize on the best feature, which I think will be the expanded climate-controlled areas. In Florida, it gets awfully hot and humid in a warehouse. Now, our production crew should have plenty of space to accommodate the large orders.

Q: What advice do you have for companies thinking about expanding?
A: Plan out in your head exactly what you need today and what you may need in the next three to five years. Check out other businesses that have more space and see what they’ve done and then contact your current property management company to see what they have available. It’s a lot easier to get things done with someone you already have a relationship with.