When you think about the business of retail, you probably wouldn’t pair the words “Retail” and “Science” together; maybe Retail and Consumer or Retail and Trends, but not Retail and Science.
One of the definitions of science is “a systematically organized body of knowledge on a particular subject,” such as “the science of criminology,” and in CBRE’s case, “the science of retail.” At CBRE, we don’t want to simply be retail transactional sales professionals. We want to understand all parts of the retail real estate business from the consumer to the owner to the analytical location data and everything in between.
With that, CBRE has created Retail Science. Simply put, Retail Science is CBRE’s use of research, location analytics and customized training to serve our retail clients as trusted advisors who understand all aspects of retail. CBRE wants to take that organized body of knowledge, information and resources available to us and figure out the best formula in which to use it, to ensure the best possible service and outcomes for our clients. We want to have the retail real estate practice “down to a science,” if you will.
What is the makeup of Retail Science? There are four pillars to CBRE’s platform – Research, Location Analytics, Education and Sales Training. Within these four pillars, CBRE professionals are equipped with the right research tools, industry data and specific ongoing education programs for the retail real estate industry, resulting in knowledgeable, trusted advisors for clients.
CBRE researchers and analysts are some of the most important people on the team. Their ability to gather and analyze industry information and provide expert reports to our sales professionals is unmatched. How do we make it even better?
With Retail Science, CBRE is expanding its research team and enhancing our approach by focusing on four key areas – placemaking; urban retail; food and beverage; and disruption, technology and innovation in retail. These focus areas allow our team to have a prominent voice on the state of the market and provide important information to clients on various industry-wide trends that are influencing different markets in the Americas.
Like research, Location Analytics provides important data, which aids in a sales professional’s ability to pinpoint positive areas of interest for a client. However, location analytics takes that data, analyzes it and then gives clients a visual representation of a market as a whole or of any specific location.
The Location Analytics pillar of Retail Science aims to harness the power of data to best advise clients on multiple aspects of their current and future store sites. To do this, CBRE utilizes two Geographic Information System GIS) technologies – Dimension and Forum Analytics’ SIMMS Online platform.
Dimension allows our professionals and clients to view, in digital-map format, multiple data points that influence their decisions about specific sites. Forum uses various data streams and proprietary-modeling techniques to generate precise forecasts of the results that clients’ store sites will generate. Simply put, Dimension showcases information about what’s currently happening in specific retail markets, whereas Forum allows clients to generate forecasts for what will happen in those markets in the form of performance forecasts for specific stores.
Dimension and Forum allow CBRE to continually and significantly enhance our use of data and market insight to benefit clients’ retail real estate needs.
The Education pillar provides CBRE professionals the opportunity to enroll in a first-of-its-kind program designed to enhance their knowledge of the business of retail and how those inner workings influence retailers’ real estate-decisions. The course material focuses on multiple aspects of retailers’ business models, both inward-facing to the retailer and outward-facing to the customer.
Some of those topics include product assortment, customer engagement, supply-chain management and sourcing. It’s not enough to only understand your side of the business. To truly serve the needs of your client, you must know every side. Industries are constantly changing, and ongoing education ensures professionals are up-to-date on the latest developments, new technology and best practices.
Strategic Advisor/Sales Training
CBRE facilitates a sales training program called Finishing First, which helps our professionals serve as trusted advisors capable of assessing needs and effectively outlining long-term solutions for them, rather than solely as vendors selling a one-time service. Finishing First often involves components from the Research, Location Analytics and Education pillars of Retail Science.
At CBRE, we want our professionals to be strategic advisors for our clients. We want to be able to diagnose client needs, both declared and undiscovered, and address those needs that build on advantage for them. The Retail Science platform educates and equips our professionals to do just that.
Retail Science is not a fancy tagline; it is CBRE’s value proposition for our retail professionals and it is the plan we have in place for our team to be excellent in all things retail. With Retail Science, we are excited and ready to enhance and refine the skills of our current team members and mentor and produce the next generation of top retail real estate trusted advisors.
Giving back to the community has always been a passion of mine, and I love hearing how my fellow colleagues are giving back. What’s even better is having the support of your own company behind you.
Last month, CBRE’s Chairman of Retail Services Americas, Mickey Ashmore, along with his wife Temple Ashmore, hosted the eighth annual “Retail as Art” exhibition at the Goss-Michael Foundation. “Retail As Art” is a scholarship contest designed to showcase the very best photographic interpretations of “Retail as Art” from Dallas-Fort Worth area high school students.
More than $22,000 in scholarship funds was awarded to 14 Dallas-area students. Claire Marucci of the Hockaday School won first prize, which included a $5,000 scholarship, for her work titled “Nocturnal Energy.” Over 300 attendees enjoyed hors d’oeuvres and other refreshments while mingling and viewing the participants’ photographs.
“Temple and I have always been passionate about education and the ability to help give young students the opportunity to pay for a quality education,” said Mickey Ashmore. “Having founded a retail real estate firm, I wanted to find a way to combine my passion for real estate and my family’s passion to help others. Thus Retail as Art was born.”
The purpose of the event is to showcase the best local photographic talent, celebrate and capture the true essence of retail and reward the winners and their schools for their talent and efforts.
The Ashmores created “Retail as Art” while at UCR and hosted the first “Retail as Art” invitational in 2008. The contest started small with only five student participants from one high school — Booker T. Washington School for the Visual and Performing Arts. This year, the entries grew to 124 students from 25 schools.
“I believe this year was the best year yet, and I look forward to growing the program in the future,” said Ashmore.
CBRE’s CBRE Cares program supports and leverages the passion and talents of our employees to create real benefit for individuals in need. Adding “Retail as Art” to our portfolio of community programs is an honor. With the support of CBRE’s expansive network, I imagine the “Retail as Art” program growing exponentially in the years to come. Congrats to all the winners who participated this year!
It’s been a little over a year since UCR joined forces with CBRE, a big step toward CBRE becoming the top name in retail. Fresh faces entered the mix and a new momentum has begun to build.
I sat down with our new Managing Director of Retail for the South Central United States, Daniel Taylor, to discuss the market and get to know him a bit more on a personal level.
A 16-year veteran of the industry, Taylor’s expert knowledge and fresh ideas have positively positioned the company for growth and profitability. Check out our Q&A below.
How long have you been with CBRE? Five years starting out on the CBRE side.
Why did you get into real estate? I’m a 4th generation Dallas real estate broker. Real estate is what my family talked about and still talks about at the dinner table. I never really considered any other career path. I love the thrill of the chase and working on behalf of a client aiding in their ability to reach business goals and ultimately affect their future success. I like the competition and the entrepreneurial aspect of retail real estate, and I enjoy interacting with the people in this industry.
What do you like most about working for CBRE? I love the people I work with. They are incredibly hardworking group of people and I’m lucky to be surrounded by such a talented group of professionals. I also appreciate the company’s current focus and commitment to the retail division. In the past, other divisions have required sizeable resources. CBRE has really gotten behind retail by investing money, technology, talent, etc. to ensure our success.
Where do you see retail heading in the future? I see consolidation amongst brokerage firms and omni-channel becoming a much bigger part of the retail spectrum. Urban street and retail environments are gaining more traction as opposed to suburban lifestyle centers, and large boxes will continue to right size. Class A fortress malls will remain strong due to high barriers of entry, but Class B- and C malls will continue to struggle.
What is your vision for CBRE retail moving forward? The company is strongly focusing on retail with a plan in place to aggressively grow our platform and brand. Additionally, we’re lucky to be in the market we’re in. Texas is consistently in the news, making headlines for its healthy economy and strong real estate market. We had a tremendous 2015 and anticipate an even better 2016 with the new resources CBRE is investing in for our retail division.
What does the DFW retail market look like currently/for the rest of 2016? The market is still strong. We’re still seeing new development but it’s tenant-driven versus spec. The companies moving to the area are spurring new residential development, which drives retail growth. The market should remain steady throughout 2016 and into early 2017, however the effects of this year’s election are unpredictable.
What about the region? We are carefully watching the price of oil and how it’s affecting Houston and Oklahoma, but Austin and Dallas continue to be on fire.
What is your greatest accomplishment thus far in the industry? Marrying my wife. She was an office broker when we worked together at The Staubach Company. My second greatest accomplishment was working on the Verizon account for 15 years. I started with them when they were occupying 2,500 SF in grocery centers and had only 6 different phones. Today, I manage the account in 4 states; they have doubled their size and moved into freestanding buildings; and now have more than 40 different types of devices. I’m also proud of bringing In-N-Out Burger to Texas.
What advice would you give someone starting out in the industry? Find a mentor. Work hard early in your career because the long hours you spend now will pay off later. Always be honest with your clients, even if it hurts. It’s easy to throw out half-truths to clients on a particular deal, but you will build a respectful, trustworthy reputation through transparency.
How do you spend your free time? Right now, my two little boys and my wife take up my free time, which I love. I also enjoy playing golf, basketball or fishing with friends.
What is your favorite restaurant? Javier’s. The Filete Cantinflas with the cheese in the center is my favorite. I can’t resist the chips and butter either.
What is something about yourself that people would be surprised by? I’m kind of a homebody and seem to turn into a pumpkin around 10 p.m. Well, maybe that might not surprise so many people.
Wednesday, Feb. 24, the CBRE team held its first awards celebration together as a united company. As a first-timer myself, I thought it was a nice environment to be able to get to know colleagues outside the office.
The event was hosted at Lakewood Country Club and included drinks and bites. The “make your own” Mac N Cheese bar was my favorite by far.
Daniel Taylor, Managing Director of Retail for the South Central United States, welcomed the group with a speech highlighting the hard work and dedication of our brokerage team and how far the company has come since the merge in January 2015.
“There is no perfect formula for bringing two groups together and creating an automatic seamless team,” said Daniel. “It takes time, and I can see the positive effects of the past year. We are getting comfortable; working more like a team and more importantly, we’re performing.”
He briefly hit on the state of the market, emphasizing the healthy economic conditions of Texas – “We’re lucky to be in the market we’re in. Dallas specifically, is the shining star as it has evolved into an HQ mecca. We have never been more positively positioned to succeed than we are right now.”
For the awards presentation Daniel invited Mickey Ashmore, Chairman of Retail Services America, to assist in announcing the Rising Star and Top Producers awards. Not surprisingly, Mickey kept us laughing while he doled out wisecracks about each broker and recalling stories everyone has heard numerous times before (from what I’ve heard). He did manage to share some nice thoughts on each broker. Honestly though, Mickey’s passion for the company and the industry shone through in his remarks.
The Rising Star award was presented to Sasha Levine, recognizing her as a young professional getting her start in the industry and who has earned the respect of her peers and that of senior brokers.
“Sasha has an unmatched work ethic and dedication to the future of her career in the industry,” said Daniel. “What’s more, she shows a deep respect for our CBRE RISE values. She truly embodies the characteristics of a Rising Star, and we look forward to seeing great things from her in the future.”
Sasha thanked Mickey, Jack Gosnell and Jack Breard for being her “work fathers” and mentors, in addition to her own father who also works in the industry. She joked specifically that they ensured her boyfriend was approved to date her. What are mentors for, right?
This year’s Top Producer awards were presented in descending order, closing with the announcement of Jack Breard as 2015’s No. 1 Top Producer. Jack was unable to attend as he was out of town working with a client. Go figure. What else would the top producer be doing?
CBRE 2015 Top Producers:
- Jack Breard
- Stan Lotridge
- Scott Muller
- Jeff Kittleson
- David Shelton
- Greg Pierce
- Darrell Hernandez
- Karla Smith
- Nathan Wood
- Dan Shoevlin
It was a great evening put together by Anne Braden and Rebecca Smolik along with help from the marketing team. Congrats to all our award winners and cheers to what’s to come in 2016!