We’ve all been there (or at least, all of us who live in the greater Binghamton area).
You’re having a “nice little Saturday,” driving down the Vestal parkway, running errands like a good little American (Old School, anyone?).
You get a craving for a little Starbucks coffee. But you’re driving west on the parkway (a.k.a. on the Staples, Town Square mall side). You quickly realize that there is no Starbucks on that side of the parkway. None. Unless you hop on the parkway from an intersection with a traffic light, you’re going to have to do a u-turn in order to get that delicious coffee drink you’re craving.
Now if you’re like me, you probably let out a big sigh, complain about it a little bit to the person you’re with, then do the u-turn. So at the end of the day, Starbucks still gets your money.
However, I have talked to some people who have said that this situation has actually stopped them from getting Starbucks before. They have opted out of it, just so they don’t have to backtrack or do a u-turn.
This, to me, is clearly an ingress/egress issue. If you’re not going in the right direction, it’s just too hard to get in or out of there. Because of the median on the parkway, you can’t just turn left unless there is an intersection going into where you’re going. So if you want to go somewhere that is on your left, and there isn’t an intersection, you are stuck in the dilemma that I wrote about above. The other day, I had an interesting thought: I wonder what would happen if they opened up a Starbucks on the westbound side of the Vestal parkway? The other Starbucks might lose a little bit of business, but as a whole, I think the company would actually make more money, because people would be able to access it easily in spite of the direction they are going.
Ingress/egress is such an important aspect of a successful business. I can actually think of a few places that I have still never tried, simply because it’s too difficult to get to them (ingress).
And if it’s really hard to get out of a place (egress), it doesn’t give you a positive feeling about going back there again. On the other side of the coin, if a business is easily accessible, people are much more likely to stop in and give it a try. Location is extremely important, too, of course. But if you are looking to open up your business, I would challenge you to think seriously about the ingress/egress issue. Do your best to make it easy for people to get in and out. And next time you’re doing that Starbucks u-turn on the parkway, you can think of me. ;-)