Ah, spring. Let us once again behold the beauty of life renewed—the flowers in bloom, the birds chirping merrily, the trees with their crisp green leaves swaying gently in the breeze, and warm winds that point the way to long summer days.

Spring brings all this…and of course, it also casts a spotlight on the many maintenance challenges that have built up inside and outside your retail stores over the long, dark, cold, fall weather months.

When the temperatures heat up, you want your retail stores looking their best—and it’s absolutely critical that customers feel comfortable when they’re inside spending money. That’s why now is the ideal time to implement a maintenance spring cleanup program for your portfolio of retail stores – a retail “honey-do” list, if you will.

Here’s our suggested program:

Retail HVAC Maintenance:

Earlier, we provided an updated maintenance checklist for the cooling season. Here’s a brief synopsis of what we recommended.

  • Replace all air filters with disposable filters
  • Inspect the blower and replace blower belt(s)
  • Inspect the blower bearings, and lubricate as needed
  • Brush-clean the condenser coils
  • Verify that the cooling systems are operable
  • Check the refrigerant levels, crankcase heater and compressor oil levels
  • Check and adjust all operating and safety controls
  • Utilize megohmmeter testing of motors and compressors
  • Check and record the amp draw on motors, as well as the voltage balance
  • Tighten electrical connections on the unit and inside the disconnect switch
  • Verify that the condensate drain and trap are clean and flowing, and that the condensate pan is clean
  • For units with an economizer, verify that the economizer dampers are set and operational
  • Have an equipment condition report prepared by your PM contractor—it can be very helpful in long-term maintenance and equipment planning.

You can see that preparing your HVAC unit or units for the cooling season is an involved process. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: When developing a PM program, select a qualified contractor who regularly services your type of equipment and can provide you with thorough equipment maintenance reporting.

Retail Signage Maintenance:

In our recent e-book on signage, we stated one truth that we think applies to business owners, managers facility managers across the country; namely, that signage probably isn’t top of mind with you. You’re not alone in that regard. At CLS, we find that most retail businesses view signage reactively—not proactively. In our e-book, we used a football analogy to put the issue in context: Offensive linemen in football generally go unnoticed until one of them commits a penalty. Likewise in retail, signs go unnoticed until something goes wrong – lights burn out, facing gets cracked, or dirt buildup obscures lettering.

At CLS, we believe signage deserves proactive maintenance, not reactive maintenance.

Like any piece of equipment or machinery, signs must be maintained and cared for. Certainly, that encompasses the basic tasks associated with most preventive maintenance (PM). But it also means accounting for the universe of variables that affect signs, then analyzing data, and making smart decisions based on your analysis. That may not seem overly challenging if you manage a dozen or so stores. But if you manage hundreds or even thousands of stores, small decisions add up to big expenditures.

Here are some basic spring signage tasks that can help keep all your signs working for you—not against you:

  • Have a nighttime inspection done – you can try to do one in-house with existing resources, if that’s viable, or hire a qualified company like CLS to do it for you. A facilities management provider like CLS offers low-cost night inspections that identify non-illuminated channel letters, box signs or monument sign lighting. From there, we can repair the problem quickly, without the need for an emergency call. This saves businesses money, it mitigates damage to their corporate brand, and it heads off potentially embarrassing misspellings of their store name. In the age of social media, one embarrassing picture can spread virally through cyberspace and really do some damage to your brand. Simple night inspections are a low-cost tactic to help you avoid this unnecessary problem.
  • Have your facility management provider perform a daytime physical inspection of your channel letters, cabinet signs and (if applicable) pylon signs at each of your retail stores. Are they clean, or has dirt and grime built up during the winter? Are there bird nests in and between channel letters? Are letters or Plexiglas screens chipped, discolored or broken? If you don’t currently utilize a facility management team, your store managers can perform this task. Have them report back to you; then, put a plan in place to fix problems that exist.

Retail Lighting and Electrical (interior and exterior) Maintenance:

  • Reactive maintenance: Have your facility management company (or again, store managers, if applicable) compile a list of burned-out or missing bulbs and fixtures for interior and exterior lighting, as well as electrical issues in the stores.
  • Proactive planning: Spring is as good a time as any to think about planning and implementing interior and exterior lighting retrofit projects in your portfolio of stores. A lighting retrofit project revamps existing lighting technology with more energy efficient systems within the same electrical footprint.

A common lighting retrofit project begins with the removal of existing T12 lamps, magnetic ballasts, and/or HID fixtures and replacing them with T8/T5 lamps, electronic ballasts, and high bay replacement fixtures within an existing facility. The project results in a positive increase in consistency quantity and quality of light. Energy savings are impactful for your business and make a large environmental impact. New lighting will assist in adhering to government regulations, as old T12 and HID technologies are being phased out. In addition to T12 retrofits, many companies can benefit from LED and exterior lighting retrofits as well.

An interior and/or exterior lighting retrofit project results in a host of benefits:

  • Lighting and energy savings of 30-80% on all projects. In fact, exterior lighting retrofit projects, inclusive of parking lot lighting, can deliver savings of 50-80%!
  • Added energy savings in HVAC
  • Reduction in labor and material costs due to fewer maintenance needs—this can add up to thousands of dollars each year
  • Strong manufacturer warranty on lamps and ballasts to help reduce maintenance costs
  • Government rebates & EPA tax deduction opportunities
  • Increased lighting quality and consistency

For more information on lighting retrofit projects, visit our Lighting & Electrical page on our website.

  • Lighting rebates: 2016 rebates for LED are in full swing now. Has your company explored these new rebate programs? If not, call us – we can fill you in on what’s currently available, and the potential savings such rebates can deliver for your company.
  • Exit signage review: While we’re talking about LED, have exit signs at all your stores been converted yet to LED? If not, consider it, because conversion is an easy way to achieve 90% energy savings. Why such big savings? Exit signs are illuminated 24/7/365, so even a little savings, when spread across the span of an entire year, adds up quickly.

Retail Plumbing Maintenance:

Please don’t hesitate to use CLS for your plumbing services and needs, including:

  • Backflow Testing and Inspection
  • Certified Inspectors
  • Scheduled Testing
  • Inspection Reports
  • Equipment Replacement/Upgrades
  • Water Heaters
  • Toilets
  • Faucets
  • Sump Pumps
  • Water Pumps
  • Emergency Service

We hope you found these spring cleanup tips and strategies helpful. If you are looking for a facility management company for 2016, learn more about CLS Facility Services by contacting us at 800-548-3542 or by filling out our contact form.