Specialty brick-and-mortar stores gain popularity for post-pandemic entrepreneurs

Renaissance Properties offers growth opportunities for a new generation of commercial operators.

CHESTERFIELD, NJ – It’s all about the experience. Retailers are tasked with a singular goal – to provide consumers with a personalized experience while delivering the right product or service in the shortest amount of time. This goal has never changed, but the way in which that experience gets delivered has certainly evolved over time. A new crop of business owners at some of Renaissance Properties’ commercial centers are leading that evolution.

“The COVID pandemic crisis has forced many businesses to reassess decades-old traditional business models or face closing permanently,” according to the International Trade Administration.

Forbes reports that Americans spent $1.7 trillion online during the last two years of the pandemic, according to new data from Adobe. That’s $609 billion more than two years before COVID, or an increase of 55 percent.

So, in a time when e-commerce has reached an all-time high, what’s on the horizon for traditional brick-and-mortar stores?

“We’re seeing smaller retailers integrating offline and online channels for omnichannel success as we move away from the pandemic,” said Robert Adinolfi, Chief Operating Officer at Renaissance Properties. “We have also noticed that the e-commerce and other non-traditional businesses that popped up during the pandemic are now searching for brick-andmortar storefronts in order to satisfy customers who now desire to have in person experience.”

“Being an online only boutique, it was difficult to connect on a personal level with my customers,” said Jenna Guzzi, founder and owner of the new Jenna Rose’s Boutique at Renaissance Plaza at Old Bridge. “I conducted live shopping events to make online shopping more personable, but I felt it just wasn’t enough. Fashion is more than just style; it is about expressing yourself and feeling your absolute best self. I felt opening a brick-and mortar location would be the best way to connect with customers, helping their shopping experience become more comfortable.”

Guzzi’s recently opened shop with frontage on busy Route 9 represents a combination of style and service that serves to enhance the shopping experience for the customers by allowing for instant, in-person feedback and guidance.

Jia Wertz, a Forbes contributor, says that after two years of brick-and mortar stores competing with e-commerce and the digital economy, it’s critical to increase the value of the in-store experience. “The shift in consumer behavior has left retailers in a unique position – after years of closures, reduced hours, and very little foot traffic, the tides are turning, and consumers are appreciating the in-person experience more than before,” Wertz added.

With a portfolio of commercial centers offering accommodating spaces for both boutique and mid-sized businesses, Renaissance Properties is prepared to service this new generation of commercial operators. One new center known as The Shops at Old York Village in Chesterfield was conceived and constructed specifically with smaller, neighborhood-type operators in mind. This stunning new “downtown” mixed-use center represents the only significant commercial center in the Smart Growth community of Old York Village, which consists of 1,100 households within walking and biking distance. It is home to STEM Academy for Young Kids, the future Gervasio’s Italian Family Restaurant, Fundaes Arcade & Ice Cream, and Mikey Bagels. The shops benefit from a built-in market of dense households looking for nearby goods and services.

“Businesses seeking to distinguish themselves from the more common strip centers found along Routes 130 and 206, each less than two miles away, will find The Shops at Old York Village to be a unique and appealing alternative” said Adinolfi. New Jersey Turnpike and Route 295 are also only a few minutes away, making this an accessible destination to a young and desirable demographic both north and west of the center.

Interesting storefronts that give the impression that the center was built over time along with ample parking and a host of thoughtful, aesthetic touches add to the appeal and truly make The Shops at Old York Village stand out in the local market.

To learn more about The Shops at Old York Village, call Patrick Dintrone of NAI Fennelly Commercial Real Estate at (609) 520-0061 or email at PDintrone@Fennelly.com.

For availabilities in any of Renaissance Properties’ commercial centers in Monmouth or Middlesex County, call Robert McDaid at (732) 970-9400 x121 or email RobertM@RenaProp.com.

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