How to Renovate Your Store Without Closing

How to Renovate Your Store Without Closing

During a renovation, there’s a better solution than simply closing your doors and losing business. Updating a retail store or restaurant can take several months. By closing for that long, you forfeit revenue and risk losing loyal customers and employees. 

With the proper planning, you can keep your retail store open during renovations. Business can continue as usual while customers witness your store transform before their eyes. This guide will provide retail store construction tips and strategies for staying open during renovations. 

How to Minimize Downtime During Retail Construction

Renovating your retail space is an exciting opportunity to build your brand image and impress customers. While there’s many costs and decisions involved, the results are worth the effort. By following these retail renovation best practices, you can ensure a smooth renovation without having to close.

1. Create a Reasonable Plan

Planning is critical to ensure the success of your retail renovation, especially if you choose to stay open. While planning the renovation itself, you must also consider how to continue operating during construction. It’s important to be realistic and account for potential setbacks. Taking time to understand the full scope of the project and create a detailed plan of action will make the process less stressful. 

2. Set Your Budget and Timeline

Before renovations begin on your retail store, set a realistic budget and timeline with your contractor. It’s a good idea to keep in mind that construction projects often go over budget and past their deadline. Set aside extra time and money in case your renovation doesn’t go exactly as planned. This way, if the project costs a bit more or takes a few weeks longer than expected, it won’t place a significant strain on your business. 

3. Complete Projects in Stages

If a full-fledged renovation is out of the question in your retail store, consider breaking up the project into smaller stages. Scale down your renovation into manageable upgrades that you can complete while staying open. For example, you can paint and replace the lighting in different parts of your store, one at a time. Scaling down your renovations into smaller tasks may take longer, but it will have less impact on your daily operations. 

4. Find the Right Team

Find the Right Team

When planning your retail renovation, look for a contractor that has worked on stores, restaurants and other commercial spaces. Hiring a highly qualified team with experience completing the renovations you want will help the process go off without a hitch. Explain your expectations upfront and look for a team that agrees to work within your budget and timeline to avoid future conflicts. 

5. Prepare in Advance 

Preparing your retail space before renovations begin will help minimize disruptions once construction is underway. A few helpful tasks you can do ahead of time include: 

  • Declutter: Make space for construction by decluttering your store before renovations begin. You’ll also have a more organized store once everything is complete. 
  • Reserve storage: Consider investing in temporary storage to keep excess furniture and merchandise safe and out of the way during renovations.
  • Update customers: Inform your customers and employees when construction is expected to begin and that you plan to stay open.

6. Expect the Unexpected

Throughout the construction process, you’re bound to run into a few surprises. For example, you may have to shut off the water or power unexpectedly. Anticipating roadblocks and creating a backup plan in advance will help minimize downtime and prevent delays. 

7. Protect Employees and Customers

An important step if you plan to stay open during a renovation is implementing safety precautions to protect your customers and staff. The following measures can help maintain safety in your store during construction: 

  • Install warning signs: Clearly label hazardous areas where customers and employees should not enter.
  • Add lighting: Install extra lighting to ensure your store is well-lit. This way, construction workers can see what they are doing, and customers can see the warning signs you installed. 
  • Perform inspections: Frequently inspect the renovation area to ensure your crew is maintaining safe working conditions and wearing protective gear.
  • Install temporary walls:SwiftWall Flex is a modular wall system that you can use to temporarily contain the construction in your store as you upgrade certain areas. SwiftWall Flex barriers look sleek while keeping customers and staff away from potentially hazardous construction zones and equipment. 

How to Take Advantage of Retail Construction Downtime

Even if you choose to stay open during your retail renovation, you will likely experience downtime. For example, you may notice fewer customers during construction, or be forced to close for a few hours while the power is turned off. With the right mindset and proper planning, you can use construction downtime to your advantage.

To maximize productivity during downtime, consider reducing the number of employees on the schedule during slow periods. You can also keep a list of tasks that staff members can work on if business is slow, or if they are unable to perform their typical duties because of construction. Unexpected downtime is also a great opportunity to tackle administrative tasks like updating your website, performing employee evaluations or cleaning out your business inbox. 

How to Limit Dust During Retail Construction

Construction projects are often messy, especially if they involve demolition, drywall installation or sanding. Controlling dust during your renovation is extremely important in a retail environment. Piles of dust everywhere create clutter and could damage merchandise. Excess dust also contaminates the air and creates a health hazard for customers and employees. Use these strategies to limit dust during retail construction: 

  • Contain the construction: Install a SwiftWall Flex temporary wall system to contain dust and debris during your renovation project. Our SwiftWall Flex system includes interlocking, adjustable-height panels to seal in dust from floor to ceiling. 
  • Seal air ducts: Cover return ducts with HVAC film to prevent dust particles from traveling through your heating and cooling unit. 
  • Use plastic covers: Protect furniture and surfaces near the construction zone with plastic sheets to keep off dust and grime. 
  • Clean daily: Use microfiber cloths and a vacuum to remove any dust that accumulates each day. 
Eliminate Downtime During Retail Renovations With SwiftWall

Eliminate Downtime During Retail Renovations With SwiftWall

Temporary barriers help eliminate downtime and protect customers and staff from construction hazards. SwiftWall systems are sleek, modular and reusable, with easy-to-install interlocking panels you can quickly reconfigure as you renovate different areas of your store. Hide unsightly construction and clearly define danger zones so you can stay open during your retail renovation.

Explore our retail solutions and contact us today for more information on our temporary construction barriers for retailers.


SwiftWall® offers temporary walls and construction barriers that provide a simple, quick and sustainable alternative to drywall.
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