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Business owners continue to struggle to find affordable brick-and-mortar space

Open storefronts and spaces for lease. But still, some business owners are having a hard time opening brick-and-mortar locations.
Published: Jun. 28, 2021 at 5:59 PM EDT
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TALLAHASSEE, Fla. (WCTV) - Open storefronts and spaces for lease. But still, some business owners are having a hard time opening brick-and-mortar locations.

According to the Property Appraiser, there are more than 1,000 vacant commercial spaces in Leon County.

Businesses who spoke with WCTV say it took them almost a year to find a place that was affordable and fit their needs. But, for some, that search is still ongoing.

Brianna Rodgers is dedicating her career to “bri-ing safe.”

“Anything can happen to you at any point in time. I was sexually assaulted less than a year ago and that’s why I started Bri-safe,” Rodgers says.

Her business now relies on pop-up events as she continues searching for a storefront.

But, that hasn’t been easy.

According to the Office of Economic Vitality, more than six percent of office spaces were vacant in the first quarter of this year.

In 2020, 5.7% of retail spaces were vacant, a steady increase since vacancy rates peaked in 2012.

While some spaces are there, for business owners, like Rodgers, finding one that’s affordable has been the real challenge.

“I want wherever my customers come to to feel comfortable and safe, so something that was super affordable was not in the best area in Tallahassee as opposed to something that is extremely nice is literally my arm and my leg,” she said.

Now, Rodger says she’ll continue going to community events and relying on online sales until she finds the right space.

The Office of Economic Vitality does offer some assistance programs and advice for business owners to find new locations or expand.

More information can be found here.

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