Younkers store in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis., to close
York, Pa. — The Bon-Ton Stores announced it will close its Younkers store in the Rapids Mall in Wisconsin Rapids, Wis.
The company will not renew the lease, which terminates July 31, 2013. The closing will impact approximately 45 associates at this location.
The Bon-Ton acquired the leasehold interests in the Wisconsin Rapids store as part of the Northern Department Store Group acquisition in 2006. The department store retailer said it does not expect costs associated with the closing of the location to be material.
Associates in the Rapids Mall location will be offered the opportunity to interview for available positions at other Younkers stores or receive career transition benefits.
Spotlight on Retail Construction
Building stores requires a particular type of expertise on the part of the contractor. Chain Store Age spoke with Gregg Zysman of All-Rite Construction Company about what retailers should look for when hiring a contractor.
What are the most important factors retailers should consider when selecting a contractor?
The most important factor is to select a contractor that specializes in retail construction. Look for membership in associations like the Retail Contractors Association and a list of recognized retail clients.
Next, is the contractor’s reputation for delivering projects on time, in budget and with requisite quality. An indicator is a company that has a long-standing client base and is growing in the retail segment.
Finally, the contractor must have a strong business and ethical commitment. This is reflected in responsiveness and resolution to problems and ongoing support after the project is complete. Look for ready access to senior management, a trained staff of professionals and ongoing maintenance indicating the work will be done right and a desire to support the client for the long run.
What is it about retail build-out that necessitates the contractor have specific retail expertise?
Retailers are under extreme pressure to complete projects on compressed schedules with firm completion dates, often linked to advertising and merchandising programs. Also, retailers often require renovations be conducted after hours with no interference to store operations. Working under these conditions requires years of experience and carefully honed procedures to ensure success.
Retailers are also under significant budget pressures, with little tolerance for cost overruns. The selected contractor must properly bid the project and bring it in for the bid price without cutting corners or generating unexpected change orders. Again, a retail contractor with a reputation of delivering quality projects for the bid price is essential.
The retail environment requires the contractor to be sensitive to many factors other construction professionals never deal with. Store management and employees, mall management, nearby store customers/merchandise and other factors can be pitfalls to a non-retail contractor. Having years of experience in retail construction is the only way to avoid these pitfalls.
Are there any advantages in using a regional contractor versus a national one?
Yes, regional contractors are highly focused on their territories. They build close and continuing relationships with building officials, suppliers and subcontractors through repeated projects. These relationships provide the retailer an edge on completion time and budget by leveraging this local knowledge.
The proximity of projects allows senior management and project management staff direct access to the job sites, enhancing performance and developing relationships through face-to-face meetings. Regional contractors are still large enough to have the necessary resources to ensure delivery so there are no drawbacks to their use.
What is the biggest mistake retailers make in hiring a contractor?
Some retailers base their decision solely on price with some contractors offering a “low ball” price to win. Those retailers can end up with an inferior product, headaches along the way and often a final cost exceeding other reasonable bids due to unexpected change orders. The best solution is an experienced retail contractor that offers a fair and competitive price based on a complete bid, which will limit change orders and still deliver a quality product.
Tell us a little about All-Rite Construction Company.
All-Rite Construction is a full-service regional general contractor working from Maine to South Carolina specializing in the retail industry. We offer build-outs of all kinds including ground-up, mall, strip, street, remodel, roll-out, retrofit and maintenance services when the project is complete. We also offer energy conservation solutions.
All-Rite has been servicing the retail industry for nearly 30 years and is a long-standing member of the Retail Contractors Association (RCA). We choose to stay regional so we can provide the highest level of service. We utilize advanced technology to improve our performance and take old-fashioned pride in every project. Many of our clients have been with us for decades.
Real estate solution-providers equip retailers to make strategic decisions
Any economic recovery begs a number of questions for a retailer: When can I grow again? Where should I go? What does my customer want and need now? How big can my stores — and my business — be? Even though we are on the other side of the deepest recession in decades, it is still critical that retailers correctly answer these questions. We’re long past the days when a chain could rely on gut instinct about a store location.
Fortunately, chains navigating these tricky questions have a number of tools at their disposal. The companies below, listed alphabetically, are dedicated to giving retailers the information and data they need to make these decisions. Now, these tools provide hard numbers, often integrated with other systems, which turn raw facts into usable knowledge that will drive success.
A&G Realty Partners
A&G Realty Partners, a commercial real estate advisory and investment group, brings experience, capital, and decades of established and trusted relationships. A&G offers a comprehensive set of services that addresses both common and complex industry issues in today’s marketplace, and combines both capital and expert strategic guidance through the entire real estate cycle. A&G is recognized for the creative solutions it applies across a broad spectrum of industry problems, particularly in growth, dispositions, lease renegotiations and due diligence.
A&G engages in a variety of acquisition strategies, including purchasing real estate and mortgages. The company provides mortgages, equity and “rescue” capital and participates in tactical joint ventures. Through these means, A&G looks to create the most value out of the asset. It creates value out of distressed or underperforming assets by deploying capital and combining that with the team’s restructuring expertise.
Fort Worth, Texas
Customer analytics firm Buxton works with retailers to provide answers to questions around growth and expansion strategies. By knowing where its customers are, a retailer can prioritize existing sites and pinpoint new store or restaurant locations, locally, regionally or internationally, with the greatest sales potential — right down to the intersection. Since 1994, Buxton has worked with more than 2,000 clients, such as Tommy Bahama, OfficeMax, Marriott, TCBY and more.
SCOUT is a Web-based real estate and analytics platform that allows users to analyze any location in the United States, run custom reports and visualize data on dynamic maps. SCOUT has been utilized by some of America’s leading retailers to select high-performing locations for their stores. Utilizing customer analytics, every decision is backed by hard facts and objective data. Buxton can predict store performance with great accuracy, helping retail chains allocate the right resources for each location.
DAVACO provides high-volume, turnkey implementation services for retail, restaurant and hospitality brands. With offices in the United States and Canada and over 1,500 W-2 employees located across North America, DAVACO specializes in facilitating multi-site changes with quality, consistency and speed-to-market. Services include: Rollouts, retrofits, resets and remodels; turnkey fixture programs; equipment and graphic installations; digital signage and technology upgrades; merchandising; inspection, site and marketing surveys; logistics and consolidation; sustainability; and other special initiatives.
DAVACO supports all programs with its proprietary technology, ClearThread, which utilizes mobile technology and secure, web-accessible client portals to provide greater visibility and productivity into program execution. Featuring real-time updates, before/after photos, site data and advanced reporting capabilities, ClearThread aggregates and consolidates critical program information for maximum efficiencies.
A Gordon Brothers Group Company
DJM Realty is the real estate arm of 110-year-old Gordon Brothers Group with offices in Boston, New York, San Francisco, Atlanta, London, Cologne and Tokyo. Founded in 1992 and headquartered in New York, DJM is a worldwide provider of strategic real estate solutions in healthy and distressed situations — combining experienced professionals, technology, research and abundant capital to provide real estate disposition, restructuring, auditing, mergers & acquisitions, and advisory services.
Meet with DJM Realty at RECon in Las Vegas at Booth # 289 R Street in the South Hall. To schedule a meeting in advance, call 631-752-1100.
Virtual Premise provides best-in-class solutions for corporate and retail real estate management. The company’s cloud-based software and services help customers deliver on their business strategies by better managing their real estate portfolios. Virtual Premise solutions include strategy and analytics, portfolio management, lease management, lease administration, project management, transaction management, and lease abstracting and document management services. Virtual Premise differentiates itself by providing best-in-class software that provides superior visibility and control at a value that is unmatched in the industry.
The enhanced VP Retail Edition includes an advanced strategy and analytics module that provides visibility into critical store performance and real estate information. Designed for company executives, real estate deal-makers, and store planning and construction managers, the technology consolidates critical real estate information with data from other business systems to produce actionable information. The powerful strategy and analytics module enables retailers to align real estate operations with company objectives to increase profitability.