BEND, OR, June 14, 2016 – Compass Commercial last month circulated a brief survey asking community social media groups to weigh in on what was missing in the Bend retail market. The questions were intended to provide insight to the company’s brokers attending the International Council of Shopping Centers’ retail convention in Las Vegas last month.
ICSC RECon, as it is called in the industry, is the largest retail real estate convention in the world. The four-day event gathers over 36,000 attendees and more than 1,000 exhibitors from across the country at the Las Vegas Convention Center and gives regional brokers an opportunity to meet with tenants, other brokers, developers, lenders, and industry related professionals (software consultants, etc.) from around the country.
“It’s a place to pitch ideas, share current listings with prospective tenants, and get in front of retailers that Compass Commercial is interested in representing on a regional level,” said Joel Thomas, a broker with Compass Commercial who attended the convention along with Russell Huntamer, CCIM, Peter May, CCIM and Dan Kemp, Broker.
Feedback from the retail survey provided the brokers with a small snapshot of the community’s retail “wants” in advance of the convention.
“We saw a definite consensus that both In-N-Out Burger and Nordstrom Rack would be well received in our market,” said Thomas.
Whether or not the survey feedback helped to influence retailers in coming to Bend remains to be seen. The brokers aren’t at liberty to share the confidential nature of what was discussed, nor who they met with.
“Our team met with very specific retailers that we are looking to either represent just in our market or throughout the entire state, while using the forum to pitch some of our current listings,” Thomas said. “However, at this point, I am not comfortable disclosing to the general public who those retailers are,” he continued with a smile.
While RECon is the biggest show of the year, there are also smaller, quarterly conventions that Compass Commercial brokers attend, but for brokers looking to make a name in the retail sector, RECon is a must.
“We jam pack the day with as many 30-minute meetings as possible with retail real estate managers, other brokers, and developers,” said Thomas. “It’s our opportunity to meet with people we think will benefit the Bend community. It’s a great venue to network because literally, all the players are there.”
Bend has continued to gain momentum in the eyes of national retailers. At the convention Thomas said Bend no longer needed an introduction.When the team approached retail booths prepared to give an overview of the Bend market, real estate managers and developers would cut them off, not just in an effort to save time in the short 30-minute windows for meetings, but mainly because they were well aware of Bend’s demographics and its place on the map. They wanted to know more about future growth and current opportunities.
“It was encouraging to see retailers’ eyes light up when we mentioned that we were from Bend,” Thomas said. “Nationwide, retailers are hearing great things about Bend, and wanted to know more about its growth potential, how it fared in the economic recession, where opportunities are and where we see Bend going in the next decade or so.”
Compass Commercial focuses on more than just the Bend market. The annual convention gives Thomas and the team a chance to share their unique knowledge of the greater Oregon market to a targeted list of retailers.
“For several months, we’ve been setting up meetings with folks that are either already in our market that we think could expand, or retailers that aren’t in our market that we think could use a presence in Central Oregon.”
Bend has made a name for itself beyond the Pacific Northwest, especially within the tourism related industries and retailers want a piece of the action. As to who those retailers will be, the community will have to wait and see.