Four maintenance tips for dark stores— and why maintenance still matters

Marianne Wilson
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Curb appeal matters — even for stores that are temporarily shuttered amid the COVID-19 pandemic.

Indeed, while dark stores don’t have the same foot traffic as open storefronts, regular preventative and reactive maintenance is still an important component of success.

"Especially during the uncertainty generated by COVID-19, it's important for businesses to maintain dark stores so they can resume operations as quickly as possible after the pandemic subsides," said Bill Schaphorst, VP of business development for facility maintenance and repair company MaintenX. 

A store that has been well-maintained and managed during its closure can also be more quickly reopened once the current crisis ebbs.

“In addition, should you choose to rent or sell your storefront in the future, a properly maintained property provides a much stronger sell,” he said. 

Here are four dark store maintenance tips from MaintenX: 

1. Use Time to Make Repairs: Don't leave repairs for the future. Use this unexpected downtime without employees and customers to complete noisy, messy maintenance or upgrades. This will also provide something to look forward to when the storefront opens again. 

2. Keep Curb Appeal: Curb appeal matters. Dark store maintenance plans should combine aesthetics and safety. MaintenX's experts recommend examining exterior features like building paint, window condition, parking lots, and doorway, entrance lighting for signs of aging and damage. These maintenance needs can improve the look of a business and reduce the likelihood of injury or theft at the property. 

3. Looking Good with Landscaping: Another important element of curb appeal is landscaping. Colorful flowers, healthy trees and nicely-trimmed bushes go a long way to patrons and are a positive reminder of the products and services you offer. By maintaining landscaping, a dark store can look fantastic and signal that a shop cares about their business and their community. 

4. Plan Ahead for Preventative Maintenance: Businesses that have a proper preventative maintenance plan in place are able to reduce the likelihood of expensive, unexpected breakdowns to important systems like HVAC, plumbing and electrical. Routine maintenance can also help stop a minor issue – like a leaky pipe – from turning into a costly major disaster.