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3 Things We’re Concerned We’re Wrong About in 2023

Thomas Onder Headshot
Episode #: 188
3 Things We're Concerned We're Wrong About in 2023

Guest: Thomas Onder
Topics: Retail, recession, 2023


Chris Ressa 0:01
This is Retail Retold, the story of how that store ended up in your neighborhood. I’m your host, Chris Ressa, and I invite you to join my conversation with some of the retail industry’s biggest influencers. This podcast is brought to you by DLC Management.

Welcome to Retail Retold everyone. Today I’m joined by Tom Onder. Tom is an attorney at Stark and Stark. I’m excited for him to be here. We just played some golf a few weeks ago. Welcome to the show, Tom.

Tom Onder 0:31
Thanks, Chris. Thanks for having me. You shot pretty well, better than me. You’ll keep getting invited to sign up for them.

Ressa 0:40
So there you go. So, Tom, tell us a little bit about who you are what you do.

Onder 0:46
Sure, sure. So I work for, I’m a partner at Stark and Stark. And we’re a law firm based in Princeton, New Jersey. And my practice, I actually chair our shopping center and retail development group. We do a lot of work for landlords, owners, property managers, for shopping centers, warehouse, commercial, multifamily, basically, in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania region.

And then myself, I’ve got a little bit of a specialty in bankruptcy. I was a, before I started practicing 20 years ago, right out of law school, I got a bankruptcy clerkship with a couple judges. And kind of parlayed that over the last year, you know, two decades now, one of the things I put out, which I think you and some other folks have seen is I put on a watch list of retailers, a watch out for who may be filing for bankruptcy, for probably about like the last maybe seven, eight years or so.

And, you know, a lot of our owners, developers and stuff, they find it very useful to kind of, you know, see who could be fine, when you’re trying to do lease negotiations, or renewals and things like that, it doesn’t necessarily mean they’re gonna file. But it’s kind of a watch list to kind of keep an eye out for our group, we’ve got about 25 attorneys who do everything on the transactional side, buying and selling properties. You know, my partner, Dee Kelly, she heads that side of the group, we do a lot of work together.

She does 1031 exchanges. I do a little bit of leasing, any kind of transactional stuff we do. And then on my side, besides the leasing and some of the bankruptcy, I also, I’d say about 60% of my practices, litigation, enforcement, helping owners, developers and landlords when they got a problem tenant or a problem issue, going into court and represent them. I love going into court and I’m looking forward, now the courts are finally opening up, where you can go back in and actually, you know, see a judge and get justice.

Ressa 3:02
Pretty good. Well, speaking of bankruptcy, we just had some news this morning on Regal. Any, have you followed that one at all? Do you have any insights on that one?

Onder 3:15
Yeah, so you know, it’s funny, it’s, Regal. And a lot of the others not a lot, there’s not a lot of them.

Ressa 3:23
And they, and by the way, they didn’t file, there was just news that they’re preparing the file. Yeah.

Onder 3:28
And so the question is, are they actually going to file, or are they using this as a tactic? Because a couple of weeks ago, there were a couple other landlords who came out and said, hey, we’re gonna file, and so far they have, myself, I’m actually, for my prognostication, you know, is that there actually isn’t going to be a lot, if any, of retail bankruptcy filings the rest of the year. I just think that in terms of the economy, things seem to be getting better with Congress recently going to pump a bunch more money into the economy, even though rates are still high.

And you know, gas prices are still high, are coming down. I think generally, you’re going to see an avoidance of bankruptcies, retail ones through the end of the year, Regal may go just because it’s such a tough market that they and AMC and the other movie theaters are in, people just aren’t coming back as much as they, everybody wanted to, for things like theatres, it might get back there eventually. But you know, the fact that I can stream stuff, you know, online, and get it whenever we want.

It’s, I think it’s changing the atmosphere, but you know, the whole concept of the movies and stuff, so I could see them going before the end of the year, but I just don’t think you’re gonna see many other retailers go this year, and even, you know, winter next year, but I do see something hidden probably, maybe spring or summer, next year, have a lot of retailers who really need to downsize and use the bankruptcy process to get rid of a bunch of leases.

So like, one area that we’re concerned with and watching is if you have a franchisee would say 30, or 40, let’s just use a city got 30 or 40, Wendy’s, okay, or tacos, or whatever it is, they may have a couple of those locations, more than a couple that they need to get rid of, or they need to dump because they’re bad leases, or the landlord won’t work with them or something like that.

Or the labor they got, it’s just too much for the labor shortage, an easy way to get rid of those leases, if there’s a lot of them that they’ve got, you know, ways to go into bankruptcy also, you know, restructure, you know, debt and stuff.

So, but again, we don’t, you know, me and my team, we just don’t think that there’s going to be many filings, or if any, really on the retail side, larger ones until maybe second quarter next year, which is it’s good for owners and developers and stuff because they can get into leases, they can go into negotiations, they’re not gonna have to necessarily worry about it. But it’s something now at least, but it’s something that they got to keep their eye on.

Ressa 6:26
I think, yeah, the rest of this year, probably, you know, my take is it’s going to be modest, you’re not going to see many, but you know, we could have a spike, we’ve had so few, next year, that seems to be a prevailing sentiment. I’m curious to see what happens with the Regal scenario.

Onder 6:43
I mean, it’s like, I mean, when was the last time have you been going to movies? Regularly? No. Yeah. And it’s like, I mean, there’s some stuff I wanted to see, but it’s like, you know, I just wait for it to come. You know, I can watch it on the TV all night with my family.

Ressa 6:59
Yeah, I would say this, though, for me, it’s not a function of that versus streaming. I still enjoy a theater experience. I think for me, it’s a little bit more of a stage of life with my kids. And it being, you know, I will say, you know, I think my kids like, just because of COVID, you know, three and five, they went to their second movie ever this summer. So, and they loved it. Okay. And it was recliners, and they got popcorn. And I think as you guys say, I didn’t go, okay. I don’t even, I don’t even know what they saw in a theater, some kids movie.

But I think that in the winter, when there’s less to do, I could see us going to the theaters more for, you know, the way my wife and I have been looking at is like, you know, stuck inside for so long. We want the kids outside. Yeah, and that’s just another insight. So, you know, as it relates to activity, so we’ve been doing more outside activities from an entertainment perspective. But anyways, so I want to take you to a section called ‘Clear The Air’, I got three questions for you right now.

Onder 8:22
I’m set.

Ressa 8:24
Question one. What is one skill you don’t possess? But wish you did?

Onder 8:31
Mindfulness, yeah. So I, about 10 years or so ago I started doing yoga. And I started it because a buddy of mine had a heart attack. And he was in much better shape than I was, and probably still is in much better shape than I am. But it really scared and freaked me out. I was like, man, I gotta do something, you know. And I kept hearing it, like, the whole, yoga thing was really good for you, low impact, and everything like that.

So I started doing it, and I really enjoy it. And what I like about it is the studio that I used to go to, before the pandemic hit, it was really a very rigorous workout. And then at the end, they would do like the meditation for like, 10 minutes or so. And so I really into like, you know, I got a sweat and stuff like that. So you do the hour that and it was really intense stuff. And then you lay in there for like, you know, 5, 10 minutes or so.

Always be mindful and everything. I just can’t do it. I just, I can’t, well I just started either laughing or like, I just, you know, so everybody would be quiet. Be like, you know trying to not the lab. So it’s like, that’s one thing I just can’t, for some reason. I can’t.

I mean, I can chill out and focus and stuff, but I just can’t, I wish I could get into that like mindfulness meditation state, my wife can do it. A whole bunch of people I know can do it. I just have a really hard time getting that meditative state, I either start laughing or I start thinking about something funny or something like that.

Ressa 10:12
So I think you need to, you need to practice meditating outside of the workouts scene might be able to do it. That’s my, that’s my tip.

Onder 10:19
I’ll take that piece of advice. Yeah.

Ressa 10:21
Question, have you downloaded Headspace?

Onder 10:25
Headspace. Okay.

Ressa 10:26
Yeah, try it out for a week.

Onder 10:28
You got you always have some really good apps and stuff like that.

Ressa 10:33
Thank you. Yeah. Okay. Question two. When is the last time you tried something for the first time?

Onder 10:42
This last summer, I decided that I was going to replace the windows in my 100 year old garage myself. Successfully. Wow. I had at the beginning of like, the very beginning of spring. I had a guy come out to give me an estimate on the windows and it was like a billion dollars. Yes. Yeah, I got a craftsman home from like, it’s 100 years old home and we have a separate detached garage. And it’s also it’s 100 years old. It’s in great shape. And so it’s big.

The guy comes out. And I live in Princeton, and I called the Princeton tax. As soon as, as soon as you got a contract that it comes out that doesn’t know you. They throw on the Princeton tax and this guy, he’s he sees my house thinking is the windows in the house that I want to build a lot of windows. I’m like, no, no, those are just these three windows I got in the garage. And he quotes me. He’s like, Yeah, it’s like, I can get this done for like, 8000 hours.

I’m like, Oh, my please leave my yard. Or I throw you out. I was I was so angry. I was like, I was like, I cannot believe this guy thought that he could like your pulls over me so that I went online. And my wife sees me come in from the backyard. She’s like, what’s going on? Like, hold on, like, how to like, replace windows yourself, right? Like took a look at like two or three different videos. And it’s a process, you got to have a plan for it and stuff, we got to take the wind out of the casing.

And I was afraid I was gonna break the casing and things are 100 years old. But I successfully did it. And it was, it was a lot of fun. It took a long time to process too. We gotta take the glazing out, take the windows out and the windows, I got there six panes in each of the windows. So it’s like taking these little things. And it’s 100 year old window. So there’s some pains I’m breaking and stuff. But yeah, I got it done. It was it was a lot of fun. So great.

Ressa 12:41
Okay, last question. What is one thing most people agree with, but you do not.

Onder 12:49
I have been hearing lately, people say that. More people are more productive at home, and then being a than working in the office and stuff. And I absolutely, for the most part do not agree with that. I’m all for doing the hybrid, you know, you know, working at home, you know, coming into the office and stuff. But there’s nothing I think that replaces the ability to be able to collaborate with people are also a concentrate.

I mean, when was the last time like you’re on a zoom call, and you got somebody where like their dogs running through or like they’re, they don’t have the lighting or something like that. And I mean, there’s some people who can totally work at home, like my wife is one of those people she could.

She’s an attorney as well. And she’s she really focused. But I think that generally there’s a lot of either mistakes, clerical errors or things that occur that, you know, it’s not as productive as people I think generally people are saying that it is.

Ressa 13:55
Well, it’s certainly a hot topic right now. So it is super hot topic. At DLC. We’re hybrid, we’re giving people both.

Onder 14:04
So for hybrid, my paralegals do a great job, you know, and if they’re, you know, working at home and come in, but there’s nothing there’s nothing that beat that that real like interaction there. You can talk to somebody asked him a question. As opposed to jumping. I’m like,

Ressa 14:21
Okay, I appreciate you sharing that with us and us getting to know you a little bit better. Tom, I want to take us to the meat of the show. And today it is Three things we are concerned we are wrong about in 2023.

Onder 14:39
So first one, I’ll say we I talked earlier about this about we’re talking about bankruptcies, you know back and forth and everything like that. And one of the concerns that I have is I said I made the prediction like no retail bankruptcies through the end of this year and probably not that really into into 2023. Maybe like midway through are so my concern is that I’m wrong on.

And there is a, just a rash of retail bankruptcies towards the end of this year and one of the triggers would be, is if the back to school sales are not as high as, you know, we expect them to be, because in our, in our industry, that they’re the two big kind of mile markers to see how everybody’s doing is back to school and the holiday season. And if one of those markers is off, it’s a good tell of, you know, how things are gonna go necessarily, you know, with retailers.

So, you know, what happens if, you know, the back of school is not as good as what everybody says, for interest rates, you know, get higher, or gas prices, you know, which have been taken a nice, you know, downturn, you know, lately, although I still hope they’re gonna drop another 50 cents, you know, you know, turn around.

So that’s a concern, you know, with the tight labor market right now, with, you know, inflation, you know, issues like that. I’m just concerned that my more of a rose, I wouldn’t say rosy outlook, I think I’m a positive person generally. But I’m also with a dash of reality with it, that we could have, you could have a rash of retail bankruptcies.

Ressa 16:31
Yeah. always a concern. I, you know, usually back to school is a good predictor for the holiday season. And, you know, the one, how much is inflation? Who knows, but I think the one good thing is, you know, the US Census Bureau put out retail sales for two days ago, and sales in July of 22, were 10.3%, higher than July of 21.

And they were 9.2%, higher the period from May 22, to July, through July 22, comparative to the same period, in 21. So, I’m feeling pretty good about back to school, what portion of that is inflation versus, you know, actual growth? We’ll see. But, you know, there’s still margin in there as that even through inflation.

Onder 17:41
So my bigger my bigger concern is, so like, the TPP, money’s gone. But the monies that the government gave folks to pretty much get us through, you know, the two years of the pandemic is gone. So what happens with consumer savings that they’ve had? When is it gonna run out? And, you know, do we necessarily need to be, you know, concerned about it, like, you just you just don’t know.

And so it’s like, if you’re looking for what a concern is where I could be wrong, it could be the bankruptcy side, I’m hoping that it’s not. And then it’s that for, you know, for owners, developers and stuff like that, that, you know, we we actually avoid a recession, or we get through a recession without it necessarily being a recession. But that’s my, that’s my that’s my concern. You know, it could be wrong.

Ressa 18:35
Yeah. So my first one is that I’m wrong about rents and retail, and they’re going to, I think they’re going to rise. But I’m concerned that they’re actually going to skyrocket because then I’ve missed out on some acquisition opportunities, and we haven’t DLC. And so with inflation as it is, and the and the lack of supply or new construction. And all this occupancy rents have ticked up. And sellers are still pretty bullish in retail, so I’m concerned that the rents don’t go like this, but they go like this over the next couple of years.

And then I’ve missed a lot a huge window. So we’re still buying but and where, you know, I think we’re prudent and aggressive where we need to be in buying but I think there’s a there’s a case to be made for skyrocketing rents. It’s hard to underwrite that but um, you know, given what, I wouldn’t want to miss that gravy train and I you know, we’re we’re buying so we wouldn’t Totally missed it, but I think, you know, anyone if they thought rents were gonna skyrocket, they’d be acquiring more.

Onder 20:08
So, you know, it really is dependent on what the asset classes so so like on the retail side, I think there’s a real concern, you know, with that I mean, your, your, your podcast a couple months ago about the, you know, the store one, yeah. Bricks and Mortar like, Yeah, everybody thought it was not gonna that you were gonna see all these you know, closings and shopping centers and things like that and it’s like people want to go out people want to do stuff.

And you know, there are you know, whether with you guys over it, you know, your company or other folks, there’s, there’s a lot more demand than I think anybody ever thought that there was going to be even you know, coming out of this, you know, out of the pandemic. So I think there’s a, there’s a concern that they could rise higher. The flip side of that is, you know, do the other asset classes, keep it tamp down, like, you know, is Office, is it?

You know, what’s going to happen with Office like I was reading today that like in New York City, just just the vacancy rates are huge, like, does it do do now after Labor Day, are more people that be coming back to the office for like the three and a half days a week? or so where it, it stops that vacancy rate?

Or are you going to see or you’re going to see just so many chronic vacancies, and they don’t need, you know, so like, for us, we’re, we’re, we’re currently in the process, we’re going to be moving our space, we’ve been developing a new space. And we’re going over to the Hamilton train station area, which, for me, it’s gonna be great. We’ll shoot in New York shooting to Philadelphia.

But we’ve just from our own efficiency side of things, not needing as many file storage rooms and things like that, not needing as many paralegal cubicles, were able to reduce our space by about to like, 60% of what our current footprint is. And those negotiations started prior to the pandemic.

So, you know, will that asset class, kind of keep down other areas of the economy? So they’re really going to be runaway rents on the retail side? Yeah, I don’t know. But I do think that that is a concern. And it’s a valid concern about you know, are the higher the rents can go? And are you? Are you missing out on this opportunity? So, yeah.

Ressa 22:42
Okay. Number two, what is the number two thing you are concerned, you’re wrong about?

Onder 22:50
Sure. So I started this, I was talking about how like, the patents for abortion, my practice is, is on the litigation side, and like, I’m happy to get back into court and to be able to talk to judges, you know, and fighting the fight for folks. One of the reasons I like that is because when you’re trying, at the end of the day, nobody wants you, or any my other, I got any other clients, nobody wants to just be paying an attorney to fight and argue that you want them to get a solution for you.

And one of the ways that that happens is, you know, when you’re down in court with another side, you wind up figuring out a settlement like on the courthouse steps, or prior to when you got your most leverage possible on the other side, not been able to do that for the last few years.

And all these zoom calls, things get delayed, you know, how many issues and you guys had or other landlords or owners had words like their attorneys, like, listen, I, I don’t know what to tell you, like, the other side’s not moving, I can’t get a hearing date to move this. And you’re just kind of stuck in this limbo? Well, things are finally starting to move now.

And we’re starting to get back into court and stuff getting, being able to get in front of, you know, judges and, and move things and get the enforcement side of it. My concern is what happens if you know that that stops where there’s another delay, like a, an issue, like where the another variant comes up, to put the skins on it, you know, with the pandemic, like, the last two years, although everybody got through it.

There was a lot of, you know, the deferments and other agreements that we helped to draft with some of our our owners and developers. That’s, that’s going to cause delay, that’s going to cause a loss of revenue.

And my concern is that this ability would force things, you know, if there is another barrier or something like that, that that and that’s nothing you can really do to stop that, that the courts are going to go back to the way they have been over the last two years early in the pandemic and continue to slow things down. So That’s it. That’s a big concern that I’ve got.

Ressa 25:02
Yeah, I that would be a concern if we couldn’t enforce contracts in America.

Onder 25:09
So yeah, and you had that for good. You know, at least the first year, the pandemic, I mean, everyone, I think, you know, listens to this has a horror story where there was some, somebody out there who just wasn’t paying or wasn’t doing what they’re supposed to do.

And, you know, you just got, you’re always trying to figure out as the attorney, if you’re doing live on the litigation side, how you can use your leverage to get a solution for, you know, the order or your landlord in the quickest, most efficient and best possible way. And not being able to do that because of a delay. It just, you know, it’s killer.

Ressa 25:48
So, yeah. For me, number two is I am concerned. So I believe that sometime in 2023, lead times on materials for construction are going to start to compress. I’m concerned, I’m wrong with everything going on in China, with the infrastructure bill and potentially more construction projects, the delays on HVAC, or whatnot, might be a new normal for a longer period of time, then I might like, and so I am concerned, I’m wrong, that lead times are going to start to compress.

I believe they will, but you know, as talking to some people, and that could be, it depends on who you talk to about when 23 It starts to compress. But it is, if they were in a new normal, it’s gonna, you’re gonna have to start to reset every project in timing. And, you know, we’ve already talked to some retailers, we’re working on a deal now where the retailer can’t get some of the stuff for their prototypical store. And we’re talking q2 2024 delivery for them.

Because of that, and we’ve been talking to them about that delivery date since the beginning of this year. So that’s existing space, that’s not a new build. So that’s, that’s concerned, that’s really wild. It’s a long time to satisfy a demand for today that you can’t satisfy for a couple of years. And who knows whether that demand is there or not.

Onder 27:28
So yeah, we’ve, so we, we’ve got, we do some work with folks over at Langan engineering and, you know, they do some marketing stuff with us. And that’s one of their concerns of just the lead times, like, is it gonna get better? And when is it gonna get better? And that’s a real issue. I mean, if you’re trying to get the center, you know, redone, not build a new one get redone.

You know, when are you going to be able to or, you know, just like you said, like, with the new HVAC or something like when, when when does that what does that then change your the, you know, the route commencement date or something else, or the tenant just say to you, like, I’m not paying anything like, you know, you’re, you’re, you’re not doing what you’re supposed to do on your side of things.

Ressa 28:17
It’s crazy. Yeah, there’s a lot that goes into it. All right. Last one. So the last one thing, you’re concerned, you’re wrong about last one?

Onder 28:29
And it’s and it’s more of a hopeful one. Okay. It’s a hopeful one. Everybody’s talking about there’s going to be a recession, that there’s going to be, you know, some kind of downturn and stuff like that. What if there’s not? And this kind of leads back into what you were talking about before with the rising, are you gonna miss out on something? You know, we just recently had, you know, the Deficit Reduction Act, the chips belongs to all this money coming into the economy, and it’s going to become an economy.

But every but in interest rates are higher, inflation is higher. What if, you know, we don’t go through a recession, we don’t really go through Donald turn that what we have is just this higher normal of some inflation or interest rates, but it’s not a recession. And, you know, do are you missing out this kind of, you know, almost goes back to what your number two one was? Which was or number one one was, which is are you missing out on something?

And I think it’s that opportunity, what do you do to hedge to make sure that you’re not missing out on that opportunity.

And the only way you can do it is, you look at data points, you look at, you know, what’s going on with the news, I mean, like when we put together our bankruptcy watch list, but we put a lot of time into going through data, other news stories, talking to reporters of, you know, the we know I’m background and like the the journal or the times or something like that trying to get some information. And at the end of the day, it’s your best educated guess to stuff.

Ressa 30:20
So yeah. I probably could have done my last one, in part on the other one because it’s construction related as well. But my last one is, I believe that construction costs are going to come down and compress slightly. What happens if they don’t? Because of all the reasons that I mentioned in number two, but you know, the, I don’t know, someone said to me recently that construction costs are like college tuition, they never go down, maybe labor, maybe Labor’s up.

Now, maybe Labor’s down, but Steel’s up, maybe lumbers down, but Labor’s up, like, they never actually come down. And I think, you know, that that first one would have to become a reality where rents really have to rise in order to meet the construction costs, or there’s going to be some challenges for projects and all asset classes to get underway.

And, you know, there’s, I know of some people, developers who have dropped deals because of construction costs that were like signed deals. I believe in, you know, starting in the q4, you can see some compression. But if you don’t, and they keep you know, and it’s it actually is like college tuition, and they don’t actually ever come down.

I think that could be a challenge. Now. I think the biggest driver of that is the housing market. And as that potentially softens, that could be the catalyst for construction costs have come down. But what if it’s not?

Onder 32:11
Yeah, you know what, that with a housing, it’s like, you now have, you know, the millennial generation now stepping into, they’re starting to do home buying, and it’s not just start, they’ve already started to do it. And they’ve not they’ve not reached their peak of it, and how does that affect the economy? How does that affect them to your retail sales, and other things like that, and your other, your other different asset classes? Like, I’m from, I’m from Cleveland, Ohio, and we have a there’s a steel mill,

Ressa 32:40
and I gotta, I gotta stat on this actually, I’m doing okay, I got a stat on us. It’s an old set. I don’t know if it’s true, but I think it’s directionally right. And there was a study and Oh, four by UK. Yeah. For every 3% that home values rise, retail sales in that trade area rise by 1%. Really, you can find that it’s a study and it’s from Oh, four.

This is before ecommerce was hot. This was before, you know, a lot the great recession, the COVID pandemic. So I don’t know how relevant but I think directionally, it’s, you know, as specific. I think directionally it’s probably right. But that was always a good punch line for every 3% home values rise in the trade area, retail sales in that trade area rise about 1%. So there you go on your Millennials moving into houses and what it does to retail sales.

Onder 33:41
Yeah, I think was what you were talking about with, you know, steel, lumber costs and stuff like that. So yeah, I’m from Cleveland, Ohio, originally, like, we have a big steel mill in Thailand, when I was growing up, they were shutting parts of it down. And now, you know, there’s, you know, you can’t get as much stuff as you can from China with like, just with, with all the issues of bringing stuff in.

It does that, you know, with these new investments, you know, are they’re gonna, you’re gonna see like, more like either Mills or things coming back to take some of that demand. But even if they do, like, you’re not gonna it’s not gonna happen tomorrow. So I think there is a big concern about you know, either steel, lumber or whatever your other raw materials are for what you need to get built.

Ressa 34:32
Yeah, then labor too, right, yeah, labor too.

Onder 34:36
So I think that they would, labor, that’s what people keep forgetting, there’s not a lot of talk about, you also have the baby boomer generation, you know, finally starting to retire. Yeah. And so you’ve got like this huge opening of the workforce. And, you know, the other issue is the people who have not gone back to the workforce that aren’t in the baby boom generation, are they going back because of childcare issues?

Because of, you know, family issues, like older parents or something like that? Is it the pandemic? Like, is that now going to change now that we’re starting to, I guess, you know, exit the pandemic, even though if it’s still going on? Like, will that bring back people into the labor force? And I just don’t think we know right now.

Ressa 35:27
Yeah. I don’t think we do. But we will say, well, listen, Tom, thank you for sharing. I appreciate your insights. This was fun. And there you go in pursuit. Yeah, it was good. I know you’re going on vacation. And I am. I’m jealous. She’ll be gone for two weeks.

Onder 35:54
Now the guy that’s always available for clients. So you can call anytime. Anyone that’s listening.

Ressa 36:00
Well, that said, that said, I want to take us to the very end of the show. Got three quick questions for you. Are you ready?

Onder 36:10
I am set.

Ressa 36:13
All right. Question one. What extinct retailer do you wish would come back from the dead?

Onder 36:17
Sears but a different form.

Ressa 36:20
So you don’t really want Sears then?

Onder 36:25
Okay, let’s talk about the windows. Replace it or repair. Okay. I love going into like the tool aisle. It was Sears, and check out all that stuff.

Ressa 36:34
I love that, my dad was a craftsman guy.

Onder 36:36
Yeah. And it’s just, you know, my father was a, he was an electrician, and, you know, kind of taught me, my brother and sister certain things to do. But we were never at his level. He built a back porch, or like a patio. Built a full one himself. And my grandfather, I remember when I was little, he did real construction stuff. Well, I always liked doing the tools and stuff like that. So I think Sears, I’d love to see them come back. Because they had everything, you know, you could go in there and get shoes and clothes and stuff in the 80s.

It’s like, that was the place, you know, and I just, I feel bad that no one ever figured out how they could have been Amazon before Amazon had the catalog business and stuff like that. Like, if they would have just figured it out. Like they stopped their catalog visit I think the same year that Amazon came on the market. Like, it’s, it’s kind of sad. So it’s like, I that’s one reach out, like, I remember as a kid going there with my parents and just being like, well, you got anything here, you know.

Ressa 37:43
And so that’s probably why, I’ll give you a good anecdote. I had Steve Dennis on the show before, and he’s a retail thought leader, and he was at Sears in executive leadership in the 90s. And he had mentioned that one of the things on the table for them that they never pulled the trigger on, and I don’t know how, when I say on the table, I don’t know if it was just in how far along they got, but it was at least a discussion point in a room, was buying Home Depot.

I found that fascinating.

Onder 38:17
Anybody who’s got like Craftsman tools, like Craftsman hammers. Yeah. Oh, it’s, you develop a relationship with the tool, you know?

Ressa 38:25
Yeah. Okay, question two. What is the last item over $20 you bought in the store?

Onder 38:31
Paint, I went to Ace Hardware, and I got paint for my windows.

Ressa 38:38
Perfect. Last question. Tom, if you and I were shopping at Target and I lost you, what aisle would I find you in?

Onder 38:45
I’m going to ask you a question which I was already thinking.

Ressa 38:47
Okay. The tool section? Yes, exactly. Perfect. Well, listen, Tom, this is great. Thank you so much for doing this.

Onder 39:00
Thanks for having me. Yeah. Your podcasts are very insightful. A lot of fun to listen to. I think Danielle really was. Oh, yeah, she was, I was laughing, an excuse that you asked her one of the questions about what skill you wish you had that she’s talking about? Teacher kid math. Yeah. And now she’s like, I just can’t do it. And it’s like, I’m in the same boat with that and I can’t use that well.

Ressa 39:32
So well, listen, Tom. Really appreciate it. Have a great vacation.

Thanks, Chris.

Thank you for listening to Retail Retold. If you want to share a story about a retail real estate deal that you were a part of on our show, please reach out to us at This show highlights the stories behind the deals from all perspectives. So it doesn’t matter if you are a retailer, broker, entrepreneur, architect or an attorney Also don’t forget to subscribe to Retail Retold so you don’t miss out on next Thursday’s episode.

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