[ASK TBM] How to Choose the Right Location for Your Brick-and-Mortar Store

[ASK TBM] How to Choose the Right Location for Your Brick-and-Mortar Store

Location is king when it comes to the success of a business with a brick-and-mortar store. We asked the owner of PAPAKAPE for his metrics on choosing the right one.

In the Philippine setting, e-commerce is expected to continue flourishing in the coming years. In fact, e-commerce sales in the country are expected to hit PHP 969 billion by 2026. But even with the growth of e-commerce in the country, there are still Filipinos who prefer and enjoy buying food, clothing, and other products from brick-and-mortar stores.

This is why many online brands have opted to open physical stores to further their sales and presence in their chosen market.

For brick-and-mortar stores, however, location will always be king. It can spell the difference when it comes to sales, visibility, and foot traffic. It is, therefore, critical for a business to pick the best location to ensure maximum profit. 

But how do you know if your chosen area is the right location for your business or not? We asked PAPAKAPE owner Manu Reyes for his non-on how to choose the right location. 

What led you to decide to open your business?

PAPAKAPE really started as a pastime project during the thick of the lockdown. It was essentially born from a need to create and express my creativity. The plan was very simple—to offer a coffee stop for the neighborhood. Nothing grand. 

When the response was beginning to be overwhelming beyond our imagination, we had to catch up and also begin to become business people. 

What led you to decide to open a brick-and-mortar coffee shop for PAPAKAPE?

Nothing compares to having a physical shop for a coffee service shop. We had some space in our residence to make room for a physical shop, so it was just reasonable to open one. And having a physical shop during the pandemic also really directly addressed a need for people to physically connect in a time when we were apart.

What are the advantages and disadvantages of having a brick-and-mortar shop? 

Having a physical shop meant navigating through the complexities of managing a space, having higher operating costs, and dealing with manpower and human resource challenges. But the big advantage was that it served coffee to people the best way it should be done—with human service.

The soul and intent of service is much more tangible. 

What factors led you to choose the area of Palanan for your branch? Conversely, why did you choose to do a glass house for your branch in Makati? 

As mentioned, it was our own house. No rent. It made sense at the time of the lockdown. While it was an obscure street, it was still in Makati—so it was easy to access but also unknown enough to offer a feel of “destination” when travel was restricted. 

The glass house was [conceptualized] so we could have a structure that wasn’t obstructing the sky. Our property is small, so having a glass house kept the space airy. 

What factors led you to choose the area of Intramuros for your branch in Manila? Why did you choose a 300-year-old cistern as the location of this particular branch?

Intramuros was a perfect spot for our brand. We forwarded Filipino flavors, and we liked being a destination. The cistern has its automatic charm and soul, which is essential for destination cafes. And how can we not be proud of being inside Fort Santiago—a globally recognized heritage site? 

What are the common myths and misconceptions about choosing a location for a business that you’d like to debunk?

The location should be chosen not only for traffic—but also for the consistency of your brand and philosophy. It is a physical representation of your intent as a business. So it should serve that the best way it can. 

What should other entrepreneurs keep in mind when choosing a location for their business? Kindly elaborate 

First off, there’s your brand. You should be consistent with your narrative. It should make sense why you’re there. 

Second, consider your budget and just be practical, especially if you’re a starting business.

Manu Reyes is the owner of PAPAKAPE, a coffee shop he started in 2021. PAPAKAPE’s branches are located in Palanan, Makati (a glasshouse), and Intramuros Manila (inside a 300-year-old cistern).