For about a year, Levin Management Corp., a Plainfield, N.J.-based real estate services firm which manages a 12.3-million-square-foot retail portfolio, has been getting an increasing number of calls from people looking to start retail businesses.
Today, approximately 20 percent of all calls the company’s leasing department takes are from potential tenants who have either no stores or only one or two locations, says Matthew Harding, company president and COO. Some of the proposals are admittedly laughable, with the “prospective tenants” having no real ideas and telling Levin they will sell whatever it is the firm wants them to sell. They see an empty space in a mall and call to ask “What would you like us to put in the there?” Harding notes.
Others might have a valid idea for a new concept, but no previous experience in retail and little to no investment capital. These kinds of entrepreneurs can succeed if they find an experienced partner or opt to run a franchise, but are not likely to survive in the retail business on their own, experts say. But among all the non-starters and penniless dreamers, it’s still possible to find a concept or two that can become a valuable addition to a property. The trick is recognizing who has what it takes.
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