Property Grunt

Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Labor Day in Queens

I celebrated labor day early on Sunday with good company, food and drink. So on Labor Day I chose to head over to the Target in Queens.

I haven't been to that Target in almost two years and I decided to get some essentials. However, the essentials that I needed were not in stock at the time. I was a little bummed out and was on my way out when I noticed some interesting things about the complex.

The Target store in Queens is more of a complex which shares space with several other stores. The Target has two floors on the top level. Below it there is a Best Buy, an Outback Steakhouse and a furniture. On the ground floor is a Red Lobster, Nextel store, a Macy's furniture store and some other stores. In the basement floor is a massive shoe store that was having a clearance.

What I enjoy about walking into these types of complexes, particularly in this economy, is that it gives you an idea of who is surviving and who is on their last legs.

This is the Target outside. Now as you can see it is very busy, which isn't surprising since it is labor day. There was a lot of traffic outside the Target which did not go unnoticed because there were about 6 halal food trucks and one Mr. Softee. There were also a bunch of vendors hawking jewlery and sunglasses. Except for maybe two food trucks, the others were never there the last time I shopped at the Target.

It doesn't look too busy, however what the pictures do not show are that the crowds come in waves. There was definitely a lot of customer traffic that rolled and there were lulls of very little activity. What makes Target so popular in this economy is that they sell certain essentials like, food, toiletries, household goods and other sundries at bargain basement prices. What also makes this Target quite profitable is the fact that it is in Queens which has a massive population that have high consumption needs and is able to afford the goods that Target sells.

This Best Buy is located on the second floor. When you go up the escalator, it will be on your right. This Best Buy was doing brisk business which is probably due to the Labor day Sale I always thought that the markup for certain products would be higher in Manhattan then in Queens, however, I learned that a tripod that I recently bought at a Best Buy in Manhattan was being sold for the same price in the one in Queens.

Now this is where it gets interesting. This is an Outback steakhouse on the same floor on the Best Buy. You would think that with all that traffic that this place would be packed.

Nope. When I looked inside, the tables were bare. Does that mean everyone in Queens became a vegan? Actually I have another reason why this Outback is out of customers which I will cover later. Ohhh. I made a funny.

Next to the Outback is a furniture store and as you can see it is as dead as Lindsay Lohan's film career. Are we surprised? No. With an imploding real estate market, no one has any desire to buy new furniture because they have no place to move into, they are moving out or they have no money.

This is the Macy's Furniture store located on the ground floor and it is also experiencing the same level of business.

I have no idea why this picture looks so smoky but I can tell you that this Red Lobster was hopping to the point that it had a wait list. So why was this place hopping while the Outback was heading to the slaughterhouse? We could argue all day about deals, marketing or people's preference for seafood, but I think the answer comes down to three words. Location, location, location.

This Red Lobster is located on the ground floor of the Target Complex. It is only several feet away from the main entrance. I believe it is the reason why it is more profitable than the Outback it is smack dab in front of the highest level of traffic. Being on the ground floor is a huge advantage since no needs to go up two flights to eat. You would think that escalators would even the odds for the Outback since it is right next to the escalator but it doesn't. When it comes to the success of restaurants, the direct route plays a key factor.

So here is my analysis.

The business that provide consumer essentials like food, bathroom supplies and toilet paper at rock bottom prices have a higher chance of riding out a recession.

Big Box stores like Best Buy also have a higher chance of holding their own as long as they offer good prices but be aware that despite differences in location they will sell the same items for the same price.

Furniture stores are a horrible business to be in during a recession.

If you own a restaurant, make sure you are on the ground floor and near the main entrance. That could mean the difference between surviving and going out of business. Remember, people do not like to wait if they are hungry.