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Forever 21

Forever 21

So, Colliers International came out with a list of the retailers that are likely to expand this year. They called the list “Companies Likely to Pursue Expansion this Year”, but I would prefer to call it something like…”Retail Expansion for Smart Companies” (Not so original, check out Steve Pavlina‘s book to see where I got the idea from). So many tenants/retailers are sitting on the sidelines while landlords are giving FANTASTIC deals. Oh well, scared money “don’t make none.” Here is the list:

  1. AT&T Mobility
  2. Au Bon Pain
  3. Best Buy
  4. Costco
  5. CVS
  6. Dollar Tree
  7. Family Dollar
  8. Five Guys Burgers and Fries
  9. Forever 21
  10. Fresh & Easy
  11. Gold’s Gym
  12. Goodwill Industries International
  13. Noodles & Company
  14. O’Reilly Auto Parts
  15. Panera Bread Company
  16. Party City
  17. Rainbow Shops
  18. Ross Stores
  19. Rue 21
  20. Smart & Final
  21. Sprouts Farmers Market
  22. Sunflower Farmers Market
  23. Urban Active Fitness

Now, that is Colliers International’s list, but I know of a few more that are making moves in this time of opportunity:

  • Citi Trends
  • Buffalo Wild Wings
  • TJX (Marshalls, T.J. Maxx, HomeGoods)
  • Great Harvest Bread
  • Wal-Mart
  • Kohl’s
  • Aldi
  • Food Lion (Bloom, Bottom Dollar, Food Lion)
  • Advance Auto Parts
  • Auto Zone

So there are definitely some trends here and we will talk about those in coming posts!



Right now, there is a war going on in major American cities, especially New York and Los Angeles. Many people call it, the Yogurt Wars. Several upscale yogurt concepts created by Korean Entrepreneurs are competing for the mouths and dollars of American consumers. Currently, the most popular concept is Pinkberry. When I was in New York during the holidays, I saw lines going out of the doors and around corners to get in some of the downtown Manhattan Pinkberry locations. Even uptown locations were crowded. Friends living in Los Angeles say that these yogurt concepts are everywhere! The frozen phenomenon is not new, it is just going through a revival. In the 1980s and 1990s, TCBY was definitely the yogurt champion in the Washington D.C. area. But these new yogurt concepts have a very Twenty First century presentation with many more toppings and choices. Right now in the Washington D.C. area, Ice Berry is the pioneer with their Reston Town Center location. More are coming and it will be interesting to see how the location battles begin.

Here are a few of the new frozen concepts battling for the best territory:

  • Pinkberry
  • Ice Berry
  • Red Mango
  • Cali Yogurt
  • Kiwiberry

Others include:

Blue Cherry Yogurt Bar, CéFiore, YogurtBerry, BerryLine, Yo Berry, Snowberry, Roseberry, Berri Good, Limelite, Bear Naked, Pingo Berry, Peach House, Dolci Mango and Cantaloop.

To read more about the Yogurt Wars, click here.


Yesterday, January 7, 2008, Starbucks sacked their CEO, Jim Donald, and announced that they will close some U.S. based stores in 2008. Starbucks is a great concept, but after thousands and thousands of stores opened in a close proximity to each other, its time to take a breath. The share price has suffered considerably in the last few weeks as a result of declining sales. They likely plan is for Starbucks to close the stores that are not strategically positioned and under performing. To read more about Starbucks closing, click here.


Just like in all sports or business ventures, it is important to have a team when growing your retail business. From a real estate/site selection perspective, the members of your team should be:

  • Broker/Agent: Look around and find the right person/group that fits your personality and goals. They should be able to help you identify the right market and site for your store.
  • Real Estate Attorney (Experienced in Retail Real Estate): This is the person that is going to review your lease and can truly explain language that might not make sense on the surface.
  • Contractor: You will need to work with a contractor to get your space built out. The contractor can also help you save money by providing an estimate of what it will cost to build out a store. You have to watch the contractors, but if you get a good one, they can really help you out.
  • Architect: You are most likely going to need to submit plans to the city showing how you are laying out your store.  In an ideal world, your contractor and architect work together to build your retail masterpiece. Either you contractor or architect should deal your local municipality in getting permits. 
These are the main components to having a winning team in your site selection. If any of the team members are weak it could result in delays and problems down the road. I would suggest getting several bids from architects and contractors before settling on one person until you know the quality of the work and are sure about the relationship.

I thought this article might be helpful for people going into the New Year to get a perspective on things in the financing markets. Enjoy and Happy New Year.

Commercial property loans are used by many sectors of the business world to finance future investments and expansion efforts to grow a business.

With the recent collapse of the U.S. sub-prime mortgage market, credit is increasingly difficult for consumers to come by. Lenders are reducing their exposure to high-risk ventures. Lingering uncertainty about the credit market as well as the stability of the international money market causes widespread reluctance to finance ventures.

Fortunately for investors seeking commercial real estate financing, the commercial sector is not directly affected by these developments. Although riskier ventures will still be more difficult to finance with credit, the current economic climate has not stalled lenders.

With the recent developments in both the U.S., and across the international credit market, debt is becoming a well known concept.

While economic uncertainty would demand that all investors be prudent about entering into debt, most Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development countries are not in recession. In fact, they have actually experienced record growth and prosperity over the past decade. This lends some robustness to the major western economies.

Most business expansion is financed using commercial loans, so provided debt is entered into for purposes of investment, building, and expansion of the business (rather than a fundamental cash-flow problem). Debt is not in itself a negative thing. It is the return on that debt that is the problem.

Commercial real estate financing can be secured to fund the purchase of land for infrastructure and services development. Power plants, streets, utilities, shopping complexes, office or apartment buildings, parking facilities, parks, resorts, and golf courses, and even medical clinics or private hospitals are just a few such real estate investments.

Frequently, commercial property loans are sought as a means of refinancing existing debt to increase the total value of the investment. It is possible for private investors and companies to make a career in the reiterative process of reinvestment. Financing the cost of expansion against the projected profits of the venture can be quite lucrative.

It is true that there is still some volatility and uncertainty about the stability of the western economies. Consequently, investors should be as vigilant as ever about entering into unprofitable arrangements. Such factors influencing profitability include cost blowouts, too little potential return, or inherently risky ventures.

Investment consultants have made a market for themselves in advising smaller scale investors on commercial real estate financing, and providing them with the means of determining which projects are worth entering into, based on the available information. This includes taking into account the possible blowouts, and considering what might go wrong with any given project.

By applying basic rules of thumb, and not investing beyond certain thresholds, investors can increase their chances of sticking to projects that are within their means.

With the use of specialized software, this process can be further streamlined, allowing financiers to quickly weed out which projects are potentially unprofitable. Based on the available data and taking into account uncertainties and potential threats to the project, financiers can make smarter lending decisions.

Taking advantage of commercial real estate financing in the current market can be lucrative for you. If you are looking for a way to grow your business, investing in property is a potential solution. The professionals at KISCL offer software to make the task easier. </a

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There are many different business models used in the retail world and the business world. People sign leases in their personal name or in the name of a corporation. There is no right or wrong way to do things, but it is advised that a corporation sign the lease. I am not an attorney, but I am involved in lease transactions and have bought real estate before and the general rule is to use some corporate structure for asset protection and liability. The best thing to do is speak with an attorney before entering in lease negotiations about how you should structure the business. This goes hand in hand with the attorney reviewing the lease, so you can fortunately “kill two birds with one stone.”

Here are some sources to find out more about  Legal Entities and Corporations:


Banks have been a gloomy topic in the retail/commercial real estate world for the past few months. The summer of 2007 marked the beginning of drastic changes in the banking industry. Banks like Commerce Bank, PNC, Citibank, Bank of America, Wachovia and Chase were opening locations left and right. Banks were in bidding wars to take freestanding buildings at busy intersections and highly visible corner buildings in cities across the United States. Here in the Washington D.C. area, I heard stories about banks paying as much as $500,000 annually for a ground lease. Basically, they had to pay a lot of money for some dirt and then build a building. As always, markets move like pendulums and the bank market started to make its way down around July.

Nobody is certain of the single cause for banks slowing down, but it is fair to say that 1) the credit crunch, 2) slower home growth/undertain housing market and 3) hypergrowth. The first two issues are all over the news, but point 3 is rarely spoken about outside the real estate community. There are just too many banks in one market and they are all over each other. I understand they are fighting for deposits, but there are only so many people and over saturation was inevitabe in many cases.

People are expecting the banks to come back roaring in 2010. It will certainly be interesting to see what happens. I predict that some banks are going to be bought and others are going to get rolling opening more sites.

Every now and then I hear limiting phrases like “That won’t work in my business” or  “My industry is different”. Phrases like that are limiting and just far off. Unfortunately, to a large extent, people in the retail real estate industry have not embraced technology like other sectors of the economy let alone real estate. My goal is to find a way to use technology efficiently so that people in the industry truly see the value of modern technology beyond a Blackberry. Blackberries are excellent tools, but so much more could be utilized.

I recommend starting with an e-mail address. Yahoo, Gmail, Hotmail… so many services offer e-mail addresses. I am serious about this. I run across so many people interested in leasing space, but they do not have e-mail addresses.


All retailers are subject to following building code regulations. Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) compliance is a very important issue in commercial real estate build out. The good people of Sacramento Valley Industrial Advisors just did a small blog entry about ADA Compliance. Check it out by clicking here.


Rumor has it that Starbucks is going to be slowing down in 2008.  I really like Starbucks, but I have always been amazed at their appetite for expansion. The company plans to focus on in store operations, but will continue to expand at a slower rate. The coffee giant says that it will focus on store operations and customer satisfaction.

I think Starbucks will be around a while because people are still crazy about Coffee, but certain elements in the economy are preventing people from spending $5 a day on frappuccinos.

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