In conversations of late, I’ve sensed an edge of concern among industry professionals. While I do love baseball (Go Rays), I don’t know if we’ve sung “take me out to the ballgame” yet. What I do know is that whether there’s an economic shift on the horizon or not, it’s a good idea to look carefully at present-day realities and have the discipline to make investments in innovation and R&D even in the absence of a specific “crisis.”
“When things are going well you typically have the time and resources to more effectively plan for the future as opposed to when you are struggling to adjust to a poor market or shifting environment,” says Ron Wheeler, CEO of The Sembler Co., one of the most prolific retail developers in the Southeast
Having collaborated with Sembler since 2008, I have been impressed with the way Ron and the Sembler team stay ahead of fast-changing markets. These days, many of Sembler’s projects are far more Internet-resistant than those of their peers thanks to Sembler’s focus on in-demand grocers and health and wellness tenants. This focus was developed through a careful review of the company’s extensive developments and lessons learned through the years. Likewise, Sembler puts great energy into the continuous improvement of its internal processes. “Internally, when you work for a 50-plus-year company with long-tenured employees, you need to constantly evaluate your processes to make sure you are working as efficiently and effectively as possible,” Ron notes.
At WeinPlus, we spend countless hours researching both internal practices and external market forces facing retail real estate companies to help cut through the noise. “Having an industry expert consultant to help you sift through the information and selectively provide the most relevant data is critical,” Ron says.
In today’s relatively stable economy, some are surely tempted to sit back and savor the good life, with its high occupancies, full parking lots and low cap rates. Forward-thinking companies like Sembler illustrate the importance of continuously staying vigilant. After all, you never know when you’ll need your bullpen.