Anchored Center vs. Strip Mall

Tenants like anchored malls because they’re told they are better. That’s not always the case, because other factors such as exposure, ingress and egress, and intersection positioning are critical for convenience tenants. Read how we helped this fast food franchisee make a decision.
ripsy asks…I’m a franchisee of a top sandwich food chain who has an opportunity to build out a new store on a busy intersection. Here’s my problem…I have the option to choose between one of two centers that are being built on the intersection.

In Center 1, Ican get into an endcap not on the hard corner but on a pad 50 yards or so from the light. Visibility is excellent as is parking. It is a small sized center and is anchored by a CVS/Pharmacy store and Jack in the Box Drive thru. Occupancy is around 50% currently (with more tenants
Center two is a larger center anchored by a grocery chain as well as Starbucks, Carl’s Jr. Dental office, Bank, clothing store, etc. The problem is that my location is inline (4th in a pad of 6 spaces). Visibility is very poor, the Starbucks pad and a Carl’s Jr drive thru are in front of my pad and it cannot really be seen easily from the main street. LL has offered space on the monument sign for a fee of course. In front of the space offered there are 2 disability parking spaces. In general parking is very poor for my location.

Assuming Rent and CAM are similar for both locations…what is the optimum location for me to get into?
I know Center 1 is smaller and not anchored by a major, but I get a great location endcap on main street with great access and parking. Center 2 is much larger with more draw and daily traffic, however visibility and parking is very poor.

Ripsy, you’ve come to the right place and I’ve got your answer;-)

Now remember, I have a bias as I’m a strip mall developer, and we only have one anchored center. BUT, this site is about you, not I, and I think I can be objective. I like to list a rank order of preferred locations for convenience tenants, and your sandwich shop is a classic example. Here would be my choices as a tenant:

First Choice: Hard corner, endcap, anchored (assuming great exposure)
Second Choice: Hard corner, endcap, unanchored, (assuming great exposure)
Third Choice: Inline, anchored with great exposure
Fourth Choice: Inline strip mall, with great exposure
Fifth Choice: Inline anchored with marginal exposure

Sixth Choice: You were expecting inline strip mall with marginal exposure, right? Wrong. That is NOT an option. Strip malls work because of the 100% street exposure. Without an anchor to draw the customers in, poor exposure in a strip mall should be a pass for both tenant and developer.

Ripsy, you’re in a numbers game, and I don’t care how people see you as long as they DO see you. I favor big traffic numbers over small slow drive bys or walk bys, because even though you get a better kill rate with those, the numbers are often too small. If you have a traffic count of at least 30,000 cpd going by your strip mall, and I’m sure you do with Jack and CVS there, you have numbers on your side.

As Professor of Marketing at CSUS years ago, I used to tell my students that they were subjected to 40,000 impressions daily, and it was up to them as marketers to be a part of that and to stand out. Imagine the number today. Why keep your store a secret in center 2? I’m going for the proven concept, Ripsy, and that’s Center #1. Good luck and let is know what you decide.

Your comments in agreement or disagreement are welcome!

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