Note: This was drafted on 3/3/2021
I’m in the early stages of looking for a “test run” location for the Eureka Room. Before the big freeze, I had spent a few hours driving around different parts of town trying to get a feel for the kidneys of locations that would be best.
I took a couple weeks off of the search because of the freeze and worked on Eureka Room programs instead. I went back out yesterday with the plan of talking to three different locations. I’m sure I’ll ramp up to more but sometimes you have to set the bar low to overcome inertia. I was feeling a bit apprehensive about cold-calling on businesses to ask “hey can I have some of your space”. The goal of three didn’t seem too daunting.
I decided that my own neighborhood (Cherrywood) might be a good place to start, since it’s convenient if I have to go back and forth from home a lot and also because it’s an active area with restaurants and bars but not in the way that the tourist areas are.
I knew some semi-industrial buildings not to far away that I would scope out. I parked my car near them and walked around with the plan of “note any possibilities, then identify the top three.”
I walked around for about 20 minutes and identified some places that looked like the had some potential. Not many of them looked like the sorts of places you just walk into and say hello. Due to the Covid-19 restictions I was concerned that if I opened the front door to someone’s workplace uninvited,that they might freak out. My fear of cold-calling wanted to use that concern as an excuse to wus out but I wasn’t going to let it.
There was a for rent sign at one location. I took a photo. At another location I wrote down the name of the business that I would google later, find the number and call.
But at the third place I knew I was going to feel like I had been defeated by my fear if I didn’t knock on the door and talk to anyone. Clearly this was the kind of place where you either knocked on the door or you were a wus.
I knocked on the front door and peered in. It was clear that no one was there. But I noticed some cars around back and found a back entrance. I knocked on the door and no one came. I could see the back of someone working at a desk inside so I knew giving up now was not an option. I knocked again and someone else came to the door.
My line was essentially, “Hi, I live in the neighborhood and own a small business. I was looking to sublet some space so decided I would just ask around and see if anyone had some extra space to rent. Do you know who I might talk to about that?”
She was friendly but didn’t seem to know how to respond. She said the name of a company she thought was it but couldn’t offer more than that and she didn’t seem sure she was spelling it right.
Part of me was ready to go but then my sales instincts kicked in and dug in for more information. I needed to leave knowing I had solid contact info.
“Is there someone here that might know who the person is I should talk to?”
This line takes the “job” of answering a weird question off of her plate. Now, instead of her spending time searching in her brain for information that isn’t there, I’ve moved her focus to another way she can help. Perhaps by saving her from my first question, she seems relieved and invites me in.
I go in and she walks me around showing me the offices and I take a photo of the logo of this landlord with the hard to spell name. At least now I feel I can find them online.
I keep asking questions. “Do you know the other people who office here? Do they come in at all?”
She mentions a space that has recently been vacated. I don’t know if it would work for me, but at least it’s something I can use to increase my chances of geting the landlord to call me back. Landlords love to fill vacancy.
I thank her for the info and leave.
At home I found and called all three. One picked up (the actively renting one) and I spoke with him. The size was about what I need. I emailed him and hope to look at it next week. I also asked if he had other listings around here and he did. I was upfront about my need for a 6-12 month lease since I know most commercial property wants at least 3-5 years. He didn’t hang up but we’ll see if he gets back to my email containing my contact info and needs.