What Makes a Good Location?
Bach to Rock seeks out high-traffic retail space in high-end suburban areas
A huge part of our marketing strategy at Bach to Rock is marketing to moms. Moms make most of the family decisions about extra-curricular activities, and they’re most likely the ones looking for soccer teams, dance classes and music lessons. So when we consider the best location to build a Bach to Rock school, we look for a way to appeal to our key demographic.
Good locations for our business model are areas with lots of families. We tend toward suburban communities near large cities, and we look for a certain density of population, with above-average income, within about a 30-minute drive of a proposed site. Even before we started franchising, Bach to Rock was able to finesse the wish list for our schools, thanks to the experience we had with our six corporate locations, says Amy Hamilton, Vice President of Operations.
“We have very strong business experience, and we have been operating six schools for many years now,” Amy says. “Out of operating those six corporate schools, we’ve literally seen thousands of customers come through our doors, and we’ve served those customers successfully.”
Consider some of our current sites:
In Bethesda, MD, our Bach to Rock is in an upscale urban neighborhood next door to a Quizno’s, just around the block from a CVS and a stone’s throw from a Pilates studio and a holistic veterinary clinic.
The McLean, VA, school is in the foot of a new condo development that gets a lot of foot traffic and is about a block from a large shopping center.
Bach to Rock in South Riding, VA, is in a booming shopping center anchored by a Home Depot and an upscale grocery store.
A hip pedestrian mall in Gaithersburg, MD, is the perfect site for our busy school there, which is next to a candy store and across the street from a Starbucks.
The schools have something in common: They’re all in Class A retail space. An end cap in a high-end shopping development would be perfect. A franchisee might expect to pay $50,000-$60,000 in rent on the low end and perhaps upwards of $80,000 on the high end. You’ll note that the cost of rent is factored into Item 19 of our Franchise Disclosure Document: At our affiliate-based and franchised schools the average annual EBITDA (Earnings Before Interest, Tax, Depreciation and Amortization) before rent was $245,937 during the 2015 calendar year, the most recent year for which those figures are available.
An education business that is part of the community
One of the biggest puzzle pieces to finding the right location is finding the heart of whatever community you’re in. When we look to acquire customers, we rely on three things: marketing, referrals and location. We cannot underestimate how important it is to find a location where you can build a strong sense of community.
Size-wise, we look for a site that’s at least 2,500 square feet. The school needs to be big enough to accommodate performance spaces, a recording studio and individual lesson and band rooms, as well as some offices for support staff. A 2,500-square-foot school could handle about 500 students, which is a target for our successful schools.
“A Bach to Rock will do very well in an upscale, more-affluent market where the disposable income is there for music lessons,” says Angela Sakell, Vice President of Marketing. “We work well in suburban locations where there are lots of families, where people go to raise their kids.”