When I think back to BEFORE I opened my retail store, I remember the excitement, nervousness…and a person who honestly had no idea what they were doing!

As I’ve said before, I didn’t know what I didn’t know. I had NO idea how much would be involved with opening. 

I was okay with not knowing, and it all worked out. But goodness, I would have appreciated some form of guidance or a list to check off through it all!

Through Savvy Shopkeeper, I’ve been able to work with and have conversations with hundreds of shopkeepers. And lots of the Aspiring Shopkeepers* I speak to have the same sorts of questions about accounting, cleaning supplies, point of sale systems, and more.

*Curious about which of the five shopkeeping stages you’re in? Take the Savvy Shopkeeper Quiz to find out & access resources designed to meet you where you’re at! 

Pair those common questions with all the things I wish I had known, and I realized that I could create a fairly comprehensive checklist that would be helpful to the Aspiring Shopkeeper.

The Savvy Shopkeeper Checklist for Opening a Brick and Mortar Store

The first iteration of this resource was a slightly overwhelming (but still helpful!) brain dump list. A couple of years ago, I made it into an even better 5-page list organized into categories so that shopkeepers could really see all the different parts of opening a store.

You can grab a copy of the checklist at http://savvyshopkeeper.com/openchecklist

If you are on the path to opening a retail brick-and-mortar business, you probably want to know what you should be focusing on. It’s also helpful to see how many things you need to do are getting done and what’s left to check off.

As one of my favorite mugs says, “lists are my love language.” (Thanks to Amanda and Scott of La Petite Maison Antiques for giving me this mug at the 2022 Savvy Shopkeeper Retreat!)

What Kinds of Tasks Are Included On The Opening a Brick and Mortar Store Checklist

Opening a brick-and-mortar retail business involves not only the physical space but also many non-physical tasks.

There are lots of things to buy and invest in and many things to DO. This resource covers a variety of both in the 18 included categories. 

Some categories are regarding the physical space, such as “Store Design,” “Safety and Maintenance,” and “Signage.”

Other categories are about the business entity, including “Formation” and “Professional Services.”

There are also several categories focused on marketing your business, such as “Printing, “Online Marketing,” and “Design Services.”

There’s even a category that guides you on connecting with people, organizations, and other business owners in your community BEFORE you open. With all you’re doing, this one can fall by the wayside, but it’s important for you AND your business.

How The Opening Checklist Can Help (Even if You’ve Already Opened Your Store)

Even if you’ve already opened your first brick-and-mortar store, I think this checklist will probably have something you didn’t realize you needed to do! It’s got every single task I could think of and that I’ve been asked about during my coaching work.

And if you’re a Growing Retailer or Retail CEO who is scaling with another location or an additional store, the opening checklist can help refresh your memory on all the little tasks that go into a new store space.

I’m sure this list isn’t 100% comprehensive, as we all have different needs in and for our businesses. I do think it’s a great start, though (and I did add a section where you can add some of your own to-do’s to the list). When you grab the checklist, you’ll find I have helpful blog posts, resources, and articles linked to some of the items listed.

Download your copy of the Savvy Shopkeeper Checklist for Opening a Brick and Mortar Store at http://savvyshopkeeper.com/openchecklist.



  • [04:13] The Savvy Shopkeeper Checklist for Opening a Brick and Mortar Store
  • [06:23] What kinds of tasks are included on the checklist?
  • [08:56] How this list can help (even if you’ve already opened a retail store)

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