By Derek Schuster, Associate
When outdoors big-box retailer Gander Mountain announced bankruptcy and closure of stores earlier this year, Weitzman SVP David Zoller and I started working with the landlords for these boxes in a proactive manner to help with possible future vacancy. By doing so, we were able to devise marketing plans and leasing strategies before the “going out of business” signs were posted, allowing us to work efficiently with these landlords to find long-term users to backfill the vacancies.
Our initial game plan, started in early summer, called for gauging the interest for temporary leases from Halloween stores, which we then presented to the landlords as a way to supplement the loss of the rent while the spaces were being marketed. An example of how well this approach worked can be seen in the 32,000-square-foot seasonal Spirit Halloween lease at 3777 Childress Avenue in Mesquite.
Mesquite is a strong market that was identified by Spirit Halloween as an ideal store location. The temporary seasonal-store lease creates a destination for a wide range of customers to buy costumes and Halloween décor, seeing as Halloween is one of the most active retail holidays of the year. The National Retail Federation reports that spending this year will reach a record $9.1 billion, an increase of 8.3 percent over the previous all-time high. So a seasonal Halloween store is the ideal vehicle to create something that vacant spaces cannot: shopper traffic.
The vacant box’s strong location enables the temporary Halloween store to immediately gain Interstate Highway 635 visibility in a heavily trafficked retail district. Even if the seasonal store has its doors open for only a couple of months, its exposes shoppers to the surrounding tenant mix and to several expanding retailers and restaurants that are currently under construction on pad sites fronting the box store.
By showing off the location’s strengths, the seasonal lease helps create a dynamic “billboard” to further help us market the vacancy. In a season of tricks or treats, these seasonal tenants help scare up income, exposure and traffic.