Negotiating a Changing Retail Landscape
Interview with Corey Bialow
Title: Founder and CEO, Bialow Real Estate
Industry experience: 26 years
Corey Bialow scouts store locations for retail chains that have outsourced their real estate divisions, and e-commerce sites that are establishing a brick-and-mortar presence. Bialow’s family owned a chain of drug stores in the New York City area, so it was natural that he gravitated toward the retail side of the industry after he got involved in commercial real estate. A former executive who helped Vitamin Shoppe grow from 19 stores to 300, Bialow founded his Needham-based retail consultancy and brokerage in 2006. His clients include Pet Supplies Plus, Sleep Number and Indochino.
Q: How common is it for retail chains to outsource their real estate functions these days?
A: For a lot of clients, they outsource all the functions, not just brokerage. Strategic planning, almost like a vice president of real estate, managing the whole process. It’s becoming more and more of our business. One of our busiest clients is Indochino. They are a custom men’s suit manufacturer and they are probably the largest custom suit maker in North America. They started off online and figured they’d open showrooms as a place to pick up suits. They figured out that the customer likes to see the product and try it on. We’re going to do 18 new stores this year nationwide.
Another is Sleep Number. They used to be more of a mall store format. And now they’ve built what they call a showroom where they highlight their new technology and the new beds. It’s pretty exciting, but you don’t walk out with anything.