Does your entryway invite passersby to enter, or does it blend in with the landscape?
“You have to grab them in the first four seconds while they are approaching,” writes Robert J. Gibbs in his book, Principles of Urban Retail Planning and Development. According to Gibbs, “It takes eight seconds to walk by a typical storefront. Once someone is two seconds past the door, they will not turn around.”
Entryways say so much about their buildings and what might be found inside. Often overlooked as opportunities, entryways are spaces that set the tone for the encounter ahead.
What does your entryway say about you? Does it pique curiosity? Does it invite passerby to enter? Does it paint a clear picture of what will be found on its other side? Or does it subtly – or perhaps clearly – say “dreary,” “boring, or “do not enter”?
Urban Indigo Gift Shop, Oakland, California. The MerCats draw people in hook, line, and sinker!
Why not roll out the red carpet? Or, according to Bob Phibbs, “The Retail Doctor,” a red welcome mat? Or fly some flags or banners?
Entryways have many functions --they are an important part of their establishments. An entryway can tell us what to expect once we pass through it -- a church, perhaps, or a store. They can tell us what type of business is inside. And if that business is open or closed. They may serve as the local bulletin board in a rural community, or set the tone of the business.
Is a chalk sign allowed on the sidewalk out front? Freshtight Designs suggests using a daily dose of humor, advertising daily specials, or even some funky artwork to turn attention your way. What you put on your chalk sign is up to you – just make sure to change it daily so it doesn’t get stale, and use common sense if adding humor.
Another way to put your entryway to work is making it a striking invitation to investigate further by using of color and architectural details. Or lead into a more formal atmosphere with more subdued touches.
Similar to the beginning a chapter in a book, an entryway establishes a story that has yet to unfold.
The entryway is also a very affordable way to change your business’s dynamic. It is a spot where risks can be taken, and even on a limited budget, have a remarkable effect. The devil is in the details, and here’s where small details matter.
An entryway can also be art. It can be so many things!
In Berthoud, Colorado, a joint effort between the city, businesses, and homeowners produced Entryways of Berthoud to showcase art and their community. They invited folks to submit photos of entryways and these were then turned into notecards and posters.
Think about the places you frequent. How do they make you feel? Welcome? Not so much?
What about your entryway? Is it welcoming? Does it tell a story? Spark the imagination? Tempt you?
How can you use your entryway to enhance your business or community?
I just came back from a whirlwind trip through parts of California (I grew up there). Most of my jaunts out there are like that -- have to squeeze them in between calves and crops, you know!
While I was there I treated myself to a morning stop in Lincoln. This gem is +/- about 30 miles northeast of Sacramento on Hwy 65.
At the turn of the 1900's Lincoln was a "boom town." I would imagine it began its decline in the 1970s or so. Back in the ‘80s I bought my horse hay at the feed store on the corner -- the standing joke was that Lincoln had to "borrow" its Saturday-night police from Marysville.
Over the years Lincoln has grown. And grown. And Grown.
But OUTSIDE of the city border. Downtown became sadly neglected. Buildings were run down. Store fronts empty.
About a dozen years ago the good people of Lincoln -- many of them "old timers" -- came together to revitalize the old section. Buildings were revamped, they enticed people to come and see the possibilities, and did some creative wheeling and dealing to get the storefronts filled. There's a great video about it: The Preservation of Historical Downtown Lincoln.
Several years ago a friend of mine asked if I had been to Lincoln lately, and I said, “Not in years, nuthin' there!” So she cheerfully informed that there was, indeed, plenty there.
Everything from food and antiques to a fab quilt shop -- all things to pique my interest. I found much to like and did some shopping. (much to hubby’s chagrin).
Fast forward another few years. This trip I had time to spend the entire morning and early afternoon. So, my morning was spent having coffee with my son at a sidewalk café and walking all over Old Town. We had a wonderful time exploring and visiting with shop owners! Everybody was so friendly and helpful.
Our only bummer was that we were there before the museum opened, and by the time it was, we were already around the corner at Kim's Café -- an outstanding café with heaping plates of down home cookin' -- having late brunch with other family in the area.
Lincoln boasts a number of eateries, antique stores, boutiques, thrift shops, wineries, brewpubs, gardening/gift shops, and more. It is quite the bustling area, offering something for everybody. Even my son was practically giddy when he found a shop that interested him.
Nearly every single store has outdoor seating and all have wonderful signage designed to attract attention. Several of the buildings have beautiful murals on them. Even the lone “box” store is in keeping with the Old Town vibe.
The seating is amazing. Just by sitting down outside the coffee shop, people TALKED as they went by!
And when People talk, Community happens.
Lincoln also hosts many events to draw people and have a good times -- events from antique car shows to food truck extravaganzas, and everything in between.
When you're not busy eating, visiting, or shopping in one of the great shops, take a little time and drive around the heart of Lincoln and its neighborhoods. The architecture is amazing.
A stop in at the Lincoln Area Chamber was part of making my way around town, and I had a wonderful visit with Tom Cosgrove, Chamber director. We had a few minutes to chat about the creativity involved with attracting businesses back to Downtown, and how rosy the future looks.
I will definitely be back again. Hopefully sooner rather than later!
Art, Architecture, Geography, Commerce, People, History, Customs and Cuisine- Yep! Covered ALL of "Kate's 8" items that all communities begin with.
Annette & Kate
If it involves small towns, rural, business or people, we write about it. Both the good and the bad. Part of our passion is helping you be the best you can be.