6B — August 31 - September 13, 2012 — Shopping Centers — Mid Atlantic Real Estate Journal



top. Take a step back. Observe what you see going on in the markets, By John Birkeland, ROCK Commercial Real Estate The secret of retail success S

tion of location, visibility and accessibility. The amount of information available for site analysis is amazing. From detailed maps with multiple layers, to tapestry demographic reports, to daily traffic counts, today’s retailer can thoroughly research potential sites. How- ever, the secret to a successful retail business is knowing the customer’s decision making process; being relevant to them, and addressing their need / want. This means knowing your markets. A great local example of knowing the market is Sports- man’s Liquidation Outlet. The

business model was to purchase discontinued and overstock items from the larger sports box stores, with an emphasis on hunting and fishing, and offer them at deep discounts. The owner was astute in site selection, choosing good loca- tions but sacrificing certain at- tributes to keep his rent down, and therefore his overhead, and therefore his prices. What real- ly made this concept work was how well it fit the market. The discounted pricing appealed to the area both in price point (median household income right around the national level of $54,442) and culture (some school districts in the area rec- ognize deer hunting season as an excused absence). As the late Harry Kalas would say, “That ball’s out of here.” There is more to it. Things change. Better put; external factors continually modify re- tail customers’ behavior. Fac- tors such as economy, dietary trends, environment, fash- ion, combine to influence how people will spend their money locally and nationally. Retailers that can forecast these external trends, and get in front of them are going to have the competi- tive advantage. Dollar stores and consignment shops thrived during the Great Recession (economic). Fast casual res- taurants led restaurant growth (dietary / lifestyle / economic) over the past few years. “Green” focused retailers are consis- tently gaining market share (environmental / economic). Stop. Take a step back. Ob- serve what you see going on in the market. Retail concepts that analyze it, explain it, and then tailor their products and services to coincide with it hold the secret to success. What do you see? John Birkeland special- izes in retail leasing and sales, investment proper- ties, and corporate services. He has been active in com- mercial real estate for the past nine years, and held the position of Broker of Record for Springwood Commercial Realty. He has a strong background in hotel and restaurant prop- erties, and earned a master degree inManagement from the Cornell UniversityHotel School. John is a native of Colorado, where he special- ized in resort management and commercial leasing be- fore moving to York County in 2003. n

and then look t o ana l y z e and explain it. In my writ- ings, I keep coming back to a central theme: know your markets and the forces

John Birkeland

that drive them. In looking at the secret of successful retail- ers, we return to this premise once again. The secret to a successful retail location is a combina-

Why I rely on ROCK.

“I was pleased with ROCK’s level of professionalism and their effectiveness to maintain our property’s settlement schedule.”

~Tim Rutter, Rutter’s Farm Stores


Susquehanna Commerce CenterWest 221W. Philadelphia St., Suite 19 York, PA 17401 717.854.5357 www.rockrealestate.net

Ben Chiaro - Larry O’Brien - John Birkeland - Greg Finkelstein

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