The thing with what Anne and I are doing is quite tricky. We are in (effectively) a new country and in a new city. To get the feel of a city, such as where there are the good areas, where people go to shop, what and when do those people shop for, are things we have to find out. We have some experience with that and we know how our product sell intimately…..Still.
Now when we came into the Hague, we had an uncle in the furniture business, so to speak.
In the form of Lisette and Steven. Local people with local knowledge. That made everything much easier. For instance, Lisette and Steve know the Hague intimately, so to get to the xyz government office was no problem, they knew where it was.
Here in Dusseldorf we get lost with the GPS. Not once not twice, PLENTY of times.
We have no tame local. Everyone is wild and has still to be caught and tamed. Luckily, this is not a big problem, since the locals are very freundlich and quite easy to speak to.
So we do it in small steps. The first step is to use the internet to see what shops are available in the places we targeted. Armed with a few addresses, we climbed into Frankenfurter and set about viewing them. This has given us a small idea of what is out there, though we are of course aware that the best does not get put on the net in the first place.
Then we donned some neat clothes and visited some estate agents. We were wondering whether to make appointments, but we decided to just pitch and start talking. We also walked the places flat where we eventually thought that there was the right feel and vibe, checking out shops and arcades. We found some nice places and any empty shop or estate agent we found, we took down their numbers. We look for anything from 50 to 100 square meters at any thing up to 2500 euro per month.
We did the same thing in America when we were there, and there there was a worrying amount of shop space for rent. We could literally pick and choose. This is fortunately not the case in NL and Germany, which indicates the economy is still OK, me thinks.
But of course, the end of everything in terms of shop, is place, place, place. The very most important thing that defines how hard the start up is going to be. An ugly shop in a good place is much better than a pretty shop in a bad place. And a bad place can mean just around a corner from a good place.
The nice thing I like about planning a project like this is that I am not very fearful of crime. I am sure that there is crime like in any city. But nothing like St Maarten or any Southern African country I have had a shop in. Here, if there is trouble, the cops pitch. In St Maarten, you get an answering service ( no kidding). A fracking answering service…imagine,”press one if you been shot, press two if you been robbed, mon.” And in St. Maarten every shop to the left and right of us got robbed in the time we were there. The cops there are bereft of intelligence and motivation.
Since we come from Africa, and Africa is a hard place and teaches you from when you young to be aware of shit coming down, we were a difficult nut to crack for the local St. Maarteners. We had a couple of attempts, but the security door stopped them and then when entry was denied to them, they got the message and moved on to rob someone else. We never bothered to report these attempts and any of the many thefts we had, for that matter. Complete waste of time.
OK, so while we look for a shop, we also investigate how one goes about setting up a business in Germany. A little birdy tells me it is going to be difficult, but not so difficult as in Zim or Botswana or St Maarten. There the bureaucracy actively works against one. BUT, I know that the ABC rule will apply here. Namely, if you do not have A you cannot progress to B. And an address of a shop will be A, for sure.
Lot’s of stuff still to do before I got a workshop again.