Did you know that customers determine the quality of a store within the first 15 ft. of entering? As retail store owners, you know that first impressions (e.g. layout, lighting, floor plan) are everything. Updating these elements need to be done so your retail property gains an advantage over your competitors.

If your store is noticeably outdated, it’s time for an overhaul. Some signs include obvious physical deterioration, lack of space or old branding. Here are a few tips for renovating your retail property.


As a retail store owner, you know that competition is at an all-time high (e.g. other brick-and-mortar stores, online platforms). First, be sure to renovate your commercial property every 5-7 years. This fresh look in your store can result in good word of mouth by customers, encourage employee creativity and increase sales.

Another way to compete with online orders is to install hybrid concepts into the store, such as an in-store café. Target, Whole Foods and IKEA have found success with this model as it’s more likely customers will stay in the store longer.

Due to the pandemic, another industry trend to implement is online ordering and curbside pick-up. If you’re contemplating making curbside a permanent service at your store, there are some things you should consider. First, you’ll need to establish a dedicated pickup zone for your curbside customers. Avoid main store entrances and high-traffic areas in your parking lot if possible, as you don’t want to create problems for your in-store shoppers.

Next, you will need to create a distinguishable, functional space. For instance, clear signage, curbside lanes and pick-up only carports can make this area stand out. You also should consider building an outdoor check-in structure and temperature-controlled storage sheds to improve efficiency and preserve quality for your curbside customers.

Also consider building a dedicated “dark room” to store products just for online ordering to minimize congestion in the aisles from staff working on online order fulfillment.


The price per square foot to renovate a commercial property depends on many factors including the size of the space, quality of finishes, location and whether the mechanical costs are required to be completed by the tenant or handled by the landlord. For example, in our experience, when building a box retailer in southern Wisconsin, you are looking at approximately $45 per square foot. Keep in mind that the bigger the project, the lower the per square foot cost.


FoxArneson specializes in both design and building services for retail stores, including build-outs, additions and add-ons.