If you've wandered the hallways of the Dadeland or Aventura Malls or walked down Lincoln Road in Miami Beach on a Sunday afternoon, you know shopping in South Florida can be a full contact sport.
South Florida is home to both the biggest outlet mall in the United States (Sawgrass Mills) and the shopping destination generating the highest sales per square foot in the world (Bal Harbour Shops.) The reality of retail is a reflection of two of our most important industries; real estate and tourism.
Late August 1992 was going to be a memorable time for Joanna Lederman, her husband Alan and sons John and Michael. They had spent the spring and summer getting ready to open a new independent grocery market. After all the product testing, tastings, employee training, inventory stocking, marketing and other work to get a new business off the ground, they were all set.
Joanna's Marketplace was going to open for the first time on South Dixie Highway in Miami on August 24, 1992. Then Hurricane Andrew hit South Florida.
A battle over plans to build a new Walmart in Midtown Miami continued Wednesday night before the city's Planning, Zoning and Appeals Board.
Although both sides of the issue attended the meeting, the focus instead was squarely on the numbers, two in particular: 21 and 27. These are the zoning ordinances that govern the use and design of land in midtown.
Jimmy Choo at Sawgrass Mills. Hermes in the Design District. Even Marky's Caviar in Miami Gardens. South Floridians are welcoming luxury retailers with open arms just like Britto's "Welcome" sculpture greets shoppers near Dadeland Station in the photo on the right.
Luxury retailing in South Florida is expanding beyond its traditional glitzy locations and stretching to include not just shoes and accessories, but also shoppers’ appetites.
Of course you shop online. You're a digital consumer. You're on the Internet right now. You are a savvy shopper, looking for the right product at the right price and you want it fast and easy. Point, click, buy.
But you're in the minority. The vast majority of retail sales across the nation take place at brick and mortar stores. While Americans spend about $1 trillion per quarter in the retail industry, only a nickel of every dollar is spent online. But in the fight between online and in-store retailing, online spending is growing faster, much faster.
One square foot is not a lot of space. You can fit a pair of shoes in one square foot. But, if you are a luxury retailer at Bal Harbour Shops in Bal Harbour, you sell $2,800 worth of merchandise per square every year. That's six times what the average shopping center generates in the same amount space.
In the 1970’s it was water beds. In the 1980’s, Keith Koenig sold dinette sets. Now it’s couches and entertainment centers.
Koenig and his brother began what would become City Furniture in 1971. He has seen plenty of cycles in the South Florida economy, as well as how consumer tastes impact his business. Housing booms and housing busts. A growing population. And wicker. Koenig has a unique perspective at the intersection of two industries: real estate and retail. His outlook? Very positive.