1.  Walk around the envelope of your building. The whole building…  Front, back, (if you are on a corner or adjacent to a breezeway) side and look at your building from a basic cleanliness standpoint.  Paint what needs painted, clean what needs cleaned, design your windows in a fashion that highlights your business.  Trash (including the cigarette butts)  on your building exterior needs to be thrown away every day.
 
2.  No dead stuff. I know this should go without saying, but dead plants, birds, bugs, etc., should not be a part of your aesthetic.  Clean up, toss out, and move on.
 
3.  Plants shouldn’t grow where they shouldn’t grow. See those weeds growing in the sidewalk behind your building, or those trees growing in the alley?  Those shouldn’t be there.  Pick them, cut them, and (if necessary) spray them.  They don’t look good.
 
4.  Clean and design your windows.  You can’t look into dirty windows.  If your window displays don’t tell what type of business you are, the consuming public can get confused relatively quickly.  Your windows are your billboards.  Take some time to clean them and plan your displays.
 
5.  Wash your sidewalk when it needs it.  A sidewalk full of gum, trash, pigeon “markings”, cigarette butts and more doesn’t make a great first impression.  Periodically spraying down your sidewalk might need inclusion in your maintenance plan. In some locations, there are water plates downtown that you can hook into for water access. Please contact the office with questions.
 
6.  Consider the appearance of your upper story.  High quality merchandise in a building with an upper story that looks dilapidated to your customer doesn’t make visual sense.  This might be the year you need to get those upper story windows fixed.
 
7.  Check the details around your building.  Look around your building with a critical eye.  How is the masonry?  Do you notice any cracks?  Is there discoloring on your building?  Are there gaps forming around windows?  Make a maintenance list while items are small.  Early maintenance will make your building look better and potentially save you from larger issues down the road.
 
8.  DON’T FORGET THE ALLEY!!!- Pedestrians use the alleys much more than you think.  Trash, trees, grit and grime aren’t out of sight simply because they don’t face the street.  If left unchecked, issues along the alley can quickly become building issues.
 
9.  Get lit.  Window lighting and general exterior lighting are important as the student population returns.  Sunset occurs a little earlier each night, and a big group of potential customers might stay out a little later than our average citizen.  Lighting your windows and leaving exterior signage lit are inexpensive ways to promote your business.  The extra lighting also promotes safety for late night pedestrians.
 
10.  Make it routine.  A lot of businesses have an interior business “check list” for cleaning and maintenance on a daily, weekly and monthly basis.  Fewer businesses have check lists that include their building exterior.  Make sure you are paying attention to your first impression (your building exterior.)
 
Although it’s not exactly fair, we do sometimes need to act as our neighbors keeper.  So, if you see that your neighboring building has “issues” it might behoove you to go the extra mile and help spruce up next door (especially if you are adjacent to a vacancy.)  The aesthetics of an area provide context to the consumer.  If we just take care of “our own” without looking past our individual buildings, we will fail to recognize the impact of the whole on the psyche of the consuming public.
 
Take some time this week (and every week) to spruce up!  It does make a difference!