20 February 2008

The thrill of the hunt.

Our business is approaching it's ten year anniversary this year. Hard to believe on so many levels. We have grown and expanded along the way. Moving our shop after only two years for more space, adding a warehouse a few years later, then doubling the warehouse space and adding a loading dock. This has been all well and good, but the down side is that we have been leasing all of the above. So we have had to make do with existing conditions, pay for someone else's investment, and pray that each time a lease matures that we can renew the same space for not too much more money. Historic property in a now industrial zone. Too bad it's on wetlands...
We were going to start looking for property to buy a few years ago, but the real estate market was out of hand in our area. There would be no way to finance the outgrageous sums people were asking even if you wanted to. Then we had a great year that made it all seem possible. Then it hiccupped and we along with our whole industry had one of the worst years ever. This year things seem to have leveled out, and the market has stabilized a bit. There aren't many properties to choose from, but with our warehouse lease coming up we are going to try (cross fingers and toes) to make the plunge.
Searching for business property is not quite quite as fun as house shopping. It's not warm and cozy. You don't picture yourself having a cocoa by the fire. Especially warehouse space. We spend most of our time figuring out how a fifty-three foot trailer with a sleeper cab can get in, turn around, get unloaded, and get out several times a day, possibly along with the 30 or so people that come in to the store or to buy pellets (there needs to be space to load these folks up as well). Wetland studies, variance requirements, road cuts, lot studies...

There is never anything ready to go of course. Unless you count the one down the road (on a very possibly too small lot) that is not only priced to high to get financing for, it's also under contract. :(> So we have to look at buying the property, doing site work, getting a building and road in all before either our warehouse lease runs out at the end of May, or at least before our largest stove shipment of the year lands (hopefully we can push until June.) Good location, bad variance nightmare. Plus we have to vacate the old warehouse, move a forklift, empty it of inventory, shelving, workbenches... Oh, and we are gone almost a month between now and then. No pressure.
These are some of our highlights/ lowlights/ mighthavetomakedo's

This would be the make do. Short money, stupid layout that doesn't allow anything bigger than a Luv pickup to get in or out.

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