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Ken Tracy's Real Estate Blog

By Ken Tracy | Broker in Naperville, IL

My Dream is Becoming a Reality: The Naperville Scooter Store

I wrote a post a few weeks back titled Chasing your Dreams:  The Naperville Scooter Store.

The post was written hoping to inspire others to dream big and pursue those dreams.  I also wanted to share my own vision for a scooter store in my beautiful hometown of Naperville, Illinois.  The time is right and Naperville is a perfect place for a scooter dealership.

In the last several weeks, I have charged ahead.  Life is more fun when you have passion, and I have had a hard time containing my excitement.  I am happy to say I am progressing faster than I had hoped...

My dream is becoming a reality.

I have been looking at several locations for my business, and am closing in on what I want, what I need, and realistically, what I can afford.

I hope to have my dealership open within 6 months.  This may be optimistic, but it is certainly attainable. 

I am currently looking at spaces, and will catch you up briefly on my search:


Ugly building in Downtown Naperville

This was the first location I looked at.  It is an eyesore in the center of Downtown Naperville.  A perfect location, however the building would most likely need knocked down.  I liked it for it's location, as well as my vision of beautifing the downtown.  This location has been ruled out for several reasons, most importantly the price of purchase (currently asking $950,000 as a short sale), as well as the cost of improvements...    

   

Photo: Front View of 4S040 Rte. 59
This was the next location that caught my eye.  A great location on Naperville's northwestern edge, it has easy access to highways and is very visible, the building was most recently a restaurant.  I have put this location on the back burner (pun?) because of it's size, and the fact that it isn't yet on the market either for rent or purchase. 


   

Location for Naperville Scooter?

When I found this location, I was blown away.  The building is beautiful, with windows floor to ceiling.  It's interior is open and clean.  It is ready to go right now, and has great parking.  It was perfect for my vision.  However, the space is 6800 square feet (although divisible), and they want $23.50 per square foot.  It is bigger than I need, so I would need to negotiate for part of the space.  Finally, after sitting empty for two years, the space has recently come under contract for rent.  Perhaps I will revisit this space for my next location, when sales dictate expansion...           



Possible Location for Naperville Scooter

I stopped by this space today. Much smaller than the previous two locations, this spot is located on Jefferson and Washington in Naperville's Downtown.  It is another perfect location. The spot has many advantages. Other than it's downtown location, North Central College is just steps away, and the smaller space would certainly be easier on my budget.  There is even a free parking lot adjacent to the building.  My own parking lot would be wonderful, but why pay for it if you don't have to? 

I have a call in to the leasing agent inquiring about the availabilty, expenses, and size of final property.  I hope to get in for a look in the next few days.  My biggest concern is whether or not the space is big enough for me or my distributors to consider...

Again, I am open to a variety of locations, but the research I have done so has taught me a lot.  I will continue my research on properties, and am confident the perfect spot is out there...




              Breeze red


What would Naperville Scooter be without scooters to sell?

I have been in touch with several different scooter distributors, and as of now, my two leading candidates for suppliers are Genuine Scooter and Bintelli Scooter.

Genuine is based out of Chicago, which is certainly a plus.  Their product is great, and depending on model, offer either a one or two year warranty.  They are currently looking to expand, however they do have two dealerships in the area, Arlington Motorsports (30 miles north) and, Scooter Works Chicago (35 miles east).  I don't want to step on anyone's toes, although I have no fear of competition.

Bintelli Scooter is even more interesting to me.  They offer 6 different models, and their scooters have a two year warranty.  They reached out to me, and I appreciate that.  I have started promoting them and their bikes on various social media networks, and am evaluating the feedback I receive.  Almost everything I hear or read has been positive.  As a newer company, they may be more open to supplying a new dealer, such as Naperville Scooter, then many of the bigger brands.  Their business philosophy is similar to mine, with a customer first attitude.  Finally, they have no dealerships in Illinois, and I hope to be the first.

I also am moving ahead on other issues as well. 

I plan on buying or renting a truck and offer free delivery.  I would advertise Naperville Scooter on one side, and Ken Tracy Real Estate on the other...

I would like to offer free helmets or top cases with every purchase.  Again, another spot to place my marketing...

I am developing a website, and have created pages on both Facebook and Twitter.

I have looked into a dealership license, which will cost about $1000 and requires two days of classtime.

With over 15 years in the financial services industry, I certainly have been crunching numbers.  I would like a full years of expenses up front, and understand my distributor would have certain expectations as well.

I am aware of the many challenges I face.  I have run a small business for the last 8 years (I am a Naperville Realtor), so I know it is not easy.  Great things rarely are.

My biggest hurdle is probably putting together the necessary start up money.  A challenge, perhaps, but what would life be without challenges?

A bad economy?  Cold winters in Illinois?  Insurance?  I look at those as speed bumps, not serious obstacles...

Who knows?  If we have a real bad winter, we can always sell snowmobiles...

Chase your dreams.

Ken


Read the following related links/articles:

Chasing a dream:  The Naperville Scooter Store

Naperville Investors:  420,436 Washington Naperville, Illinois

Apples and Oranges?  Comparing the Kymco Agility 125 and the Mercedes SL 500


Follow Naperville Scooter on Facebook.

Comments

By Scott Miller - REALTOR®,  Sun Nov 11 2012, 15:16
Hi Ken.

Fyi, now that the economy is in such a slow down and there are so many vacant storefronts, you should consider a short-term lease in a great location with no long term commitment. In my town, there are commercial properties I'm leasing to prospective tenants for 75-90% off their usual psf price. We're not signing a bona-fide lease, but a short 'license agreement' to use the space for 120 or 180 days, then month to month.

Companies that own these strip centers or free standing retail locations do not want 'dark' stores. They will do anything in their power to lease the space, but in the meantime, this could be a real steal/deal for you to a) try out your concept and b) test drive the location. If the usual price for the space is $10K/month, I suggest you offer them $1500-2000/month including utilities. Think 'Halloween Adventure' or similar.

I read your blog about the prices you're seeing for retail. Now's the time for you to take advantage of all of those empties and save a fortune.

GOOD LUCK in your new venture.

Scott Miller
Realty Associates
Boca Raton, FL
By Ken Tracy,  Sun Nov 11 2012, 18:29
Wow Scott! Seriously, I just got the chills. I love it! Actually have a friend who owns a chain of mattress stores that does that, and has been signing incredibly cheap short term leases. If the location works, he ponies up for more...
Thanks so much for the great thought! Again, brings it closer to reality...
Ken

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