International Council of Shopping Centers
International Council of Shopping Centers National Conference, New York, NY, Dec 8-9, 2015
By: Tim Maxwell
It was my pleasure to attend this year’s International Council of Shopping Centers National Conference at the Javitz Center in New York this past Monday and Tuesday with the GreenEarth team. We have attended several of these conferences over the past decade in order to share our positive GreenEarth story with those in the real estate industry who own and manage the properties in which our GreenEarth Affiliates operate.
And it’s great to report to you that this year the mood of the industry was buoyant and the activity was pulsing during the event. Although the veteran real estate brokers remember the darker days of the past 8 years, there was a significant feeling that the commercial real estate market is now seeing and will continue to see good days ahead over the foreseeable future. The Conference released attendance figures of almost 10,000 which was a record crowd.
Even better news for the service industry in general and retail dry cleaning specifically is that the changing face of retail includes a movement towards small footprint brick and mortar locations for sellers of fashion, electronics, sporting goods and other consumer products. This is as a result of consumers’ increasing appetite for buying these products on-line. Thus consumer product retailers need less of a physical presence for stocking goods in the volumes and the product variations that were required in years past.
This fundamental change results in more opportunity for service businesses that are “internet proof” to secure prime retail locations. And so, representatives for restaurants, uniquely-branded food and beverage outlets, salons and hair cutting chains, and other service offerings were actively negotiating for out parcel lots and inline spaces for their locations in numbers reflecting strong growth in the service sector.
As a result, the corner dry cleaner is now being viewed differently by landlords as well. Our GreenEarth team met with many real estate companies who previously viewed dry cleaners as problem tenants bringing environmental baggage with them. The long-held traditional concern for petrochemicals and the requirement for a clean-up if improperly used has given way to being comfortable that the environmentally non-toxic silicone medium used in our GreenEarth Cleaning System satisfies a consumer need safely. And that this need for gentle, effective fabric care can be met without any concern for contamination of soil or human health hazard regulations.
Given this safety profile, GreenEarth Affiliates are now operating in many best-in-class property locations, including those owned and operated by KIMCO Realty, Regency Centers, Edens, Brixmore, Weingarten and many others. Importantly, GreenEarth has coupled the use of our environmentally-preferred silicone medium with our GreenEarth Landlord Program. This Program offers annual support visits to our GreenEarth Affiliate locations so that operating practices can be optimized and assurances can be provided that optimized sustainability is being achieved. We assure these landlords that progressive dry cleaners want quality locations and as a part of their commitment will adhere to practices that leave no liability during or at the end of the lease. Our Landlord Program matches the needs of both the cleaner and the landlord so that a win-win scenario results. And that’s good news for us all!