Pet Supplies Plus in Mount Vernon, IL with Josh Goldstein
Guest: Josh Goldstein
Topics: Pet Supplies Plus
Chris Ressa 0:08
This is retail retold the story of how that store ended up in your neighborhood. I’m your host, Chris RESNA. 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.
So good afternoon, everyone. Welcome to retail retail positions our first ever episode, I am pleased to welcome Josh Goldstein. Josh has been a corporate real estate professional for over 15 years today works for pet supplies. Plus, he’s their director of real estate responsible for their short and long term strategic growth as it relates into opening brick and mortar locations. Josh’s a husband, a father of two, and on the side, he is a hockey coach for his daughter’s hockey team. Welcome to the show, Josh.
Josh Goldstein 1:05
Thanks, Chris. Thanks for having me.
So like I said, Josh, you’re our first guest. And you know, there’s been a recent proliferation of podcasts in the world and DLC, we wanted to jump on that there’s even been some in retail and retail real estate today, one of the ones we thought we could put a little twist on is the story behind the deal. So this show is going to be a lot of stories throughout its evolution. And we call it the story behind the deal. Because we’re going to interview people from all walks of life from developers, tenants, environmental people, attorneys, one could find, as I call, like, how did that store end up in my neighborhood. And that’s what we’re going to talk about today. So I think thanks for the time. And with that I’m going to jump in. So it’s hard to look at headline news without seeing something about the urbanization of America. And that said, we’ve done a few deals with Pet Supplies Plus, and some of them in some, you know, suburban and rural market. And we recently did one at King City Square in Mount Vernon, Illinois. And so how does a company like Pet Supplies Plus end up choosing a location like Mount Vernon, Illinois to open a store?
Yeah, so the, the urbanization story is a sexy story that the news likes to perpetrate. But the reality is, there’s still a tremendous amount of opportunity in small, secondary, tertiary and rural markets in the United States that have truly been overlooked and are underserved by a lot of brands. What we’ve found through experiences that those markets can still be very opportunistic for retailers, like Pet Supplies Plus, and are definitely part of the go forward strategy. And the overall strategy we look at when we’re looking at markets. We don’t focus just on small markets, but they are certainly markets that can be very successful for us, given what’s what’s there. So it can be a little riskier. Just sometimes when the population is a little limited, you know, the upside may not be there quite as great as they are in suburban markets or markets that have a high growth rate. But, but the stores tend to perform very well. The customers tend to be very appreciative of you bringing a brand to their neighborhood. And the strategy seems to be paying off for a lot of us.
Totally. At DLC, we have a similar view, we certainly like you know, the core, dominant top MSA. But there’s, as you say, there’s still opportunities in small markets. That’s why we own in a place like Mount Vernon, Illinois, so I can appreciate that. That’s a great perspective. So digging a little deeper, you ended up saying okay, I can I can do business in a place like Mount Vernon, Illinois, had even land and choose the specific real estate that you ended up in, like King City Square in Mount Vernon.
Yeah, so for pet supplies, plus, we like to be kind of in your neighborhood. And our preference is to go probably closer to a grocery anchored neighborhood type shopping center than it is to go say to a giant power anchored shopping center, although we’ll do both. And so in a market like like like this, where we could be next to a Kroger have a little a little level of confidence in the Kroger performance, knowing that that’s kind of the grocery store that the the folks in the market shop at makes us comfortable going into a center like this. Also, we’d like to read deals with you. So it helped that we had a friendly landlord that we knew we could make an opportunistic deal with because at the end of the day, we were still taking on a lot of risk by going into a market like this, but to having a partner like the LLC, who understood the value of having us in the center and was able to work with us in terms of the economic made that a much easier decision for us to make in the grand scheme of things.
When you guys are looking in you guys are this large national retail chain expanding in a whole host of markets. is that, you know, is that landlord partnership, that much of a consideration and working with someone and could it does it tip the scales ever knowing that the landlord is someone who, you know you guys believe in. It’s a little bit of a little bit of that. But
it’s also about knowing that we’ve got landlord partners that know us and know our deal, especially as we do more and more franchise driven deals throughout the US making sure that there’s a trust level with Pet Supplies Plus, as a company, and then, you know, a confidence level in the franchisees that we’re bringing to the table to help us get the kind of deals we need to have everyone be successful. So and then also from, from an operational perspective, it’s easier to pick up the phone and call you and say, Hey, let’s put a deal together in the center, and we have a conforming deal. And we have a conforming lease, and we’ve gotten a lot of the first date stuff out of the way. And so yeah, it can now, I’m not going to not do a store, or a great deal with another landlord that I’ve never done business with before, just because I don’t have that relationship with them. But it can certainly tip the scales one way or the other. We know it’s a what I call an easier deal to make just operationally in terms of having to fight over a new lease and start from scratch and have to kind of prove ourselves to the landlord. So it We definitely look to our first look is if we’re looking at a specific market is are there any friendly landlords that we can kind of start with, and our master brokers at bylo do a really good job of working those relationships and making sure that we’re kind of fully national, what all the opportunities are in a given market?
Yeah, for those on the call on the on the filmmaking side, I think you mentioned the operations, it’s definitely something that probably on the transactional side gets overlooked, right? You and I are in communication, we have a bunch of stores together. So we’re in communication pretty frequently throughout any one year, whether we’re dealing with physical structure and people in the interaction of those with real estate, right. And so there’s always operational issues, and you and I, you know, hear stuff from the field frequently that we try to work through and solve often, which, you know, on the front side of how did that store end up there, the people on the yield side, sometimes don’t see that. Yeah, and in fairness,
when I say operational, I mean, not putting together a lease and negotiating that, and signage and all those other things, but, but it also is, once it’s gone to the centers open and operating, you know, having a comfort level that we have a landlord that’s going to be able to perform, and is going to be responsive, that does play into it, especially with our franchisees who want to know that they’re making their investment in a shopping center with a landlord who’s going to reciprocate by taking care of them, you know, for the long term. And one of the things I’ll say that’s nice about having 40 relationships with landlords, such as yourself and some of our other bigger partners, is what I’m finding more and more in today’s, you know, low vacancy environments, is that we’ve got to get creative to put space together. And so having a landlord who can look at a site plan, now that you’ve got interest in being in a shopping center, and kind of do the chessboard three moves out and say, Well, look, this guy is expiring next year, I could probably relocate this guy, I can get a little bit of space back here. Let me call Josh and see if that’s something that they’re interested in. And we get a lot of deals that way. And I think when when you’re Top of Mind with landlords that you’ve partnered with in the past, that no you know, your deal, know your economics to be able to say, well, that’s gonna cost me way too much to do that, for Josh, I’m not gonna even bother to call them or other ones who say, Well, I think I can make this work if we do this. And we’ve been getting a lot of deals that way, both with yourself and with other other landlords, we’re sort of having that relationship, it’s probably put us top of mind for people who have come up with some really creative ways to make the best use of the space that they have available. Yeah,
I think that’s a great point. I, you know, one I think contrary to have my news, you know, occupancy in retail centers is pretty high. And I think, as real estate and retail evolves, it’s no longer C space leased space. There is, you know, the, the both parties need to be creative. Everyone’s needs are changing both the retailer and the landlord. And so to figure out how to get creative with deals, I think that relationship is a key part and that constant communication, as things evolve with your front and center, both from, you know, the tenant and landlord side, you’re put yourself in a better position to make a deal. Yeah, for sure. So pivoting you know, one of the things that as a consumer and you know, sitting around your dinner table, you’re always here in any market in the US. Why can’t we get x store in our neighborhoods? And you know, some consumers always like it, they would do so great. If they came here, why can’t we get this store in our neighborhood? Do do those anecdotal pieces of information ever impact decision making? If not, why? Yeah, so
I’m wondering and I love hearing those kinds of stories because because it definitely gives you a comfort level that there’s at least one person who is going to shop at your store, which we take for granted. But unfortunately, what it does is it creates a little bit of an emotional reaction. So we got to be careful in today’s environment, you know, I can only speak for myself and the retailers I’ve worked for, but everything is so data driven nowadays, I joke that it’s my spreadsheet against your spreadsheet when it comes to deal making a lot of times and so, you know, well, it’s nice to hear those things, it’s tough to react emotionally to them. Because as much as I want to bring a store to every every market in the country, I also have to be careful that we’re following along with data that makes us successful. And so I may hear that from somebody, it may make me look closer at something, it may make me take a second look or ask my brokers to dig in deeper on a particular market. But at the end of the day, we have to make sure that we have a successful location, not only, you know, we just we don’t want to go into a center and have to pull out because the sales are underwhelming. So we’re looking at what’s the total population look like? And what is the income levels look like? And what kind of household growth? Are we looking at it? Who are the CO tenants? And how well did they do? And, you know, is there synergies, you know, in that area, and so if all those components make sense, then I love being able to pull out, you know, in a real estate committee meeting and go, you know, we got this piece of feedback, or it came in on our, on our, on our voice of the customer survey or, or through the customer care team. But you know, a lot of times, they’re nice to see, but it’s tough to react to those and action on them. And I think you can, you can get yourself in trouble if you try to sometimes, but at the other hand, you may find a hidden gem that you didn’t really know about, because it just wasn’t on anybody’s radar screen.
So what is you said something I hadn’t heard before? What is the voice to the customer service?
We do a number of, we’ll reach out to two hours we have, like, look, we see tape surveys that people do they put give feedback. And then we also have a pretty robust, you know, talk to us button on our website that people have comments. And we have a customer care team over here, they actually sit sit just outside my office, and they handle all the inbound communication from our what we call our neighbors. And it can be you know, store related things. But occasionally, once a week or so, I’ll get a real estate related question. And, you know, I’ll come out of this market or if you open the store in the shopping center. And there wasn’t actually a good example of one where we got a request to put a store up in northern Michigan, and Michigan is our home state. Obviously, we have a lot of stores here. And I knew this market really well. And I was kind of like, you know, at first glance, my first gut was like, no, no, no, no, no, it’s way too small, the market. But, you know, I wrote back and said, hey, you know, thanks for reaching out. And, you know, do you represent a site? Because I think it was a real estate related requests, and she’s like, Nope, I’m just a customer who lives up here and never really liked the brand I’ve seen in other places. And I really think a store would do well here. And, and we dug into it, because I was actually like, well, you know, this, this could work. And ultimately, we were never able to pull the trigger on a deal up there. But but it did work. And we did at least get us looking at it. But you know, ultimately the deal didn’t didn’t quite make sense. The the interesting parallel with with that comment, or with this question, actually is a little bit about Mount Vernon, because one of the things that the community had done prior to us even showing interest in the market was I guess the mayor had done a survey of fifth graders, you know, and just as kind of a fun thing or whatever, and asking them, what kind of retail would you like to see in the market. And apparently a pet store was on the list. IKEA was on the list. I think Basspro was on the list. And I think a pet store was somewhere on there. So I was that was fun to kind of pull that out. When we presented the deal and say, Look, you know, the mayor is excited about us coming and and how did you get that information? You know, actually our, our broker because we were struggling a little bit with this market, given the size of it. And given the risk inherent with it, you know, our broker actually decided to Andrew Marr for bylo decided to kind of he was in the area, he had to go to St. Louis or something. And he drove over there and actually met with the mayor. Because we had sort of sort of said, I need a little bit more, I need a little bit more than what I could see on the paper to help do this. And he wound up going in there and meeting with her for 20 minutes or whatever. And she’s like, Oh, by the way, like we have this survey we did and that store was on there. And it was kind of totally random. It was just kind of a chuckle when you talk about you know, sort of having that that sign that hey, you know this this could be something we should probably take a stab at.
Awesome. So when you go to a market like Mount Vernon, you mentioned some of the people thing about which is income and population density. But what are what are some of the keys you consider to make sure you make the right decision and specifically about burning? Can I was there anything that pushes you over the edge to get you guys comfortable? Yeah, so real estate is
like an art and a science right? And we’re trending more and more towards the science side of real estate now with all the data and analytics that go into it, but at the end of the day, there’s a little bit of an art to it. And you know, I had early on in my career I had somebody who really distilled to me that or instilled into me that you Need to put yourself in the shoes of the neighbor you’re serving. So if you are living in Mount Vernon, Illinois, and you need to get pet food, and it’s Saturday morning, and you got to get up and go shopping, you know, how do you make a decision where to go shop and you can’t teach this, this is something that you just pick up with a lot of experience and a lot of good, you know, good deals and bad deals, because we’ve had them all on our careers. But how do you put your shoes self in the shoes of the neighbor? And so you start looking at some of the things that are maybe not as on the present as demographics and income levels? And you know, all the other stuff? And you see, like, how easy is it to get in and out of the shopping center? Well, in the case of Mount Vernon, there’s, I think there’s four entrances in and I think almost all of them are full access out, you know, Is it visible? Can I find it, it’s kind of find it, because, you know, we don’t only me and you and our friends in this business drive around, looking at every single store and every single shopping center and have a photographic memory of every of every building we see. So if you’re a neighbor, and you’re driving home every day past this pet store, and you see it, but maybe you don’t need pet supplies yet, or you’re shopping somewhere else, you know, there’s a light bulb go off, when you’re ready and say, oh, there’s this new pet store, I want to go check them out, because I’ve gotten a circular from them. And they’re doing a great job and people are talking about their supplies. So is it well located? Is it easy to get in and out of? Is it economically feasible, right. So that’s another thing that kind of goes into pushing it over, it’s a lot easier for someone to take a risk on a site when it’s got a lower occupancy costs or a nice contribution from the landlord versus stretching in certain markets, right. And so there’s a band of rents and economics that things start to make sense. And it kind of all goes into the soup. And out of the soup comes a decision to move forward or not. And so people try and people have tried, and there’s a lot of things you can do very programmatically from a data perspective. And you can assign ratings to things and rankings and things. But at the end of the day, you got to put yourself in the shoes of the neighbor is going to wake up on that Saturday morning, go feed the dog, oh crap amount of dog food, you know, and where am I going to go get it from today, because I need to get this and I need to get it right away. And so that’s kind of our strategy when it comes to looking at things. And that’s why in a market like Mount Vernon, or a market, like wherever you got to look beyond just what’s on the paper, in terms of the demographics and the numbers, because those are nice. But that’s not the whole story.
Corley sage advice. And so you mentioned, you know, pet food, and it was a segment that was pretty resistant during the recession people, you know, there’s often that phrase that people spend more on their pets and their own kids. And so good sector to be in no doubt. But competitive. So so how does competition affect your decision process. So you could take the
spectrum of pet stores, you know, everything from the some of the older you know, 40,000 square foot pet smarts, you know, down to a crisis or a Bentley’s, which is 2500 to 1500 square feet. And they’re all kind of serving slightly different niches within the market. And then you have your mass mass come to your target your Walmart and get your grocery stores that sell a little bit of pet, you got competition from Big Lots and Dollar Tree and TJ Maxx when it comes to, you know, dog beds and treats and stuff like that. And so we’d like to try to carve out our own niche. And our niche is kind of doing that neighborhood based pet retailer, where we can kind of be where you go to get your dog groomed, where you go to get your dog, your pet washed, branding, veterinary services to a lot of our stores, we’ve got a lot of brands that you can’t get elsewhere, we have access to brands that will only locate in like kind of independent ish, you know, pet retailers, they won’t go to the Petco and Petsmart to the world. And so we’ve got that we’ve also got tremendous what we call neighbor service, when you come in our stores, which I can’t really say the same thing for some of our competition. And so we think we create this niche for ourselves, that allows us to kind of coexist in markets where we have competition, because we’re doing it differently than they are. And so one of the ways we’re doing it is from a real estate perspective, which is what we’re talking about is, you know, I want to be closer to where you live, or I want to be on your daily route. I don’t want to be an inconvenience for you, right? Pet Supplies pluses tagline is minus the hassle. And it’s about having a very seamless or frictionless transactional experience within our stores, both from the layout of the stores, but from the real estate perspective is the location of the stores. So can you get in and out easily? Can we make it easy for you to get to what you need and get in that quick? No, we’re actually proud of how little time people spend in our stores. Because to us, that means it’s a really quick and painless transaction. You come in the store, you find what you need right away. If you want to stay and look for other things are you need help finding things, you can do that or you can get your product, get back in your car and go on with it. And so we as a company, part of our initiatives as we grow and evolve and face new challenges We’re big on buy online pick up in store, that’s been a huge thing for us. And we’re testing by online deliver from store. And we think those are also two things that are really going to help us be resilient against our competition. So looking at it from a brick and mortar perspective, you know, obviously, the further away from competition, the better. But what we found is we can be just as successful, you know, where we have a superior location, and we can get get a lot closer to our competition than you might expect. Otherwise.
Wow, there’s, there’s a lot of info there. So that was the so one of the things we didn’t touch on in our prep call was what our industry calls dwell time. And one of the things that a lot of industry pros are doing today is trying to increase the dwell time of the consumer. And you just mentioned that you guys are actually trying to decrease it. And you believe that, making it more convenient to the consumer.
Yet to funny, it is funny paradox there. Because if you create dwell time, and you make it more complicated for people to leave, and I’m not a consumer psychologist, and I don’t pretend to understand that side of things that well, but in my mind is as a consumer, the more complicated you make it for me to buy something, the less likely it is, I’m going to buy it. So in my mind, if I can get in and get out quickly, and I don’t have to wait a long line, we can claw back some of that convenience, because at the end of the day, the ultimate convenience is sitting at your desk, or sitting in the car sitting in the bathroom, whatever you’re doing, pulling out your phone and ordering while you’re sitting there. And how do you compete with that? Right? Like, I mean, I could have ordered, I could have done all my shopping for the weekend, at 20 minutes, we’ve been on the phone on this call. But if I have to drive to each of those stores and do that, well, that’s gonna cost me a lot of time. So how can I make it less of a hassle, so minus the hassle, right? So in our mind, we do a good enough job with the way we merchandise our stores and the way we interact with our neighbors, that if they want to come in and get out quick, we set that up for them. And if they want to come in and spend time in the store, browsing around, and doing all the other things, you absolutely can do that too. I mean, we’re staffed for it, and we’re set up for it. And I think that’s something that that really maybe sets us apart from some of our competition. And then they can dwell in another store, they can go dwell in another store within the shopping season, but they won’t, they won’t feel like the the experience of Pet Supplies Plus was a hassle for them.
So you mentioned online shopping. And I think one of the differentiators that a lot of groups do online is they they have, you know, either the service in the store, you mentioned you added services, and they’re adding services that are can’t be replicated online. And then you can have products that you can only buy in certain places, you know, it’s been only pretty recent, I don’t know if it’s 24 months or 36 months, but it was very recent, where you can only get, you could get Nike products on Amazon. So you know, that distribution channel that that wholesalers have is critical. And you mentioned you have brands that you can’t get other places which make it a draw to come to you. But you did also mention that you’re starting to do buy online, pick up in store, buy online, deliver to home, or you can go on pet supplies website and just order something online today. Yeah, so we don’t take the right
places. And again, I’m thinking just from Josh, the real estate guy’s perspective, to me, the right play is is is eliminating that convenience that we talked about a minute ago, that the online guys have, and replacing it with, like a localized destination to get the stuff you need in a quick fashion, right. So if I forget, this morning, I ran out of dog food, I don’t have to wait two days for it to show up or have to pay a ton of money to get it shipped, I can place an order. And what we’ll do is we’re going to pull up in front of the store or to a designated parking spot, we call a parking spot by the way. And that’s amazing. You can reach out to the store, the store will actually bring up the product or check it in from the car and they’ll store it in your trunk and you can drive off so imagine being you and I both have young kids like imagine being in the car with your kids and the throwing a tantrum, whatever it is because they didn’t know why. And you know, you got to get this pet food and like I don’t want to drag my kids in the store to go get this. So you know, if free Pet Supplies Plus, like I’m, I’m gonna go on Amazon or I’m gonna go and chewy and order it. Now I can just go on pet supplies. Plus, now that I’m getting quality products from the same place I’m going to go back to next month when I’ve got a little more time maybe spend that extra time there, go get a grooming, go get a go to that, you know, get a dog collar get a dog treat. So I can build a car, I can do it that way I could pick it up in the store. And then the other thing we’re thinking about too is instead of you know investing tons of money into you know, a large ecommerce operation where we have a giant distribution center that ships product all over the US. Like we have the stores and we have 460 stores and you know 37 states, you know, why not make them our distribution point so that we continue to engage the neighbor at the local level, and we continue to keep them the same Quality and service that there used to kind of that, you know, that local flavor, you know, with was was still having some of the benefits of being part of a national group and use the stores as our distribution point for the local community. So, if you live within the delivery radius, one of our stores, yes, it’d be able to go online, buy something and have it delivered to your house. And but no, if you live in the middle of Wyoming, no offense to the great people of Wyoming, I don’t have a mechanism to get you Pet Supplies Plus products.
Got it? Okay, well, that it seems like a pretty good strategy to compete with the your online competitors. You’re you’re competing with the brick and mortar competitors. I think you mentioned the distribution, I think one of the things in rolling out a national landscape is for ecommerce is it’s quite challenging to actually make a profit doing, you know, ecommerce sales on a national landscape. So I think that’s missing headline news, often that definitely groups that are growing market share doing that, but but it is challenging, actually to make a profit. So
yeah, it’s like the new math, right. So when you and I were growing up, and when we do that we’re in school, and we’re learning about what makes a successful business, it used to have to be you had to make a profit in order to be considered a success. And nowadays, it’s like, you look at some of these companies that are these giant valuation that we work in Uber and even chewy rake, you know, you look at the profit line, and they’re not making any money. So I don’t get how that works. But I guess there’s a lot of people smarter than me out there who seem to understand how that works, and are quite comfortable with the way all that goes. For sure. So
with any deal, and you know, in any business, and in particular real estate, there was, you know, there’s a point that you think the deal might die. Did you have that point with Mount Vernon, Illinois? And, you know, was there a point where the deal didn’t almost make?
Yes, so that actually, this is this is an interesting tale of perseverance, on DLCs part in particular, we had looked at this deal, several years earlier. At the time, the math made no sense, a couple of things were conspiring one was, we hadn’t gotten as comfortable with the smaller market scenario as we are. Now, the other part of it was from a read perspective, you guys were looking for a number that probably wasn’t valid, given the marketplace that you were working with. And so we had spent a little bit of time working the deal and kind of agreed a discrete, this isn’t going to work. And we moved on. And so we sort of stayed in touch like we do. And we’re talking about markets and talking about opportunities. And, you know, we said, let’s revisit this, and, you know, we were able to get more comfortable with the market the size, and you guys were able to get more comfortable with the economics of the deal. And we were able to put together a deal that made sense for both of us, I think we still struggled a little bit, even at that point, as I mentioned earlier, you know, where we had to go back to the city and talk to the mayor to to try to get comfortable with it, because it’s still a tough sell, right? We’re only going to do you know, if you’re only doing five or 10 stores a year, you know, it’s not Vernon, Illinois, where you want to fire that, fire that bullet off. And so we, you know, we had this, as I recall, like, we had some internal discussions about it, and we had to get comfortable with it. And I really put Andrew quarry that team, you know, to the sword a little bit to try to, you know, really made sure we understood this market. And in the end, it wound up being a great payoff, because it started as well for us, and we’re very happy with the performance there. But it was a it’s a good tale of perseverance on both sides, you know, to for the brokers to say, hey, this deal makes sense, this market makes sense for us. And let’s stay focused on it. And for you guys to say, hey, let’s get to the point where we can make a deal that makes sense for us as the landlord. And we were able to come together and here we are. I appreciate that. Yeah, I think
probably for deal people. But for the consumer in the the challenge to get a store up up and running in any one market to get through all the logistics and the transaction and all that stuff is a lot of work. And so and oftentimes takes a lot of perseverance, I think that’s a good story to tell there. Just appreciate it. So that really, I think is running up on my time here. But I think that’s really a good story of how that story ended up in Mount Vernon, Illinois. And I’m glad it’s doing well. Let’s pivot a little bit a couple last questions. Less about for Mount Vernon, Illinois, more just some fun stuff about Josh. So, so little rapid fire as a lot of podcast caller will think of a better way. So one big picture, biggest real estate advice you can give anyone out there.
There is no replacement for experience. So get out there and make deals talk to people learn network, but know that nobody comes out on day one knowing everything. That’s probably one of my favorite things about this business is that you learn something new every day, every single deal every single day. Chris you and I could do 50 deals together and each one would be a little bit different. And that’s part of the learning experience of this. And it’s awesome.
So you are now a hockey coach, allegedly. What’s that? Allegedly, what’s that experience been like?
It’s awesome. It’s always fun to go to the rink, I coach, I have 17. Or actually, maybe even 90. Now, we just got two more players, little girls from my youngest is four and a half. My oldest is, I think seven. And I go from having one daughter, two daughters, I should say now to having 19 daughters. And so it’s such a rewarding experience. It’s gonna be frustrating as you can imagine. But I get it for two hours, two hours a week. But it’s just so much fun to see the smiles on their faces. I say we don’t coach for wins, you coach your smiles. And so you know, we don’t keep score, you know, you know, I don’t care about any of that gameplay, whatever. The goal is just to go out there and have them have fun, build a foundation for success in the sport. But I want them to go home after every single interaction and be like, I can’t wait to get back on the ice. And if they can’t wait to get back on the ice and Coach Josh and that’s not a bad thing either.
Can they all skate?
Yeah, and it’s amazing to see the the active skill acquisition on some of these kids. I had, I had a parent, my daughter started playing last year. And when she started playing, she was really young. She’s like only four and a half when she started and, and but on her skates a ton. But it was something that we wanted to do. And I had a parent who was on our team last year who hadn’t seen Danielle daughter play in a while. And she was just like blown away by what a great skater she had become. And I’m laughing because I’m like, not even 12 months ago, she could barely stand up, you know, she could barely move with two feet, you know, and even the kids this year who have started at the beginning of the season, that we had walkers out there for him. I mean, first hockey practice, and you’re pushing around a walker skating and they’re and they’re and they’re scoring goals, and they’re moving around on their own. And, you know, and I’m laughing because some of the parents are like, oh, you know, it’s just looks like she’s not to that step getting it. And I’m like, Oh, my goodness, like, just wait, like, give her a couple more weeks, give her a month, give a couple more months for the end of the season. Like somebody’s zooming around, left the glass and we’ll be able to get her off the ice like, you know, it’s just it when you put kids in a situation where they’re doing something they enjoy doing. The skill acquisition, how quickly they pick it up, and how quickly they develop is really amazing.
Awesome. Last question. So random retailer, you wish would come back that is no longer in existence.
retailer, I wish would come back that is no longer in existence. Oh, man, that’s a tough one. I feel so so spoiled, because of my, of my rich experience with retail throughout the US. But I’ve been in retailers in so many states and so many markets, and had an opportunity to interact with so many whether they’re local versions of national retailers and vice versa. That I can’t put my finger on one retailer that I’m like, man, like I was really bummed when they went out. And the military teaches counts. Because they used to go there as kids all the time with my parents. But But I can’t I can’t think of one What would your answer be for this?
I have a I have a bunch. I have an emotional one. Actually, I have an emotional one, which is, so my mom was when I was two. And it was me and my dad and we used to go to rychel all the time when I was young, the home improvement store. And so I love Home Depot and Lowe’s today and Harbor Freight tools. But way back when I used to look forward to going to Rica with my dad, we used to go most weekend. So from the despotic reason that that was a great one. But there’s there’s a lot. There’s a there’s a retailer called the winds in the northeast, that was an electronics retailer and I got my first TV at the waves and say they’re seeing static ones like that. I also have to I would really want to think it through but those are two that come to mind right away. I don’t know that they are riveting, but a little more than started for me
now. And I think that’s what matters, right? Because we forged emotional connections with the retailers that we shop at. They’re part of the fabric of our existence. And as kids in particular we all have these really fond memories. You mentioned electronics retailer, I have very fond memory of electronics retailer in Michigan that that closed. Red is Best Buy was surging and then I remember going in with my parents, for them to buy a TV I was probably 12 or 13 and Terminator two had just come out on LaserDisc dating myself. And the sales guy who you know, to me was 50 years old, who was probably in his teens was watching me and sort of barley watching this video on this big screen TV and he’s like, Hey, you want to see something cool? Check this out until he cranks the volume all the way up and he puts it on the scene where the terminators in the office building and he’s shooting the big the big aircraft gun, Sione shooting all this stuff. And I had never heard like a loud surround sound system before. And he’s got the thing cranked up to 11. And it’s super cool when people are like looking around, like what’s going on? It was crazy. So yeah, you do you do get these like emotional connections to things. And and. And that’s really fair, that’s fair, whether it’s clothing brands that you wore that have a significance to you, or a retailer where you spent your time or worked or met someone. And I think it just goes to show how important what we do is and why it’s important to take it seriously when you find locations, because you would hate to be listening to someone’s podcast 20 years from now. And they’re like, man, that old pet supplies? No, I think we’ll be here for a long time. And I think I think retail will be here for a long time. And I really I think a lot of this retail apocalypse is a little bit overblown to sell newspapers. But I think that there’s a lot of evolution going on right out to you. And I think that that’s a really good thing. And I’m excited to be part of it.
Same here. Well, listen, Josh, it was a pleasure having you. Thanks for being our effort. Yeah. And looking forward to continuing our long relationship. Thanks, man.
I appreciate it. Thanks so much for having me on.
Thank you for listening. This is Chris Ressa on Retail Retold. For more information, please visit our website, DLC mgmt.com