mobile-close copy

Howard and Phil’s Western Wear in Pasadena, CA with Bob Phibbs

Episode #: 012
Howard and Phil’s Western Wear in Pasadena, CA with Bob Phibbs

Guest: Bob Phibbs
Topics: National Retail Federation, Western Wear


Chris Ressa 0:02
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.

First, I’d like to thank one of our sponsors credit Intel, knowing the financial health of retailers is crucial for the success of your retail related business. That’s what credit Intel is for credit. Intel analyzes the financial health of hundreds of publicly and privately held retailers in different sectors. With a subscription to credit Intel, you have access to comprehensive analysis of retailers, financial condition, and their Expert Analytics team. Visit credit for more information.

Hey, everyone, I’m pumped about this week’s podcast we have Bob Phibbs, who is the retail doc Bob works with retailers, associates, and helps the people who actually work in the store and connect with the customers make more sales that convert. So he brings a really interesting perspective to the podcast. And his story is about his time as a store manager in a growing Western wear chain in the early 90s. Or in the early 80s really excited about that just got back from Norfolk, Virginia, which was really productive trip got to meet with some clients. Look at the market. The whole Tidewater area was really cool stayed in downtown Norfolk over the next couple of months, I have a pretty robust travel schedule those with my teammates, and as business travelers do, we were talking about working out on the road, it’s not easy, I missed a significant amount of workout time, because I left my workout clothes at home, making it a mission to make sure that I break all my workout clothes with me no matter how busy the schedule if I think I’m gonna get a workout in or not. I packed my running shoes, some mesh shorts and a T shirt, make sure that I can get a workout in on the road. So anyway, I hope you enjoy the show this week. Thanks, everyone.

Welcome everyone to the show. Today we have Bob Phibbs, CEO of the retail doctor, Bob works with retail clients, both small and large to help with the human experience in the store. Welcome to the show, Bob.

Bob Phibbs 2:43
Thanks. Glad to be here, Chris.

Ressa 2:46
So you just got back from NRF, you were on a panel of the national retail Federation’s big conference, you know, how was the conference? And how was your panel

Phibbs 2:57
conference was packed. I think there’s more hope at NRF than there has been in previous years. I think. Everybody’s trying to figure all of it out. They all comes down to data. We’re all trying to figure out what is AI going to be help or just another thing to do. I think some smart solution providers are out there doing everything from understanding where you place your store, in the mall, in the center or in the community. I think people are figuring out the customer journey and understanding how many baskets is somebody want. And the overriding thing is every retailer is like I don’t need nine apps. If you can’t do it in one, you don’t play nice with other ones. I didn’t want to do it. So simplifying all those processes, really a big deal. And my panelists standing room only. So that’s always great, as we announced my partnership with exotic phi, the world’s leading computer assisted training platform to bring all of my 30 years of training and working in retail to a whole new generation and a whole new group of retailers. So it was great. And they were very interested because training is something that most people feel a doesn’t matter, you don’t need it. And the one thing I keep coming while the two things I keep coming back to is how many sales that should have been years walked out the door to a competitor, and then understanding that people only do what they remember. So it’s not that they were trained. You can expose somebody to it. I can say Chris, you know, we’re watching Wimbledon and you see Serena Williams like I could do that. I was like, Dude, seriously, you could not do that you understand it. But until you’ve actually done a backhand for 300,000 times your body is not doing it, your body won’t remember it. Your mind will try to remember it. But you got to get it into the body. And so until that happens, no one’s trained. So a lot of people work a little shell shocked to find out like, holy crap. I’ve been doing this wrong. I was like, oh, yeah, what can I tell you? And that’s where I come in the retail dock. So it all worked perfectly. So

Ressa 4:53
the retail dock so what do you guys do specifically when you’re helping all these retailers?

Phibbs 5:00
So I am probably the most articulate voice of the customer you can find. So I will look at what is experienced when I’m in your store. And then you match it up to what it could be, and then you come up with a branded experience. And then you’ve pretty much craft what this branded experience should look like, and then come up with a plan to execute it. But I also do business makeovers for the LA Times, and I’ve done business makeovers, which are much more intense, which is, you know, Chris, you’re doing it all wrong, we have to go to the studs and start over. And that’s a very different makeover. And then there’s other times, it’s just, it’s people, you know, big brands will bring me into work or their conferences, or the dealer network or their individual boutiques. And say, I like your philosophy, you know, what do you think? And I say, All I care about is conversions. How many shoppers became buyers? And how much of your is your crew adding on? And then we unpack those statistics. And then you say, okay, so then what do we do to do that? And if you can make a six point turnaround in three months, like it was a major retailer, that’s serious money that goes back into either the investors or the store or actually the owner, so everybody wins. And

Ressa 6:14
that’s totally true. It’s really, really interesting perspective. Who are some of your clients give people some perspective.

Phibbs 6:22
So I have worked for everyone from American Express to to Lego to Vera Bradley to make a timepieces to Seiko to do a best hardware a true value. 200 Douglas, one of my biggest accounts on it, like this window fashions to Rockford Fosgate, which is one of my newest clients, they do mobile electronics and cars and boats and any kind of transportation you think of? So the thing that I do is, it doesn’t matter what the product is, I’m not a product guy. Does that make sense? So whatever you’re selling, there’s a better way probably, or a more human way, or a way to get that employee or associate or sales rep open their heart to the other person first, before expecting the other person to like them, because that’s the way it works. It’s the opposite of social media, you know, social media like that. And I like this guy, man, like 11, five guys beat me up when I was in sixth grade, I’m not gonna call. But nowadays, you got to say, Oh, I’ve got to like, I’ve got to find some way to like this guy, before I get them to put down their wall. And let me let them trust me. So I make the sale. So there’s a real reason you have to figure that out. And let’s face it, most people a don’t know how to do that. and B have never seen it. So young people they love to learn they’re positive, they’re hopeful. They take to this really well, the challenge is making holding them accountable, not just to learn it, but to actually use it.

Unknown Speaker 7:52
That is a

Ressa 7:55
analogy or a phrase I haven’t heard it’s the opposite of social media. Do you say that

Unknown Speaker 8:02
a lot to your clients?

Phibbs 8:04
No, but just seemed to fit this morning. I mean, they will be using it now that you’ve noticed it.

Ressa 8:09
I haven’t noticed it. So given I spent a lot of time on social media, it resonated with me.

Phibbs 8:15
I’ll add one more thing. I was talking to James re he’s the dynamic CEO of Ashley Stewart, an amazing story. If your listeners don’t know it, you should actually Google James ri RH E and how he took this struggling brand and revamped it into a whole new way. Amazing story. But we’re chatting yesterday. And he says I said, you know, he’s asked me how the show was. And I said, you know, I think it’s not about customer engagement. It’s really gonna be associate engravement. He goes, Yeah, I’m calling it. We’re going definitely offline with everything we’re looking at in 2020. It’s all gonna be about people. And I thought that was really interesting that we’re not looking for another technology to bring in or another payment solution. It’s all going to be based on the offline what’s happening in our stores. And, you know, again, he’s a brilliant guy. He’s got it, he’s got a great story. So check them out.

Ressa 9:09
We’ll do well, you spend a lot of time with store associates and working with, you know, major retailers, small retailers and their store associates. How did that start with tell us about your background a little bit where, you know, how did the retail doc start

Phibbs 9:25
born in 1950? I don’t know how far back you want to go. But you know, I was in California and pretty much a California boy twice a dude probably more than you might be used to. And I live in New York only for 10 years. So when I grew up, I you know, we, we were we didn’t I didn’t have an allowance or anything. So I I did things like I would sell things door to door or I would you know, mow lawns or I would do anything to get money set him an allowance. And I put myself through college through sell like shoes, and then ultimately this little Western store opened up and it was before your time, but Western was huge. In the 80s. There’s, there’s a show called Dallas, there’s one called dynasty. And this whole allure of Ralph Lauren was just coming on board and Reagan came on board as a cowboy. I mean, there was this whole thing in the 80s, about cowboy wear. So I was like, Well, this looks like a trend I could ride. So I did, took this little group of stores about six to 55 in a series of 14 years, and we’re at a meeting and the owner, one day asked everybody, you know, what’s a company’s greatest asset? And we’re saying, that’s easy. Its employees. And he goes wrong. I was like, wrong. And I was like, listen to be interesting. So he asked other people, no one gets it, right. Finally goes its customers. So after the meeting, I went downstairs, and I said, Yeah, it’s always been whoever on all my stores is, it’s always been about the people. And shoppers are gonna go anywhere. They’re not loyal to us. They’re loyal to a variety of things, price, location, all that and his back in 94. And I said, I can’t work for a company that doesn’t respect that. I’m out in two weeks. So then I quit, don’t really want I’m going to do take some time off. And after about three months, I decided to go to Tony Robbins seminar there in Los Angeles. And Tony, the one thing that really stood out, he just said, You better come up with a brand, nobody can do better. And I went home, and I filed the trademark for the retail doctor, the very next morning, and I had a little consultant consulting company for a little bit. And then I had one client that I was able to, that’s what made me very famous. So I don’t know if you want to hear that story. But you could cut here if you have to.

Ressa 11:45
Got it. Who was the client?

Phibbs 11:48
It’s a little company called Polly’s gourmet coffee in Long Beach, California.

Ressa 11:54
Awesome. Well, that’s, that’s a that’s a really cool story, I think you’re the first person I’ve had on the podcast that grew up with and growing a Western stores chain. So that is unique, and probably

Phibbs 12:07
will only be the one. But I will share one thing with you that if you look at almost any successful CEO or entrepreneur, they all trace an experience in their young lives working retail, where they had to learn it was about a customer learning about somebody else before they get what they want. And that’s the ones the ones who struggle and don’t get it, they never had that experience. They don’t understand it. And so they think it’s still all about them. And that’s, that’s a huge differentiator for if you’re not for listening to this, that it always has to be about somebody, the customer is always gonna have the seat at the table and some do it physically. You know, to this day, there are CEOs that actually have an empty chair at their boardroom table when they’re talking about products to remember that this is the customer who is here, and are we really serving them because we don’t serve them. And ultimately, they’re gonna go to somebody who else does. Who else does somebody else who does a greater, better job?

Unknown Speaker 12:58
An empty chair. I haven’t heard

Ressa 12:59
that one. So one of the things I think’s interesting today, you know, you mentioned it’s all about the people, how are retailers doing recruiting people into management, training programs and store associates? In today’s environment? are millennials going to school graduating and wanting to build a career in retail? And how’s that either opportunity or struggle for retailers? Well, the

Phibbs 13:25
great lie, I think, being told always is that retail is a low playing loser job. And so, you know, when I, when I first was starting out at minus 16, I was like, I have to get out of this right. And I kept thinking, This experience will never help me, all these things that I’m doing will never help me. I was gonna be a conductor I wanted to conduct on Broadway. That’s how I was gonna get my degree in. And then the fallback to that was you had to teach, you would have been a great conductor. I am a great conductor. I had a plan course in orchestra in Los Angeles for 15 years, and then I retired, but it became my hobby. I knew I wasn’t gonna make money at that. And so I’ve lost train of thought there. Sorry, where we’re going with that

Ressa 14:09
store store associates coming from college. So the

Phibbs 14:13
lie was that no one makes money at retail. And yeah, if you if you don’t do the job and your minimum wage, it’s a tough place. But almost every great retailer, you look at Walmart, you look at Target, you look at Macy’s, you look at all these brands, they understand that that tribal knowledge of our systems and who we are and actually having known who our customer is really matter. I was on the panel that you mentioned with Tony versa. He is the head of customer service at footlocker. He has 39,000 employees he’s responsible for he started out as a part time guy on the Salesforce 30 Some years ago. And that experience that is what is what brings value to him and to that organization. So you know, there are people that make 10 hundreds of 1000s of dollars still working retail who realize, oh, I can hook onto this train and do really well. I think the the always a challenge for me even when I was young, many years ago, is you think it’s a part time job, it’s a thing to get through. It’s a it’s a bandaid on the way to your career. And for that reason, they don’t invest in it. And so for that reason, retailers don’t typically invest in it either. Right? So you leave them on their own. And you pretty much say, well, you’re worthless to me. And, and nothing happens, the smart ones have created a path, right? How to take on additional leadership responsibilities, how to develop them as leaders, how to give them more stature, how to give them more rewards, and then walk them up the chain, I think the ones that struggle, still have this attitude that all all good talent comes from outside, especially at the top, I think that’s the hardest part. You know, when you hire people over people who are in your organization, what usually happens is you’re bringing somebody else’s culture into yours. So you do that enough times there’s no real culture for yours. It’s a mishmash of, of whatever is leftover, and it may not even be good culture, it’s just culture. So I would encourage anybody, no matter how big or small you are, is just to realize that, you know, you get about as much out of people as you put into them. That’s sage

Ressa 16:14
advice. So who’s got a great management training program out there today?

Phibbs 16:19
Lululemon has got an amazing program Lululemon has been around for geez, but 20 years, I guess. And from the start?

Ressa 16:27
Well, clearly, it shows in their numbers, right? Absolutely.

Phibbs 16:31
From the start, they every Sunday night, they have a store meeting with all the associates and the manager. And they go through and come up with their goals, these are all personal goals has zero to do with the brand. And yet it has everything to do with the brand. And so they’re talking about how to help them make goals and a lot of connections. And the whole goal is to make them a better person have a better life. And so if you ascribe to that you are going to love working for Lululemon. Right, you’re going to, you’re going to be really productive, I think rituals was just in in New York, they are an amazing cosmetics company. And one of the things they do so differently is that when you’re hired, you get an app apparently, that you log in and start learning about all the other people on your team and their favorite products before you ever begin on the sales floor. So again, it’s coming down to Oh, an associate matters. And we’ve got to find a way quickly to let them feel like they belong.

Ressa 17:26
Going back a little bit to what I was saying before, are they struggling to bring people in and keep them in the system?

Phibbs 17:34
Oh, to bring in everybody struggling with unemployment at 3%? You know, sure, yeah, kind of a lie. Because a lot of people are working two and three jobs at the time. It’s not necessarily full time work. So everybody’s got that problem. So you know, yes, they’re still doing the referral, having friends tried to refer others, but the smart ones are actually going out and beating the bushes. Because, frankly, you know, if I put an ad online right now, I will instantly get 10s of 1000s of bots that will apply for the job. And how do you sort through that you really can’t. But what you can do is when you’re in your trade area, you’re around five, five miles around your store, you could certainly go to different coffee houses, restaurants, as they want to pick up any additional hours, there’s a million ways you could do it. But the smart ones are out there literally like a baseball team. In the farm system going out and looking where can we get these people. And again, it’s very intense. But the quality of their leads is much better than just putting something out and saying we pay $11 An hour or something. Yeah,

Ressa 18:39
the the, no matter what you’re trying to sell, you need to go and get it. So whether it’s recruiting of people selling a product, you know, that’s where you’re gonna find the best opportunities not just sitting around and waiting. So that makes sense. I hadn’t thought of the the retailer, you know, going and scouring the, you know, market but that makes sense. I don’t know why that wouldn’t be the case. So you know, good perspective. Well, pivoting a little bit, as you know that this is a show about how that store ended up in your neighborhood. And I wanted to see what story you brought to the table today, Bob and where we’re going location wise or geographically. Do you have a story for us on how a store ended up somewhere?

Phibbs 19:24
Well, I’ll pick one. So back when I was first starting selling Callaway clothes so they realized pretty soon that the malls were going to be the way forward before this. They had all done strip centers and that was where they had done and the numbers that came back when they opened a store in the mall were so astronomical Lee was just the conversions were so much higher that the same merch brought into a mall would return so much more value.

Ressa 19:53
So is this store still around today?

Phibbs 19:56
They went bankrupt after I left not a surprise what Got a surprise what was the name of the chain was called Howard and fills that in Los Angeles. Got it. All right, keep going. So they, they had made the decision that there was a store down in Tustin that had been there, a steady player had been there for a couple of years. And the decision was made that we’re going to move it to Pasadena, and I was lucky to get my first store. And that was gonna be my store. So it’s like, great, they’re just going to transfer this up there. And it’s my goodness, when is this? This is like, November ish of 1980 before you were even born. And so I said, Well, everything is, you know, ready to go, right? The stores were to go now we got to get the inventory up. And this was like a Monday and we opened on a Thursday. And I said, Well, what’s going to happen? Well, on Tuesday, you’re gonna go down, and you’re going to take a truck, and we’re literally just gonna take everything out and bring it up there to get going. And then we’ll figure it out from there, like, okay, right, absolutely. Everything’s ready to go. So I get in the truck. And we drive. It’s like an hour south of LA, and you get to the store, and knock on the door. And,

Ressa 21:12
and so real quick, the store is in Tustin, and you’re moving from a strip center, just in the past to the mall? And how big are these stores?

Phibbs 21:22
5000 facts as if they’re not small. Yeah, nuts. But, but. So

Ressa 21:30
you got you got to open the store quick. And you knock on the door of the store

Phibbs 21:33
on the back door. And this young woman answers she goes, Oh, it’s not our day for delivery. I go, Oh, we’re not here for delivery. We’re here to you know, take everything out of the store. Right? Like, you know, she goes, What do you mean? What do you mean? What do I mean? So I walk into the store and the store is open. They’re waiting on customers. And the manager looks at me goes, What are you doing here? And I said, Well, what are you doing here? Oh, my God. I said, weren’t you told this is the day we’re shutting down? No one told us. Oh, my God. So I said, Well, then I guess what you need to do is to take all the money out of the register and go to the bank and deposit it, lock the doors and help me load a truck. What’s going to happen to me and our crew is like, I don’t know the answer that I can do this part, you’ll have to call them. So all that drama is going on, we get the truck loaded, we get up to Passier on on Tuesday night. So there are so many pants that we didn’t really account for that. I just said just put them in a in a just put them on the floor over there. And this, this, this mound that ended up being there was easily easily five feet tall. Like at least as wide in the middle of the back of the store. And what’s still on there hangers and some that were folded and you know, jeans and dress pants and the whole thing. And, and then somebody said, Well, we can’t open with all that I said The hell with it, we’re going to open with it and said, if nothing else I can at least for looking for like at least I know it’s here, right? It makes sense to send it back up to the warehouse. So we opened in that that stack of pants was probably there for a good month because we had to sell through it. And as we couldn’t get up to it. So what I recommend any retailer do that? Absolutely not. But the other side of it is, you know, you just you just have to get practical when you’re opening a store. The goal is get the store open, right? If I get anyone interested in the merge, that’s a plus. And we ended up hitting it out of the park. Just in the two weeks we were open had more than tripled the amount of business that little store had done in a whole month. So it was pretty crazy.

Ressa 23:38
Wow. And the story we’re moving to was it like moving ready? You just moved all the merchandise in?

Phibbs 23:44
Yeah, we the shell had been done and all of the all the fixtures. Most of the fixtures were there. And and then we had to kind of decide how many of them could we bring in from the old store because there the the full footprint was different. It was a smaller store. No two ways about it. The mall store but it was great time was very fun. And you know, I was young I was cheese that was probably like 22 or something. So, you know, you worked all night to get this stuff out. It was very exciting to get the crew there. And when we opened I think we had one of those riding bulls out in the mall that you could ride. You know, nowadays, they would never do that because they’ve been liability and all sorts of things. But it was good time.

Ressa 24:26
Awesome. So you end up going from you ended up going you’re working for this as an associate. They’re going to give you a store to run and you got to drive down and unbeknownst to new you got to tell this woman in Tustin, that actually you’re fired. I’m taking your store and I’m moving it to Pasadena and you’re literally moving it you have a truck with merchandise or truck empty that you got to fill out the merchandise of this store. Bring it up to Pasadena and unload it out of the truck and fill up the store and by Thursday wow did you have employees hired already?

Phibbs 25:02
I, I did. But they weren’t gonna start till Wednesday because we really didn’t know, there was, you know, the the sort of your occupancy was in doubt if I remember correctly, that was part of the problem that they just kept being pushed off and put even though the show was done, and we were ready to go. And as lighting was ready, it was just, they just wouldn’t give us the sign off for something so good.

Ressa 25:26
Yeah, great times. Well,

Ressa 25:29
that’s an interesting story, cool perspective from a former store manager. You know, I’m sure. Even today, I’m still aware, there’s a lot of associates who, in certain places that help, you know, get the store up and running and merchandise, the store and all that stuff. I think it’s a I think it’s still it’s not done like that. But there’s still there’s still a lot of store associates that help in that process when that’s going on. So

Phibbs 25:59
absolutely. And it’s so it’s all really fun, too, because it’s a it’s a kind of a race against the clock. That’s what makes it fun. And they’re learning the merchandise they’re putting out. They’re asking questions. You’re training them as you’re doing it. So it all works. It’s just really high stress. I would definitely not do that at my age. I’ll tell you that.

Ressa 26:19
What type of volume was Harry and Phil’s doing?

Phibbs 26:22
Howard and Phil’s Howard? infills. Yeah, I don’t think they would even be comparable to understand today, because retail now the numbers are probably three times as great just from the nature of what malls became because the past the mall was pretty new. The Glendale Galleria was pretty new. The Santa Monica place mall, which rich Gary had designed. I think I did Disney Hall and a lot of fancy buildings. So it was really a really on the cusp of a new mall culture. So yeah,

Ressa 26:55
awesome. Well appreciate the story. You know, if you’re gonna if you were going to give your you know, your pulse on the market, in your Twitter message of 280 characters or less what? What’s good, what’s the real estate of retail today?

Phibbs 27:13
280 characters. There is no retail apocalypse, bad retailers, phase retailers are going out of business lightener, left and right. The value customers being courted more than the luxury customer, which is driving a lot of demand at the low end, but it’s a punishing place to play. And the real estate if you look at the amount of unsold real estate in New York City, it’s a harbinger for what’s going to happen across America. As more people move to online, as we, we kind of say, well, some people have said that online is going to be the hub and I am on the opposite side of it. The smart retailers understand the brick and mortar store is the hub of the retail empire. And everything goes out from there. But regardless, they have to figure out what this is way beyond 280 characters. But just understanding why would somebody put down their phone draft past three competitors to come to you. If you’re Lululemon, your target for Walmart is all coming down to convenience, it’s coming down to connections, it’s coming down to buy online pick up in store, all of that has a lot of technology underneath it. So if you don’t have the technology to serve us in the way we want, which is to be able to buy online, in app in store on social, return it wherever we want, wherever we want, then you’re probably going to be in a really tough place. Because we’re still over stored in America, there’s too many places to buy too much of the same stuff. And unremarkable retail just isn’t going to live much longer.

Ressa 28:56
Yeah, I think one of the things you said there that resonates may there’s too much of the same. I think when you have a unique offering that is something that is a differentiator, and there’s a lot of people that are trying to compete on the same offering. And that’s I think that’s why one of the reasons the D to C and the some of these digitally native brands have grown so much it take a company like Duluth Trading, I’m pretty certain that there’s nowhere else you can buy Duluth Trading products other than Duluth stores, or online or in their catalog. And so I think the more that has, right, the different the different product than everyone else. If you’re selling the same thing as everyone else, then it’s one of two things you’re either going to compete on price or you’re going to compete on the brand but you know, you set yourself apart when you actually have a product or service that everybody else doesn’t have. And I think that’s part of the reason that the DTC guys have grown so much because they have something that a lot no one else has, when you really can only buy it in that company’s channels. I think that is, you know, they’re really protecting the brand. And we can see that right? Nike just came off of Amazon, right? They were on Amazon. Now they’re not Nike got rid of a significant amount of retail partners because they’re protecting the brand. And I think, you know, there’s good and bad to that. But when you have a product that’s different, you can’t get anywhere else. It’s compelling. So well, the customer

Phibbs 30:21
is now telling us Spoil Me or else, and I want it yesterday. And that’s, that’s really what it comes down to. Because that’s what Amazon has set up the bar. Right? So you, you don’t have a lot of wiggle room. And you don’t really know necessarily what that looks like. But you know, when you don’t get it, right, like I ordered something online. And I don’t know when it’s going to ship and I don’t know, what’s going to happen with the order. And so someone never thought through what Amazon anybody else done, which is Oh, we got your order, oh, it shipped Oh, it’s here, oh, you want to return it, just put it in the bag and give it to these guys or send it or we’ll come to you or whatever. They’re still working on this 1980s model that the customer enjoys doing returns, enjoys finding a box and taping it up and putting it back and it doesn’t. And so it doesn’t matter where you’re a rural shopper or you’re in a big city. That’s that’s still more about like, Well, we haven’t really got our act together. And the problem is, more and more brands have got their act together, right? Yeah.

Ressa 31:23
Well listen, the last part of our segment is called retail wisdom.

Ressa 31:30
And I have

Ressa 31:33
three questions that I ask everyone. So question one best piece of commercial real estate advice out there,

Phibbs 31:41
spend more on your cam charges and don’t don’t give up don’t make your retailers pay all but curb appeal has never been greater. Every every shopper has seen HDTV. They know what it looks like for curb appeal and going going cheap and going. Economical isn’t going to make you money.

Ressa 32:01
Wow. I like it. Next question question to extinct retailer, you wish would come back from the dead and why 00? Come on, there’s got to be one

Phibbs 32:11
what I’m gonna bring RadioShack back. I’m gonna bring Bonton I’m gonna bring Toys R Us. There Sears. They were all horribly executed brands for a number of years there is nobody out there that I would be like, oh, yeah, I need to have no sorry. There’s no point in going backwards. It’s more important to think of, you know, who are the cool brands that are still doing it. And ultimately a Lululemon or rituals, a Container Store, a lot of people who have invested in training and who invested in knowing who they are, are doing great. So

Ressa 32:51
give me a brand or a company that is extinct, that you’re surprised that they couldn’t figure it out. And they made and they didn’t make it.

Phibbs 33:03
Amazon just so ridiculous, so many bad choices made over decades. You know, assuming that they were going to be able to weather everything. At the end of the day, they had the distribution model, they had the the trucks, they had the stores, they had the value proposition, they had the locations, you just tick off all the things they had they had the catalog, they handled that customer data for God’s sake, that was relevant. And just understanding that would have made it but I remember going to NRF 20 years ago, probably 10 years ago, and they had come out with a thing called Shop Your Way It was going to be their own little social site and it was going to do all these things. It’s such a distraction from everything they should have been seeing. You know, that’s the, that’s the key. So yeah, and Penney’s could have easily filled that void just as well, because they had catalogs. They had, I mean, all of the resources that everyone else had to build out now, right, Walmart, Amazon, et cetera, they had in place and they all their distribution centers were right there by the freeway. I mean, all of it was just disregarded and people protecting their own thing instead of thinking about the customer, where were they changing?

Ressa 34:13
Okay, I’m gonna I’m adding to my retail wisdom, who is remarkable today you mentioned unremarkable who is remarkable and why rituals

Phibbs 34:21
is a remarkable brands cosmetic skincare company out of Netherlands. They are amazing. I think Warby Parker does a really great job. I think they understood who their customer was. Their store design is brilliant. I love when you go by their store they have in the floor, like a tile, mosaic welcome mat and it says Nice to see you again, which works on so many levels. Why it’s brilliant to put that in the mall as you walk in. And their store design is second to none and they have well trained employees and they understand the modern consumer and ultimately can can deliver on that promise. I think it’s great. Don’t get me wrong. There are, there are million beautiful stores out there. You know, I just came from New York and a million beautiful stores. Actually, I was just in one yesterday called Slow mu Institute. So this woman, and their two partners decided that they wanted to do something with slime. Did you know slime? Is the was the topic most searched on YouTube in 2017? Yeah, and there’s a whole slime culture. Yes, I’m familiar. So she’s got this whole store, you go in, you pay $45 A person and you and your kid can go through make slime. And there’s 40 different kinds and you can walk on it and you can play with you can take it home, and there’s all kinds of products you can take home with it. But that experiential retail isn’t just a matter of like, oh come to us and play. There’s a serious retail component, which is helping them make the numbers. And so they’re actually looking to go out into the suburbs, because it’s a it’s an easy concept to duplicate. And it’s kind of like a much more interactive version of the paint to your pottery right stuff share a lot more kid centric. And also the notice that if you play with slime, you’re more focused. So it’s helping kids and parents understand that and unhooking I mean, the right on the right trends because everybody seems to be looking at how do we get my kids back from the deep dive of digital? Yes.

Ressa 36:26
This is question three. The others were just like sub questions. So I asked everybody, I pick a retail product and I asked him the name, the retail price of that product.

Phibbs 36:36
Like milk for presidential candidates or I go oh, it’s

Ressa 36:40
way more obscure products. So one of the hot skincare brands out there is body Mary, the 3.4 ounces of body Mary retinol surge moisturizer. What does that retail for?

Phibbs 36:57
You’re probably in the 34 to $29 would be my guess if you’re brand

Ressa 37:03
on body Mary’s website, it is normally retails at 2199. And you can buy it for 2098. Body marry surge moisturizer. Look up. Look up the

Phibbs 37:15
sponsor of yours is at all

Ressa 37:16
no zero sponsorship. You’re likely one one guest had to guess what the retail price of Snoop Dogg’s new cookbook from cook to cook was retailing at.

Phibbs 37:37
But still to that probably in the $29 range.

Ressa 37:39
I know it’s less. But you should I still haven’t read it. But I just for fun. I think I need to get this soup dog cookbook from cook to from cook to cook. So there you go. Well, listen, Bob, it’s been great. Thanks for the conversation and your insights. Keep rocking and enhancing the store experience by you know, really enhancing the associate skills in the store. I think that’s great. And thanks for the story about Howard it fills I hadn’t heard of that Western where retailer and giving us perspective of how the store source it’s get the store open. So really cool.

Phibbs 38:17
All right, my friend. Thanks, Chris. Thank you as well, to find out more about me go to retail You can find me on LinkedIn with my 40,000 other followers, you could go through and understand sales or excellent online training. And more importantly, just ask yourself how many of the customers should have been yours walked out the door today? Because if you’re not asking that question, you’re probably asking the wrong questions. How’s that? Chris?

Ressa 38:39
Good. Bob, why don’t you plug your website? What’s your website,

Phibbs 38:43
retail r Or just search for Bob Phibbs and pH I BBs and you will find hundreds of articles about me. So again, there’s no retail apocalypse. And you got to find the hope to change what you can change and more importantly, understand it’s got to all dwell from how is your customer changing, and then you’ll be successful.

Ressa 39:09
All right. Thanks so much, Bob. Thanks, Chris. Thank you for listening to retail retold. If you want to share a story about a retail real estate deal you were a part of on our show. Please reach out to us. This podcast highlights the stories behind deals from all perspectives. So it doesn’t matter if you’re a retailer, broker attorney or an architect. Contact Diane Lee at D L E at DLC Also, don’t forget to subscribe to retail retold so you don’t miss out on next Thursday’s episode

Read Transcript

Never Miss an Episode!

Join the newsletter and get access to bonus content and exclusive updates


Newest DLC white paper


access exclusive retail reports