Weatherproofing Your Retail Store

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You’ve spent a lot of time and money getting your retail store ready for the busy season. But what if an unexpected cold front hits and knocks out the power? Or what if a winter storm knocks a tree onto the building? Weatherproofing your retail store can help protect it from the worst Mother Nature has to offer. Here are some tips on how to do it.

1. Trim those trees

A tree limb could easily take out a store’s roof or even tear right through it.  To prevent something like this from happening, you can cut branches down yourself or hire a professional to come out and trim any overhanging branches. That might cost you some cash up front, but the savings in repairs will be more than worth it — not to mention that you’ll avoid dangerous situations like this:

2. Check the roof and sidings

Your roof and sidings are your first defense against the rain, but if they’re not in good shape, they could let water seep into the store. This is especially true for metal roofs that tend to rust over time. If you notice any discolored or rusty areas on your roof or siding, it may be time to replace them. Contact your roof and siding contractors to do this.

3. Install a generator

Even if you’ve trimmed those trees and fixed your roof, winter storms can still cause blackouts. That’s where installing a standby generator comes in handy — many retail stores use these to provide emergency power during a storm and avoid costly losses from the halting of business operations.

4. Weatherproof glass windows and displays

Storms and high winds can take out glass windows and cause extensive damage to merchandise displays. If you can’t afford to replace all your windows, look for weatherproofing products, such as special window insulation kits that will keep the cold or heat from entering.

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5. Look into penetrating sprays

If freezing temperatures and ice buildups are a concern, invest in penetrating sprays and de-icing products. These chemicals will help you clear off ice without damaging your property or putting yourself in danger.

6. Winterize the plumbing and heating systems

When it gets cold, you don’t want your pipes to freeze and burst — so protect them by hiring a professional to winterize the plumbing system.  Many technicians will check for leaks and block off any that they find. The same goes for the heating system. If you haven’t already, it may be time to invest in an energy-efficient heating system. That will not only save money on your utilities but also provide additional protection against blackouts during the winter months.

7. Stock up on storm supplies

In case of a storm, make sure you have extra flashlights and batteries on-hand in your store. If power is out, you’ll also need candles and matches. Use an old candle holder that you don’t mind getting dusty or burning wax into (or buy one at a thrift store for cheap). It’s also important to have plenty of non-perishable food on hand to eat during the blackout.

8. Protect the building from flooding

If your lot gets flooded, water can get into your store and cause thousands of dollars in damage. Make sure you have sandbags on hand for this one — or even better, consider getting a flood wall installed. You can also put up barriers to keep people away from windows and entrances if there’s a chance of falling objects due to storm debris.

9. Prevent thieves from taking advantage of the storm

If you have power, lock your doors securely so that no one takes advantage of the situation and breaks in to take what they want. If there’s a flood or other type of natural disaster, chances are much higher that crime will go up as well — just like the time Hurricane Ike hit Texas in 2008, causing thousands of break-ins.

10. Have emergency contacts at all times

Make sure you have the names and numbers of building repair contractors, window installers, plumbers, electricians, and other professionals that you might need in an emergency situation. Make it easy for yourself by having them all stored in your phone, or keep a list posted near your front door so it’s easily accessible.

Preparing your retail store for inclement weather can seem daunting, but it’s well worth the effort. By following these tips, you can help keep your business running smoothly — even during the worst storms. Additionally, you are also investing effort for the safety of your staff and customers so that everyone can stay out of harm’s way. With these tips in mind, you’re ready to weatherproof your store and prepare for the worst Mother Nature has to offer.

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