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I can't come up with anything better than to set up a (specialist) shop in an area.

Imagine a park up in the mountains where kids could do MTB (mountain biking?) a place that is accessible but lacking in facilities. How could we improve this park so anyone could go and do this activity? A student of mine wrote

One idea might be to put a rental bike shop near the future park.

Now, it's understandable but are retail shops "put" in a place? I'm thinking "setting up a shop" is a better expression but it may not be the best. To establish a shop suggests a shop that needs to make a name for itself so it becomes a permanent feature in the area. To make a shop suggests building one from scratch, to found a shop is the wrong collocation as that is often used for the creation of a large important business.

So, is there another way of saying "put a shop" there? It sounds like a game of Monopoly, players can put houses and hotels in Mayfair or Boardwalk but we don't put shops, I know there are better alternatives.

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    This native speaker of American English hears nothing at all wrong with your student’s put a shop. Although putting may not be an action that we typically think of shops as undergoing, in this context I find it unobjectionable. Nov 26, 2023 at 17:48
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    Shops can not only be "put" (or prevented from being put) somewhere. London County Council refused to allow shops and offices. Nov 26, 2023 at 17:56
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    The boy is using "put" perfectly naturally - from his point of view, it's "hypothetical planning", and he's adopting the role of a councilor who might decide where commercial premises will or won't be allowed / encouraged. Nov 26, 2023 at 17:58
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    bike rental shop, I'd use...but this question really surprises me as "put" seems fine to me. In architecture informal parlance, one would most definitely use "put". "When they built the mall, where did they put the bike shop?"
    – Lambie
    Nov 26, 2023 at 18:05
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    @Mari-LouA: I think you miss my point. I knew the "young Italian speaking student" was unlikely to have been a native Anglophone (or you're have said so). The usage is natural, even if the specific speaker isn't in a position to "use it naturally". And from his perspective (as a potential customer), he's more like a council planner than an actual shopkeeper. He just wants a shop there, and he could say They should put a shop there without even consciously thinking whether they refers to council planners, a nationwide bike shop chain, or a couple of guys making a business plan. Nov 26, 2023 at 18:21

2 Answers 2

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Seems like you have already gone through a few options. Here are some other alternative that come to mind.

  • Establish a shop
  • Set up a shop
  • Open a shop
  • Start a shop
  • Place a shop
  • Launch a shop
  • Create a shop
  • Install a shop
  • Position a shop
  • Site a shop
  • Station a shop

Which is best would depend on what you wish to convey. Establish a shop: This phrase implies stability and permanence. Is this going to be a permanent or long lasting shop? Open a shop: This is much more straightforward. It emphasizes the beginning of the business. Set up a shop: This would convey the idea of initiating the presence of a shop. It suggests the action of arranging and organizing the shop at the chosen location. Launch a shop: This works better in marketing material.

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  • Which one is best though? I would automatically discard "install", "position" and "station". Please choose three or four and explain why they are preferable. Thanks.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 26, 2023 at 17:41
  • It would depend on what you wish to convey. Establish a shop: This phrase implies stability and permanence. Is this going to be a permanent or long lasting shop? Open a shop: This is much more straightforward. It emphasizes the beginning of the business. Set up a shop: This would convey the idea of initiating the presence of a shop. It suggests the action of arranging and organizing the shop at the chosen location. Launch a shop: This works better in marketing material. Nov 26, 2023 at 17:51
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    Fine, please edit the answer and include your thoughts. A long lists of words without any explanation is not helpful, unless you are a native speaker but even then.... You have also included two options which are in the question itself.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 26, 2023 at 17:58
  • Excuse me for asking, but did you find this list of synonyms online? On a thesaurus, perhaps? In any case, I cannot accept this answer because I strongly disagree with a few of the suggested options. Also, two of the descriptions you supplied (establish, set up) were already in my question.
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 27, 2023 at 10:33
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Sample: One idea might be to put a rental bike shop near the future park.

Nothing wrong with "put" a shop near some other thing.

More formal: locate - One idea might be to locate a rental bike shop near the future park.

But that would be for more formal contexts.

The Parish Plan at Yarpole “It has been very much a community-wide project. The management of the Parish Plan, by the Parish Council and others, started this process by achieving about 65% of community involvement in it in some way or the other through questionnaires, special interest groups and other aspects of the community and finally a huge exhibition was held in the church which included an enormous scale model of the parish. When proposals were being developed to put the shop in the church, this idea was used again and an exhibition of the proposals was put up in church as a way of getting people used to the idea of using the church for secular use”.

social enterprise [bolding mine]

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  • Which would you choose between "put a shop", "set up a shop" or "establish a shop" in any given area? Are all three acceptable and nothing wrong?
    – Mari-Lou A
    Nov 26, 2023 at 18:06
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    I would say put or locate or set up. Never "establish" under normal circumstances. To establish a business. "set up" make it sound like the shop is there, and you are setting up your wares there. For construction/building, I'd say put (informal) or locate (formal).
    – Lambie
    Nov 26, 2023 at 18:12

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