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Fleet Feet in Poughkeepsie, NY with Kim Caruso

Episode #: 081
Fleet Feet in Poughkeepsie, NY with Kim Caruso

Guest: Kim Caruso
Topics: Fleet Feet, specialty store


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 excited to be joined by Kim Caruso. Kim is the owner of fleet feet, a running store in Poughkeepsie, New York. She is a tenant of what a DLC centers, the shops at South Hills, excited to be joined by her. Welcome to the show, Kim.

Kim Caruso 0:39
Thank you, Chris. Thanks for having me on. I appreciate it.

Ressa 0:43
So Kim, why don’t you tell us a little bit about who you are and what you do and what is the Kim store?

Caruso 0:50
Yeah, so I opened my business fleet feet, Poughkeepsie back in May 2017. And I like to say we’re a running specialty store. But we’re not just for runners. I always like to caveat that. So we definitely do work with a lot of runners, and we sell running apparel, running footwear, all that sort of thing. But we do also work with a lot of other kinds of customers as well. Anyone from really anyone who needs a comfortable shoe truthfully. But I started getting passionate about running probably six to seven years ago, I kind of took up running on a whim, my son was having a 5k at his school and I said, Oh, that would be fun to train for the train for the 5k, which is for those who don’t run it’s about it’s a little over three miles. So he trained for the 5k. And then I said, Oh, maybe I’ll do a 10k. So that’ll be fun. So I trained for the 10k. They said, Well, maybe I’ll train for a half marathon, I would be cool. So I did that. And it was around that time I started thinking like, I started getting little injuries and thinking, Well, where do I get shoes? And where did where do I go for help with this running that I’ve taken up? And people started telling me oh, there’s these stores. He’s running specialty stores, you go and you get fit. And they look at your fee. And they they watch you run and where where’s this? So everyone started telling me you Oh, you have to go to Albany or you have to go to New Jersey or Connecticut. We don’t have them around here. But you know, you can travel. So that’s what I did. I went my first trip was down to a store in Westchester County. So I went down there and I saw this is really this is pretty cool. And then the wheels started turning I thought, Well, why don’t we have one of these up by us a lot of people run and we have Reese’s, and we have the Walkway Over The Hudson, the longest pedestrian footbridge we have all these things and we don’t have a running store. So I always say I wanted to own a running store before I even knew what fleet feet was truthfully, I didn’t even know that fleet feet as a brand existed. And then I started just kind of thinking about it. But realizing I don’t have any experience in retail. I don’t I don’t know anything about this, what would I possibly do. And then I started to maybe there’s a franchise and that was kind of how I stumbled upon LiFi. And the rest is kind of history. It’s been kind of a crazy road. I’m one of those people who I worked in corporate America for, gosh, almost 20 years, and then just sort of gave it up and decided to take a chance on starting my own business. And here we are

Ressa 3:32
amazing. So you’ve owned this for a few years, and you were successful. And then 2020 kind of rolls around in this crazy thing happens. A pandemic hits. And here we are. So what’s that been like? What have you done? What has been your process? What have you learned through the end? That was like seven questions, but what have you, you know, first off, you know, what, what has it been like, you know, trying to thrive in this crazy time?

Caruso 4:03
Yeah, I mean, you know, certainly there’s been some negatives this year, for sure. It’s definitely a difficult time to be in business, particularly in a retail business. But I always say, you know, we learned a lot this year and in some ways we learned ways to do things better. So one of the one of the examples is we never did appointments before we were always just kind of walk in, you know, you work with a fit specialist. You get fit for shoes. And then as you know, the pandemic and all that and we were close for a period of time and then we reopened and we started offering online appointments. So basically you schedule an appointment online, you come in, you get 30 minutes with a fitter, and that was really like a good thing to come out of the pandemic because what we realized is that we can kind of spread our traffic out over a longer period of time. So Saturday mornings Now we’re not suddenly slammed with 20 customers in the store, from 10 to noon, now we can kind of space them out. And maybe they’re gonna come kind of sporadically throughout the day. So that was a good thing that happened. But we’ve definitely had to pivot our business, you know, we do a lot of events, we do a lot of running groups, we do a lot of like in person community events that have had to kind of come to a halt. And we’ve had to get really creative about doing things, virtual virtual challenges, just ways to kind of stay engaged with our customers, via social media, training groups, all that sort of thing. So it’s been good and bad. I think if there’s one business to be in right now it is run specialty, just because so many people took off running and walking during the pandemic, because the gyms were closed, there was nothing to do, though people who wanted to stay active, we’re really looking for a way to do that safely. And a lot of them turn to walking and running. So we’ve seen a lot of new customers since we reopened in June, thankfully, which has been great.

Ressa 6:02
That’s awesome. Have you? And can you can you buy shoes online through you?

Caruso 6:11
Yes. So we, we do have a website, fleet fleet Our website since we’re a national franchise, our website is sort of part of the of the entire fleet e entity. So even though you’re shopping locally with us, your order may be fulfilled from a different fleet feet if they have something in stock that we don’t have. So it works really well because you have access to broader inventory. And then we also do you know curbside pickup for people who aren’t comfortable coming into the store, we’re very serious about safety precautions, our front door is actually locked, we keep it locked at all times. And we let people in as we have space just because we are kind of a small store, and we’re a busy store. So we can get overwhelmed very quickly. And you know, we’re keeping to the strict capacity restrictions. So the doors locked and we’re very serious about our safety protocols. That’s

Ressa 7:10
really great to hear the one of the things that you know DLC has been saying is that, you know, there’s a lot of headline news around e commerce taking over. And, you know, we’re long on brick and mortar retail. And we are believers in long term of brick and mortar retail, for a variety of reasons, whether it’s shipping, whether it’s you know, whether it’s the, you know, some things are just hard to sell online at a value, you know, you keep, it’s hard to make money, especially as you’re scaling and the experience, the community, all these things that we think make physical retail, and really it’s about the omni channel, we think have staying power for decades, decades and decades to come. What do you think about the future of physical retail, you have a store? I think you have to be a believer. So what what do you think about that, as it relates to, you know, I can buy a shirt or running shoes on Amazon?

Caruso 8:14
Yeah, I mean, I think there’s a couple of different components to that. One is, you know, the products that we’re selling, particularly when you start talking about footwear, it’s a difficult purchase to make online unless you kind of know what you’re looking for. So that’s one thing that we you know, as a running specialty retailer definitely have going for us is that people value our Fit experience and the the insight that we offer them and the guidance that we give them about proper fitting footwear for their foot specifically, which is just something you like cannot get on Amazon or other online retailers. But the other component is I think, you know, I’m a big believer, obviously in brick and mortar as well owning a store. But I just think it constantly comes back to the community and the connection and the connection with your customers. And I say this all the time to my team, like we have to give people a reason to want to shop with us. When I interview someone for the store, this is the first thing I say everything we sell here people can buy somewhere else, we have to give them a reason why they want to come and spend their money if we can say, and I think that’s really the key. And that’s really what’s going to separate. The successful brick and mortar retailers from the unsuccessful ones is the ones who drive that connection with their consumers. And give them some sort of experience or community feel or feeling that they’re sort of a part of something and that’s that’s like, what is behind everything that we do at the store or like

Ressa 9:46
what are some of those things you do because I find it fascinating some of the things you do. You guys do races and a bunch of other things. So what do you what do you all do?

Caruso 9:55
Yeah, so I mean, back in the day it was in person events and in person training groups, so we might have a group of 20 or 30 individuals that are training together for a goal race, you know, maybe they’re training for their first half marathon. And we might meet as a as a group two times a week to kind of get through the training plan and guide them towards that goal raise. And then along the way, they’re realizing, oh, I need shoes, and why should probably get out quality pair of socks. And now I’m starting to run more, I need a hydration pack. And, you know, so those relationships sort of translate into sales naturally, which is nice. And then like I said, with the pandemic, we’ve had to be creative. So we’re doing a lot of virtual event. So virtual themed runs. Every year, we do a big donut run for our anniversary weekend in May. And usually we bring in, you know, doughnuts from glazed over doughnuts down and begin. And we have kind of like a big party. And so this year, we did it virtually, we gave everyone donut coupons and donut Sure, then, and we always have Facebook pages so that people can post their runs, and share and comment and just kind of keeping people engaged with whatever they’re doing and keeping them active. Right now we’re in the middle of our winter warriors challenge, which is it’s a three month long challenge that basically you have to get outside and run or walk 20 Minutes two times a week, from I think it started in November, and it goes through the end of January. So it’s quite a long period of time. And we have a group and we have community and you have to post pictures, and you have to upload your runs. And it just keeps people engaged. They make friends, we’ve had some people meet, you know, and do like socially distant runs, which has been really fun. So those are some of the things that we do. And like I said, it’s just that connection, that’s really important, I think,

Ressa 12:01
I think it’s sage advice to like really connect with the consumer and you pivoted to digitally can connect with the consumer. In the beginning of the pandemic, did you have a lot of your existing customers like email addresses and social media so that you could connect with them? How, how did you connect with them? Yeah, I

Caruso 12:21
mean, we definitely had our, you know, our database of emails, and we don’t send out a ton of emails, you know, we probably send an email out every two to three weeks to stay in touch with our customers. We do a lot of things on social media. And what a lot of people don’t understand is if you haven’t built up a social media following, you can’t suddenly do it once a pandemic hits and expect that people are going to see your posts and be able to easily engage with you. We were fortunate we had a pretty strong social media presence before the pandemic. But we definitely pivoted, I started doing Facebook Lives from the store when we were closed. So I would show products, I would talk about virtual events. And slowly I realized all my customers were coming on saying, Oh, this is great, it’s great to be able to see you to connect, to feel like the store is still there. And you know, you guys are there for us. And we truthfully, even though we were closed for what we closed the middle of March, and we didn’t open again until the middle of June officially for traffic. We were doing sales during that whole period, either, you know, shipping people product at the very beginning when we couldn’t do any kind of curbside, and then we were doing you know curbside and so our sales thankfully never stopped, which was great. And I think it’s just it speaks to the relationship that we have with our customers.

Ressa 13:46
End of 2020 Would you will you be down up flat 19.

Caruso 13:52
Yeah, we’re looking. December has been actually our softest month to date, everyone think because we’re retail that December is a crazy month. And it’s actually one of our worst months of the year just because people generally are not holiday shopping at a store like leafy. And it’s also a time a year where they’re not necessarily buying for themselves. But December aside, it looks like for the year, we’re going to be down about 15% first year ago.

Ressa 14:21
I think that’s a win in this environment.

Caruso 14:23
I’m calling it I’m very, I mean, at one point, it looks like it could be 3040 Who knows what percent. But then when we reopened in June, like demand was really high. And like I said, we’ve been really consistently busy since we reopened in June and December has been kind of the first month where we’ve seen a little bit of drop off. If you could go back and like

Ressa 14:49
the pandemic started in March, is there one thing you would have done differently?

Caruso 14:53
Um, you know, one of the hardest decisions that I had to make was when to close was truthfully. And that was, that was something I like really, really struggled with just because March is our busiest month of the year, hands down by far. So we were sort of like in the throes of this busiest month of the year. And then we were in this pandemic. And people were shopping like crazy, but we were feeling like, ah, like, is this what should be happening? So that was, that was difficult. And, you know, I don’t know, if I might have closed a little bit earlier, it was, it was a difficult decision to make to finally close. Because like I said, we were busy. And it’s easy, you know, I kind of truckload the businesses and say, oh, you know, we’re closing due to the pandemic, you know, we’re doing what’s best for the community. It’s like, it’s easy to close when you’re dead. Right? Like, it’s easy to close when there’s no customers. We were the lambs. And, you know, we had to make that difficult decision of when to close. And we did so before New York State said that we needed to close but I still wonder like, should I have closed earlier? You know, it’s hard to say. I mean, that would probably be the only thing but I think other than that, you know, I don’t have any regrets about how we handle that anytime.

Ressa 16:13
Are you back to running groups? In person? No,

Caruso 16:19
we’re not doing any of that. Until probably I would say, spring 2021. At the earliest.

Ressa 16:28
Is January a big month for you given like New Year’s resolutions and everything like that? No,

Caruso 16:33
no, it’s very slow. So are busy times of the year, March is our busiest month, followed by August and then September.

Ressa 16:44
So you mentioned socks, what’s shot socks should I be wearing when I’m running?

Caruso 16:48
So you definitely don’t want to wear like, you know, the six packs, right? Like, yeah, that’s probably I mean, that’s what most people wear. But the thing with those socks is they’re cotton based most often. So what you really want is a technical sock, which doesn’t have any cotton components. So it’s going to be all synthetic materials, which basically is going to help to wick moisture. Keep your feet nice and dry, prevent blisters, they also just feel great. I we always say the thoughts are, it’s like high thread count sheets, like once you sleep on the high thread count sheet, you don’t really want to leave on the crummy sheets anymore. And it’s sort of the same thing was

Ressa 17:30
interesting. What is your take on 2021? What do you think happens from a business perspective? What are you projecting?

Caruso 17:38
So for our business, we’re projecting that January and February are going to be pretty slow months. For us. They are traditionally anyway. But I think January especially is going to be a little bit rough to get through. But I think that this March is going to be bigger than any March we’ve ever seen. And like I said, that is traditionally our busiest month of the year. I think that once the warm weather starts to hit the vaccine rolls out. I think there’s still a lot of customers, our business is doing very well. But I still think there’s a lot of customers that we haven’t seen who aren’t trapping for whatever reason. And I think that once spring starts to roll around, there’s going to be so much pent up demand for our products and services that I think it’s going to be crazy. Awesome.

Ressa 18:28
All right. So I want to move to the core of the show that that was a you know really great on how a small business entrepreneur got through the pandemic. Really appreciate that insight. So 2017 You open the store, take us back in history, how did this all come to be? How did you decide to end up? One, you kind of tell us a little bit how you decide on a running store, but how did you land on fleet feet versus your own running store? And you know, it is yours running store? Meaning you know going with a franchise based system and how did you land on Poughkeepsie and then you know, our center?

Caruso 19:06
Yeah, so like I said, I knew I wanted to open a running store before I knew about fleet feet. But I realized that I just didn’t have the experience necessary to sort of do that from scratch. So I started investigating franchises and really there’s not many fleet be you know, if you Google running specialty retailers, fleet feet is pretty much the only thing that comes up. So I kind of stumbled upon fleet V realize there was a store down in New Jersey, took a day trip. This was then I guess this was in 2000, early 2016. I took a day trip down to Jersey went went through the Fit process and everything and I was like, This is great. So I got in touch with them and said I’d have absolutely no experience I’ll never forget my first conversation I said I have absolutely no experience but I think this is a really good idea. I think that this is something that is really needed in my market. And you know, and it was funny this person that I spoke to who’s the Vice President of Business Development for fleet fee? She said, I think you’re absolutely right. And I think you’re gonna do great. I said, Okay. It was just crazy. So I mean, fleet feet as a franchise, you know, they’re looking specifically for markets like our market here in Poughkeepsie, that are completely untapped. And truth be told, there’s not a lot of them left in the country, right? Sure. That’s 185 stores across the country. They’re in pretty much all the major markets, if they’re not in a major market. There’s a reason why there’s a competitor. But Poughkeepsie was just this completely untapped market. Where we just never had had, I mean, I guess years ago, there was a running specialty store. But we had never had like a true brand, like we’ve been here before. So it was just a tremendous opportunity. And I grew up in this area. So you know, I’ve lived here my whole life. Well, I did live in New York City for about six years, but then I moved back. And I knew that, you know, this was something I wanted to do here in this area, because I felt like it was really meeting. You know, and me that, that.

Ressa 21:21
I love that. Like, you saw a gap in the market and you just went for it. That’s awesome.

Caruso 21:29
Right? Yeah. I mean, I always knew I wanted to own my own business, but I just never had the right idea. I’m one of those people that’s always thinking of things. I’m always like, Well, what about this? Or what about that? Or wouldn’t it be a good idea? I mean, I had hundreds of terrible ideas. That’s probably a pot. But this was one where I was like, this is a winning idea. I know that it is it’s just a matter of like, can we make it work? Like, do I have the experience needed? You know, or the finances right? All of those things, basically, to make it work? And we actually, truth be told, we we did the highest sales of any new fleet fee in a new market ever. Kudos. That’s

Ressa 22:11

Caruso 22:12
in Poughkeepsie, New York, and it was just funny, because everybody please, he was like, where you have no idea. It’s not like we’re in Boston, or we’re in San Francisco or we’re, you know, like it’s Poughkeepsie, New York. Um, so yeah,

Ressa 22:27
I’m a firm believer. So Real. I mean, real estate. So real estate matters. But the people behind the real estate are what drive business, whether it’s the owner of the real estate or the store. And so I, you know, I’m a believer that the reason that those sales happening was because of not because of fleet feed, or the demand in the market of running, but because of Kim Caruso. That’s why the sales happened. Because, you know, I think there’s probably some people if they were more passive than you were not really going all in like you are, they wouldn’t have had those sales. So I think we often forget that in retail or headline news doesn’t talk about that. And we often forget that in real estate, but I think the people behind the store, the people behind the real estate, are what drive business and I think you’re a testament to that because all the analytics in the world probably wouldn’t have told them that their top opening ever would have been in Poughkeepsie, New York, right?

Caruso 23:22
I mean, you couldn’t have that couldn’t have been predicted.

Ressa 23:25
Walk us through like getting your the franchise process what was it like to like, say finally when they you signed by the time when you called this woman at Fleet feet to when you signed the paperwork that you were franchisee? What was that? Like?

Caruso 23:40
I mean, it was definitely a long process. I started speaking with her in early 2016, after I had visited that fleet feet in New Jersey. And we had several rounds of calls back and forth. And she was funny. She had unwavering confidence in me from the beginning, I think more so than I had in myself, just because this was all so new for me. Having worked in corporate America for so many years, and, you know, walking away from that was also very scary. You know, everyone was asking me, What are you doing, you have a great job, you have great benefits, like you make good money. And I’m like, I don’t want to do it anymore. You know, I

Ressa 24:20
just, it’s amazing.

Caruso 24:22
I don’t want to do it anymore. So I mean, it was definitely a long process. Like I said, first call in early 2016. And the lease was actually signed one year later in January 2017. So it was a long process. Fleet feet is very diligent in the amount of time and effort that they put into new franchisees. I had to go down to North Carolina I had to interview I did like two to three days of Back to Back interviews with everyone in the organization, from marketing to the CEO, and they all have to sign on Often you before you can get approved to get a franchise, and they say, you know, 80% of people don’t make it for one reason or another, and usually it’s not money, usually it’s something else, they just don’t feel the right fit for the brand. So we went through all that. And then, you know, lease negotiations were pretty lengthy. That took quite a bit of time. And then I had to spend several weeks down in Carrboro training and learning how to, you know, do the Fit process and all all the products and all that sort of thing.

Ressa 25:35
Just curious, how does it work? Do you order your products through fleet feet? Do you order them directly to the manufacturers? How do you get product,

Caruso 25:42
so we have relationships with the vendors directly, which is great. So we order all of our product directly from the vendors. It’s great to be a part of a franchise though, for a couple reasons. One, they get us the relationships with the vendors that we wouldn’t get otherwise. So to give you an example, if I decided, you know, if I three years ago had 10. I’m opening Kim’s running store here in Poughkeepsie, New York, and I called Nike up and said, hey, it’s Kim. Right? I wanted to get some Nikes in my shoes in my store, you know, there’s no chance on earth that Kim’s running store would have Nike Berg’s got it. They just don’t work with independent retailers in that way unless you have a long established history. Sure. So as part of a franchise, we’re able to get set up with all of our vendors. We have complete autonomy for what products we carry in the store. Like if there’s some off the wall brand that I’m passionate about that I want to carry. I certainly can. But fleet fee kind of gives us the template of what works based on the 185 stores that are successful today.

Ressa 26:51
Got it? How did you land at the shops at South Hills? Yeah, so

Caruso 26:57
it’s funny. So my very first job, actually, however, many years ago, high school though, we’re talking like 1994, believe it or not, was in the South Hills Mall. Amazing. So for years, I worked at a pizzeria that was in the South Hills Mall. And then like I said, I had, you know, I went to college, and then I moved to New York City. And then I came back and I didn’t really know that the shop that South Hills had kind of transformed into the shopping center that it is now I actually discovered the shopping center when orange theory opens. And I became a member of orange theory. And that was how I was like, Oh, this is different than the old South Hills Mall. This is actually really nice. So for us, like the the spot just made a lot of sense. Like number one because of the other tenants in the center. So you know, the folks like orange theory and hand and stone massage and European wax and just kind of that health and wellness feel was something that was important to us as a as a running specialty retailer. And then just the central location, you know, being right on Route nine right near the other mall, the indoor mall, and just the Stanford location was definitely key.

Ressa 28:15
Do people go do Orangetheory members purchase product in your store? Yes. Yeah, for sure. Even Even though they’re not running, they might buy shoes, or whatever they might do?

Caruso 28:29
Definitely. Yeah, I mean, most, most of the folks who go to Orangetheory do wear a running shoe, because you know, half of the class is treadmill running or walking. And then the other half is kind of strengthen bodyweight exercises and what have you, but yeah, most people do wear a running shoe for that type of activity. Orange theory,

Ressa 28:49
you know, kind of led you to see the shopping center. So that’s, that’s good that the leasing that we did kind of drew you to it. I guess the second. The second thing is, this is your first like commercial lease negotiation, which for most people, it’s a surprise when they get their first commercial lease, and they’re going through it. How was that process for you?

Caruso 29:14
Overwhelming This is one of those examples where I was really, really thrilled to be part of a franchise and have someone at Fleet B with expertise in the area who was able to help. Because truthfully, you know, in my prior life, I negotiated contracts. And so I was comfortable with that sort of thing. But there’s a lot of ins and outs with commercial real estate and things that you just probably wouldn’t think of if you’re not experienced or aren’t in the industry. And it was great that I had someone at Fleet beat to kind of help lead the way with that. I was very grateful.

Ressa 29:50
Yeah, I often say no deals get done alone. When you have a team to help yourself then that’s how you’re able to move through a process doing it on your own rollin in being solo and the people who don’t want to hire an attorney or an architect or whatever they want to do everything on their own, or whatever it might be. It’s a challenge when you, you know, are humbled by the fact that it’s a process and you’re inexperienced in it, and you need a team around you, then good things happen.

Caruso 30:19
Exactly. And I’m all about like, okay, there’s people who are good at that thing that I’m not good at, let’s tap into them, like I’m good at other thing, right? I don’t have to be good at everything. I don’t have to be a commercial real estate expert to own a store. That’s right. I have to be good at other things. And I think that’s part of the thing, too, is kind of knowing what you’re good at what you’re not good at what to get help with.

Ressa 30:43
Totally. So now you have one, and we talked about this earlier. Is there multiple stores in the future for Kim Caruso?

Caruso 30:53
I don’t think so. I think I think I’m very happy and content with my one store for right now. I’m not gonna say that it’s out of the realm of possibilities. You know, I definitely think that there’s opportunity in this area, you know, and in this sort of surrounding area, as you look a little bit broader, geography wise, I definitely think that there’s opportunity. I just for me, right now, I think this is manageable. So I don’t want to I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew at this point.

Ressa 31:29
Makes perfect sense. You mentioned opportunity. How far are your customers coming from? Like, what is your trade area,

Caruso 31:37
our customers travel really far to get to us. And I’m constantly shocked by how far they travel. We get so many customers who live between here in Albany, and used to shop at the Albany fleet feet before they before we opened, you know, and now we’re maybe a little bit closer, but they might be coming from Saugerties or Kingston. I mean, we pull people, we’ve got some customers that drive up from Westchester, we have some customers that live in Albany that come to our store, just because for whatever reason they’re comfortable here. So I mean, we have a very wide geographic reach, which it constantly surprises me how far people will drive and travel.

Ressa 32:26
For people who don’t know those markets. How far are those markets from your store? give everyone some context.

Caruso 32:32
So Albany is 90 miles from us. So you know, I would say that’s probably about as far as people are traveling to get to us. But I mean, we get a lot of customers who drive 45 to 60 minutes, you know, to get to our store on the regular. And what

Ressa 32:50
majority of your customers, how far are they where are they?

Caruso 32:54
I mean, I would say most are in this general Poughkeepsie vicinity, you know, probably a five to 15 mile radius, give or take the large majority, but like I said, we do definitely pull from some other areas.

Ressa 33:11
I’m glad it’s been a success. I’m glad you made it through what I hope is the toughest time in your business history. I hope so to If not, you’ll be prepared for anything on a go forward. And glad to have you as a tenant. Awesome story very inspiring for all those entrepreneurs who want to take a shot, you know, follow Kim and go check out fleet fee Poughkeepsie, last part of the show you Ready? Ready? All right, I’ve got three questions for you. Question one. What is your best piece of commercial real estate advice?

Caruso 33:48
Hire a commercial real estate expert.

Ressa 33:51
Perfect. That is a good one. Question two. What extinct retailer Do you wish would come back from the death?

Caruso 34:01
I’m going to bring it back to the old school South Hills and I’m going to say media play.

Ressa 34:05
Media play what was media play?

Caruso 34:07
You don’t remember media play? I don’t know. So it was kind of like it was kind of like a borders. It was like a book shop and a music shop. One but it was a big, you know, it was definitely it was a big kind of cool, fun store. At least that’s how I remember it. But I missed that place.

Ressa 34:28
Awesome. All right. Last question. You mentioned donuts. I’m on. I’m on Target’s website. I’m looking at 10 ounce Little Debbie mini powdered donuts. What do they retail for? On Target’s website? 10 ounces a little 10 ounce bag?

Caruso 34:46
10 ounce bag so many Dona Mini 299

Ressa 34:51
Wow, you were closer than I would have been? Dollar 99 But thank you for playing.

Caruso 34:57
That’s pretty inexpensive. Yeah.

Ressa 35:00
Have you ever been unheard of duck donuts?

Caruso 35:03
Yes, I have. I’ve been to like all of the amazing donut. Places, everywhere.

Ressa 35:11
Awesome. So duck donuts. I just liked the fact of like custom making donuts on the spot. So Made to Order donuts. You don’t see that often. So

Caruso 35:22
yes, very cool.

Ressa 35:23
Very cool. So I’m going to ask a fourth question. Okay. How many miles a week? Are you logging in? How many are you running?

Caruso 35:33
So currently, I run about 20 to 30 miles a week, but I do also buy 60 to 80, I would say. So that’s Wow, correct winter routine right now.

Ressa 35:49
How do you manage all that while running a business? That is not easy. And you’re a mom of 12 year old boy, how do you do that?

Caruso 35:58
So for me, it’s just I schedule it as part of my day. And it’s, it’s not negotiable. It’s an appointment like any other appointment. Awesome. So maybe one of the nice things about owning a store is we start a little bit later, the store doesn’t open until 10. You know, my son started school at eight. So I’ve got that little bit of window in the morning where I can get my exercise done. And you have any races planned? No, there’s no races right now.

Ressa 36:26
What do you have one? Like, is there? Do you? Are you aspiring to do a race or anything like that?

Caruso 36:34
It’s funny, because normally, my answer would be yes. Like normally, I’ve got sort of the whole year mapped out. You know, in 2019, I did the Chicago Marathon. Oh, wow. And I did the New York City Marathon. And then 2020 Just everything was canceled. And now I’m like, Oh, maybe I don’t need the race anymore. So I honestly, I don’t have any specific goals right now. I’m just trying to like stay active and keep my groups motivated and

Ressa 37:02
that sort of thing. How is that running a marathon?

Caruso 37:05
It’s long. It’s very long. To Jake. So for those who don’t know, marathon 26.2 miles, I’ve done four of them. So wow, kudos, it’s really my my fourth and final marathon. I don’t plan to do another one. But that’s like famous last words of marathoners.

Ressa 37:27
Well, listen, Kim, this has been great. Thank you so much. I really appreciate it. Thanks for having me. Yeah. And you know, listen, anything we can do for you let me know. And keep crushing it and you know, staying strong through this brutal time because it is not fun.

Caruso 37:47
Now, but it’s okay, we’re gonna all get through it and 2021 is going to be amazing.

Ressa 37:54
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 retail retold at DLC 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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