At Zona Salons in Norwell, Massachusetts, Frank Zona employs a standard
internal inspection process to routinely check the salon’s cleanliness.
While recently working on an interior redesign with an architect, he
decided to use a similar process to critique his external appearance.
“It started when we were talking about a new awning, and my architect asked me where I would want to put my signage. At the time I thought it was a silly question—don’t you always put it over the door?” Zona wondered. “She responded that people read from left to right and if you put the signage to the left of the door, then people read into your entrance.”
That conversation prompted Zona to begin examining and photographing different appealing storefronts to generate a host of ideas and to develop a worksheet for routinely inspecting his storefront. “Now we’ll spend 15 minutes a week critiquing the storefront.” Are trash containers overflowing? Are all the bulbs in the gooseneck lights working? Are the letters on the sign in good shape?
Over the past year, Zona spent about $20,000 on his storefront appearance—money he’d typically use on advertising. “We are on a street where 24,000 cars drive by 40-feet from our front door, and I thought even if I scratched one percent of those drivers, it would be worth it.”
Before: Zona Salons’ storefront before the makeover.
Zona worked with a graphic designer to improve the visibility of his signage and to feature signage on both sides of the business to catch passersby from different directions. He’s petitioned his landlord for better lighting in the parking lot to improve safety for after-dark appointments.
Recently, Zona was asked by the owner of the neighboring frozen yogurt store for advice on an awning. He took the opportunity to subtly suggest inexpensive external improvements that would boost the store’s exterior. “It’s like when one house in a neighborhood starts doing home improvements, the idea catches on and soon many houses are renovating,” he says. “Anything that improves the image of your neighboring businesses also boosts your appeal.”
“There was a day when owners used to take their portraits in front of their storefronts because they were that proud of them,” says Frank Zona. “For example, here’s one from my family history.”
The results are paying off. “We’ve been in this location for more than 12 years, and since the changes, I’ve been amazed how many people come in and say they never knew we were here,” he says.