It's extremely cost prohibitive for most entrepreneurs to open a standard brick and mortar retail or retail food business.
Store Stacks are physical locations or "MicroMall" experiences for small business people to start and run part time operations with very low startup cost. Spaces will be fit out with an assortment of options or "stacks" depending on the business type. These will range from basic food prep or kitchen stacks, to retail stacks like shelving, point of sale displays, signage and Point of Sale systems. For consumers it offers a way to touch and feel and taste and buy products that aren't necessarily available in standard chains. It's a new, better, standardized version of a bazaar or flea market or pop-up stores.
The biggest hurdle for most food or retail type operations to get over is the initial brick and mortar startup costs. The costs associated with real estate build-out, equipment, design, and systems can be enormous. For entrepreneurs or solopreneurs without a big budget this is a huge problem. By providing a way for these entrepreneurs to start a retail presence quickly, at a very low cost, and with minimal or no barriers, the entrepreneurs are able to start and expand businesses that otherwise would never be able to see the light of day. This is important because it allows concepts, new products and entrepreneurs that have limited capital to have a chance at success without the need or risk of a large capital commitment.
So whether it's the the single mom who makes insanely good macaroons or the dad who makes amazing craft sausage or the grandma who makes custom one-of-a-kind shoes or the attorney that makes unique golf pants... the ability to enter the retail marketplace using Store Stacks will be a deal maker and a business generator for all involved.
There are more than 24 Million Nonemployer businesses in the U.S. These are small businesses with no employees but that do have revenues. In other words, these are the solopreneurs and the entrepreneurs fighting to grow business any way they can. Whether it's online, face to face, traveling, or wherever. This number alone indicates there's a need for additional means of retail distribution on a micro scale. On a scale that allows many of these entrepreneurs access into the brick and mortar retail markets. 50% of all businesses are home-based businesses. Store Stacks fits perfectly and can help many of these bridge their growth and scale it to the next level.
The retail landscape is changing dramatically. Large scale malls have been hit by declining revenues, and the large footprint retail stores have been hit by declining revenues from online competition, a shift in perceptions, and a shift in expectations. People see and want new and different options for food and retail products that they can't get anywhere else. There's a shift towards quality products vs quantity. The timing for Store Stacks is perfect.
The product design and creation will primarily be fueled by initial location costs, tight physical development budget, and maximizing the experience for the entrepreneurs and the Store Stacks customers. It's expected that the initial cost for an entrepreneur to have a location at a Store Stacks will range from a few hundred dollars to a maximum of a thousand dollars. Using the location will entail the use of a license vs a longer-term lease. Terms will range from daily to weekly to monthly and longer. This allows low cost and liability for the entrepreneurs while also giving flexibility to iterate the model as needed to generate the best flow of customers. We foresee a flexible menu type model which gives the entrepreneur choices based upon their needs. There will be a few selections for sizes and types of locations within each Store Stacks and each will come with standard features and flexible upgrades. Most retailers should be able to be operational within 24 hours of signing up.
There's numerous risks associated with the creation of Store Stacks. Initial location selection can have a huge impact upon future success. Initial product creation and product offering mix can have positive or negative or mixed results. The learning curve for operations is an unknown and the average life cycle for the Store Stacks customers is an unknown. While many data points aren't known we do know that if we craft a product that attracts great entrepreneurial companies and takes away many of their pain points, we should have a company whose value grows in step with our customers and allows for the standard startup learning curve. With the right team, the right design, and a little bit of luck... Store Stacks will be the next big thing. Actually, the next "small" thing!