Any facility manager knows just how difficult it can be managing a store, let alone a shopping center, during the winter. The colder weather presents several challenges, ranging from keeping customers safe indoors and outdoors to ensure that the center itself remains fully operational and functioning during the colder months.
The key to successful facility management is taking action at the right time, preparing the shopping center before the bad weather comes, and making a checklist that you stick to.
At Earth Development, we help businesses all over the Midwest to stay open in the winter with our snow removal and deicing services. We also provide expert advice right here on our website, and in this piece, we’ll explore the top things you need on your checklist this year.
Winter Preparation Checklist for Shopping Malls
Wintertime just so happens to be the most difficult time for shopping malls to stay open, but also one of the most lucrative times to remain open. With the holiday season, more people will be flocking to your stores to buy gifts, and with the cold weather outdoors, people have more of a reason to come indoors and spend time in a warm shopping center.
With this preparation checklist, you’ll streamline your property management system and make keeping your stores open this winter a little easier. We’ve split it into two sections – indoors and outdoors.
How to Prepare the Inside of Your Store for Winter
Cold weather doesn’t just affect your outdoor parking lots and walkways. There’s a lot a facility manager needs to consider beyond snow removal.
These are the most important ways you can prepare the inside of your shopping center for the winter.
Make Sure HVAC Units Are Serviced
Your customers are going to want to feel warm inside your store, so be sure that your HVAC systems are properly working. Make sure your gas and electricity utility providers are ready to go, and your HVAC units themselves have been properly serviced and will last through the winter.
If these units need to be repaired, it makes the most sense to get them fixed during the fall when you don’t desperately need air conditioning switched on and you also don’t need the heat. Failing HVAC systems in the winter may require you to close your shopping center until they are all fixed.
Winter weather means customers will be bringing water, dirt, snow, and ice into the store on their shoes. It might also mean dirtier windows.
Work with a reliable cleaning company to provide regular cleaning services to keep floors and windows clean. Your cleaner should also be ready to keep surfaces close to your external doorways free from too much water, as this poses a danger to customers.
Stock Up on Emergency Supplies
You never know what’s going to happen. Bad weather could trap you, your employees, or even customers inside of your shopping center.
Frozen pipes could stop the water supply, and the electricity could cut out unexpectedly.
Keep emergency supplies like flashlights, food, water, and batteries available in your stores so you are always prepared for an emergency.
Employee Scheduling During Winter
Finally, remember to prepare your employees. Remind them that their teamwork will be essential when there is snowfall, and make sure you have a system in place that allows you to determine how many members of staff you need according to footfall and traffic – as this number will often change depending on the weather conditions.
It may also be wise to train your employees in how to deal with snowfall, but we always recommend that companies outsource their snow removal needs to specialists. At Earth Development, we don’t just shovel snow – we monitor weather conditions, predict snowfall, and we take pre-emptive action to ensure your parking lots and walkways stay safe.
How To Prepare the Outside of Your Store for Winter
Now you know how to prepare the inside of your store, let’s take a look at some important things to remember when it comes to outdoor facility management.
Keep Your Roof Safe
This is something you must do all year round. Monitor your roof regularly and look for missing tiles or damage that might result in leaks or structural problems, and hire professionals to solve those problems before the winter weather arrives.
Cracks and potholes on parking lots and walkways are dangerous enough in the summer months. In winter they pose an even bigger threat and are more difficult to fix.
Often these cracks are caused by the freeze-thaw effect of water in the winter, and left unfixed will only get worse and could result in damage to cars or injuries. Be sure to fix these problems in the summer or fall.
Set Light Times for Parking Lots
Shorter winter days mean that people may often arrive at shopping centers in the dark during opening hours. For these reasons, it’s important to change the lighting times for your outdoor lights, while also ensuring that your outdoor surfaces are safe to walk on in lower light.
Earth Development’s snow removal services are really important to Midwest businesses, but we’ll talk more about that in the next section.
Find a Reliable Snow Removal Company
Without a reliable snow removal service, the challenge of clearing parking lots and walkways may be left to your employees. Not only does this put your employees at risk, but it also increases the likelihood that it is not properly executed and pedestrians may fall or trip. For the sake of safety and reducing your shopping center’s liability, we recommend that you hire a snow removal company to expertly handle all your snow removal and deicing needs.
At Earth Development, we have a number of snow removal contracts available that suit all budgets and operations. We recommend seasonal contracts as this offers the most convenience. Our snow removal experts will arrive at your property before, during, and after a snowfall to ensure that your surfaces are kept clear and safe.
Choose the Right Deicers
There are many deicers to choose from. Many work better at different temperatures, for different surfaces, and come at different price points.
To ensure maximum effectiveness you should ensure that you choose the right deicer. You can learn more about the different kinds of deicing agents we use on our blog, and you can also avoid the hassle and entrust this decision with our snow removal experts at Earth Development.
Earth Development – Your Reliable Snow Removal Partner
Earth Development is your reliable snow removal partner. Our teams of local snow removal experts use their large fleet of snow removal equipment and vehicles to clear large and small parking lots and keep your walkways and entryways clear and safe to use.
Businesses across Wisconsin, Ohio, Iowa, Michigan, and beyond entrust their winter business operations with our teams, enjoying safe access to their shopping centers and stores no matter the weather.
To find out more about the contracts available with our snow removal teams, and how we can keep your business operating during the 2021-2022 winter season, call our team today!
We’ll give you a free quote and work with you on creating a custom snow removal plan that suits your exact needs.