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Excerpt from Character 11: Neighbour

Michael Best
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on September 14, 2015

The degree to which this type of business neighbour can be detrimental ranges from merely irritating to seriously destructive. Such neighbours could break your small business if, in a worst-case scenario, by their presence or behavior, they discouraged customers from visiting your premises or doing business with you.

Here’s an extreme example. Close your eyes. Picture a strip mall with a children’s toy store wedged between two adult entertainment stores with titivating window displays. Do you see any minivans packed to the gills with wide-eyed youngsters and their parents or grandparents driving up? No, I don’t either.

A less extreme but real example is a small flooring company I know, which is located alongside a convenience store. For about an hour every afternoon on school days, flooring company customers have to pick their way through a hoard of unruly high school students blocking the entrance to the company’s showroom. The students are convenience store customers and, typical of that age group, they like to ”hang out.”

To make matters worse, after the crowd disperses, the flooring company staff have to pick up food wrappers and other litter dropped in front of the showroom. The convenience store owner is sympathetic enough but he, personally, is not the problem. The problem is that the nature of his business is problematic to his neighbour. All the solutions tried so far have focused on eliciting cooperation from the students but, not surprisingly, all have failed. And nobody could reasonably expect the convenience store owner to discourage what amounts to a daily business boon.