Great article in today’s Wall Street Journal on how Start-Ups/Growing concepts are finding great deals on unique space that would otherwise remain on the market. We’ve all heard the adage, “think outside the box”, well that cannot be more true today. We read daily about Commercial Real Estate/Vacancies/Low Rent rates, but is that really true? I was conducting a market tour for a recent client of mine in Tyler and Longview Texas and based on the availability in that market, you would think we were in the middle of a real estate boom. We found 1 or 2 potential locations for 1000 square foot haircutter…that’s it. Based on what I read in the WSJ or see on CNBC, there should be cobwebs and tumbleweeds in these centers. Now, I know every DMA is going to be different…former colleagues of mine in Detroit and Cleveland are having a hayday in securing good space in great centers for a discount. But what should growing retailers do in markets like Dallas, Austin, Denver, and Salt Lake? The first step (shameless plug) is hire an expert to pinpoint your exact locations for growth. At RetailCorridor, we use a combination of science, experience and good old fashioned “gut feel” to determine a retailers top areas for growth within a DMA. Most retail brokers simply go with the “gut feel” and couple that with availability on MLS….this may cut it for an easy placement, but what about the discount haircutter who is looking for their 3rd store in a market? In this environment (my LEAST favorite saying over the past 9 months) you CAN NOT make a wrong decision in Real Estate. Your decisions must be factually based to give yourself, your board, Franchises, whoever, the confidence that this store will be successful. Second, coming back to the original point, think outside the box. While A Shopping Centers may not have the significant discounts that you read about, B centers, retail flex space, non-traditional spaces will.