Despite shifting consumer behavior and an economic downturn brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, numerous regional and national retailers are forging ahead with plans to expand in Wisconsin, a group of local commercial real estate brokers say. The group spoke during the Commercial Association of Realtors Wisconsin's 2020 Wisconsin Retail Conference, held virtually Sept. 22 to Sept. 24, as part of the 'Expanding Retailers & Restaurants' session.
The speakers included:
Geoffrey Mackler, prinicipal and co-chairman, ChainLinks Retail Advisors
Peter Glaser, senior vice president, CBRE
Max Jacobson, vice president, Mid-America Real Estate
Brian Vanevenhoven, managing director, Newmark Knight Frank
Matthew Beadle, retail broker, Founders 3 Real Estate Services
The following is a list of some of the retailers looking to expand in the area, according to the panelists:Discount and grocery
Dollar Tree/Family Dollar - Current southeastern Wisconsin store count: 50The retailer is looking for opportunities in Wisconsin's smaller markets, with a focus on its grocery business."They're as active as they have ever been," said Beadle. "These downturns in the economy are what they thrive on. For 2020, their store count projection was about 500. Through Q2, the numbers that are out right now, they hit about half of that."
Ross Dress for Less - Current southeastern Wisconsin store count: 10Prior to the COVID-19 pandemic, the company was opening 90 to 100 stores per year nationally. Now, that total will likely be closer to 30. Ross' spring and fall opening seasons have been derailed, but it still plans to open new stores during the third quarter this year, said Glaser."As far as the off-price categories go, from what I'm hearing, I think there's going to be a lot of expansion in 2022," said Glaser.
Five Below - Current southeastern Wisconsin store count: 9
Dollar General - Current southeastern Wisconsin store count: 30
Aldi - Current southeastern Wisconsin store count: 36
Others mentioned in a flyer from Mid-America include: Burlington, T.J. Maxx, HyVee, Festival Foods, Amazon and Kwik Trip.
Chipotle - Current southeastern Wisconsin store count: 9"They're well capitalized, they're innovative and they're aggressive, and they've been able to tweak and adapt their concepts to fit into this new way that we're consuming and dining out," said Jacobson.As the pandemic has increased drive-thru business for quick-service concepts, he said, Chipotle is looking exclusively at Wisconsin expansion sites that have drive-thru capability.
Cafe Zupas - Current southeastern Wisconsin store count: 3 Glaser, who is Cafe Zupas' local broker, said the company started developing a drive-thru concept six months prior to the pandemic. Finding drive-thru locations are top priority for future growth. "We really need it to compete, we need the convenience, we need it to see the sales increases we need to grow going forward," he said.
Jamba Juice - Current southeastern Wisconsin store count: 2"Watch for them. They've been looking for the right opportunity to do a drive-thru location," said Vanevenhovenk.
Jimmy John's - Current southeastern Wisconsin store count: more than 35
Others mentioned in a flyer from Mid-America include: Teriyaki Madness, Culver's, Chick-fil-A and Starbucks.
Health and wellness
Planet Fitness - Current southeastern Wisconsin locations: 15Overall, the pandemic has had a negative impact on big box fitness concepts, but Jacobson said Planet Fitness is still "doing some deals here and there, being opportunistic."
Top Fitness- Current southeastern Wisconsin locations: 0With more people working out from home rather than at the gym, the fitness equipment retailer are on the lookout for deals in the Milwaukee-area, said Vanevenhoven.
ATI Physical Therapy - Current southeastern Wisconsin locations: 26
DaVita Kidney Care - Current southeastern Wisconsin locations: 20
Financial/Medical Those mentioned in a flyer from Mid-America include: Chase, UW Credit Union, AspenDental, Landmark Credit Union, Advocate Aurora Health and Summit Credit Union.
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