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Old 01-21-2011, 03:17 PM
 
9,233 posts, read 19,311,925 times
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I've noticed lately, since I got my contact lenses updated, that there are lots of businesses around here in strip malls and office parks that I can't tell what they do or sell, I never see anyone there, and I wonder how they stay in business.

I stop at a great little mexican lunch place all the time, and finally looked at the neighbors in the strip mall. A store that apparently sells handmade silk flower wreaths & arrangements, something called JK & Associates (I changed the initials so as not to disparage some unknown business), and a nail salon.

I've never felt the need to to purchase a wreath of fake flowers, and I've never seen a single customer in there buying silk flower wreaths. I just eat my burrito and stare at the place.

I see a lot of those "JK & Associates" kinds of places. The sign doesn't say what they do. It's not like it says "certified public accountants" or "home inspectors" or something like that. They never have any cars out front either. Sometimes I'll just do a web search for some of them, to see what the heck they are selling, and they usually have no website.

I do work in NJ; I wonder if these are all mob-fronts?

There are like 8,000 nail salons between my home town and where I work. Who goes to those? I do my own nails, but everyone I know who does get their nails "done" has them done at a salon that does hair AND nails. These nails-only places look pretty cheesy to say the least. And nary a car in the lot...

There's a shopping center near my home where I frequent the farmer's market for fresh produce. There is a women's clothing store next to it that appears to have horrible clothing at cheap prices, and no customers. And they've been there like 12 years! I would never feel the urge to enter a place like that, even if it were raining really hard out.

If you look at the directory in any business park, I challenge you to find one of the businesses listed that you'd think "Hey, I'll think I'll do business with them." Instead you'll be asking "what's that company do? Never heard of them."

Has anyone else noticed these "mystery businesses" and wonder what on earth they do, who frequents them, and how they stay in business? I think they're essentially invisible unless you really look around. Then it hits you in the face.
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Old 01-21-2011, 03:56 PM
 
Location: So. of Rosarito, Baja, Mexico
6,707 posts, read 18,984,567 times
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Some observation; Remember that you are there for only a few minutes for the Burrito. What about the rest of the day? Some places have a certain clientile and not the everyday browser you might see in Sav-On etc.

I had a business, sold it, retired for a while and returned across the street from my old location (No competition as the buyer was my son).

A guy walks in and says "I've never heard of you before". My answer..."possible as I've never heard of you either".

I asked him if he ever heard of a "****** ******* ***********" and if he did, whatever it was good or bad...It was me and my business. He remembered the name and the good rep I had in the trade.

Many small places have a lease of sorts and may have a very low overhead (help wise) so they can survive as a family operation. I know as I've been there.

Give them a break and quit worrying over nothing.
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Old 01-21-2011, 03:58 PM
 
9,233 posts, read 19,311,925 times
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Not worrying, just sharing an observation. I'm just an observant person I guess.

And some of these places I drive by a few times a day in my travels, and there aren't cars there at any time.
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Old 01-21-2011, 06:07 PM
 
Location: So. of Rosarito, Baja, Mexico
6,707 posts, read 18,984,567 times
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I was in the Inventory field for 23 yrs and new of a Liquor Store that had 95% of it's business going out the back door via deliveries to a high class clientile. Will not name the place but Bob Hope had a home nearby in the city. Majority of the stock was all imported Beer, Wine, and specialty bottles of Alcohol...NO DOMESTIC.

Very rarely would a person walk in the front door.
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Old 01-21-2011, 08:18 PM
 
Location: The Milky Way Galaxy
2,256 posts, read 6,149,899 times
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Walking through Manhattan every weekend..yes I wonder on A LOT of these places...
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Old 01-26-2011, 05:34 PM
 
Location: Upper East Side of Texas
12,521 posts, read 23,451,095 times
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There are some people who use seemingly legit businesses as a front for illegal activity. It happens all the time. We just aren't made aware of it.
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Old 01-26-2011, 07:02 PM
 
Location: Upland, CA
3,760 posts, read 6,617,435 times
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I have wondered that as well.

We have (well, had) a Cupcake place down the street. It was in a strip mall.

I went in there about 6 times, at varying times and days, and was at other businesses in the center. I can count on two fingers the amount of customers I saw in there. I always thought that the place was a front for drug money, if you saw the guy running the place you would understand. Last time I drove by, I noticed that another company had opened up there.
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Old 01-26-2011, 09:06 PM
 
2,652 posts, read 7,862,969 times
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Those Asian stores in the mall that sell swords and stuff. Never seem to have much business, but they are always there...
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Old 01-26-2011, 11:12 PM
 
1,817 posts, read 2,793,636 times
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Tanning salons in places that are hot and sunny nearly all year round (I don't understand the appeal of them in the first place but even less so in places with bountiful natural sunshine for free )
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Old 01-27-2011, 01:17 AM
 
Location: Coachella Valley, California
15,566 posts, read 36,945,788 times
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fruitlassie View Post
Tanning salons in places that are hot and sunny nearly all year round (I don't understand the appeal of them in the first place but even less so in places with bountiful natural sunshine for free )
Tanning salons do a good business in sunny/hot locations. I live in the desert. It sometimes gets up to 122 degrees here in the summertime. Most people here get their tan indoors where it's air conditioned and only takes a few minutes, as opposed to laying out in 300 degree weather for a couple of hours.

But yes - I always wonder about places too. For instance, we have a lot of art galleries in the desert - many of them on El Paseo (like Beverly Hills' Rodeo Drive). The rents are sky high on El Paseo and I never see anybody in these places. I'm sure they sell objets d'art, since this is an affluent area, but they can't all be doing a bang up business! Then there are those WAY overpriced clothing stores where a skirt will cost $12,000 because it is custom made in Paris. Somebody must be spending money on that stuff in order for these places to stay in business.
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