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Taco Mac in Charolette, NC with Adam Williams

Adam WIlliams Headshot
Episode #: 055
Taco Mac in Charolette, NC with Adam Williams

Guest: Adam Williams
Topics: Taco Mac, leasing deal


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.

I’d like to thank one of our sponsors, retail openings and In today’s dynamic retail landscape, tracking openings and closings before they take place has never been more important. Having this intelligence is an undeniable competitive advantage, retail openings and also known as Rock Tracks, future openings and future closings, comprehensive, accurate and reliable. The rock is your crystal ball and the key to making well informed decisions with confidence in today’s evolving retail climate.

Welcome to retail retold everyone. Today we have Adam Williams, Adams from North Carolina and he is a partner at Legacy real estate advisors. excited to have him here. Adam has his own podcast as well. And he’ll tell you a little bit about that as well as much more Adam, welcome to the show.

Adam Williams 1:19
Thanks, Chris. Appreciate you having me. I appreciate you having me on. Hopefully we can. We can chat a little bit about retail and about the real estate industry and hopefully a little bit of value for the listeners.

Ressa 1:30
Yeah. So Adam, why don’t you tell us a little bit more about who you are, what you do and all that good stuff.

Williams 1:35
All right, we’ll do I’ll try to keep it short and sweet. Nobody wants to hear my origin story. It’s not terribly interesting. started, you know, back in early 2000s in the residential world straight out of college, I was stolen pool equipment and anything else I can do to not have to like live with my parents or something horrible figured out I love people I love relationships got into real estate, then you got into commercial real estate as quickly as I could, eventually became a partner and a principal at a firm called Legacy real estate advisors, which is a boutique real estate firm in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Ressa 8:39
Very cool. So, appreciate that intro, let’s, let’s move a little bit. Let’s talk about you’re in Charlotte, and you’re seeing what’s going on down there. But you’re reading headline news everywhere. And you’re pretty plugged in,

you know, high level, what’s the state of retail today? What’s going on in your world? What’s going on your world? How do you see it?

Williams 2:13
At some points, probably very close to the downturn and 2008 2009 I realized that just being a commercial real estate broker by itself wasn’t gonna wasn’t gonna really get me where I wanted to be. Friend of mine convinced me to start a start a blog at that point called restaurant And that was before eater and Yelp and all that stuff. And I was able to leverage that along with a friend of mine Dave Shahar to become kind of like the go to resource in Charlotte, North Carolina for what was happening in restaurants, what was coming, what was hot, yada, yada, yada. I leverage that to become, you know, arguably the leading kind of retail broker in in Charlotte eventually, you know, expanded the footprint there as well. And then was able to leverage that into ownership, was able to do my own concepts and invest in some other concepts, which, you know, happy to go into that at some point, eventually got sick of the blog, because, honestly, the content devolved into, you know, who has the best chicken wings on Wednesday kind of content just to continually, continually have content out there because that’s what Google demands. And I just thought I wasn’t adding value. I wasn’t enjoying my content. So I wasn’t hard to figure out that I doubt that my listeners were so I, I really love podcasts and thought about how I could really continue to add value. And so kind of shut everything down restaurant traffic down, started a podcast called retail redeveloped, and have had a hell of a good time doing it. And honestly, I’ve been extremely blessed. Because I have a good network of people in the retail business. And honestly, the amount I’ve been able to learn just by having your really exceptional retail minds on the show every week has been a lot of fun. So you know, I love brands, I love retail. I love I love doing business on the on the East Coast and and you know, hope to do it for some time.

Ressa 4:25
Awesome. What concepts Did you invest in?

Williams 4:29
Oh, we’ve done we’ve done a few honestly, everything that the first one that I did was a bowling alley in the Myers Park neighborhood of Charlotte, which is a really wonderful, you know, great demographics in Charlotte, North Carolina. We were able to meet two partners, were able to go in and buy a 1960 bowling alley that was on a phenomenal street, but the owner hadn’t invested More than like, you know, a new coke machine in the last 20 years. Sure. So we were able to kind of turn it inside out at a tremendous amount of food and beverage, patio space, and turn it into, you know, kind of a fun CNBC and kind of place in Myers Park as opposed to a smoky, you know, league focused bowling alley. So we were able to do that been able to leverage into a couple other things since then. But that was the first one that put me on the other side of the of the ball, as far as just being a kind of a transactional broker to actually have an ownership and a concept. And I can tell you, it’s a it’s a whole different whole different ballgame. The retail world, you know, I like kind of taking a fee and moving on down the road, it’s quite different when you’re when you’re counting the money at the end of the night.

Ressa 5:51
And is that still open today?

Williams 5:53
It is, well, technically not today, right? Because it’s part of Phase Three. But I sold out my interest about two years ago, the my two my my other two partners who wanted to try to grow the concept, and they still own it. And hopefully we’ll be operating and again, here when the when the world starts turning again.

Ressa 6:16
Yeah, hope so man. And and today, what is your business primarily focused on today? You know, I do,

Williams 6:24
I do a few different things. Again, Legacy real estate advisors is one of the fastest growing boutique commercial real estate firms. In Charlotte, you spend a lot of time invest a lot of time in that business. And, you know, I would say that my business is split, I represent a lot of institutional landlords. Like if you are an institutional landlord that owns skyscrapers, or large multifamily projects, I come in and try to figure out how to figure out with you how to make the ground floor, cool, how to monetize it, how to how to really help you succeed in the rest of your asset, do a ton of retail work ton of restaurant work, obviously, restaurants, kind of were relieved to charge on retail up until a few months ago. So we do a lot of that work. I also help you know, really interesting brands grow, I used to do a ton of tenant rep. Now I’m more focused on the type of tenant rep that I do has to be a brand that really kind of grabs me but still like doing that work. And also we take advantage of opportunities all the time on the on the ownership side. If they’re right project that has me excited right now, you know, sounds kind of crazy. But we’re we’ve taken an old men’s shelter that’s really well located in a neighborhood here in short, in Charlotte and are redeveloping that into a, into a kind of a boutique micro hotel that I think will be will be really interesting. It’s small, so it’s not going to have that you get into an elevator, claustrophobic kind of feeling that a lot of hotels are dealing with right now. I think I think we’ll be able to do something really cool there. So

Ressa 8:05
did you buy the property? Are you the hotel operator?

Yeah, all that,

all of it. So you’re gonna operate the hotel and you own the property? Wow,

Williams 8:14
hey, we figure if we can figure out bowling alley, maybe we can figure out a property as well, we have really good partners. I mean, everything from the design up to the management should be should be pretty interesting. But but it’s all about location for me, you know, I love being able to look at a location. And you know, try to think of something creative that would really, you know, help that location, pop and take to the next level.

Ressa 9:04
And all that? Well,

Williams 9:06
right now, it’s a hard time to answer that question. You know, I mean, things have, you know, I have a lot of really close friends in the business. You know, I’ve been doing this for a long time, and I’ve come up with a lot of these guys that are a lot of successful restaurant tours in and around my area. And I’m not even talking to them about new business and new deals right now. It’s more like, Hey, how can I help? What are you dealing with, you know, what, how can how can I add value? You know, it’s a lot less sales calls, salesy type conversations and a lot more like, Hey, how can how can I help? Right, like you just furloughed? 90% of your staff, one of whom is your brother in law? Like you don’t want to talk to me about doing new deals right now? Right. So, right now, it’s a challenging time. I see. You know, a lot of Have, I see the need for a lot of very creative deal making over the next 1218 months, I think you’re gonna see a lot of deals that are done were either already mostly baked before COVID hit, or their deals that you really need to do some, some derisking for the potential tenant, whether it be, you know, higher than normal TI, whether it be, you know, really creatively structures. You know, I think it’s, I think it’s going to be really interesting here for the next for the next year, I deal with sophisticated landlords and sophisticated tenants, and those guys are, you know, their balance sheets are getting crushed right now. And it’s going to be an interesting time to do deals here for the in the near term.

Ressa 10:50
I think there’s no doubt you’re gonna work, we’re all going to have to be creative.

I think the commercial real estate industry though, the way it’s set up, if the only

person on the side that is creative, just to incubate a concept is the landlord, it will be a challenge, because I think, you know, taking shots on tenants where, you know, that are high credit risk and are not firm, fixed rent and pouring ti dollars, I think, actually, in the creativity, one of the places that has to happen is construction costs need to come down, ti dollars need to come down, and there needs to be a more efficient way to build out spaces, because if it costs that much, and all the burden has to go to the landlord with that level of risk, what lenders aren’t going to like that landlords are not going to want to take that risk, I think it’s going to be a challenge, right? You know, I’ve talked to some people about some creative deals in New York, that in some places, it would be better for that landlord just to leave it vacant. They can’t get marked to market from a lender and all that type of thing. So I think there needs to be creativity, I think it needs to be shared creativity, though, it can’t be just one sided. Because I don’t think this is the time just like in a lot of recessions. I don’t think this is the time you’re just gonna see people pouring dollars for things that don’t have stability and adorable cashflow streams with with you know, and a lot of visibility at the end of the tunnel. So I think that could that that is and I don’t think that’s specific to Charlotte. I think that’s just general and cre. And I don’t think that’s specific to restaurants. I think that’s general in multiple uses. I think construction costs need to come down and both sides need to get creative. One of the things about the restaurant industry that I think will be interesting. And I think that you’re going to see restaurants tours, get creative on and we’re already seeing this is the second generation restaurant space. You know, a lot of restaurants even if you’re especially national brands today, if you had a vacant McDonald’s, which there’s not many of those, right? They’ve done really well over the last decade. But if there’s a vacant McDonald’s and you pick the national brand concept that wants to take over that location, it’s going to cost a fortune because they want to make it feel just like their brand, even though it’s existing restaurant, they’re going to try to change it up and make it feel like just their brand, it’s going to be you know, sometimes we’ve encountered where it costs just as much to just tear it down and build it build a new one. Right? I think that’s going to change you’re going to see obviously on the drive thru QSR is hot right now. And that’s going to continue to flourish. But I think you’re going to see some interesting re creative repurchases of some existing restaurants because we’re seeing a ton of restaurants that are looking to you know, take advantage of the opportunity that some competition is going away. And they’re well, some well capitalized ones. You know, I think some of the chains who are well capitalized are going to definitely take that opportunity. But I just saw Pizza Hut is closing three indoor locations. I think that that screams to me that Domino’s Domino’s is going to start you know, continuing given how strong they’ve been. They’re going to start, you know, really trying to capture some market share. But the point and bringing it full circle is I think that this is unfortunately going to create some opportunities, but the opportunities, I think the right word is creative. I think the definition of creative is going to be interesting to see what that means in 12 months.

Williams 14:46
Yeah, I think that you’re already seeing that with people knew speaking specifically to restaurants, you know, trying to figure out how to use some of these defunct locations as ghost kitchens and things like

Ressa 14:55
totally Yeah, yeah,

Williams 14:56
I think that I think it’d be really interesting

Ressa 14:59
based on what you We’re hearing and I don’t know how much you do in other markets. How do you feel like Charlotte in your world is doing comparatively? Because pre pandemic? Charlotte on fire?

Williams 15:11
Yeah, I think Charlotte’s really lucky. You know, I wouldn’t I wouldn’t want to be doing what I’m doing and you know, in a Manhattan right now or or just a pick a city pick a pick a city Rust Belt city, something where there’s contraction in population. And Charlotte is on all kind of the, the top 10 lists, places you want to go places you want to visit places you want to move to. If anything, we’re hearing more of that a lot of our clientele from Manhattan from the West Coast are talking more and more about moving here. Quality of life cost of living, you know, it has a lot going for it. And it has a massive amounts of Fortune fortune 500 companies. Yeah, obviously, I’m planning on Charlotte along on Charlotte. So I think that we’re gonna I think we’re gonna come out of this even better prepared or better situated for the long run. You know, there’s always the comparisons between Charlotte Atlanta like Charlotte, Atlanta 10 years ago, hopefully, we’re we’re learning from some of their mistakes. And we’ll continue to, to keep growing. And I think the corridor, the 85 corridor between Raleigh and Atlanta, you can you can argue is is, is as well situated as anywhere in the country.

Ressa 16:36
Totally agree. Great, great city.

You know, you do some interesting things, right? Your first floor on skyscrapers, first floor on multifamily. You bought bowling alleys. Give me some things that you think what the world of care retail restaurant looks like? What are some changes that you think are coming? because of what’s happened recently?

Williams 17:05
Well, I think that you can go in a lot of different directions. With that question, I have the I have the luxury of talking to really, really intelligent retailers all the time. And the things that I keep hearing over and over is that we’ve had a massive acceleration. And all the trends that we’re already seeing everybody’s everybody that I’ve talked to has said we’ve had a five year acceleration of retail trends that have happened in six months. Right? So it’s hard to honestly just pick one. Yeah, I’d say that everything has changed. And I’d say for the future, you’re gonna, you’re gonna see continued continuing contraction of square footage, I think people are going to be more creative, to shrink in space. I think that you know, people’s ability to, you know, a lot of what I’ve talked to people have been talking about doing, you know, more buy online, pick up in store, as more lip service, more to go as lip service, more Catering is lip service. And now it’s like everybody is jumping on that bandwagon quickly. In the restaurant world. Obviously, if you’re doing healthy, fresh, fast to go type food, you’re probably pretty well sich pretty well situated right now. I worry about the short term for places that I love to go that kind of not fine dining, but elevated casual, where you’re where you’re sitting down and having a great meal with friends and family and ordering a nice bottle of wine and had an exceptional service. Yeah, is that I love I love that category. And, you know, I think that short term there, that’s going to be challenging. I really have my eye on retail as a logistics business right now. I think that you’re having the Amazons and the Walmart’s turning every commodity into logistics play more so than a retail play. So I think that’ll be really interesting to look at like, are we going to start seeing the empty big box stores in secondary and tertiary markets starting to become kind of logistics centers more so than going in and buying, you know, a coaster and a lamp? You know, I’m just going in to pick up something that I had ordered from XYZ retailer. So man, it’s hard to pick one thing. I think that we’re in a tumultuous, interesting time and I think that it’s gonna be fascinating to see what happens next.

Ressa 19:38
I totally agree. You said a lot there. I think that was the last question. You spend a lot of time with restaurant tours. And the category you like I I love as well. And you do a bunch of stuff and first floor and kind of walking pedestrian friendly areas. There’s been this big push right now for drive throughs Right that’s you’re seeing it everywhere every everybody every time I go on LinkedIn I see a new post about a concept that wasn’t drive thru that’s creating a drive thru

Williams 20:10
an arrow is a good poster child of that right for COVID

Ressa 20:13
How do you think that you know, I saw Shake Shack has a drive thru concept that they are putting out and how do you think the ERD more urban pedestrian friendly environment, the

type of food

the category that you’re talking about, you know, when when that’s what’s hot, how do they get through this into the other side and get people coming back?

Williams 20:38
Well, your your question I would break down into into a couple parts right. So the first part is, I think it makes tons of sense for people like Panera Shake Shack to do drive thru. No question that that’s on their mind, no question that they should be thinking about that. But I think the problem they’re gonna run into as municipalities. I had a hard time like, let’s use Charlotte as an example. Charlotte thinks that drive throughs are, you know, just you just cussed at him. Right? Like they don’t they don’t like that.

Ressa 21:06
Yeah, there’s a lot of municipalities that have put moratoriums on drive throughs across the country,

Williams 21:10
right and and in the south. Yeah, I live in the south. Chick fil A is a great example of you know why people love drive throughs and why municipalities hate them, because they’re so busy that they cause traffic issues for three blocks in every direction. So I’d say that municipalities are going to be the bigger hold up to like a drive thru revival than the actual concepts because you’d think a group like Panera, a group like Shake Shack, you know, it’s not rocket science for guys that are that sophisticated to do a drive thru pilot program and engage it. But I’d say if you bring it into the urban cores were drive throughs just aren’t feasible, right, it’s just hard to think about doing drive throughs all over the place in a fully developed area, I think that you’re gonna see more and more concepts really double down on to go really double down on, on you know, buy online pick up in store, I’ll give you that stupid examples. Chipotle, right, like the the difference if you would have tracked their website and their order online order through their app, like user interface, right, the UI in between, like day one of COVID, or day zero of COVID. And today, it’s a different experience, right? Because it’s all about customization. And when you go into Chipotle, you’re like, I want a little bit of that. And a lot of that a little bit of that I want none of that, blah, blah, blah, couldn’t do that online. But now you can, you can go in and say I just want half of this, I want like this, I want extra this. So I think that I think that when you can’t do a drive thru, these people are going to double down on the, on the quick experience on the quick grab and go experience on the quick DoorDash experience on all of that. So I think that that’s how that translates into the urban market. And then when we go back to the we’ll call it elevated casual, I think I think the only way that they can compete is to is to try to figure out how to how to get their elevated level of of consumer experience into their front door. So better packaging better to go. Better, overall experience. So instead of me just like I’ll use an example, there’s a there’s a restaurant called stazione that is a phenomenal restaurant here in town. Shout out to Bruce Moffat, kickass restaurant tour and chef you know, instead of just being able to get a pizza, it’s you get to take and bake pizza and a cocktail kit and a bottle Kiante and you know, the salad that we didn’t dress yet, right? So we don’t want to get soggy The dressing is right there and the blah, blah, blah. So you have to figure out a way to take that experience. If I’m gonna drop 5060 bucks on it to go order or 80 bucks on it to go order. I want to feel like I’m still getting that elevate experience not just like getting soggy, soggy paper products and a plastic spoon. So I think everybody is going to have to ask themselves some really interesting questions and try to figure out how to step up their game for our new normal because honestly, hard nothing’s gonna happen until November, right? Like this is gonna we’re gonna keep this is this the new cycles aren’t going to change until after November. And then like everybody that not everybody. I know a lot of people that are in that next generation ahead of me call it you know, people in their 50s and their 60s in their 70s I mean, man going out, right? They’re just not and if they are, they’re being very very cautious about where they go and who they go with. So I think I think for the next the next year, everybody’s got to figure out how to how to be very very good at what they do and how to adapt very quickly or they’re not gonna be around

Ressa 24:51
spot on man i i love the concept about you know, the quack quack quack in the downtown urban environment where really, really interesting. And I agree. And I think that’s how they, they they mimic that speed of the drive through downtown. So really cool. Thank you for sharing that.

I want to pivot,

the next piece of our show is the story. And I know you, you’ve got many Why don’t you tell us a story, something interesting of how a store ended up in the location? It did.

Williams 25:26
i Yeah, I’d love to tell you stories, I’ve got plenty of war stories. But honestly, I’d love to talk about just you, there’s a lot of people out there that are probably had just gotten into the business, you know, somewhere in the last 18 to 24 months like that, like the young guys that are here. You know, the story for me, you know, I was doing, I just started doing the restaurant work, right, is making no money, downturns here, you know, starting to ask yourself a lot of hard questions about about life choices and career choices. And, you know, didn’t didn’t know if, if this restaurant kind of specialty that I had chosen, was going to pan out, I was doing a lot of work with, with some restaurant groups that that are that are from out of town. And, you know, when you when you’re doing tenant rep work, which I I’ve done a ton of over the years. You’re, you’re at somebody else’s whim and discretion, right? Like just because you want a deal to happen just because it looks good on paper, you got no control, right? So you know, was working on a certain deal for 18 months, and it happened and then died and happened and then died a dozen times. And I’ll never forget when when that lease got signed, it’s not the biggest deal I’ve ever done. It’s not the sexiest deal I’ve ever done. But But when but if you can, if you commit to something and stay on it, and and just don’t take no for an answer. There’s a lot of other people that will turn back and that and that won’t see it through. And it was like getting that first deal done with a real landlord and a real tenant completely changed the trajectory of

Ressa 27:24
my career. And what was what was the store was the restaurant called taco

Williams 27:28
Mac. It is a it’s the biggest sports bar in Atlanta. They came to Charlotte open some stores. Was this in Charlotte? This was in Charlotte, correct? Yeah, South Park Mall in Charlotte right outside of Southport mall in Charlotte. And, honestly, it shouldn’t have happened 10 different times. countless trips, down 85 to Atlanta, countless trips with everybody from private equity groups, to CEOs to to owners Piedmont Town Center. And the deal, the deal died and was resurrected 20 times. But honestly, it’s not as much about that deal. Because it could have been a totally different deal. It could have been a you know, for somebody, it could have been an office deal for somebody, it could be a warehouse deal. But the point is, the point that I want to make is one deal can legitimately change the narrative of your career. And I’m not talking about monetarily, I’m not like that deal that money’s been spent, like. Like I said, I like nice wine, that money has been spent. But it’s more of the validation. Like once you get that one deal under your belt. Doors open. And it’s not doors that you expect. It’s it’s doors that you that you never even anticipated. And anybody out there that is that is trying that is struggling right now, you know, is not quite sure how they’re going to stay in the business. All I can tell you is that is that try to figure out a way to stick it out because it’s the best business. It’s the best career and lead you in 100 different directions and one deal can change the tide.

Ressa 29:13
So I got a lot of questions. You ready? Yeah. Right. So first question. And do you think if that deal didn’t make that you would be in the business today? You know,

Williams 29:30
it’s hard to say. I’d say that. I don’t know if I would be doing the same quantity and caliber of deals today. Today, six months ago. Today, I’m not doing as many deals and what six months ago? I think I think you could make a make an argument that I wouldn’t be doing the same number of caliber deals again because it wasn’t that I don’t think it was as much that the owl Side world said, Okay, this guy does institutional deals now, right? I don’t think it was as much that I think that once you, it’s like talking to a, you know basketball player or a baseball player that they need to hit that one shot, right? It’s not that they’ve they’re now a better basketball player because they hit that one shot. It’s just once you get that deal under your belt, it’s very easy to start stacking wood, right? It’s very easy to it’s very easy to take that and then and then take the next step. So I don’t know if I would have washed out of the business per se. But I will say that it gave me the resume the credibility, the confidence to double down and triple down and and get to where those deals. You know, we’re just a normal course of business.

Ressa 30:45
I know it was a long time ago. And if you can’t remember I understand. But how long after the taco Mac deal? Did it take to make your second deal?

Williams 30:56
With taco Mac or with somebody else with anybody? I think that after then deal started. Again.

Ressa 31:04
It was that’s the point is that’s the point I’m getting at like, did they start to flow in at that point now that they did,

Williams 31:08
and this is something that something else that I would touch on for your listeners? And again, this is talking to maybe some of the some of the younger listeners, you I really like, specialized right, not everybody does, right? Not everybody does. A lot of people are generalists. And they do a great job of that they make great money and they love it. I like I love adding value. Right? That’s the reason I do the podcast. Yeah, I like truly adding value to whatever situation I’m in. And I think that specializing whether it’s in, you know, office, whether it’s an industrial, whether it whether it’s in restaurants, or retail, goes a long, long way to helping you add value. So I think that that gave me the ability to specialize to double down on my specialty. And to really know the nitty gritty of especially which at that time was restaurants, right I do a ton of retail, now it’s a little bit more broad. But in restaurants, I could sit with a chef, or with a back of the house or front of the house restaurant tour and talk to them about labor costs, liquor costs, construction costs, the difference between a salamander and, and you know, a different type of oven, you know, I can I can get into the weeds with these people. And they were like, Whoa, I’ve met other commercial real estate brokers, this guy is talking to me in a different manner, which enabled me to have the confidence to buy a frickin nasty old bowl now, right? Because I, because I was in the business. I was I was specializing in the business a little bit more. So. Yeah, I don’t know if it specifically led to more deals the next week, but it certainly led me down a fun path.

Ressa 32:58
unpacking that a little bit more, you mentioned, you know, the ups and downs of deals, right. And they die, they come back to life that we’ve all had deals that that take five years. You know, I, we I recently had a broker on who represented the tenant on a CVS deal. And I was the landlord. And, you know, and he was telling the story about that in the first thing he said is that, you know, he checked the ello, the first loi, and the deal probably starts before the loi, and he was checking the loi, and the LOI was 2015. And they just opened in the pandemic, the CVS at my property. So, right deals, deals have ups and downs. Right. But and you mentioned, and you spoke to the listeners and saying that they need to stick with it.

And this isn’t.

I’m not trying to set you down a path where you might sound arrogant, but just to really understand the perseverance. Do you think at any time if you had stepped away from the process, that that deal would have got done and Taco Mac would open there? Because I think there’s a lot of occasions where special dealmakers really have to bring everyone together to keep it going. Or it could just unravel.

Williams 34:13
Yeah, I think that, you know, brokers, it’s funny, you know, brokers can be massively influential and deal or brokers can get in the way of a deal. Yeah. And I’ve been I’ve been a part of both situations. I think, at the end of the day, we bring principles together. And then honestly, you know, my job sometimes this is much like counselor, you know, therapist, as as it is, you know, commercial real estate expert, right. So, you know, I don’t I don’t know if me walking away in that deal specifically would have would have derailed it. I think that the CEO of taka Max, still a really good friend of mine, Bob Campbell, at that time, do to start right like if he wanted that deal to happen, he was gonna figure out how to make that happen. That’s a that’s another thing that’s so much fun about this business, I get to interact with guys that are just, and ladies, obviously, they’re just total studs, you meet these people, a lot of them have started a business from scratch, they weren’t handed anything. It’s retail is a hard ass business. And these guys have Bootstrap and figured out figured out how to make a concept out of it figured out how to grow it, by the time they get to me, they’re usually multiple stores and maybe hunting for private equity, or maybe they just got got private equity. I mean, these are, these are serious people that I get to interact with on a professional level. And and a lot of times, I’m lucky to be in the room with them. So I don’t want to sit and think that yeah, I’m making the deals happen.

Ressa 35:42
Fair enough. Fair enough. Fair enough. I think nowadays, even more, one of the things we talk about a lot is no one person makes a deal anymore, right? It is a lot of team efforts going on from multiple parties, you know, you know, at DLC where we’re at it, it takes an entire team team to you know, we have awesome legal team construction, property management, and it takes, you know, our asset management takes everyone to get a deal done. So, you know, one of the parts we didn’t talk about in that deal was, how did you end up with the taco Mac account.

Williams 36:17
So, again, back to when we were just trying to figure out how to get into business, one of my good friends and still business partner, he’s probably on the other side of that wall right there. Dave Shewhart, new Bob Campbell goes way back, I had a connection with a Restaurant Group in the Midwest, he had a connection with a group in Atlanta, we literally were like, Hey, you came out of the restaurant business, you know, a lot of people, I know how to do deals, let’s let’s team up and figure out and see if we can start doing restaurants. And that’s that’s how the restaurant blog happened. That’s how that’s how a bunch of restaurant deals got done over the years. So you know, it’s just relationships, man, just try to figure out how to leverage those relationships.

Ressa 37:03
My takeaways of the story are perseverance network, and, you know, and the benefits of one leads to that, as you call it, stalking would sell its life,

Williams 37:15
man. I mean, it’s all about it’s all about who’s willing to be more creative, who’s willing to work harder. And then relationships. And partnerships are the only reason that that I’m worth a damn today. I mean, we’ve we’ve, this is a relationship, this is a people business and understand how to how to take the long view. And if you look at relationships, like transactions, you’re gonna wash out, you’re just gonna wash out, I’ve always concentrated much more on adding value and being trustworthy, then, you know, how do I use this relationship to get to the next transaction? That’s, that’s it’s very short sighted. But if you can, if you can just be there, add value and be a trusted resource for people. They will bend over backwards to see you succeed.

Ressa 38:05
Totally. We’ll,

we’ll stop that story there. That was spot on. That was a drop the mic moment, man. Thank you. Moving on last part of our show, you ready? Ready? Just be round. It’s not really speed. But it’s three questions I ask everybody.

Williams 38:22
All right, I’m ready. I have not prepped for this. So if I if I follow my face, then then you know, hopefully edited out.

Ressa 38:30
Totally ready?

What is your best piece of commercial real estate advice?

Williams 38:35
Oh, man, I just I just use a couple of good ones. And honestly, specialized like like already said, again, it’s not for everybody, but if it’s me, I’ll tell any person right out of the gate to specialize in something find something that you would do for free. You know what I mean? Like find something that that you’re you’re passionate about and try to stick with that and then the second part of that would be like I just said relationships try to figure out you know, what relations what relationships you can add value to and and take the long game on relationships and if you’re if you’re new to the business stay humble and your your first few deals are going to be ugly. Not sexy deals, so don’t don’t be too big to do too little deals. Again, it’s

Ressa 39:22
all about staff. All right. Second question. What extinct retailer Do you wish would come back from the dead? Oh, man, there’s

Williams 39:33
so many now. You know, it’s hard for me to watch the like slow, agonizing demise of J Crew because I remember high school and college walking into a J Crew and be like, Man, if I can be rocking these cable pull knit sweaters Dawg I would be slick and you know it was It was like a prestige or it was like an aspirational brand for normal people, right? The clothes were well made. You know, I bet I’ve got a J Crew sweater that’s 15 years old, 20 years old and still and still and still is fine. So it’s hard to watch them just slowly, you know, run into the iceberg that that’s been a surely renewing to come in and take their place.

Ressa 40:30
All right, man. Last question. Recently,

you know, I’ve been playing with some gadgets at my house, I’m working from home still, our offices are going back in January. So I’ve been playing with some gadgets. I’ve had the ring camera for a year and just never set it up and I set it up this weekend. And and now now I’m getting more rings, the this type of ring there for the whole thing, right? So I’m on Amazon’s website. I’m looking at the ring floodlight camera motion activated HD security cam two way talk and silent siren alarm black and it works with Alexa, what is that retail for?

Williams 41:15
So this is the camera floodlight combo.

Ressa 41:18
Camera floodlight combo. Two way talk siren alarm.

Williams 41:25
I’m gonna go with I’m just gonna go flat. 120 bucks

Ressa 41:30
to 4999 man. Well,

Williams 41:33
yeah, I was when I was like half.

Ressa 41:35
Yeah, you’re off there. It’s alright, though. You gave a lot of good insights. It’s all good. Awesome. Well, listen, man. Thanks for coming on. I really appreciate it. Great stuff.

Let me know if there’s anything I can do for you, man.

And I guess I’ll be we’re setting up something for me to come on. You’re soon.

Awesome. Yeah,

Williams 41:55
I’m sure I look forward to it. I’ll try to I’ll try to think of some you put you on the spot questions when you come on. I’ll try to return I’ll try to return the

Ressa 42:06
favor. All right. Cool, man. Sounds good.

Williams 42:09
Awesome. Thank you for your time. I appreciate you having me on.

Ressa 42:12
Thank you, man. Take care. 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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