I just attended the ICSC Idea Exchange in Columbus, Ohio where several great ideas were exchanged.
Robert Myers, Chief Operating Officer of Philips Edison & Company, said it was a seller’s market with cap rates of 4 to 5.
I learned that fast casual pizza (think Chipotle does pizza) is the fastest growing segment of the restaurant business. I heard a presentation by Sean Brauser, founder and CEO of Pizzafire, which was tremendously appetizing and impressive. Pizzafire prides itself on freshness (it has basil growing fresh in its stores to use on the pizza), the dough and the sauce. I am anxiously looking forward to eating at a Pizzafire.
I heard a very interesting presentation from AVAIL Vapor. They have an upscale vaping store with a layout and buildout like an Apple store. They have a compelling presentation and an aggressive growth plan. I am very interested to see if their concept works.
The guys from Fusian were there offering a free sushi roll at their Easton location to all attendees. I have said many times that these guys are smart and have a great thing going.
I was introduced at social hour to the Location Wines by Orin Swift. Winemaker David Phinney produces and bottles wine from different locations in the manner of the location. There is F, for France, which resembles a French Bordeaux; E, for Spain, which is a Grenache Tempranillo blend similar to a Rioja; I, for Italy, which is kind of a new world Italian using grapes from all over Italy; and AR, for Argentina, which of course is a Malbec blend. They have CA, for California, which is supposedly a blend of many different California regions, but I have been unable to “locate” a bottle to try. These wines are reasonably priced and very drinkable (I would say the E may be “E”specially good), in addition to being a super interesting idea.
So all in all I was exposed to several great ideas, and learned (again) that the ICSC Idea Exchange is a great conference to learn about and meet the exciting retailers driving shopping center growth.