You Need to Hire Chubb

“You need to hire Chubb,” 

Mr. Thompson advised John Orr, then Retail Director  at Colliers International in Charleston, SC. Orr had been ignoring Elyse Welch’s (formerly Elyse Chubb’s) many eager requests regarding an internship with him at Colliers. John Orr, CCIM had spoken to Elyse’s Real Estate Finance class at the College of Charleston several weeks before, as part of the Carter Real Estate Center, and his presentation struck a chord with Welch. Luckily for us, this earned her a 15-minute opportunity that would prove to be life-changing.

Elyse Welch was born in Peachtree City, Georgia, where she played basketball for twelve years before picking up volleyball her sophomore year of high school. The shortest in a rather tall family at six feet, Elyse excelled at sports, and by her junior year of high school was receiving scholarship offers from D1 schools across the United States for volleyball. She wasn’t the only athletic member of the Chubb family—her mother was a high school All-American athlete and played for the University of Tennessee, her father played basketball in college, and her brother, Rob Chubb, played college basketball at Auburn, then professionally in Europe. Despite the College of Charleston’s Kresse Arena being over thirty years old (she now has a piece of the original flooring at her desk, signed by her coach), the city’s beaches, charm of downtown, and historically-winning program drew Elyse in and she signed on to play for the College over many other larger schools.  There is a legacy of excellence in the Chubb family.

Volleyball was a platform for Elyse to continue to develop her winning drive. Over her four-year collegiate volleyball career, she became one of the most decorated volleyball athletes in school history: Freshman of the Year, recurring All-First Team Selection, and currently holds a dozen records for the College. In addition to a Hall of Fame Indoor Volleyball career, Elyse took the College’s inaugural Beach Volleyball team to the National Final Four, where she competed against Summer Ross, a current top ten Beach Volleyball player in the world.

While volleyball was fun and provided the perfect outlet for Elyse’s high energy and competitive spirit, it was not going to be a viable long-term career option. As her senior year came closer to ending, she began to explore what she would do with her International Business major and Spanish minor. She began to reflect on the careers of her father’s friends in real estate. She admired the lifestyles and the opportunities their jobs afforded them, so Elyse began exploring commercial real estate classes with the Carter School of Real Estate as electives, where she heard John Orr, CCIM, speak.

What struck her most about John’s lecture was his emphasis on the value of a lease—it is not just about rent rate. Elyse knew she had to work for him. She sent him follow up after follow up about her interest until, after getting no reply, she finally reached out to her dad for some advice. At the Charlotte ICSC in March of that year, John (who admits he had no idea who she was when her name was brought up by her father’s friend) agreed to chat with Elyse—if she could call him between 7:45 am and 8:00 am the next morning, during his drive between dropping his son off at school and work.

Excited to have her chance, Elyse called John the next morning from her living room, still in her pajamas, and asked for an interview. Surprisingly, he said yes, but then she got her first test: “meet me in fifteen minutes at Glazed Donuts on King Street.” She agreed, and, minutes later, found herself sprinting down King Street (“it was the fastest I have ever gotten ready in my life”) in high heels to meet him at Glazed.

John made a point in those first twenty-or-so minutes of the conversation attempting to completely dissuade Elyse from working in commercial real estate. He emphasized how old-school many of the people were to how little money she would be making to how hard it would be, and suggested that she should just take her salary job offer that was already on the table. He refilled his coffee and left her to ponder this, but when he came back she had her answer.

“I appreciate and understand what you are saying,” Elyse said graciously. “But I have a plane ticket to RECon ICSC in Las Vegas, I’m registered for the conference. I have a place to stay. I plan to return with a job in Retail Commercial Real Estate.”

Impressed with her determination—and convinced he did not want to find out what she would inevitably accomplish for someone else —John offered Elyse an internship on the spot on his team at Colliers International.

During her unpaid  internship, Elyse learned about the commercial real estate world, and caught on very quickly that you must have a mentor completely committed to your success.  Years of teamwork and coachability proved to be the best preparation for this career. Don’t be shy, always ask questions. Provide value. Find a mentor and absorb everything they do, how they do it, what they say and most importantly how they say it—that person does it that way for a reason, benefit from their experience. Most importantly in that first few years, you can’t know everything—but you can know everyone.

Soon, the Charleston Elyse knew expanded from a 7-block college bubble into the sprawling Tri-County area loved by so many. She hustled and worked 12-hour days to become an expert on the market, in addition to traveling up and down the East Coast competing in various pro-amateur volleyball tournaments on the weekends just to pay her rent. Her fate changed with a cold calling contest.

The non-principal agents in the office were tasked with canvassing, knocking on doors of businesses, in a designated area of Charleston to collect as many business cards possible, writing two facts they learned from the people they met at each location on the back to gather market knowledge to generate leads. The prize was $1,000 cash—something Elyse needed very much, and this seemed almost out of reach when she received her assigned area: North Charleston. Always the competitor and comfortable performing under pressure, especially when the cards are stacked against her, Elyse spent the evening planning her route and schedule. She even timed the route and everything down to the snack she packed for the 10 am to 2 pm window for the contest hours. The next day, she hit the ground running, and arrived back at the office with 90-something cards in her bag. The only other person even close to her number was another junior broker in the office, who was feeling confident with his list of 150 notes, and offered to take her for a coffee while the cards were officially counted by the principals—a very kind gesture from her competition and the clear winner of the contest. The two of them were in for an unexpected result.  Even though he had collected 150 notes, most were ruled incomplete or thrown out because they did not qualify.  Elyse had won!  A shining moment in her very first week of her new career following the end of her 90-day internship.  Many at the company were shocked she won, but what happened next really validated her commitment to Retail Commercial Real Estate.  She used the prize, not to pay rent, gas or food (that she desperately needed), but instead to purchase her first CCIM class. She was committed—and now everyone knew!

By having John Orr, CCIM as a mentor and Senior on the Carolina Retail Experts, Elyse understands the  importance of earning your education and the value of having the CCIM designation. Only three and a half short years after that Cold Calling contest, Elyse graduated to a leadership role on the deal team of several Shopping Center sales, new developments, redevelopments and full project lease-ups.  This experience built her Commercial Real Estate portfolio of professional expertise required to earn her CCIM designation. At the time, Elyse was one of the youngest females to ever earn the designation. Since earning the designation Elyse and the Carolina Retail Experts have expanded their territory and grown into the most dominant retail services provider in the Carolinas, consistently relied on for expert advice by property owners, retailers and the media. Since joining Lee & Associates, the Carolina Retail Experts added a new Expert, Lindsey Halter, to further increase their ability to serve clients.  In addition to a Who’s Who of property owner clients, the Experts are a proven leading Tenant Services Provider in the Carolinas representing clients including Academy Sports, Jim N Nicks Bar-b-que, First Watch Daytime Café, Books-a-Million, and American Family Care among others.

On a personal note, Elyse married Justin Welch in 2015. The pair met at a beach volleyball tournament at the Windjammer in 2012. Justin, who at 6’8” met her high standards (“need to be able to wear heels with him!”). Now, with their young son, Jackson, and dog, Calbert, they live on James Island. Elyse  remains active playing beach volleyball, beating her husband in tennis, and enjoying the great city of Charleston. Celebrating her first full year at Lee & Associates, Elyse serves on the board for several professional and collegiate advisory boards including Commercial Real Estate Women (CREW), South Carolina Commercial MLS, Commercial Market Forecast, as well as the Cougar Club at the College of Charleston, where they work to continue the important work of funding scholarships for student athletes.

Retail came naturally to Elyse, because she is passionate about understanding the psychographics of the target customer. A true understanding of the customer empowers Elyse and the Retail Services Group to create the optimal Retail Experience, generating higher sales for Tenants. The foundation of knowledge and experience with a sprinkle of ‘fairy dust’ leads to the most successful projects for Landlords and Tenants.

Elyse’s technical aptitude for the science behind retail combined with the passion and the artistic eye consistently leads to maximizing property values through strategic leasing and executing market strategies for best-in-class retails, leading to top performing sites. Elyse is the first call for these Landlords and Tenants. So, if you are serious, shouldn’t she be your first call also?

Path to the Lowcountry

He doesn’t own a gun, a horse, or a boat—so who let this New England native into Charleston? Rumor has it he has lots of friends on the golf course and those friends have the boats, guns and horses.

Pete Harper was born in St. Louis, Missouri, the youngest in a family of four. He grew up in Connecticut until he headed to college at the University of Vermont—mainly drawn to the school for civil engineering studies and the ability to hit the ski slopes after class. After graduating in 1988, Pete moved to Boston to take part in the “The Big Dig”, a massive infrastructure project that started at $5 billion but crept its way up to $18 billion.  Pete was trying to help save money, not spend it for the City of Boston. His part in this behemoth of a project included working for a general contractor as a civil engineer turning a transit and providing line and grade for large concrete structures. During his time on “The Big Dig”, he became acquainted with some large commercial developers and realized that they were the ones being the most creative and making most of the money.

Then came 1991. The development world was battling a recession, making jobs scarce and taking the fun and the money out of his career. Pete shifted back to education and decided to obtain his MBA. His decision to attend Vanderbilt University may or may not have been based on a run-in with Bob Dylan (but Pete only discloses those details in person!) while visiting Nashville.  He also made the life-changing decision to ask his girlfriend to marry him and follow him on the next step of his career and move to Nashville.  These were the two biggest decisions that would define the direction of his future.

Pete interned with Trammell Crow during business school, where his diligence and dedication paid off—he was the only intern to ever survive multiple months of cold calling in the face of constant door slams from the tenants. His perseverance resulted in a full-time job offer with the company before his second year of graduate school. He would go on to spend fifteen years in retail, five of which were with Trammell Crow. In late 1999, Pete then went to work for a power center developer in Atlanta, where he leased small shop space in large shopping centers all around the southeast. He left Atlanta in 2003 for Charleston, having leased more than 350,000 SF of shop space in five years.

The Lowcountry was a huge draw to Pete and his family. He came to work for the James Doran Company as their COO, where he was responsible for growing the company and managing the debt and equity on $250 million worth of developments. He spent his time working on town center projects around the southeast until the economy decided it had other plans in 2009. That economic downturn led Pete in a more stable direction of working to develop 600 units of affordable housing in South Carolina and Virginia.

In August of 2011, Pete made the shift back to commercial brokerage that landed him at Lee & Associates. Even with an extensive retail background, he decided to focus on the office market of Charleston and started by working on third-party-managed office properties. Pete now has two children and has been married to his wife, Lee, for 24 years. He has been with Lee for 7 years, has leased over 4 million square feet of space, and sold over $20 million worth of properties. He is an asset to the Lee team and we invite you to give Pete a call for any of your office leasing or sales needs—or simply to ask, “What happened that night with Bob Dylan?”

Pete Harper

PHarper@lee-associates.com

843.329.0108

Building Relationships, Building Value

Miles Barkley says he has the distinction — good or bad — of being part of a dying breed. He grew up in downtown Charleston, attended Porter Gaud School and enjoyed summers on Sullivan’s Island, that is until leaving for Up With People to travel the world.  After a year on the road, he started a wonderful four-year experience at Centre College in Danville, Ky., realizing that there was more to life than Charleston, SC but also never abandoning the desire to come back to live and to work in the lowcountry.

His father, Rufus Barkley, a Charleston businessman and owner of The Cameron & Barkley Co., a local and family owned business at the time until 1975 when it became employee owned, urged his children to “blaze their own trail.” Between that edict and the nudging of his mother Nella, who as a career and management coach, knew how to instill confidence, Miles took off.

With a love of music and writing, he came back home in 1982 and spent his early days as a radio DJ at WKTM 102.5 until he took up his dad’s advice and that of his friend Hal Ravenel to play music on the side and at age 25 go to work in the real estate business full time.  It proved to be a good decision at just the right time in Charleston’s ascent.  After all, he had grown up with real estate as a discussion topic around the dinner table because it was a parallel interest of his parents.   He started his career with Frank Brumley at the Brumley Company.  You may recognize him as part owner of the Barkley Fraser Real Estate Company, where he and his partner blazed a 20-year trail.  Perhaps you know him as one of the original “40 under 40” business owners, or as part owner and co-founder of the Charleston Battery Professional Soccer Team from 1989 until its sale in 2016, or you had the fun of attending one of his “Barkley Bash” Labor Day Weekend parties for 25 years—proving music, friends and jello can make an evening!  Whatever it’s been, since 1984, Miles has invested 34 years and has committed his professional and personal life to making friends, helping clients, and creating value in the lowcountry by promoting sensible and profitable growth.

As a native Charlestonian, Miles has seen first-hand the changes and history that make Charleston special.  From a local community strongly influenced by a military presence, history, and Hurricane Hugo in 1989, to a favorable business environment and location for people to migrate southward, Charleston and the surrounding communities have become an international tourist and business destination, an international arts community, and a destination for the culinary, travel, leisure world.  “I have grown along with Charleston, sharing in its prosperity,” Miles says.

Being in the business for a while has provided Miles the experience to know that what goes up, comes down, and eventually goes back up again.  In the severe downturn of 2009, Miles redirected his focus from brokerage to asset and partnership management where he spent his time on helping his clients to manage their real estate strategically, creating value in the process.

In 2012, Miles could see that Charleston was remerging and it was time for him to do the same.  Having oriented his previous full service firm locally, he saw early on the trend of aligning with a larger real estate market to sell Charleston on a larger scale. This enabled Miles to do what he does best: use his talents and knowledge of the community combined with his experience as an owner, broker, manager and developer of commercial and investment properties to build relationships into partnerships as a part of a longer term strategy.  This led to his partnership with Lee & Associates Charleston (formerly Anchor Commercial Real Estate) in 2012.  Being familiar with the local owners of this firm, he had a close relationship with both Bob Nuttall Jr. and with his late father, having served with Bob Sr. on the St. Philip’s Church vestry, where Miles served twice and once as Senior Warden.  This made joining up with Bob Jr., Milton Thomas and Reid Davis a natural business progression.  They merged their philosophy as well as business: “People First, Properties Second”, as well as a relational approach that has proven to be a successful business model in both good times and not so good times.

With a strong spiritual and family foundation with his wife Neyse and their two sons Miles Jr. (25) and James (22), Miles appreciates the never-ending quest for balance of the four F’s: faith, family friends and finances.  Miles combines the number one rule on his father’s, “Integrity, first, last and always”, with his own “work hard and play hard, and treat people as you want them to treat you” to create a central philosophy guiding the way he lives his life.

Miles is building on his experiences of the past and focusing forward at Lee & Associates Charleston.  We know him as a successful business man, a fan of concerts and a lover of outdoor activities. He can be often found on his deck at home with his wife of 26 years watching Molasses Creek flow by, thinking about the wild life and the next real estate opportunity.  We like it when people put Miles to work, putting his experience to work for you.  Rest assured that Miles and his team at Lee & Associates have your best interest at heart and will help you come up with the right real estate strategy for what you want to accomplish.

J. Miles Barkley

Mbarkley@lee-associates.com

843.514.6984

960 Morrison Drive, Suite 400

Charleston, SC 29403

Leasing in Commercial Real Estate

Leasing in Commercial Real Estate

Commercial real estate leases are an agreement between the tenant and a landlord. However, it is not always that simple, as there are many different types of leases available to interested tenants. Taxes, insurance, and utilities are all variable factors in a rental agreement and will be determined by the type of lease you sign up for.

Full service lease:

Full service leases are the most common type of commercial rental agreements. These leases are most beneficial for the tenant, since the landlord is responsible for paying the utilities, property taxes, repairs, insurance, and even janitorial services. Since the landlord pays for the building’s maintenance, businesses are able to better anticipate the monthly costs associated with leasing the property.

Net lease:

As compared to a full service lease, the annual rent for net leases is much lower. With a net lease, the tenant is responsible for the property’s taxes, insurance, and common area maintenance (CAM) fees. Net leases can fall into three categories: single, double, and triple. Which leases are available to you will largely depend on your ability to negotiate with landlords and what type of property you are renting.

Single net lease (N lease):

In a single net lease, the tenant pays the base rent plus a pro-rata share of the building’s property taxes. A pro-rata share is determined by the portion of the building the tenant is occupying. The landlord will cover the building’s maintenance, but the tenant has to pay for the utilities and janitorial services. This type of lease is the most economical for tenants.

Double net lease (NN lease):

Double net leases are the middle ground between the tenant-friendly single net and the landlord-friendly triple net. With this rental agreement, the tenant pays base rent plus a pro-rata share of the building’s property taxes and property insurance. The tenant must also pay for the utilities and janitorial services, but the CAM fees and any structural repairs are covered by the landlord.

Triple net lease (NNN lease):

Landlords prefer triple net leases since the tenant must pay the base rent along with all property taxes, property insurance, and CAM. The tenant is also responsible for the utilities and janitorial services. Although the cost of rent may be lower, the added expenses of taxes, insurance, and maintenance should be carefully considered. Most retail and restaurant leases are triple net.  

Modified gross lease:

Modified gross leases are a flexible alternative to net leases. In this agreement, the tenant is responsible for paying the base rent, utilities, and janitorial services. However, the tenant and landlord will negotiate whether property taxes, property insurance, or CAM fees are included in the base rental rate. The advantage of a modified gross lease is that there are no hidden fees or unplanned expenses. If taxes, insurance, or CAM expenses increase, then the tenant’s rent won’t go up since these fees aren’t bundled with the base rent.

When you are investigating a piece of commercial real estate, don’t get carried away by the base rent. While the base rent is important, many other fees including taxes, insurance, utilities, and maintenance can dramatically increase or decrease the overall cost of the property. A lease with a higher base rent may be worth the price tag if additional property expenses are covered by the landlord. If you are considering renting a piece of property, reading the terms of the lease and negotiating with the landlord can help you afford a beautiful office space.

 

Top Relocation Mistakes

Top Relocation Mistakes

Relocating your office space can be an exciting time, accommodating a growing business and expanding operation. Unfortunately, it can also be a stressful time when mistakes are made. Mistakes made during relocation may lead to extra costs, operational downtime, and more.

With proper planning and preparation, your business can avoid making the mistakes that will cost your organization. Avoid these common relocation mistakes to ensure your business’ move goes as smoothly as possible.

Failing to Plan Ahead

It may seem obvious, but planning ahead is necessary for a smooth office move. You should begin planning for a move while you’re still looking for a new space. Check office dimensions, make a detailed checklist, consider the vendors you will need to make the transition, and more. Planning ahead will help avoid disorganization and last minute headaches.

Timing is also an important part of the planning process. Delays will cost your operation money and may affect operations. From late starts to delayed deliveries, there are many time delays that can occur. Be sure to plan ahead, and prepare for potential delays.

Not Having Enough Space

Having enough space is about more than square footage. You may look at a space that has more than enough square footage, but the layout of the space can affect how your furniture, computers, employees, and more fit.

When it comes to how much space you need, the recommended square footage varies across industries and changes often. A broker can help you determine the right amount of space for your operation.

The right space will accommodate the current size of your business, and also allow room for growth. That way, you will not have to relocate every time your business grows or expands.

Failing to move electronics properly

Most businesses today, if not all, rely heavily on computers and IT equipment for their day to day operations. That’s why properly moving this equipment and your computer network is so important. Moving and installing computers and other electronics requires a lot of planning and the help of professionals, either from your organization’s IT team or outside professionals.

Problems with your electronic equipment can cause major problems for your business’ operation, as can lost data. Make sure your organization’s data is backed up and safely stored.

Not Hiring a Professional

The best way to smoothly relocate your office is to hire professionals every step of the way, from finding a space to moving IT equipment. Not only can professionals take the stress of relocation and finding a space off your hands, they also have the industry expertise and connections to secure the best deal.

The above are just a few of the mistakes that often come with a big move. And while relocating your office space is no easy feat, it doesn’t have to be a frustrating process. With proper planning and professional help, moving your office can be the best thing for your expanding business.

Good News: Social Sells

Good News: Social Sells

In the past, marketing was all about pushing information on your audience, used as a one way line of communication between company and audience. But now, social media and the digital sphere have transformed marketing and changed how companies interact with their audience.

Social media is an equalizer, giving a voice to everyone and creating a two way line of communication between brands and customers by allowing potential customers to engage with companies. For businesses, social platforms provide an opportunity to build relationships and engage with their audience.

Social media has become a necessary marketing tool for businesses, including commercial real estate groups. With social media, CRE groups can establish themselves as trustworthy, quality-driven industry leaders. By reaching and engaging with new customers, companies can convert social media interest to sales.

So where does building a strong social media presence start? The first step is to create a consistent image and brand across social platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, and Instagram. Your brand should appear professional and personable to attract followers and potential customers.

Once you have established your brand’s image, you can begin to post content that will demonstrate your industry expertise and engage your audience. Content may include images of properties, industry articles, local and company news, as well as company and individual updates to add a personal element to your and your customers’ online relationship.

Blogs are another great place to showcase your industry knowledge and expertise. Ideally social content will boost your company’s visibility online and help you build and foster relationships with your audience, ultimately leading to sales and lasting business relationships.

In addition to posting content and social marketing campaigns, engaging with customers and followers is a necessary element of social media marketing. It’s not just about inundating your followers with information, but building relationships that create a community around your brand. Maintaining relationships and customer trust is essential to your company’s social media presence.

By creating a strong social media presence and producing content that establishes your CRE firm as an industry expert, you can build top of mind awareness with followers and convert online interest to sales.

When utilized correctly, social media can be an invaluable tool for your CRE firm, so start sharing!

Location Spotlight: Mount Pleasant

Location Spotlight: Mount Pleasant

The Charleston area has seen major population and development growth over the past few years, and its outlying towns are no exception. As the peninsula fills up, residents are spreading out with businesses following. Mount Pleasant in particular has seen significant growth. In May of 2016, a report from the US Census Bureau ranked Mount Pleasant as the 10th fastest growing city in the United States.

Mount Pleasant’s significant growth over the last decade has caught the attention of business owners and developers, becoming a hotspot for residential and commercial projects alike. Development is spreading in all directions and reaching as far as Awendaw to the north.

Along with substantial residential growth, Mount Pleasant is bursting with opportunities for retailers and developers.

Hotels
Plans for multiple Mount Pleasant area hotels are underway and seeking approval, while construction for a few new hotels have already begun. Proposals for hotels in the area are increasing as visitors look for alternatives to downtown Charleston and hotels closer to area beaches.

Construction is underway for a 92-room Hyatt Place in Mount Pleasant Towne Centre, a shopping and lifestyle center. The Hyatt Place will join a multitude of retail spots, restaurants, and the Palmetto Grande movie theatre.

Just across Highway 17 from Town Centre, construction has begun on Indigo Square, a luxury apartment complex that will also house a 123-room hotel as well as retail and restaurant spaces on its 38 acres.

Office Space
Mount Pleasant is also seeing developments in office space from the base of the Arthur Ravenel Jr. Bridge spreading to north Mount Pleasant. 111 Coleman was 100% pre-leased before its opening at the beginning of the year, and areas like Wando Park and Carolina Park are ripe with opportunities for space.

Recent approvals include Pepper Tract, Bridgeside II, Earls Court, and others as mixed-use developments that will also offer office space. Office, hotel, and retail buildings are also planned for a former Miller Cadillac site just minutes from the Ravenel Bridge and downtown Charleston.

Retail
Mount Pleasant is seeing an upswing in construction of multi-use developments that include residential, retail, and office space. The Boulevard on Coleman Blvd. is home to luxury apartments, retail, and national restaurant chain BurgerFi.

Opportunities near neighborhood developments like Carolina Park and Gregorie Ferry Landing are also opening as people move further north. Staple shopping centers like Belle Hall, Mount Pleasant Town Centre, and the Market at Oakland farther up Highway 17 remain predominant in the area.

These are just a few of the commercial opportunities available in the Mount Pleasant area, with many more under construction or recently approved. However, a recent vote by the Mount Pleasant Town Council to increase impact fees for both residential and commercial developers may turn developers away from the area in the future.

Plans approved before the ordinance will not be subject to the new fee. It is unclear how the council’s decision will affect the future of development in the area, so take advantage of Mount Pleasant’s growth while you still can.

What’s Trending in Franchises

What's Trending in Franchises

The United States is full of franchises, from restaurants and hotels to gyms and hair salons. You can count on franchises like McDonald’s to always be expanding, but not all franchises and industries can boast the same kind of growth. Across the country and throughout the Lowcountry, certain sectors are trending and setting themselves apart in the franchising world.

Today, many franchising trends revolve around making people’s lives better by saving them time or boosting their personal health. Here are some of the franchising industries trending across the U.S. this year:

Fast Casual Restaurants

Fast Casual is one of the top growing sectors in the restaurant industry, including establishments such as Chipotle, Jersey Mike’s, MOD Pizza, and many more. Consumers love the convenience as well as the “build your own concept,” customizing their food to exactly what they want. These restaurants offer healthy, fast options in lieu of fast food drive-thrus, so consumers can have the convenience without the drive-thru guilt.

Delivery Services

Food delivery services are becoming increasingly popular with more franchises partnering with third-party apps to offer delivery services to their customers. Companies like Postmates are taking the trend even further, delivering everything from groceries to office supplies right to your door. While this trend hasn’t quite hit the Lowcountry in a big way, the concept is sure to reach our doors soon.

Tech

Today, people are holding their entire lives on their smartphones. We use technology for banking, socialization, time management, and more. Our technology simplifies our lives, and our reliance on our devices is only growing. Tech businesses offering cybersecurity services to software and apps are expanding and spreading their reach across the U.S.

Fitness

These days, fitness is in. From large gyms like Crunch Fitness or Planet Fitness that attract multitudes of people to smaller niche gyms like SoulCycle or Orangetheory that gather distinct followings, health and fitness franchises are seeing growth throughout the country.

While these trends are sweeping the nation, Charleston has a few franchising trends of its own. The area has become a hub for technology, surpassing even some of the country’s biggest tech cities when it comes to tech growth. Manufacturing is also a top franchising industry in Charleston, boasting the likes of Boeing, Mercedes, and Volvo.

Charleston has always been a popular tourist destination, and its popularity has only grown in recent years. As a result, the Holy City has seen major growth in hospitality franchises. These days, consumers are relying less on material possessions and products for happiness and more on the value of personal experiences. Charleston boutique hotels like the Dewberry, the Spectator, and the Grand Bohemian are offering the kinds of experiences consumers crave, and thus attracting developers’ attention.

Franchises are a staple of business in the United States. Consumers trust franchises as reliable and familiar, and will continue to rely on them for their goods and services. Trends may come and go, but franchises are here to stay.

Moving Into a New Office

Moving into a New Office

The lease is signed, the paperwork is finished, and it’s time to move into your new office space. After months of searching and negotiations, you can finally call the perfect space your own. You may think the hard part is over, but the move-in process can go awry if not planned properly. Here are a few planning and preparation tips for a flawless move into your new space, from furniture to security and technology.

Logistics

You’ll need at least a few months to properly plan and hash out the logistics of the move. Measurements need to be taken, furniture ordered, inspections conducted, and more. The longer you have to plan and execute the many aspects of your move, the easier it will be when the time to enter the office comes.

Furniture

New furniture needs to be ordered well before move-in day, so don’t leave this task until the last minute. Be sure to order from trusted vendors – you don’t want to end up with furniture that has a missing screw or with complicated assembly you must perform yourself.

During this phase of the move, you also need to think about how you will utilize your new office space. Think about the type of office environment you want when deciding on desk layout and furniture selection. You want to maximize the space to best fit your company needs. And even the most collaborative spaces need ways to reduce office noise. Find ways to reduce noise in the office so that your employees can work in a distraction-free environment. The softer the furnishings, the quieter the space.

When moving furniture in, whether new or from your old space, hire a moving company to do your heavy lifting. While you may think it would save money to do it yourself or with your team, an accident or injury could be very costly for your organization.

Security

The scope of your security measures may be tailored to your business and its needs, but no matter what area you work in, some level of office security is necessary. And that security must be in place before move in. Hire security experts (if you do not have a security division) to survey the space and identify necessary security measures, from employee access levels to areas that may need heightened security, like your server room. If you’re relocating, maintain security at your old space until you have officially moved from the premises.

Technology

Technology is essential to most organizations these days, so your tech should be a priority during your move. If you have an IT team, have them conduct preliminary checks of the space to make sure the new office fits all of your tech needs, from enough outlets to IT infrastructure and network connections. This may also be a good time for your team to update your network and computer systems to fit with the most current industry best practices. If your organization does not have its own IT team, research and find professionals who can help make your tech move.

Move-in

While you should not rely on your team for the heavy lifting and moving required for relocation, you do want to delegate other moving tasks around the office to help the process. Task team members with certain duties and chores, whether it’s organizing aspects of the move specific to their department or making sure that all desks have been cleared out. If your team is relocating to a new space, it’s also a good time to take inventory and purge any unnecessary office or personal items. Encourage employees not to bring any items they will not need to the new office to avoid clutter.

There are other aspects of the move you need to be sure have been completed by move-in day. Issue a change of address so that clients do not send important documents or show up for a meeting at the old location, and to vendors so that your deliveries reach you at the right space and at the right time. You also need to communicate with your employees and ensure they understand procedures involved with the new space, from parking to building rules and layout.

And last but not least, enjoy your new space! Move-in can be stressful, but with the right planning and preparation, the moving process doesn’t have to be a nightmare. And when those few unavoidable headaches associated with a big move do come, just remember that moving into an office or relocating to the right space is a great step for your business.

6 Tips for Finding the Perfect Office Location in the Lowcountry

6 Tips for Finding the Perfect Office Location in the Lowcountry

The Lowcountry has become a premiere area for startups to launch and businesses to expand. In fact, the Holy City ranks 27th on the Forbes list for the “Best Places for Businesses and Careers.” As a result, many businesses are eager to call the Charleston-area home. If your organization is looking to relocate to or within the Lowcountry, here are a few tips for finding the perfect office space.

Determine how much space you need

First and foremost, you need to know how much space is required for your operations to run smoothly and your employees to work comfortably. Find a space that can accommodate your business now, and that may have room for growth if you are just starting out or expect to expand within a few years. 1,000 square feet for every four to six employees is a typical rule of thumb. And don’t forget about storage space for materials and supplies.

Set your price point

It’s also necessary that you determine how much your business can afford to pay for office space. Set a budget with a little bit of wiggle room, and narrow your search to spaces that fit your budget. You may be able to negotiate price and terms, but with a high demand for space in the Charleston area, you shouldn’t count on being able to negotiate in order to fit your budget.

Think about your employees

With about 35 people moving to Charleston each day, traffic in the area has become quite congested. While it will be impossible to find a space with only a five minute commute for all of your employees, be considerate and try to choose a centralized location that is relatively convenient for most of your employees.

Visit multiple spaces

When researching office spaces, the Internet is a great resource. However, you may think you’ve found the perfect space in your online research only to find that in person the building isn’t well maintained or the space isn’t as big as you expected. That’s why it’s important to have multiple options and to actually visit each space. You may find that your last choice ends up being the right one!

Consider a coworking space

Coworking spaces have become a popular trend in business, especially for smaller organizations or those working with a tight budget. There are multiple coworking spaces available in the Charleston area, offering a range of office space options for individuals and organizations to choose from.

Try to talk to current tenants

If possible, try to talk to the space’s current tenants or other tenants in the same building. Ask how the space has worked for them, what they would change if they could, and other questions about their experience in the space and with the landlord. Tenants may also have inside information and tips about traffic in the area, or nearby restaurants and activities.