All through the pandemic, we at DLC focused on our team. Just as before, we were constantly looking to hire the people we could count on to move our business forward—as well as to keep the ones that were already doing it. We haven’t laid one employee off in the past year and we’ve hired a dozen people since Labor Day. We continued to invest in who we think are the best employees in the business because, without them and their experience, the complications before us can’t be overcome and prime opportunities will be squandered.
In a time when retailers are struggling with staffing, we are here to say, let’s get back to the intrinsic partnership that once existed between landlords and tenants. Not all spaces are the same, and not all landlords are the same. The cheapest deal, Mr. Tenant, may not be your best deal because it may not be able to get you open on schedule. You, like me, should care about my team a lot. It’s the team that going to get you opened on time in a great-looking store.
A good team is one that communicates with you. A couple of months ago I had dinner with a retail tenant from a big national chain who said to me, “You know, one of your guys called me up and said, ‘We’re killing to deliver for you on time, but there are some things we just can’t get from your HVAC vendor.’ So I called the vendor and told him to ship you the HVAC system I had ordered for another store and we opened on time. Nobody else had ever thought to call and ask us to help in a situation like that.”
Our team does what they need to do. They follow our playbook. If you’re a retailer who’s worked with developers where delayed openings, cost overruns, and poor workmanship have been the norm, stay away from them. If they’re bad at the beginning, they’re not likely to get good in the middle or in the end.
For some time now, retail tenants have been expanding into the centers that were the cheapest, not necessarily into the centers where they might have the longest long run and form a long-term relationship. We’d often hear, “Sorry, we found a cheaper deal over there.” But we’re not hearing that anymore from the well-financed and well-managed retailers that survived or thrived or were contrived during the pandemic.
It’s time for retail center landlords and tenants to team up again.