February 10, 2016
Debbie Currier was recently named president of the Retail Brokers Network (RBN), a networking group of 65-plus independent offices in 40 states that specialize in retail real estate brokerage. Currier is a 30-year veteran in the industry, and owner and president of Currier Properties in Charlotte, NC, which handles retail tenant representation.
Connect Media recently caught up with Currier, to quiz her about the state of retail real estate.
How was 2015 for the retail sector?
DC: Overall, 2015 was a great year for retail, as the economy continued to improve. Our members reported their best year since 2008, with a sizeable portion of business coming from network referrals. There was much more activity in new store openings than anticipated. The restaurant segment continued to grow, as “fast casual” became more integrated into the family lifestyle. Also, the grocery category expanded, with larger, healthier, and more convenient stores.
What do you and your colleagues anticipate for 2016?
DC: We are very optimistic that the retail sector will continue to grow in 2016, as it builds on the momentum of 2015. Our members are reporting new retail construction across the board, and leasing activity continues to be strong, especially for well-located retail properties.
The growth of online shopping is challenging brick-and-mortar retailers to adapt their store footprints, and be more creative to keep their concepts fresh. We see this as being positive for the customer and the industry. Meanwhile, restaurants, entertainment and grocer categories that don’t compete with the Internet are well-positioned for continued growth and expansion.
How is RBN preparing for the coming year?
DC: We are aggressively looking to add new members in markets where we don’t have representation, so we can provide even better service to current customers and new clients. The network is made up of mostly boutique retail real estate brokerages, that handle some very impressive clients by offering a more direct line of communication. This helps us quickly respond to our customer’s needs.
One of my goals in 2016 is to build on our mantra “Know, Like, Trust,” with emphasis on the “Know” category. I want to see our members reach out to each other on a regular basis to share “best practices,” obtain market information and drive referrals.