Improving the appearance of your storefront can contribute to attracting customers and demonstrates pride of ownership. Keeping buildings painted, repointing around bricks, installing attractive lighting and awnings, and mounting planter boxes are ways to improve the façade of a building. Enlarging windows is an especially important measure because it makes possible to create inviting window displays and makes the interior of the store transparent to customers passing by. To learn more about programs and resources that can help you improve your façade, refer to these links below:
When making alterations to buildings, please make sure to find out what permits are needed:
Green Business Certification Program
Sustainability will be a driver of successful business in the future. To help you work towards that goal, Montgomery County has created a Green Business certification program. If you are interested, free onsite assistance is available. For information on this certification see: http://mcgreenbiz.org/. By becoming a Certified Green Business you are helping yourself and the environment. You will be listed in the County’s online Green Business Directory and receive a decal you can display.
PEPCO Energy Efficiency Incentive Program
Being green promotes efficiency and saves money. Pepco offers significant energy efficiency incentive programs for small businesses. In some cases, the financial incentive associated with energy efficiency retrofits can be 80%-90% of the installation costs. For more information see https://cienergyefficiency.pepco.com/SmallBus.aspx.
Green Business Forum
Stay connected with other green businesses by joining the green business forum: http://www.montgomerycountymd.gov/DEP/sustainability/green-business-certification.html
Best Practices to Improve Your Business
Visible Signage Tells Your Customers that You Care About Quality
The kind of signs you use for your business helps to determine a first impression about your business and the neighborhood. Check out this website to search for great signage ideas -- http://www.signweb.com/ --and try to avoid internally lit, oversized, electronic or flashing signs. A permit for permanent signs is required before any exterior sign can be erected. This is a Montgomery County Zoning Ordinance requirement. For more information, please visit https://permittingservices.montgomerycountymd.gov/DPS/building/SignPermit.aspx
Use your Display Window to Show the Products or Services you Offer
It’s called a Display Window for a reason, and it can be your most effective form of advertising! Well designed window displays can entice customers to enter a store instead of walking past it.
Energy Efficient Lighting Can Brighten Your Store and Your Bottom Line
Lighting is an important factor to attracting customers and making them feel safe in and around your business. Keeping lights inside on until 10 or 11pm is considered best practice for enticing business and has the added benefit of promoting security. Recommendations include installing Light Emitting Diodes (LED) lights to save energy and using “warm” light spectrum. This brochure can also demonstrate where best to place lighting on buildings and how to avoid unpleasant or glaring lighting.
In order to prevent any objectionable glare on surrounding properties or streets, property owners wishing to install lighting need an exterior lighting plan that is submitted as part of the required site plan indicating the height, number and types of lighting fixtures, and a diagram showing their light distribution characteristics. A good place to search for lighting ideas is the following: http://www6.montgomerycountymd.gov/content/council/pdf/zta/2007/07-01.pdf
Greening and Beautifying the Sidewalk and Parking Areas will Attract Pedestrians and Customers
Montgomery County offers commercial property owners up to $10,000 in rebates for the installation of aesthetically-appealing sustainable landscapes that help to manage and filter stormwater, attract pollinators, and reduce pesticides and fertilization. For more information, see the County’s Rainscape Rewards Program here.