ShopRite in Vernon, CT with Chris Ressa (1-Year Anniversary)
Guest: Adam Ifshin
Topics: ShopRite, DLC Management Corp.
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.
Well welcome everybody to this week’s episode of retail retold and if you are expecting the dulcet tones of Christopher ReSSA hang on because you won’t be disappointed. But here for the first anniversary of retail retold is your guest host atomisation, CEO and co founder of DLC. And I’m here today because for the first time ever, the host is going to be the guest. And I’m pleased to welcome as the guest today to talk about his career and about how that store ended up in your neighborhood. His own personal favorite story for retail retold is none other than my partner, my friend, the keeper of unlimited boundless and energy and a relentless commitment to self improvement. Welcome Chris ReSSA to his own retail retail. Hey, Chris.
Adam Ifshin 1:09
Hey, Adam, thanks for having me. This is really unique. And I’m excited. It is unique.
Of course, you knew you were having you because you asked me to do this. But I think you know, I think one of the things for this episode since over the course of your many public endeavors, whether that’s public speaking engagements, coffee with Chris Wednesday mornings on Instagram Live Your huge band of followers on LinkedIn, or retail retold right here. Since I think a lot of people have some sense of who you are. And a little bit of your background, I didn’t think it was appropriate that we start today, the way you start with most of our guests asking people to describe a little bit about themselves in their career. And besides, that’s not really my style, I want to ask some some questions. And I’m likely to press you a little bit here. But I thought I thought we’d start by giving people a glimpse into how you think about your role as a leader in our organization, and sort of how you’ve thought about refining and pivoting your own leadership strategy, from what you might have been thinking on January 2 2020, when you bound it into work at you know, 6am in the morning, to how you’re thinking about it now given that’s all that’s gone on. And I thought it would be interesting to share with, with our listeners, you know, a little bit of a behind the scenes look and how you think about leadership, you know, eight months into a
pandemic? Well, it’s a great question, I think the first, the first thing is, when you get into leadership, and you come from the, you know, the work experience that I came from the and now I’ve got 50 plus people that I work with that are on the teams that I work with on a daily basis. You know, if one of the things that was really, really important was to try to really move from thinking tactically to thinking strategically, and you and I have worked on that a lot, which is, you know, over the course of my career, and what got me to where I am, is I’m a you know, you know, you have to know your strengths. And definitely one of my strengths is, I’m a doer, and I like to do and get things done. And that’s different than leadership, especially leadership at scale, when you have to pull down one lever knocked down 30 pins. And so that’s really strategic thinking and strategic leadership. And I think, you know, that took some time for me to get used to, you know, there’s always this urge that like, well, I can do that, or I can do that. And that doesn’t help companies grow or help people advanced so that that was a learning curve. And, you know, I’m still that’s an ever growing process for me. Then, as I pivot into January in of this year, we had some strategic initiatives from the value creation side of our business, and those were, you know, different initiatives in March. I think, as I look at leadership, you know, I come to this one thing, which is no matter what, whether you’re in a crisis, or you’re in good times, I think the number one thing that you can do is to get everyone aligned to the same purpose. And I think we had some clear direction on what our priorities were in late March and You know, kudos to the team. And kudos to all the leadership at DLC for working to make sure we were all rowing in the same boat. And I think that, to me, is, whatever you’re going to do, if you’re in different boats, where you’re rowing in a different direction, you’re not going to be able to execute. And so I think of leadership and through the pandemic is, can you get everyone aligned to a common purpose really fast. And once you do that, execution is not it’s not easy, but it’s simple. You know, what you have to do? And whether you actually execute or not? That’s another topic, but you can’t do it with the first step, which without the first step, which is, can we all get aligned to the same common purpose?
When you’re thinking and talking about that? Did you feel like you sought out different motivators? Or do you feel like, because that’s a challenge for many, many leadership teams, and many, many managers, in normal times is to get everybody to move with the same sense of purpose, and the same unity of vision and unity of goal. Did you feel that that got easier during the pandemic? Or was it more challenging? And as a leader? How do you think about balancing out all of the shifting sands that we had to deal with at the start of the pandemic, and that goal?
So I think what I learned was, the big picture was very easy, not very easy sever very easy, but it was, it was easier than one might expect to get everyone aligned quickly. I think you have to start with a good framework. And I think we had a good team and everyone passionate, and everyone, really a good culture fit at scale. And so that that matters, I think, when you’re looking at the big goal, it was such a dramatic scenario. And there was, you know, all the media around it, and all the fear in the marketplace. People were so concerned, they’re like, you know, if this is where we gotta go, let’s go. I think where it got challenging is when you started to put the initiatives of how you’re going to get there. Right. So we had to make calls in uncertain times. We did some homework, we networked. And we agreed, and we disagreed, and we had to make some decisions quickly, with, you know, with not all the facts, figures, and everything dialed in, and you have to make some calls, and use all the experiences, you’ve had to make some calls into the how you were going to get there. And there was definitely some a lot of back and forth with a lot of teams and a lot of leaders in the organization were like, Are you are you sure? I don’t agree, let Can we do it this way. And that took some time to work through. But we still got everyone aligned. And once we had consensus, we move forward, there was no dictatorship. We built a lot of new teams cross departmentally for these new initiatives. And those teams had a charge and pretty swiftly decided how they were going to get there and start to execute before April 1.
Well, clearly speak clearly speed matters. I, I’d love for you to tell everybody a little bit about you touched on it a little I’d like you to delve a little deeper in into the concept and perhaps I’m being a little selfish here. But you know, what is the role in your view as a leader that an organization’s culture plays in your ability to mobilize at at lightspeed and move quickly with a sense of unity of purpose in a time like this?
I heard this analogy once I’m gonna steal it. I don’t know where I heard it. I either read it or I heard it somewhere and excuse me for who I’m stealing this from but I think
it’s a test on me. It’s okay.
Culture, if a business is a computer, culture is the operating system. It’s windows, and then all your different departments and business entities are Microsoft and zoom and all the other applications that culture is the operating system and without a strong operating system. You cannot the computer doesn’t work.
Well, I mean that that certainly makes sense. I’ll I’ll save my muttering about how important I think culture. Is that a situation like that for later, I do want you to I want you to talk about something else that you did, though, and it’s a little personal. But I think it’s I think it’s really a testament to how you think about your role in an organization like DLC. You know, there was a, there was an evening, early on in the pandemic, maybe we were a week, 10 days into work from home, where, within an hour and a half, I received back two back phone calls, one from you and one from our other working partner, Jonathan. And in retrospect, I don’t know if you guys had planned it or not, but I’m pretty sure you did. And you’ll get to admit it or not admit it now. You guys sit almost exactly the same thing. And I do think it did set a tone at the top about how we empowered our team so that we could get things done. But perhaps you’d like to tell everybody a little bit about what you and Jonathan did, because I think it goes to all of
it. So there were too many decisions to make. And there were too many things to execute on. And they could not all flow to the top. And if you were going to do that, you are going to be slow. And speed matters. And if you want to start chipping away at the situation. In any scenario, yeah, you have to move swiftly. And if you’re wrong, you’re wrong. But if you, you know, if you sit back and wait, you lose almost every time. And so we the only way to move was to set up teams and put people in leadership positions of those really important strategic initiatives to make calls. And we put we put a lot of people in places where, you know, wasn’t their normal day job in order to move and pivot. And so we had talked about that a lot. And we had talked about that we were going to have to have people empower people to make calls without our consent, we were going to have to empower people to make calls and move quickly. And trust that all the experience over the last however many years, and the experience and culture and training and development, you know, people would make the right calls. And I think by and large they did. I mean, I love
first of all, that’s that’s an easy one to agree with. I don’t think there’s any, there’s any question that they did. And, you know, we had a view early on that you lead about how we were going to pivot and work with certain groups of tenants on a programmatic basis that I think was critical to that. How do you what what do you think, opportunistically, you and your team have learned during this period of time that you see, as something that you plan to put to work, you know, opportunistically going
forward from here? I think that, you know, from a high level from a busy, like just corporate business, there’s a lot of things that you learn really quickly that you gotta get on board with which especially from a work from home environment, which was all the strategic strategic initiatives that we had as it related to process and procedure, whether that’s moving to DocuSign, whether that’s setting up, you know, digital communication systems, we move to Microsoft Teams, simple things like that. I think so, just building technology around, cutting out slowness, cutting out unnecessary cost. I think that was a lesson that all too often I think companies have this, you know, if it’s not expensive, you know, it’s kind of like, you know, something that is some subscription you have that’s low cost, and you never cancel it, because it’s not that much. I think you learn real fast in business one on one, that every dollar matters. And so the first thing I would say, is that we put a lot of things into place where, you know, strategically we could move quicker and more cost effective. So that’s a big corporate, I think from, you know, I think that’s an opportunity that, you know, maybe it was unfortunate that the pandemic to you know, really hit us in the face with it, but it made us better in the long run. I think that that is a corporate business practice or an entrepreneurial business practice that people you know, will take forever with them from this I know I certainly will. I I think the next the next thing from an opportunity set, you know, when I, when I look at this, from a real estate perspective, I, long term feel really good about our portfolio being very essential retailer based, I’ve heard every word in the book pre pandemic, describing retail, you know, off price discount value, and I would ask anyone to define the differences between those, but they kind of get lost in the sauce. And I’ve heard every term, the one I never heard was essential, and the government made that one, and then that was a new one. And, you know, we were fortunate to have a lot of essential retailers. And we were fortunate to have a lot of retailers coming into this who had strong financial positions, or availability to liquidity in an effort to withstand this. And so the portfolio, you know, strong going in. And so that helped. And then I think, opportunistically, when I think about this, I think there’s going to be opportunities, one to redevelop assets in manners that you might not have thought, I think that, you know, there are certain types of spaces that are now contrary to headline news more valuable than ever, there’s going to be a lot of new tenants in an open air retail format that weren’t there. And we’ve been talking about them for years. And now that’s accelerated and been amplified. Those are your words. And we’re going to have an opportunity with new tenants to create interesting merchandising mix, enhance our credit, credit at properties. And it’s some of its going to be longer tail. But I think there’s a lot of real estate opportunities that have been created by this event. From a real estate perspective, I don’t know if you’re going from a real estate or like a big corporate perspective, or what you’re thinking about, if I, if I hit that, in a way, but I think the real estate perspective, I think there’s some spaces that are more valuable than ever, right. Outparcels if you think about, there’s a lack of supply in the market for Outparcels. And there’s a lot more demand than there ever was for Outparcels. today. And so that’s certainly an opportunity. You have. I think one of the one of the things that is an opportunity is, you know, I think mixed use is like such an overplayed word, but adding some different uses to retail centers. And one of the words I think Tom McGee had said was he called it consumer real estate, a place where people go to properties to consume. And one of the advantages to retail real estate and an open air format, is they’re close to consumers. And whether they’re consuming medical services, whether they’re consuming a gym membership, or whether they’re consuming a product at Walmart. It’s those are well located for consumer driven things. And I think that’s been accelerated and amplified user creating opportunities. And I think tenants who might not have been in those types of properties before are craving to be in them. Well, we certainly have seen a whole host of
users, not just retailers, but users who need to access with convenience, safety and speed. Consumers in any given trade area come come come charging back, quite frankly, into the market. Have you been surprised by how much leasing traction there is out there?
I’m surprised I’m surprised. I always say that, like, the nothing should surprise anyone anymore. But I am surprised at leasing traction, you know, clearly, you know, grocers were strong and going in and now they’re stronger than ever, and some who weren’t strong are strong. And there’s a appetite for space. Like there’s never been in the grocery space. You know, we’ve got a lot of grocery anchored centers already. But we’ve got you know, we signed two leases with Lidl during this time and we’ve signed, you know, we’ve stopped we have some other deals we’re working we’re signing with deals with all the value retailers you can think of whether that’s Burlington Dollar Tree Autozone and a whole host of folks over the last you know, year that I think are are really
doing well and so I’m surprised that you know, the amount of tenants continuing looking to you know, to be Rob, I think it’s
been a pleasant surprise. And quite candidly, a number of the tenants who there were deals pending who’ve come back to those deals has also been, I think, a pleasant surprise, perhaps something we didn’t see so much before we turn to a grocery story and a good one. So nobody go away. I wanted to touch on one more thing with you before we got to Vernon, Connecticut. You know, you’ve had some interesting and very different people in your life, who you’ve told me you’ve learned from certainly starting with your dad. And you’re stuck with me now at the other end. But you share a birthday with someone who is obviously very important in my life and very important to DLC. For those of you don’t know Chris, and my father, who was my co founder DLC share the same birthday. And I was wondering if there was anything you learned from Steve, one thing you learned from Steve along the way that you’ve put to good use in leading a team during the pandemic?
Well, one of the first things I learned was we were sitting at a table in for breakfast at in the wind for ICSC Las Vegas, and like 2008, or nine, and I heard Steve order, scrambled eggs loose. And I had never heard that before. And so I said, I’m going to have the same thing as him. And to this day, I will not have my scrambled eggs any other way than loose, because that is the right way to have scrambled eggs, those first things. But on a serious note, by the way, Steve would
have been Steve would have taken his eggs very seriously.
So I don’t know if you like scrambled eggs any other way than loose, but I had never heard that before. And when they made them that way, I was like, wow, this is so much better than any other way. I’ve had scrambled eggs.
You know, we use a word and Steve didn’t necessarily use this word. But we use a word in DLC a lot, which is to author. And, you know, Steve was really good about being the quarterback in certain scenarios, and making sure that you didn’t let things sit in order to make things happen. And, you know, if there was anyone who really taught me about speed, then especially during a pandemic, it was Steve, and, you know, you know, good things don’t necessarily come to those who wait. And Steve, you know, really pushed the envelope in driving and making things happen and manufacturing demand. And I think that, you know, if I learned anything that helped through the pandemic is, you know, sitting back and waiting till the dust clears to see what happens. You know, I don’t know, there’s obviously success stories in that. And maybe in a negotiation, like the, you know, the Japanese are known to negotiate and take their sweet old time, then, you know, wait people out, in most scenarios, time kills deals. And I think, in general, Steve really taught me the importance of acting swiftly and not sitting around and waiting, and you’re better off making a decision, and being wrong than being indecisive. And I carried that with me, you know, before the pandemic, but I really made sure we hit that home in the pandemic, we, you know, we would have a meeting, we would make a call, and we would execute on it right after that meeting. And we’re still behaving in that manner today. And you might have some losses along the way. But the amount you can get done, because you move swiftly outweighs any of the losses that happen, because you might have made a mistake along the way. And so if I learned anything from Steve, it was, don’t sit around and wait, make a decision and move
on. That’s a really great one. That’s a really, really that is that is truly him. That’s a really great one. So and I think and also very apropos for the time, and we’ve seen this, including with our retailers where those companies that move decisively have generally by and large put themselves in a better position than those that have sort of wallowed around and tried, waited to try and figure things out or waited for perfection before they moved. So I think there’s a lot of truth to that not only in our business, but in the business of our you know of our clients as well. So, let’s turn now to talk about a supermarket store. The one that was timely for the community that was in because the store opened on March 8, if memory serves March 8 2020, at the start of the pandemic in Vernon, Connecticut, and I’m going to get out of the way and let you tell the story of ShopRite in Vernon, Connecticut.
So I’ll start from the beginning here, which because I think if one of the biggest things that I think is important today to and I think this is interested in real estate, but this is in business, which is, business today is a team sport. And there’s very few businesses where like, one person can really just take control and move it and get it done. You know, maybe the person who’s got a billion dollars, and it’s just him, and he can decide what to do other than that. It takes a team. And so there was a lot of pieces to this. You know, it started in the mid 2000s, where we purchased this center. And we had a mortgage that in, you know, after we had bad timing where the mortgage came due, and at the same time, the mortgage game, do. You know, the grocery store that was there originally, you know, grocers, it was too big. sales weren’t great. And it was going to make a challenging refinancing. And so we had a start to pivot because even though it was pretty well occupied it, it was a little bit upside down. And so what we had to do was, we had a lot of things happening, we had to return in the box. And it was always great real estate, it’s right off Route 84, exit 64. In Vernon, Connecticut, you can see it off the interstate. And soon as you get off the interstate, you’re right in the center. So the dirt, fundamental dirt is great. It had good bones along the way of ownership, we put in a massive health care system. It had a one of the most successful TJ Home Goods combos in Connecticut, it had the first Harbor Freight tools store in Connecticut, successful Dollar Tree and already downsize staples, and some really good bones to the property. But unfortunately, the grocer was who was there was not doing well. And that was impacting our ability to finance it. So the grocer ended up taking that they were trying, they had a lot of turn left. So that grocer ended up taking their space to market to sell the lease. And they had a deal, and the deal blew up. And, you know, we had a little bit of time on our hands, we knew we were you know, we had a little bit of a challenge. We went to the capital markets early. And,
you know, we tried to, you know, go find some tenants. And, you know, we were struggling a bit and we went circled the wagons and went back to the tenant that
our former grocer had to deal with which was ShopRite. And we tried to do a direct deal. And we started to frame up a deal. As we did that, we recapitalized the, we were working on a deal to recapitalize the asset with a new partner, and working out a deal with our existing lender. And so all these things were happening at once and at the time shop, right, who’s the tenant didn’t want the entirety of the box. And so we had to go to market with this new space, which was a, a new, you know, just shy of 30,000 square foot box. And because of the success of TJ and home goods, we started to generate some interest from Home Goods other concept HomeSense.
And started to put together the pieces of dividing this 100,000 square foot box into 75,000 square feet with ShopRite. And you know, about 25,000 square feet of HomeSense. All the while.
We were working on this new capital stack at the property on the back end. And we were having to put all these pieces together. Well, we started to do that. And I mentioned earlier that the existing grocer had a lot of term left A lot of our deal was predicated on the termination of that tenant. And that tenant, put the scrip on us a little bit, and
retreated on the termination of that deal, which really threw everything sideways we had. And so
we had a work with them to redo that deal took many, many calls and meetings, all the while the capital, markets, transactions working and based on old terms, and those terms are constantly moving. And the, in the middle of this, one of the keys to the deal was ShopRite, had a by the pharmacy of the existing grocer. And so now there’s going to be a trade and a payment for that. And without the deal there, there’s no real estate deal. And that got really, you know, challenging. I was on a bunch of calls listening, as they were working on this pharmacy deal. And then, you know, we started to put the pieces together, we got to lease with all these groups, we had agreement on terms, the capital markets, and then we get into lease and it was multiple in person meetings. And we ended up having a timing challenge, because our existing grocer had some capex appropriations, part of that was determination. And we had to literally in order to make it work, sign the lease on Passover, at that before close of business, and we were sitting in the office, and we had to sign all these things simultaneously. And we were literally sitting in the office, our General Counsel, Chief Investment Officer, myself, you, your wife, your son, because you guys had a Seder dinner at your sister’s house. And everyone was waiting for all this to transpire, and you had to sign everything. And I wouldn’t let you leave, because this whole thing was going to blow up unless we signed it that day. And there was an argument that day on which documents were gonna get signed first. And the tenant, we were terminating wanted to, to the other tenant to sign the lease first, before we signed the termination. And there was this back and forth. Meanwhile, hours are going by. And it was really critical that if we didn’t sign it that day, we had a challenge. Unfortunately, at the end of the day, you were able to make your dinner, we sign those and we ended up building that in them opening in the pandemic, and HomeSense will open in q1 of 2021.
Yeah, well, one of the things you did there, right was that that that extra piece of space wasn’t so easy. But you you I thought you and your team did a great job leveraging, you know, obviously to high performing stores and home goods and TJ and a great relationship with them. To get them to take a third store in the same center, which you know, let’s face it for TJ, even with all of their successful concepts, it’s fairly uncommon for them to have your 90,000 feet in one center just for that. Yeah. So it’s a look, it was great. It was it was a great deal. Now I was there a few weeks ago with our Capital Markets team, we’ve been taking different groups of people since we don’t have the ability to help them learn in the office as much we’ve been taking them out on the road caravanning one driver per car and go into different centers and talking about how we bolt things off and pull things together. was, you know, look, there was no love lost between those two grocers after their deal blew up. And I kudos to you, and the rest of the team for you know, essentially doing shuttle diplomacy to keep the deal together because it was it times exceedingly contentious between the two, I strive, I’ve done my best an epidemic will help do this to forget some of those moments. But now that you’ve told the story it has brought back to the frontal lobe of my brain. The fact that there was really some bad blood there and you would you and your team were very much in the middle of it. How’s the store done since it opened?
So it’s really successful. I mean, couldn’t have been better timing in the place where, you know, there was some Um, you know, panic shopping. And, you know, with the restaurants, you know, closing and people eating home. It’s been exceeding expectations since it’s been open. So it’s a unique time for a grocer to open and a unique time for, you know, test to test. You know what sales are, but a, it’s always a full parking lot.
It’s fascinating though, it’s a sign of the times, right. They, I was, like I said, as in the store a few weeks ago. And they have already cannibalized a piece of space in the front of the store and reconfigured the front of the store since they opened to triple the size of the pack and collect space in the store. So they’re doing, they do their own picking for online order fulfillment in that particular store. And they’ve got a big setup. It’s one of the places that you’ve, you and the team have rolled up, rolled out Park and pickup, which is what what DLC refers to is what most of the people refer to as curbside. And one of the things as an operator we learned as curbside doesn’t work, parking pickup works. But it’s fascinating to see, when you go in the store, particularly in the morning, because they try to fulfill those those orders early in the earlier in the morning. How busy, the store has become at a time that it would not normally be that busy, you know, weekday morning, 8am, where they may have 15 or 20 of their own employees picking for online orders. And then, you know, bagging and preparing those online orders in the space that they’ve already expanded. So the interesting part of the phenomenon that we’re seeing and how in our open air centers Park and pickup in a park and pick up and buy online, pick up in store, or pickup in parking lot, bow PIP as opposed to both this have clearly become a thing.
So I just I just want, I just want to say you know, you know, a quick, you know, thank you to Dan and Andrew at ShopRite. They were instrumental in making this happen, you know, to all the DLC folks in our construction department, Glenn Wilson, and, you know, our General Counsel basil Johnson weeks our chief investment officer, and you know, the people at Price Chopper, who was the grocer previously, and all the people at TJ like, kudos to everyone because it was really with, you know, any one person not doing everything they could would have really made a challenging. So now I’d say,
look, these types of transactions, as you well know, are always team efforts. And this, I think, is a particularly good example of how you truly no one person can do that, that transaction, right that as a multidisciplinary endeavor involving new capital new lender, multiple tenants, a tenant being terminated waivers from other tenants, if I recall correctly, TJ had a way for themselves to let their third concept in, which was an interesting theoretical discussion. But you know, I don’t and all through it, obviously, a large hospital system gearing up at the other end of the center, to help manage the pandemic, from their perspective, all amidst all of it. So, and not a lot of and not a lot of tenants other than the TJ concepts that were ever closed, almost everybody else and that center was opened the entire time, because they were all a central retailer. So kudos to you and the team for that. So since since you are well known, and being on the record of having an opinion about everybody’s answers to to your three famous questions, and for any new listeners to retail, retail, retail, Chris, forever, in every instance senses, and ends the podcast with asking them, that week’s guest the same three questions, I thought we did need to modify the questions a little bit. And I’m going to take a little bit of license here perhaps from what you suggested to me. So the mentor Strikes Back. So I guess the first one is you ask everybody, what’s the best piece of retail wisdom, retail advice that you would give to the listeners? I want to change that a little bit and what I wanted what I what I want you to do to listeners is what’s the best piece of retail real estate advice that you’ve learned during the
pandemic? I mean, the best advice in it’s probably not specific to retail real estate, but it matters is that it is a team sport I think, in yester year, you know, we could take leasing as an example is, you know, I think the yesteryear call it 1015 20. However far back, you want to go, the we think about traits of ambitious, hungry, you know, a driver, and those are all important. But I think, are you a good team player. And if I learned anything, if you are not a good team player and you don’t operate well in teams, I think retail real estate is going to be tough. This is this is a dynamic business. It’s constantly changing. And the best piece of advice I would say is learn to work within teams learn to play well with others learn how to collaborate well, because if you’re just driving, and you’re not listening, and you’re not working well in a team, you’re not humble. If you’re the i, this is going to be you know, retail, real estate’s gonna be tough place for you. Well said
very, very well said. I’m going to take a little twist on your you ask everybody what’s their what, what? Dead retailer, they wish they would come back from the dead. I’m going to put a little twist on it here. So what one restaurant that you haven’t eaten in since the start of the pandemic. If I said to you bring your two young children to my house and my wife and I will watch them. You could go anywhere to dinner safely tonight with your bride. Where would you want to go?
Does it have to be local? It does not have to be local. I’ll
have to license you know, although you know if you leave Hunter and Giuliana with with Alicia and I for too many days, you know, cuz you’re going to Venice for dinner. I mean, I don’t know they may have they may have picked up some bad habits when you get back but I’ll give you wherever you want go for it.
The my favorite restaurant that I and restaurant experience have ever had was at Hoskin, Charleston, South Carolina, I would love to go to dinner with my wife to husk that was my favorite restaurant that I’ve ever been to. So I would say, husk, I’ll be it, I’d have to get on a plane and go to Charleston. You know, in the, in the, you know, the local area, I think there’s a ton of spots. But I would I would say is I’ve been inspired by the local restaurants fight and grit. And, you know, we’ve tried to help out where we could in doing takeout and buy online pick up at the store or phone in I probably do more phone in than buying in some of these restaurants don’t have good digital. So we’ve eaten at some of our favorite spots. And then you know, my my favorite spot is the red barn in Monroeville. I took my daughter there. Every Saturday, and sometimes every Saturday and Sunday, for 18 months straight from when she was 18 months to about three, or just shy of three. And it was just me and her at 6am on a Saturday and a bunch of baby boomers at this spot. And we sat at the counter and everyone there all the customers know my daughter’s name, all the staff. My daughter is like you and I big on names and remembers everybody’s name. And you know, whenever we’re going somewhere, my daughter is, you know, we go to the recycling center. And there’s the guy who’s in a golf cart, and he’s making sure you only put cardboard in the cardboard that her first question, what’s his name? And she’s three and what’s her name? And what’s his name? So my daughter knows every cook at the Red Barn, every waitress, every waiter, she’s big on names. And then when they started outdoor seating. We’ve gone there a couple times and we have actually my wife and son for the first time have gone in the pandemic and you know, I’ve been going to this place for 18 months and my wife had never been and she’s like what is this place you keep going to? And you know for a while my daughter and I were like going out to breakfast on Saturday morning was our thing and we would go to a different diner or restaurant, you know, every Saturday and we finally landed on this place. We’ve kind of had a good feel we probably went to like 30 places literally over 30 weeks, and then we land on this place. And we kept going. And I was like, you know, what is this and it got to the point where, you know, on Christmas, I got a gift card from, you know, family members to the bread barn. And so it’s about a 15 minute drive from my house and it’s a great you know, home local spot and then you know, since I will say this, I will say this, I am a little over a week into a plant based diet which makes breakfast a little more challenging, but, and at that place where I’ve gotten some sausage and grits and they make homemade homemade corned beef and hash and some some stuff that’s fun, but not not well received on a plant based diet.
So well, I have not been to Red Barn you know, I’m a big breakfast fan like Steve was not I have not been to red barn but I you know, if you continue on a plant based diet, I will have to go over the red barn and replicate the eggs loose order. There you go. Nice choice. Husk is a favorite of many of us at DLC, Sean Brock, shout out to an entrepreneurial chef and Sean Brock has an incredible incredible talent. culinary talent really helped put places like Charleston and Nashville on the culinary map. Last question you like to challenge people about? What’s the price of a good that you look up online, you occasionally use Amazon as the source which annoys me no end. But we’ll change it up a little bit.
Since the start of the pandemic, what product Have you
bought? For $100 or less, that has most positively impacted your
life? Great question. And it is a there are actually I spent some time in thought and thinking about things that I purchased. I didn’t know you’re going to ask this.
So I would, I would say that one of the things that I I purchased was some
closet organizers from The Container Store. And so what I learned in the pandemic, is, you know, there’s a lot of good Feng Shui away that happens when you work in a organized and you know, well kept place. My wife is very big on organization, not easy with two young children running around the house. But I have what I have purchased a lot of things that have been around organization. I’ve been in the Container Store a bunch and I’ve got a bunch of things that have helped organize stuff. I’ll be my wife and I sometimes argue that the best way to organize this throw things out or donate things. She doesn’t necessarily agree. But I’ve spent a lot of time organizing stuff. I will say this I have a purchase that was over $100 But as I’ve been pretty loosely obsessed with which is the the ring camera system been fascinating. I’ve got bear eating my garbage. I’ve got raccoons eating my garbage. And so we have a raccoon we’ve you know, my kids are big names. I named him Rodney. And we’re like Rodney got into the garbage. And what we’ve come to learn is it’s not Rodney, it’s Rodney, Ralph and Roger who have gotten into our garbage because there was three raccoons and so the ring was good but I would say you know as simple as it is, you know you need to feel good and work in a good space my closet organizers and having you know just an a lot of organization I have I have some things that I bought on my desk here that you can’t see that have papers and things and you know when I first started there’s papers everywhere and whatnot. So having organization has made things easier and I would say those are well said
for the hunt for the for organized husband though a former elementary school teacher probably would not tolerate your desk unless it was organized there. Yeah, so and a shout out to our friends Kip Tyndall, who’s also co investor of mind and adventure and and Val Richardson at The Container Store. But despite your My collective best efforts, we’ve still not made a Container Store deal and our own portfolio. So we’re not playing favorites with with it with a client, just a shout out for friends who run a great business. And they’ve certainly seen a wonderful rebound in their business, particularly on the Marie Kondo or closet organizing side since the start of COVID. Hey Chris, this has been a ton of fun to turn the tables. I’m sure that the listeners are going to love it and appreciate you asking me to to co host
today. So thank you so much. This has been awesome. Thank you. Thank you best. That concludes retail retail for this week, folks, very much.
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