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Zero Empty Spaces in Fort Lauderdale, FL with Andrew Martineau

Episode #: 065
Zero Empty Spaces in Fort Lauderdale, FL with Andrew Martineau

Guest: Andrew Martineau
Topics: Zero Empty Spaces, shopping center


Chris Ressa 0:01
This is retail retold the story of how that store ended up in your neighborhood. I’m your host, Chris ReSSA. And I invite you to join my conversation with some of the retail industry’s biggest influencers. This podcast is brought to you by DLC management.

Welcome to retail retold everyone. Today I’m excited. I am joined by Andrew martinu. Andrew is the co founder of zero empty spaces. I’m excited for everyone to learn what zero empty spaces does. He has been in the advertising and marketing industry for 25 years. And part of that was marketing in the retail real estate industry. Very excited to learn more about zero empty spaces. Welcome to the show, Andrew.

Andrew Martineau 0:49
Thank you, man, I appreciate you. Thanks for having me.

Ressa 0:52
Yeah. So Andrew, tell us about you what you do and what the zero empty spaces is all about?

Martineau 0:59
Sure. So my name is Sandra Martineau. I’ve been in the shopping center retail space for about five years. But prior to that I was in the advertising marketing world for about 24 years working for a host of local and multinational agencies in a range of protocols everywhere from upscale real estate and resorts to entertainment venues. And I’ve kind of always had a consulting business throughout all of that. And while at the shopping center space, I was able to kind of like create marketing strategies for local shopping centers to drive traffic and also minimize vacancies, which I think you know, a lot of shopping centers have had over the years, I mean, just kind of like the nature of the business. Obviously, it’s accelerated quite a bit over the last couple years. And obviously, a whole lot more, since kind of COVID is kind of come around. And after I left Westville in the end of 2016, I got into really very much into the art art space, primarily here in South Florida, primarily in Broward County in Fort Lauderdale, where I created our full audit along with my partner Evan snow, which is a four day Art Fair that’s hosted in luxury waterfront homes on the intercoastal people get there by water taxi, and we partner with entities like Sotheby’s, and the homes are for sale and the artists for sale. And through that time, we actually met a lot of artists over the last four years that were looking for affordable artists space to work in. And they really couldn’t find any not just here locally, but nationally and across the world really. And so with that, and and with all the vacancy is, you know, we were able to see, kind of as we go around town, we kind of figured like, hey, is there a way to kind of combine these vacancies and then turn them into affordable artists studio spaces for us to be able to work. So we reached out to our mayor here in Fort Lauderdale kind of pitched the idea to him. At the time, my partner didn’t really think it was something that somebody would go for. But the mayor chooses, actually to the owner of Las Olas company, which has a plethora of spaces on Las Olas Boulevard, which is our kind of our main kind of retail space in our downtown. And he actually gave us our first space. It was a former art gallery, that we then turned into an affordable artists studio.

Ressa 3:29
We’ll talk about that story later on that, but so let me unpack this a little bit. You’re in marketing advertising. You got into marketing and advertising for retail shopping centers. You worked for Westfield, and then you decided you got into the art world, which I’ll be quite candid. I know nothing about the art world. And you then you were you know, intrigued by the art world you created a an event what was the event called? It’s called Art Fort Lauderdale, art Fort Lauderdale. And this was an event at luxury homes that you got there by water taxi and the art and the home was for sale. You connected with all these artists and realize they had nowhere to show their art and say work and work and when you say and work them to actually just paint Yeah, so

Martineau 4:34
you know a lot of artists are dipping just out of their house. I mean, for the most part I mean it’s really difficult to find an affordable artists to do at a reasonable cost. I mean, artists aren’t leading like selling at an incredible clip, you know, so for them you know, finding affordable artists studio space is really important because you know, again, it really just kind of operating out of a bedroom in their home or their living room is not the most convenient space to be able to work

Ressa 5:01
And so, so the how does the you how many locations do you have now?

Martineau 5:08
We just signed our 11th location here in South Florida.

Ressa 5:11
Wow. So you have 11 locations. So what are these locations? Let’s talk about these locations.

Martineau 5:17
Sure. So the locations are in a range of different types of commercial real estate kind of areas. So a lot of street level retail, a lot of retail lifestyle centers. We have retail, like mixed use centers. So I would say everywhere from Las Olas Boulevard, we have another location at Boca center, we just picked up the location of Gulfstream Park. So we’re going next to William Sonoma. So we’re just really, you know, in a range of different types of commercial real estate spaces, but the majority of them are street level retail and in lifestyle centers.

Ressa 5:54
So but what it tells me about the business, so that’s the type of product, you don’t own the real estate, how do you make money.

Martineau 6:00
So so the way this works is we enter into a zero rent lease with these landlord property owners on a month to month basis, we provide them a certificate of liability. So we take a well liability for the space, and we pay all the utilities in the space, we entered into the same agreement with the artists or tenants of the space as well. So all the tenants are month to month, we’re on month to month. And we assume all liabilities and pay all the utilities, so no real costs for the landlord for us to activate the space. But then we’re able to then activate the space and drive traffic to the space. Along with providing affordable art studio spaces, we rent them to the artist of $2 per square foot inclusive of all utilities, but the artist isn’t renting like say a 3000 square foot space, they’re renting a space or we broke it up into either 200 or 300 square foot spaces. So we then divide these spaces up into much smaller spaces. So for an artists that are paying $2 per square foot by 3000, they might be paying $2 per square foot by 300. So for them, you know, it’s a minimal investment, the only cost that they pay for utilities and their spaces are $2 per square foot. And we make you know a little bit of margin off of that, you know, our business model is really based on number of spaces that we have we right now how about, you know, probably about 60 working artists, tenants in all of our spaces, but for the landlord. And you know, our first locations were probably like the best examples of that is we went into a space that was probably vacant for about a year, we were in there for about four months, we get a lot of attention on traction, this space, because we host grand opening events, we probably get between 300 and about 1000 people at our grand openings of oral events. And so it drives a lot a lot of attention to a space that was formerly vacant. So we had several people come to the space really liked the energy really liked the ability to be able to go into the space seven days a week, between the hours of 12 and five or so public hours, but the space is open 24 hours to the artists. And some of these people has asked us hey, can you give us a landlord’s number? We’re really interested in the space. So we’ve actually been giving the landlord referrals of people interested in Perm leases. Unfortunately for us, we have to move out once the landlord gets a perm leases, which is what happened in our first loss all space

Ressa 8:30
all done. Yeah, tell us that. I will. We’ll get back to that. I want to save that whole entire story.

Martineau 8:37

Ressa 8:39
So how big are these spaces?

Martineau 8:42
They range anywhere from 800 square feet to 6500 square feet currently?

Ressa 8:49
And are you spending money in turning them into so you can divide up the spaces. And what’s it cost you to do that?

Martineau 9:00
It ranges are just really based on the type of space that we get. So some spaces already have division. So some suites already have offices are divided up into cubicles. Some scripts are completely raw. So that it really all depends on the configuration space at the time. So to give you an example, we have one location which is a large location that 6500 square feet boys are for spa, the spa already had like 18 rooms. So we had 18 spaces to essentially rent for artists. They’re all like, you know their massage rooms and all the different rooms. And then we were able to actually turn those rooms into as artists to do so very minimal build out we just needed to add extra lights. But then we have other spaces that are completely raw, raw concrete, raw walls, some of them don’t have any lights at all. So we come in. We do the floors, paint the walls, bringing lights, some spaces that they have been abandoned or closed for a long time to bring the space up to code So it really all depends on the type of space that we get. Obviously, the best space is the ones that already kind of divided up a little bit. But our main spend on building out is really on building those dividers and then really adding lights or painting the walls, all that kind of stuff.

Ressa 10:18
And the artists, they, you have 60 working artists, are you constantly? Is that? Is that a big thing for you? Are you constantly trying to figure out how to get more artists?

Martineau 10:39
No, you know, believe it or not, there is a wealth of artists and a wealth of property is interested in in the concept, we have an application process. So basically, artists apply to be part of the program. And we essentially kind of like go through a list. So we have sort of questions that we ask the artists like, hey, what’s what locations are you interested in. So sometimes you might have artists that apply. And there may be our only location might be, say, in downtown Fort Lauderdale, but they may live in Hollandale. And so they may take a space in downtown Florida, but it’s month to month. But now we just opened up a space in Hollandale. So they might say, hey, after my next month, I want to move to my to the other space that you haven’t holiday that’s really close to my house. So we really have constantly a bunch of artists reaching out a lot of them, they may not even have a location really close to their property or their house where they live. And they’re just kind of like waiting for those kinds of locations to potentially open. So that then they can potentially get into these affordable art studio spaces.

Ressa 11:45
It’s the most expensive piece of art that’s been sold in one of these spaces,

Martineau 11:49
I would say probably about 2500 bucks, is probably the price for and probably the most expensive one that sold so far. But the space up primarily for creating the work. That’s kind of how we pitch it to the artists, it’s not specifically an art gallery or space just for them to sell.

Ressa 12:09
It’s something that you can sell, they can touch it, they can retail, the product in the space.

Martineau 12:13
Correct. So and the idea behind that is that like, you know, if you have your space set up as just a gallery just to sell, it’s not really doing a lot for the product owner landlord in terms of activation, you know, because you’re in you might you may or may not be in the space, we have a mandatory requirement that the like at least one artist needs to be in a space between the hours of 12 and five. So the landlord can get the opportunity to really leverage the space being activated during the same time the other tenants in is locations are open. So now you don’t really have a dark, little space in between one one location to another.

Ressa 12:52
And how many artists are in average in one of your spaces?

Martineau 12:57
It really ranges from the size, but I would say right now it’s anywhere between five to 20 artists. Okay. Okay, so we’re

Ressa 13:09
using their average monthly rent, they’re paying you a few $100 at two bucks a foot, they’re paying you four or $500 a month. Correct. And, okay, so and there’s like five artists in there. So this is a volume game, as you said, because you’re going to get you know, you’re gonna get to 3000 a month on the space, you’re in the, you’re in the you’re in the volume game here. You have a Levin, what’s the grandiose vision, how many locations?

Martineau 13:41
Well, the plan is to go to go national, which which we’re about to do, obviously COVID is kind of like put put a little bit of a halt on a lot of our expansion outside of the state. But our plan is really to basically go into every city and every state and actually have multiple artists who do spaces pretty much across the country. We’ve got an outreach from London, High Street, we’ve got an outreach from eras in Canada. What a lot of it is, is we’ve gotten a lot of spaces through either local mayors, local city commissioners, really wanting to increase the walkability in their neighborhoods, and really looking at some of the vacancies that, you know, are kind of like minimizing that walkability. Some of the locations we’re getting through the PR firms that represent the property owners looking for interesting content to drive shotgun attention to their locations. And then some property owners that are in mixed use kind of developments are kind of looking at it as a way to kind of develop the community that they would like to help support the vibe in that area or that residents

Ressa 14:46
is there has to be you know, most retailers have their, you know, kind of the prototype market for them. Right. It’s it’s the average household income. It’s the demographics. It’s The ethnicity, the household, the education and a bunch of stats, it does the art culture matter. Like it doesn’t. It does it doesn’t you’re not looking at you’re not looking at like, is this really like an art community?

Martineau 15:17
No, I mean, believe it or not that, that that’s a really interesting discovery, right? I mean, every community is kind of an art community, believe it or not, we’re getting artists that are maybe in their 60s that have never had an art studio before, a very, very accomplished artists been painted out of their second bedroom for a number of years. And their husband sees an article that’s maybe, you know, they heard on the radio on NPR, or heard in a local newspaper, and are calling us and saying, Hey, I’d love to have my wife come take a space, because maybe for the last 2030 years, there was a whole bedroom that was all dedicated to their, to their wives, you know, art, and now for the first time, they’re able to actually come out of the come out of their house, and actually go into an art studio space, and really expand their their kind of reach and exposure as an artist.

Ressa 16:11
Okay, and the interesting had no idea. That’s an interesting discovery. So, Andrew, I’m a landlord. Yes, I want to activate spaces. You’ve had to come across the landlord who’s like, I’m gonna rent this to you for free. Yes, like how, like, that’s a pretty, pretty tall order in a world where people are cash strapped right to rent space for free. Notwithstanding, some landlords may have the vision where I rent this for free and turns into something later, you come from the the mall world where temporary leasing is, what is more prevalent than in, in, you know, open air, retail specialty leasing is not as prevalent in open air retail as it is in the moral. But even in the mall world, the specialty leasing, those are valuable spaces on a monthly basis. Right. Most of them are not free at the even in the old mall world, they were renting the space to the, you know, someone that just put up a little stand and advertise. And, and so how are you getting? What’s your, what’s the real, for lack of a better word elevator pitch to me as a landlord to say, I should lease it to you for free. And oh, by the way, I’m going to make money off your space, even though you’re getting nothing.

Martineau 17:48
Sure. Well, you know, as you know, you know, a lot of a lot of landlords hire a broker, right, and the broker puts our sign on the space, and they put the assignment space, they hope that somebody drives by and sees their sign, and then gives them a call. And then they coordinate a time to then come see the space and you know, you’re driving down the street and you’re you’ve gone to your house, your house lives an hour away. But then you’re trying to coordinate with the broker to come see the space with our concept. There’s a sign, it’s zero empty spaces sign, but the space is open, you can walk through, you can check it out, you can see it active, you can see a bunch of different things there with the artists working on the space. And this is seven days a week. So there’s no broker fee. You know, we don’t when we get when we get people that come in and say, Hey, listen, I mentioned they’re permanently in the space. Can you give me a landlord’s number, we give them the landlord’s number, landlord title permanent lease, we have 30 days to vacate, return the space back to the condition that we received that the landlord gets a perm lease, doesn’t pay anything doesn’t pay a broker. And so no broker fees, we do a considerable amount of advertising and marketing. So our concept uncovered by NPR, it’s been covered by every local newspaper and every market that we’ve been to. So it’s actually provided a lot of attention to space are usually empty and vacant.

Ressa 19:09
When you’re talking about the the advertising for permanent space Pete, in are you talking about that it might be one of the artists or some random person off the

Martineau 19:20
street, it’s it’s always people off the street. So the people off the street are attracted by the activation. I mean, you know, when you walk into a space that was maybe a former bank. So we have some things that are foreign banks. And now the space has eight working artists in there. And you see artists working on canvas and painting and drawing. And you’re in this space now and you’re like, what’s this? Because it’s a very attractive concept. And keep in mind too. A lot of these spaces have between five and 20 artists that all have active social media platforms that are all reaching out to people and telling them hey, I got this new artist studio space. Come check it out. We’ll also in you know Lifestyle Center. saw on street level retail areas where there is walk up traffic. And so for out to give you one one example, we went to go see a location in the Lantana. area this couple of weeks ago, and we’re going check it on space, this space has been vacant for a very long time. The the tenant next door, sees this coming out of the space and says, Hey, man, like, what do you guys, what are you guys doing? Are you guys moving in, you know, we really would like to have a tenant next us to kind of help us out with our location. And that’s what really happens to is that like, when you do have a dark spot next to your spot, it affects the traffic and sales of geolocation. So it is providing a value to the tenant next door. And for some of our other locations, we’re doing kind of cross collabs. So we have one location in Palm Beach Gardens, there’s a large Ethan Allen store in that in that Plaza, we’re doing kind of kind of relationships with Ethan Allen, where like cemetery Designer comes in and you’re buying furniture for your house. Now the interior design has the option to say, hey, you know, do you want commission artwork? Down the street, there’s a affordable artist’s studio space there with 20 working artists, you can kind of like, pick what kind of style you like, and you can actually customize your artwork for that location. So, you know, there’s a bunch of different ways that, you know, we’ve worked with these property owners, so the value from a marketing PR promotion standpoint, where you’re not necessarily having to pay a marketing person, or an advertising person, or running ads, where we’re doing a lot of the advertising promotion, we’re doing a lot of the marketing, we have those little nother location where this past weekend, a new restaurant opened up. And the restaurant actually reached out to us to see if we could kind of reach out to our database of people to come out of check out the studios and also check out his new restaurant.

Ressa 21:59
Yeah, that I can see that. I I think one of the things that as you scale, I think would be a challenge, and we’ll see is that as the landlord, you know, look there other tenants in the eye and say, Hey, I need to charge you 30 $40 A foot to pay my mortgage. But this tenant over here, they get it for free?

Martineau 22:23
Well, this tenant over here is actually driving the traffic for the Senator. I mean, you know, we drive a considerable amount of traffic and activity. So and I would say like in the last two weeks, and then me and my partner laugh a little bit about this, but we’ve gotten editorial in print, and otherwise, coverage of locations, individual artists on TV, we probably had about five or six a week. In own in a week, I’m talking about like actual magazines, actual newspapers, actual TV, you know,

Ressa 23:03
there’s value, there’s value in that there’s no value, there’s value in that I’m not, I’m not disputing that there’s value the the how do you, if you start to go to other markets and scale? How do you get the artists? How do you get in touch with the artist in Dallas?

Martineau 23:27
Sure. So I mean, our Art Fair has been a considerable piece and that kind of conversation, because your actors, you know, garnered quite a bit of attention based on the uniqueness of it, you know, we’re in these like, luxury waterfront homes that range from about 2 million to $50 million. They’re about 5000 to 20,000 square feet, we partner up with obviously I mentioned, like, you know, high end brokers. And so that’s really garnered a lot of attention, because there’s not really any other art fair in the world that has that type of model. And so with that, we’ve actually been able to attract a lot of artists from everywhere, really interested in being part of this art fair. And so we’ve tapped into that market. And that database of artists that we outreach to for the fair that heard about the fair, as artists for these locations, as we expand. And we also have artists, I’ve heard about it, that don’t have a zero on streets in their market and say, hey, you know, would you come to LA? Would you come to San Francisco? Would you come to New York? And so we’re having an artist actually reach out to us saying, Hey, would you open a space here? And then as locations open up in these areas and communities, we then say, okay, great, we’re now in Chicago. We’re now in Reno. We’re now in Charlotte. And then we then reach out to our database of artists and then kind of onboard them.

Ressa 24:47
So if I were to unpack it, the some of the, if I were to give like, tell me if I’m way off, so feel free the the The three big selling points to a landlord are one. You’re their free broker, you’re to generate traffic. Activate an empty space. And you create a lot of marketing advertising promotional buzz to the property. Are those like three good pillars?

Martineau 25:28
Right on board? I’m gonna take you around to every meeting. All right.

Ressa 25:31
Got it. Okay. All right. Interesting. I think nowadays we need innovative things. And that is, that is interesting. I’m really, really, really, really cool. And innovative. So even a step above we work issues or co working because they pay the landlord’s and you figured out a little mouse trap. Not too nonetheless, your margins are tight. So you need to be in a volume game. I, I see that. Okay. So the first location was in Fort Lauderdale. Alright, let’s pivot to the story. Tell me how this evolved your first location, how you how you got it done. Walk me through, bring me bring me there?

Martineau 26:22
Well, actually, the first like your show is probably the easiest location, believe it or not, I mean, the the mayor of Fort Lauderdale has been a big supporter of the arts. He’s been to a lot of our art fairs every year he comes through, you know, we’ve been in the art space for a minute. So yeah, he was aware of the things that we do locally in his community, as

Ressa 26:40
well as getting into real estate saw the real estate side. Why was the first thing you did call the mayor?

Martineau 26:50
Well, because you know, you’re from the landlord side. So

Ressa 26:53
you’ve played you’ve worked for a landlord, right. So I think that the first thing would be start reaching out to some landlords, but for you, it was called the mayor. Why was that? Why was that what you did?

Martineau 27:04
Well, the So initially, when we started this concept, our initial hope was that we’re gonna get some rundown warehouses, we’re gonna get, you know, areas in the community that weren’t really built up, you know, maybe absentee landlords or just sitting on a property, there were a lot of like, whether it’s homeless coming to the area, and just kind of like really messing up walkability pretty much throughout the community. And so the mayor really has like, a real, you know, aerial view of kind of what his community looks like, what areas in your community have vacancies? What areas in your community that you want to be more active? So that was that was for us? What why we went to him on the first first level to be able to get Okay, well, do you know of any areas that you would like to see activated? And Lasala us, you know, has been going through a shift like, like a lot of lot of retailers a lot of retail districts. And you know, there were a couple of vacancies there. And he thought, Well, hey, well, why don’t you reach out to the owner of Las Olas company, and see if he’d be interested in in this this concept? So we did and now there’s a little bit of backstory there. I created the

Ressa 28:24
air on a private real quick before you get the backstory, the mayor, on the on his in his private world, he owns personally real estate, or was this owned by the City of Fort Lauderdale?

Martineau 28:36
No, no, this is just you know, if I’m a landlord or property owner, I mean, you know, you pay your taxes and you have relationships with the City Commission. And the mayor of the city usually knows who these developers property owner. Okay, so yeah, like, he’s like a great resource to figure out okay, well, okay, there’s this area here. Who owns that? Okay, well, this guy wants that. So, you know, in terms of trying to figure out the lay of the land and the ownership of local areas, developments properties, going to the city hall or City Commission, or if you do have a relationship with the mayor, easiest way to figure it

Ressa 29:12
out. Got it. Okay. Now makes sense. Yeah.

Martineau 29:15
So he connected us with the lost souls company owner. I had created the branding and logo design or some philosophy was many, many years ago. So I did have a relationship with Las Olas. Prior, and it took probably about a five minute conversation with the owner of Las Olas company. We walked the boulevard, he showed us a couple locations that were available. And then we signed a lease with him. We moved into the first location, and we probably had about 800 people come out for our grand opening event that the mayor came and did a ribbon cutting. We had city commissioners there. We had artists, we had other people in the community. It was probably the most most attended grand opening event of any location on Las Olas. Keep it in mind that now you have 800 people coming out for a grand opening of an affordable artist’s studio space, we’re all going to either eat or drink before or eat or drink after our little event. So it really created a ton of buzz in the community based on the novelty of the concept. And, you know, I think just in your curiosity of why would a landlord do it? And a landlord does this, um, drive so much attention to his location, that you have local NPR stations, you have the local newspaper, now talking about his location, and this really innovative platform that’s open seven days a week, when you’re thinking outside of that, what’s the story for the area, where are you going to get your angle to be able to drive the attention to your location. And so this actually all comes as part and parcel of what we do when we come in with your empty spaces. We’re really big and robust, really daily promotion of that location, because we’re very, very active in the social media space. So we’re constantly promoting, we’re constantly doing podcasts of interviews with artists in that space, the artist is doing their locations. And then that’s kind of like going off into other tangents where there’s constant promotion of that location, not just through us, but through all the artists are in the space as well.

Ressa 31:26
And so you, you meet with the mayor, which I do think was a creative idea. Because I don’t think most business owners who are opening their first location, their first their first thought is to meet with the mayor or city commissioner, so so they should do because that can that connected you with the right people in the community clever. And then the conversation with the landlord, because it was chronic vacancy was pretty simple. And then what did that location cost you to start up?

Martineau 32:12
So we actually got the dividers. So we actually got used dividers from a local arts organization that was actually bringing in new ones. So we utilize their old dividers that they’re throwing out, we got a big U haul, fill it up with all these dividers and put those advisors into the space. We had to bring in some some lights because they had some old track lighting, we got to bring a new track lighting. But I would say All in all, it may have cost us probably about like, three, three grand 3500 bucks.

Ressa 32:47
You guys. You guys are scrappy. Okay. Yeah, good. I love it. Yeah, I love it. That’s some grit. Okay. And so you and then have you had the artists locked up to do this when.

Martineau 33:04
So the artists for that first space, they probably got that space fully leased, probably about seven days after we opened. So I’ll kind of walk you through a little bit how that process works is. So basically we have a database of artists are reached out to obviously the Art Fair has been really popular. We also have an entity called choose 954, which is really meant to highlight culture and community in Broward County. And we have a database of about 15,000 people that are all hyperlocal that we reach out to on a weekly basis or newsletter through a website. So when you combine our Tucson fair forage and our full auto reach, and we also produce full on Design Week, which is a whole week of arts and culture in the city, we have a quite a bit of artists that we talked to him we have relationships with. So when we let them know that we have these affordable artists, studio spaces that are at $2, a square foot, which really doesn’t really exist. In many places, the places that are closest to our price point are nonprofit locations that have a really strict judging criteria to get artists in. So you really have a limited amount of artists that are in a lot of these nonprofits that do create or do have affordable artist studio spaces. And so once we put it out there, these artists then sign up on our website. We go through a list of artists we do it on a first come first serve basis. And then we host what we call like an open house. So we usually do it on a Saturday at two o’clock. We tell everybody when they must be there to all these artists come to the space at two o’clock. We give them a run through the program, we kind of explain how it works. And probably by Monday, at least half of the locations are already leased. Probably the next seven days, the rest of locations are leased as well.

Ressa 34:52
And they sign a lease with you.

Martineau 34:56
Correct. So the artists so I’m I sublease the space to the orders will be my tenants. And so they signed a lease for me on a month to month basis that totals per square foot, they pay a security deposit. And that’s kind of how we move on with it.

Ressa 35:13
So this first location, you got 800 people to show up day one, how many people show up on a Tuesday.

Martineau 35:21
It’s a constant flow of people, because of the, you know, the interest in what is this person doing? Most people have never really seen an artist working. And so you have these spaces that have artists creating, you know, amazing pieces, some very, very large, some small summon watercolor, some oils, you have young people, old people. So the diversity of artists is really large as well. You know, we have some people that are, you know, born in Europe, we have some people, we have some artists that spend six months here in our space, they leave to go to Europe, and then they come back and and they go to whatever space we have available at the time. So there’s so much flexibility for artists, not just artists that are permanent residents here. But artists are also here for part of the year, being able to come into the space for that period of time, and then go back to wherever they’re from, for another period of time, and then come back and forth. So really a real cross section of people that are in our spaces, again, working seven days a week between the hours of 12 and five, really creating a lot of activity. And of course, through that we have open open houses where you know, we kind of promote the opportunity for people to come to the space where we do a lot of outreach on our own through our database saying, Hey, we have an open house this Saturday. And we do like timed visits. So we have people go sign up and go sign up between the hours of say, noon and one to be able to come visit this space or one and two, so that we have some time visits for Open House events to attract traffic.

Ressa 37:04
And you got it. That’s very interesting. And the you mentioned before your first location, so you’re no longer a tenant in that location.

Martineau 37:17
No. So we happen. So somebody Well, we had a lot of people that came in, we’re really interested in the space got really excited to space, see the space activated. So the lights are on. There’s people working. So the space takes on a whole new kind of personality, a whole new set of energy, because now you don’t have a dark window. Now you have this really active space, a really robust space. And artists are really fun, creative people. You know what I mean? So you getting in there, you get into conversation with these people, you’re getting into conversation about their work. And so what’s happened in that first location? One of the guys said, Hey, can you give me the landlord’s number? We give him the landlord’s number. He did a perm lease, we’re out. We’re out of that space. The month a month later, three days to vacate. The landlord moved us into another space. That was actually probably about twice as big. was vacant for about five years. We’re in there for about four months. Same situation. You know, bad for us. Great for the landlord. Somebody came in said man like this is great. Can you give it a landlord’s number gave him the landlord’s number. Three days notice to vacate landlord signs perm deal, and we’re out. And so the artist get this. What was it two?

Ressa 38:32
What were the what did the spaces turn into after zero empty spaces was in there.

Martineau 38:37
One One was clothing and one was jewelry? Wow. Yep.

Ressa 38:42
And what what time period is this? When are we?

Martineau 38:45
We’re in? We’re in November, December of 2019.

Ressa 38:50
So last year. Very, very interesting. And the first space, how long were you in there before it was leased? Permanently?

Martineau 38:59
Were in there for about three months. Wow. So

Ressa 39:01
90 days, this landlord got another tenant, he moved to you. And you were in that one for four months, and he got another tenant.

Martineau 39:10
And that’s basically it became five years. Wow. Okay.

Ressa 39:14
Well, on that note, that’s a good that’s a great. That’s a great note to end on. Really interesting. Thank you so much, Andrew. We’re going to now go to the last part of our show called retail wisdom. Are you ready?

Martineau 39:29
I think so. All right, man.

Ressa 39:32
Three questions for you. Sure. One, what is your best piece of retail advice? I’m sorry, what’s your best piece of commercial real estate advice? Sorry,

Martineau 39:45
no, no all day. I mean, I think it relates to retail I think it’s like you know, create a well rounded merchandise mix. You know, when you when you do have a commercial real estate property, whether it’s Lifestyle Center or shopping center. A really well rounded merchandise mix is really imperative to try having as much organic traffic to your locations as possible.

Ressa 40:06
Got it? Okay. Question two, guess the what extinct retailer? Do you wish you’d come back from the dead Toys R Us. So why toys, harassment,

Martineau 40:26
Toys R Us iconic brand, I think, you know, everybody is kind of like been there at some point. I think that that kind of concept of a large toy store still has a ton of legs, I think Toys R Us didn’t really evolve with the retail industry as quickly as they could have. And I think there’s so many things you can do with a space that has a bunch of different toys in there for kids to go play with. I think instead of it being really something where there’s a bunch of different shelves that just have rows and rows of just items and toys and stuff like that there’s a lot of activation that you can do within that space to drive traffic and increased dwell time for kids, which is also another really key piece of advice for just retail. You know, if you can keep a customer in a space for an hour or two hours, I can guarantee you they will buy something. And so the key for a lot of these spaces is really getting up the experience in the space to be able to really increase that dwell time have that kid or that kid’s parent, so that you really kind of get them to leave with something. And I think Toys R Us and the whole toy store space still has so much to go and so far to go. And they had a really solid brand and I still think they have a solid brand. If they were to come back and really kind of like tweak their business model a bit. I think it’s an incredibly successful entity.

Ressa 41:57
Very interesting. Last question. Yes. Up, you’re up your alley, but not up your alley. You ready? Okay. Sure. I have a three year old daughter and a two year old son. Okay, so art in my house is coloring books and some other things, some crafts in here and stuff like that. But crafts are big in my house. Sure. Do a little paint here and there. See everyone is an artist. There you go.

What’s really bigger crayons. And so I am on Office depot’s website. Yes. What do they retail? It is on sale. Right now. The Crayola assorted pack of 24 crayons for

Martineau 42:39
I would say 999

Ressa 42:42
So it’s regularly 269 And it’s on sale right now for 49 cents I might actually why some crayons box of crayons or 24 Crayons 49 cents.

Martineau 42:52
You could probably buy a couple boxes for that.

Ressa 42:54
Yeah 999 But thank you for playing. And thanks so much for coming on Andrew, this is fantastic man.

Martineau 43:02
I appreciate you having me and thank you so much man.

Ressa 43:07
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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