By Karen Axelton

You know the old saying about how in real estate, there are three things that matter: location, location and location?

I was reminded of this the other day when I had to pick up some groceries in a rush on the way home. I made a quick stop at the first grocery store I saw on my route. While scurrying toward the grocery store, noticed a small, independent cupcake store.

Part of the attraction of cupcake stores is that you’re getting a very upscale product. If you’re paying $3 or $4 for a single cupcake, you want to feel like you’re enjoying a luxurious experience.

But the environment around this store was anything but luxurious. It was wedged in between a discount $1 store, a generic sandwich shop and a nearby bail bonds storefront.

In the parking lot, discarded grocery carts littered the area. The lot was jammed with cars, full of potholes and hadn’t been paved in so long you could barely see where to park.

As I got closer to the cupcake store, I rapidly began losing my appetite. The trash cans outside the stores were overflowing with trash, which had spilled onto the sidewalk. Pieces of decaying food were attracting flies – and as I walked up to look at the window displays, I almost slipped on a puddle of melted ice cream.

With companies going out of business and retail and office space sitting empty, now can be a great time to negotiate a deal on new space. But no deal is a good deal if the location doesn’t fit your company’s image, attract the right customers or help you reach your goals.

Too bad this entrepreneur didn’t take time to scope out the location a little better. Let it be a lesson to you: before starting a business or making a move, visit your proposed site at different times of day (or night) and see what experience your customers will have when they arrive.