30 Steps To Business

Franchise Process

Non-Franchise Process

Lease Renewal Variables

Rent Reduction Variables

Relocation Variables

Option Variables

Landlord Disputes

Demographic Report

Shopping Center Lists

New Center Variables

New Space Variables

Tenant Rent Formula

Tenant Classification

Vanilla Shell

Acceptance Letter

Rejection Letter

Letter of Intent

Lease Terms

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Proactive vs Reactive Leasing

Experience and Photo

Industry Contacts

Profiled Shopping Centers









































































30 Steps to Business

Opening your first retail location is analogous to riding a roller coaster blindfolded. If you can’t see where the twists and turns are you can’t brace or prepare yourself for them.

The sequence below was created to provide you with an overview of the entire process. The rest of the retailcriteria.com  website supports this initial 30 step overview, in much further detail.


The staff  of  


Step 1.  Analyze and determine your customer profile
Step 2.  Review demographics in the area
Step 3.  Identify prospective centers
Step 4.  Visit your prospective centers
Step 5.  Quality of Traffic
Step 6.  Selecting new center variables
Step 7.  Decide on your top three preferred centers
Step 8.  Request written proposals
Step 9.   Final Proposal
Step 10. Letter of Intent
Step 11. Generating the lease
Step 12. Lease reviewed by Tenant
Step 13. Tenant comments
Step 14. Lease form negotiated
Step 15. Completion of lease negotiation
Step 16. Landlord generates lease documents for execution
Step 17. Tenant review and execution of lease
Step 18. Landlord execution of lease
Step 19. Fully executed lease received by Tenant
Step 20. Landlord work commenced
Step 21. Tenant notified of turnover
Step 22. Tenant inspection of turnover
Step 23. Acceptance or rejection of turnover
Step 24. Turnover accepted by tenant
Step 25. Turnover rejected by tenant
Step 26. Landlord completes required work
Step 27. Tenant required work
Step 28. Tenant work completed
Step 29. Good Luck!
Step 30. Ongoing support from retailcriteria.com



30 Steps to Business

Analyze and determine your customer profile.
First define what you are going to sell or what service you are providing to a targeted audience.


Review demographics in the area.
Determine where your customer lives by driving surrounding neighborhoods, looking at the placement of existing retailers, and touring potential shopping centers. Try to zero in on geographic areas that contain your target audience, whether it is a wealthy suburb or an inner city ethnic area. Match the area to the clientele you believe is your target audience.


Identify prospective centers.
When identifying your prospective center, make a note of the closest street intersection. These centers should be located conveniently near your preferred customer base. retailcriteria.com can propose demographic profile reports based on these instructions.


Visit your prospective centers
Make a list of the shopping centers that surround your target audience. retailcriteria.com  can help provide you with this information. In our main menu, just click on Services or Shopping Center Lists for more information.

Quality of traffic
Compare the quality of traffic generated by each of the centers and the respective anchor Tenan(s)

Select new center variables
Clicking on New Center Variables will provide helpful information.

Decide on your top three preferred centers
After you have viewed your prospective centers, make a list of the preferred locations. Have demographic reports prepared on each shopping center, to compare which location mirrors your target audience the closest. retailcriteria.com can provide you with this information based on the intersection you recorded in Step 3 above. For more information and a sample report on the demographics provided by retailcriteria.com, click on Services or Demographic Reports.

Request written proposals
Contact the Landlords of your first and second choices. For the response from the Landlord, compare the details of the proposal by using the "New Space Variables" provided by retailcriteria.com. Eventually you will want to include all these variables. Sometimes a third or fourth draft of a proposal is necessary to introduce all the variables. The negotiation process from the proposal to a lease between the Landlord and the Tenant is analogous to the dating-engagement-marriage sequence for couples. You must start out slowly and win the Landlord over, then introduce more complex issues. Once a relationship has formed and the Landlord has “time” invested in you, he/she is much less reluctant to end the relationship.

Final Proposal
Once a final proposal is generated and executed by both the Landlord and the Tenant, a signed "Letter of Intent" is created.

Letter of Intent
The basis by which a lease will be generated is incorporated with a "Letter of Intent". This letter reflects the details agreed upon by the Landlord and Tenant to date. If either party changes these agreed upon business points after the “Letter of Intent” is signed, the risk of having the other party kill the deal is very high. Sometimes a proposal evolves from the Letter of Intent, which is perfectly acceptable. The goal is to have various economic and business terms agreed to, which helps you secure the location.

Generating the lease
Once a lease is generated, be responsive to the Landlord.

Lease reviewed by tenant
Have an experienced Real Estate Attorney review the lease document and provide changes that reflect your specific business needs and concerns. retailcriteria.com can provide introductions to Attorneys that have negotiated for national retailers across the county. There is no charge for this service. Contact retailcriteria.com for more information.

Tenant comments
To show sincere interest, lease comments should be typed and returned to the Landlord within a maximum of 7-10 days. Remember, until you have a fully signed lease your Landlord will continue to offer “your” space to other prospective Tenants. Some of these prospective Tenants may offer more rent dollars

Lease form negotiated
The Landlord's Attorney and your Attorney or authorized representative, will address every provision to reach a mutually agreeable conclusion.

Completion of lease negotiation
Once fully negotiated, you are very close to a deal. Now you should focus on construction plans, contractor bids, hiring employees, etc. The goal is for the Tenant to be prepared to begin leasehold improvements after the lease is fully executed.

Landlord generates lease documents for execution
Once the lease is fully negotiated the Landlord will normally produce the final documents in a few days.

Tenant review and execution of lease
This is your last chance to double check the terms and conditions per your original agreement of the deal. If you accept the lease, return the signed copy to the Landlord.

Landlord execution of lease
The Landlord will review and sign the lease. An original copy of the final lease will be returned to the Tenant.

Fully executed lease received by tenant
CONGRATULATIONS! You are well on your way to opening your own business, but there is more to do

Landlord work commenced
According to the lease, the Landlord will begin his/her work to the interior and/or exterior of your space. Occasionally a Landlord will not even start making plans or talking to contractors until after the lease is fully executed. This is because some Tenants “walk away” or get cold feet at the 11th hour. Note: Within your lease, try to include a projected deadline for the Landlord to complete the work and turn the space over to Tenant.

Tenant notified of turnover
This notice should be a formal part of the process. It usually consists of a certified letter sent to the address noted in the lease.

Tenant inspection of turnover
With lease in hand, the Tenant should inspect the premises to ensure compliance with the Landlord’s work as defined in the construction exhibit of the lease.

Acceptance or rejection of turnover
To accept or reject turnover is a major Tenant decision. Acceptance of your space triggers your rent commencement date. To reject turnover postpones your projected opening date.

Turnover accepted by tenant
If accepted, send the Landlord a letter as an acknowledgement. See the sample Acceptance Letter.

Turnover rejected by tenant
If you rejected the space, send the Landlord a letter which indicates the work still needing completion. See the sample Rejection Letter.

Landlord completes required work
If you had to go through the rejection of turnover step, most Landlords will resolve the open issues quickly because the sooner you start your business, the sooner they can start collecting rent.

Tenant required work
Once turnover is accepted, the Tenant should be ready to start interior work. Each lease only provides “x” number of days to complete construction and be ready for business. If you did not prepare for turnover earlier in the process you could miss your rent commencement date and have to pay rent without being open for business.

Tenant work completed
Your store is completed, the products are on the shelves and the employees are hired and hopefully trained. You're ready to open!

Good Luck!
You made it. CONGRATULATIONS AGAIN! retailcriteria.com hopes this overview helped. As always, if you have a suggestion that would make this website clearer please advise us at retailcriteria.com.

Ongoing support from retailcriteria.com
Renewals, options, relocations or repeating the process above as you open additional stores. We are here to help.


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