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One Paseo in San Diego, CA with Carrie Bobb

Episode #: 083
One Paseo in San Diego, CA with Carrie Bobb

Guest: Carrie Bobb
Topics: One Paseo, retail leasing


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. I’m excited today we have on the show Carrie Bob from Carrie, Bob and Co. Carrie has been in commercial real estate for 17 years. She’s been crushing it on social media and doing some really unique things. And I’m excited to have her on the show. Welcome to the show. Carrie.

Carrie Bobb 0:38
Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. So

Ressa 0:41
Carrie, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about who you are and what you do?

Bobb 0:45
Yeah, so I do retail leasing on behalf of landlords we do represent a handful of tenants. But our sweet spot is a ground up development for landlords. And we’ve done deals ranging from the fantastic sales of the world all the way to the soul cycles. Sephora as Lulus, that, that kind of thing. And we’ve run the gamut. And I feel like our magic is in our merchandising for these new developments on mixed use projects, and really creating value for the overall project through our collection of brands that we assemble and put together and create like a retail experience.

Ressa 1:28
Awesome. Well, that is really cool. And are you seeing a lot of new development right

Bobb 1:34
now? You know, we were working on two big projects that are going to be delivering in 2023. So wow, kind of a safe timeline as far as anything that’s delivering in the next 12 months, not so much. Sure. And we work mostly on mixed use where the developments are primarily office or there’s one here in downtown San Diego. That’s a life science campus, but has 200,000 square feet of retail that we’re working on. And then we’re working on one in Ogden, Utah, which is at the base of Snowbasin that is primarily hospitality and office and resi. And then we’re doing the the retail to really create the just the emotional experience when you come to a project. We often say we’re Placemakers that use the retail storefronts to create that sense of place.

Ressa 2:34
We I know Ogden, Utah GGP I’m not sure if they still do. They used to have a mall there Brookfield now. So I’ve been there is your development nearby that mall?

Bobb 2:45
It’s right on 26. That’s the old historical. It’s it’s a street front development.

Ressa 2:51
Awesome. Yeah. So we’ve gone through this interesting time this year, we are in the midst of a pandemic, you’re in San Diego. And that’s where you do most of your leasing. Right. Right. But you have some you have something in Utah, but you do a lot in San Diego. What are you seeing out there? What’s been your experience in working through COVID? And, you know, through this challenging time,

Bobb 3:15
we’ve seen a few different things. I mean, it’s it’s devastating, right, like just people that have been institutions can’t open their doors. And just the shutdown here in California has just been so tragic. And and I know it’s nationally, too, but we’ve had some rougher times as far as opening for business out here. And it’s just been really, really tough to see, on a on the bright side of like positive things that we’re seeing. We’re seeing landlords use different tactics to develop relationships, like I was sharing, through social, we’re trying to break the barrier down between. And I do think we’re seeing this across the board, these the tension between landlord and tenant, I think you’re seeing one of two things, you’re either seeing that getting more extreme, where they’re really digging in their heels and fighting each other, or they’re letting their guards down and forming a more of a true partnership, which has been really cool to see the landlords and tenants working together to keep things going. One of the landlords that’s a client of ours where we run the social handles for we’re using the term collaboration a lot more where it’s not so much about signing a five year lease, but it’s really about collaborating and developing a relationship and kind of like tiptoeing or bread crumbing the leasing process into more of a relationship where the tenant can really trust the landlord and test the market a little bit. We’re using it for pop up leasing and, and things like that. We’ve seen a lot of activity in that space, which has been promising. And then I think on the as far as like National tenants, what we’re seeing is is everyone’s kind of looking at that 2023 timeframe. If you have a really like Class A project is they’re looking at filling their pipeline for 2023. And they’re not going to do as many deals per year. So like I’ve been telling my clients, look, our competition are competing sites aren’t necessarily other competing sites in the market. We’re competing against Austin, Texas, and Nashville, Tennessee, and things like that for those kind of sites. But there’s, they’re looking for sites in that, in that in 2020. Race. That’s, that’s good.

Ressa 5:36
So I feel fortunate, I’ve been dealing with that challenge for years. Because, you know, capitals always finite and we owned a long time ago, we don’t own enclosed malls anymore, we did on an enclosed mall in Ohio. And I was working with a national steakhouse brand, for a site on a pad site. This is over a decade ago. And they were like, yes, we this is a site for us. But we only have so much capital, and we’re not in Miami, or Vegas, or Houston yet. And we can’t go to some rural town in Ohio, before we get to Miami and Vegas and those markets. So I know that we’re competing with other markets thing, you know, all too well, for sure. It took a while we kept on it, there was nothing that at that point in time that was making them move other than get more creative on the deal. And we weren’t prepared to do that it was already tight it was we would have had to kind of change the deal structure. So it kind of sat on ice for about 18 months, but then it finally made. So that’s the punch line

Bobb 6:47
happen is that it’s going to become down to who gives the best deals. In if you’ve got a lineup of markets, there just it’ll probably come down, that’ll at least be a huge element of it. For sure. I think.

Ressa 7:00
I think economics and deal terms always play a part in it, I’m still a believer that relationships are going to matter. The belief in the partnership between the two will matter. So if you’re someone who can deliver and you’re someone who can execute on the plan, then you might have more sway than someone who’s not. So I think the you know, as some think the with the bureaucracy of committees, relationships are less valuable. I think they’re more. And so we’ll say,

Bobb 7:39
I totally agree. I mean, I heard a national retailer, say because of the way a national landlord was dealing with them and some of their locations, they’re like, we’ll just never, we’re never doing a deal with you, again, across the country. And that’s a, that’s a big price to pay for. Not truly seeing it as a partnership, I think the most successful landlords that come out on the other side of COVID are going to be those that like to your point, are, are really developing the relationships and treating it as a partnership to come out of this.

Ressa 8:12
I will say this. I think the same goes both ways. I think there’s some tenants out there that have lost opportunities because of the same behavior that you call out. And I think, you know, one of the things right now that the tenants need from landlords, is capital to do deals. And, you know, I think, you know, it has to be partnership and collaboration. And, you know, we can all read headline news, and we know who’s suing who in the marketplace and what that’ll mean in the future. But I think you know, and you have to do sometimes we have to do in certain scenarios, because you’re left with no choice. But I think partnership and collaboration are definitely critical. Great. Yeah. What else anything else going on in the market in the state of retail, the real estate of retail or, or real estate that you think is interesting or unique that we haven’t touched on yet?

Bobb 9:16
Well, I’m super excited to be launching Hello Jenny, with my partner Jay siano in January, which is just a social media company for retail landlords where we can take that collaboration step one step further. And you and I were talking to your company does such a great job of creating content and using the different social media platforms and we just believe brick and mortar retail landlords have not even scratched the surface of the power of their reach through social and you can use social media to impact the leasing of a project and so so many more ways than any of us realize. And so I think that’s probably the best thing that’s come out of 2020 for us, is forming this partnership and putting together this company that can help retail landlords just drive their drive leasing through their social media platforms.

Ressa 10:11
So that brings us to the story because you’ve been doing this for some time and had great success with using social media to lease space. And you have a story for us. And so where are we going?

Bobb 10:26
This is such a great story. And it is shaped how we approach leasing shopping centers, whether we’re the broker on a property or whether we’re the social media company, but so I was leasing one Paseo in Del Mar, which is a mixed use project and I was pretty much I had done the the credit tenant lineup, I had that all ready to go with Shake Shack dry bar, Sephora, the lineup was was from SoulCycle. And I was trying to create the character of the place with some of the local tenants. And I mean, I couldn’t do it. I had been doing it 16 years at the time. And so I, you know, I thought I had a pretty good handle on who the cool local tenants were. And I had I was walking the site with a local boutique, she has two storefronts, and I had done both of her her deals, she also happens to have 120,000 followers on Instagram. And so as we’re walking the project, I just said to her, you know, if you run across a retailer or Boutique is you’re going back and forth to LA for these fashion shows, or whatever that you think would do really well here, I’ll pay you $5,000 As a finder’s fee, but they they have to sign a lease. She’s like, okay, great. She totally gets it. She understands Merchandising, and all of that. And I paid her $40,000 on the project, she brought me

Ressa 11:51
five deals, unbelievable,

Bobb 11:54
I paid her more than the 5000 because it was kind of a big one. So that, to me, was the biggest eye opener for what social media can do for leasing. Because these brands are all calling influencers way before they’re calling you as a landlord or me as a broker. Like we just never gonna get the same calls that influencers are getting. And so with Hello, Jenny, we have an arm that we’re calling influencer incentives, where we work with a landlord and say, Okay, if you need a taco shop, or an ice cream shop, or whatever it is, we’ll coordinate with the influencers, the right influencers in the market, not just a blanket thing, you have to find the right people. And they can be micro influencers, people who have 5000 or less followers, because a lot of times those are the people who are really well connected, where if they just send an email introduction to the owner of an ice cream shop, that’s all that’s all you need as a landlord or leasing team. And if there’s interest, we just passed along, and then at least get signed, you send them the $2,000 or whatever, whatever the incentive is that the landlord comes up with, which is equivalent to like a referral fee.

Ressa 13:05
So how was How was this, your tenant, the one who the woman who had to boot boutiques that you ended up paying $40,000 to? How was she finding these brands that you ended up signing leases with? Or did she have relationships with them? How did that all come about?

Bobb 13:23
It was purely relationship based to your earlier point that this whole business is about the strength of our relationships. And so she didn’t do a single post on the property. None of that these were just other entrepreneurs that had retail storefronts. Some were in like cosmetics. One was a brewery. One was a jewelry store. One was a barber. And these were just other entrepreneurs that were in her circle. And they had cross promoted each other before. So like, the cosmetics company had asked her to be like a brand ambassador and they became friends. And so she asked her if she would want to open a second storefront at one Paseo and she did and it’s just it’s very similar to brokerage where they have these relationships with these business owners. And it’s not the influencer doesn’t replace the broker, or the leasing rep or anything. It’s just leveraging their relationships and they should be compensated for making an introduction. And it’s, it’s a whole lot easier for that leasing person and that landlord to when you reach out to your local influence or people and just say, hey, you know, we’re looking for this as opposed to like cold calling cold calling, cold calling. They already know. They already know those people who are expanding.

Ressa 14:43
That’s really insightful stuff and these deals that came through were they like, for lack of a better word. Were they real deals did you have to do anything like were they all were these flyers because they came through this way or were they like normal? All traditional real deals?

Bobb 15:02
Yeah. I mean, you make your money in the last 10% Yeah. So that was our those were for last 10% Awesome. No, they were very real deals.

Ressa 15:13
So you mentioned the influencer marketing and the micro influencer world and give us a, you know, a tip, how might somebody use a micro influencer to help their leasing?

Bobb 15:28
You could do it a few different ways. But one of the simplest ways is if you’re and you and I’ve talked about how you went all in on LinkedIn, you’re crushing LinkedIn, you were in early and you like, own that space. I kind of did the same on Instagram, because I, you kind of got to own one before you got into different platforms. And I just wanted to be where the retailers were, although I think it’s a it’s I want to get back into LinkedIn because I think there’s so much more opportunity there and I’m watching you and you’re inspiring me. But if you just search a hashtag on Instagram, and let’s say, you look up hashtag Phoenix influencer or Phoenix, mommy, blogger Allen, Texas

Ressa 16:11
is a hashtag I follow on Instagram

Bobb 16:13
there you got so look up. Alan, influencer, Allen, Texas influencer, something like that. And then you’re gonna go and see which images that align with your brand, the brand that you’re trying to take the shopping center, so you know, which blogger like if they, if even if they use the hashtag, but the image isn’t something you would put on your feed, that’s not the right person. Then you just kind of scroll through you find a couple of the right people, you send them a direct message. And you basically explain like, we’re, we’re working with the shopping center, if you’re doing it from the shopping center handle, you say, Hey, we are looking for, what are you looking for they’re

Ressa 16:56
looking for a lot. Let’s say we are looking for a cool tapas restaurant.

Bobb 17:03
Okay, so you tell them that and say if you know if anyone in that would might be interested, if you know any business owners that might be interested in space, we’d love to send you you can call an incentive or fighter sphere, whatever. And then you just give them the dollar amount. And it’s equivalent to a 20% referral fee, like on the tenant side, let’s say and just say so it’s $2,000 or $2,500, all you have to do is make an introduction, but the business owner has to sign a lease for us to compensate you. And we have found that to be really effective. If you don’t want to go that far right away, and you kind of want to engage with them a little bit more, you can message them from the handle and say, hey, we’d love to collaborate with you would you want to come to the property and do a photo shoot, we did this for one of our handles up in Northern California that we work with. And we reached out to a mommy blogger and said, Hey, would you want to bring you and your daughter to Cold Stone Creamery who is in our project, and will take images of you guys, and we’ll give you all of these images to use on your mommy blogger Instagram page. And she was really excited. She’s great. She has like 10,000 followers. So it’s a decent following. And what’s interesting is we’ve we’ve discovered that these images are like currency to tenants, and influencers and so you can pay them in images because everyone wants their feed to have content. So then now I have a relationship with Michelle up in Northern California. And when I met her out on site, we were doing the photoshoot, I said, Hey, just so you know, if you have if we need a coffee shop at that center, so it’s like just so you know, if you have a relationship with any of the coffee tenants, we we’ve paid $2,500 finder fee, but they have to just sign a lease and she’s like, Oh, great if you talk to so and so sounds that sounds like no loving introduction. Great. Like go ahead. And by the way, we’d love a bike shop. Like it’s just organic and so messaging them about a finder’s fee doesn’t seem organic, or it seems too aggressive right off the bat. Engage with them haven’t come to the property and post about one of your tenants and that kind of thing.

Ressa 19:19
Cool. That’s great, awesome stuff. And who was the tenant that has the 120,000 followers? What was that retailers name?

Bobb 19:27
Vandervoort Savannah, women’s boutique and her name is Andrea Vander for it.

Ressa 19:33
And you ended up signing the lease with her there the when you were walking the property she you the referral thing came as you were walking the property showing her the space you didn’t have a deal done with her right at that time,

Bobb 19:46
but she did sign a deal. And that was also incentive for her to because she was highly vested in the project. Right. She wanted to be next to her friends and so yeah, following these people because she wanted to help curate the center and a lot of times we’ve seen that to where landlords have this information in your projects already. And so the shopping center up in Walnut, the Walnut Creek area that we work on, they they need a coffee and like a sit down restaurant. And so they have a really great sushi tenant and their the the build out is beautiful that the food is so good. So when we were in there, shooting some of their food for content for social, I was talking to the owner and with her and I had this all cleared with the landlord, of course before, but we were offering her rent abatement for referrals. So it was like, Okay, if you if you introduce us to someone who can backfill this sit down restaurant, we’ll give you X amount of rent, depending on how long the deal is, and that kind of thing. And she’s really well connected. And she’s made some introductions. And so there’s opportunities it’s in this is where it’s really exponential as an influencer isn’t just these mommy bloggers that we all think of as the influencers on social but you know, we all have a sphere of influence. And so, I mean, you’re a huge influencer in commercial real estate. And if we could treat each other that way, and just say, Hey, I’m looking for this a finder’s fee, or whatever it is, I’m kind of making this up now. We all get to participate in opportunities that we might not have had otherwise. So I think this whole thing could really there’s it’s exponential, how far you can take it.

Ressa 21:37
Awesome. Well, listen, that was a great story. I really appreciate you telling it. I think it’s unique. I want to take us to the final part of the show. We call this retail wisdom. And I’ve got three questions for you. Are you ready? Let’s do it. All right. Question one. What is your best piece of commercial real estate advice?

Bobb 22:02
Hands down, it is the people that you work with. So whether it’s the senior person that you’re working with, or your partner in business, just finding the right people because a lot of times I know in my career I’ve kind of like overlooked things and go Oh, it’ll work out. It’ll work out but you kind of knew all along. And just the magic is in the team you create when from the top all the way down to support staff. And that’s really when you get the right team in place. That’s really where the magic happens.

Ressa 22:36
Couldn’t agree more. Second question fan favorite. What is what extinct retailer Do you wish would come back from the dead

Bobb 22:44
borders, books? I loved borders. I loved just everything about it. And I love bookstores.

Ressa 22:52
Same. You still have Barnes but I love bookstores as well. Last question. I am looking on Amazon one of the top products gadget Product of the Year is the Go Dona, which is like your cell phone or iPad stance. And I’m looking at the automaton cell phone stand fully rotatable desk phone holder. What is that retail for on

Bobb 23:22
Amazon? 99 I

Ressa 23:25
close 1199 But thank you all right. Well, Carrie, this has been great and awesome stuff.

Bobb 23:35
You are awesome. Thank you so much for having me.

Ressa 23:39
Thank you. 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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