Article by: John Brasier, published in the Triad Business Journal, November 2, 2017
Garret Bedrin believes reports on the demise of brick-and-mortar retail have been greatly exaggerated.
OK, so Bedrin didn’t steal that famous quip from Mark Twain. But that’s the gist of his reply to nay-sayers who believe most shopping centers soon will be vacant or torn down and replaced with coffee shops and brewpubs catering to Amazon drone managers.
Bedrin, who oversees acquisitions and leasing for the New Jersey-based Bedrin Organization, is taking steps to prevent his family’s 14 shopping centers — seven of them are in the Triad —- from becoming obsolete.
Bedrin owns all three shopping centers.
“Who is getting their hair done online?” Bedrin posed. “This is the next phase of retail. I think beauty, boutique fitness and food will be the future concentration of retail centers.”
The JC concept is a shared model. Bedrin will lease 26 suites averaging 112 square feet in its 4,756 square foot High Point location. Each stylist —some suites can accommodate two stylists — will be an independent
contractor. Bedrin will provide furnishings and equipment.
Bedrin said about half of the suites have been leased.
Amenities include a centralized vacuum system, temperature settings in each room and a concierge to greet and advise customers.
“They cost a lot,” Bedrin said. “But little things count.”
The approximate $600,000 upfit by New World Construction included an 800-square-foot, back addition that leads to a small outdoor break area.
Bedrin said the Triad territory was projected to be able to support a fourth franchise. But he has no firm plans for another site.
Though finding dozens of tenants — JC in Winston-Salem has 46 suites — can be tough, Bedrin pointed out that multiple tenants pay more in rent.
Bedrin said the concept fits in with his family’s history.
His grandfather, Murray, founded an office supply company. Murray’s two sons grew the company to include five stores before selling in 1998 to focus on real estate acquisitions.
Bedrin and cousin, Michael, who manages construction and development, now run the family business.
The Bedrins’ biggest Triad investment came in 2008 when they bought three Greensboro shopping centers —Battleground Plaza, Caldwell Court and Garden Square — for nearly $20 million from CBL & Associates Properties.
“This is a business we knew — we’re entrepreneurs,” Bedrin said. “We like working with entrepreneurs.”
He said the Triad’s lower property costs make it more attractive than Charlotte or the Triangle for his company’s business purposes.
The Bedrins also own Golden Gate Shopping Center, which it purchased over the summer, and Northwest Centre in Greensboro. They also own retail properties in Colorado, Georgia, Missouri, New Jersey and Virginia.