When Opportunity Knocks…

When Opportunity Knocks…

When Opportunity Knocks…

Last Sunday was the Das Renn Treffen show in South Miami. Over 450 Porsches – from 60-year old 356s to brand spanking new 911 GT3s – were parked on the streets of South Miami. It’s the largest Porsche show on the Eastern Seaboard and probably the second largest in the country (after the Luftgekült show in Los Angeles).

Opportunity knocks

Not only were the streets of South Miami loaded with Porsches, they were also loaded with people. And as you might imagine, a good percentage of the people roaming the streets were affluent consumers, interested in buying Porsche cars, eating brunch, and shopping for whatever else suited their fancy. To paraphrase the old saying, collectors of vintage German sports cars put the conspicuous in conspicuous consumption.

So you would think the retailers in South Miami would be overjoyed at their good luck. You’d think they’d not only throw their doors wide open, but they’d put out displays of unique products, maybe offer Porsche or racing-themed promotions, serve mimosas or do whatever they could to entice the gaggle of affluent shoppers wandering past into their stores.

You’d be wrong.

Believe it or not, most of the shops in the Sunset Road area were closed during the show. Not only didn’t they support what has grown into an enormous local event, they didn’t even bother to open their doors to take advantage of all the people in their neighborhood. Instead, store after store greeted their new visitors with darkened storefronts and “CLOSED” signs hanging in their windows.

What do you say when opportunity knocks?

Don’t forget that this is in a day and age when pundits are suggesting that bricks and mortar retail stores are spiraling downward towards obsolescence. According to Forbes Magazine, the Census Department release on retail sales for June 2017 gave a sobering look at the current state of American retail. Every major reporting category except electronics and appliance stores and sporting goods, hobby, book and music stores showed a monthly decline. And PWC’s 2017 Retail Trends Report was even clearer, “To be sure, the trends are not good for store-based retailers, which generally complain of challenging conditions and frugal consumers.”

But what do these “store-based retailers” complain about when the throngs of people eager to visit their stores are not “frugal consumers” but affluent, eager shoppers? How about when the most “challenging condition” their customers might experience is having to make their way around a one and a half million-dollar Porsche 959 or an $850,000 Porsche 918 in order to enter a store?

My father used to say, “When opportunity knocks you can’t say ‘come back later.”

But what do you do when opportunity doesn’t knock but instead blares its autobahn-tuned air horns asking to come in and purchase when your store is closed?

By | 2018-02-13T15:01:39+00:00 February 13th, 2018|14 Comments

14 Comments

  1. Jeff Zbar February 14, 2018 at 10:22 am - Reply

    Celebrated business strategist and occasional funny-man Milton Berle once said, “If opportunity doesn’t knock, build a door.” Apparently these retailers don’t follow him on Facetweet.

    But seriously, he did say that. And sometimes when opportunity falls in your lap, you have to be astute enough to recognize it.

    Alas, Opportunity Lost (not on Bruce, tho’. Nice post)

  2. Jim Donovan February 14, 2018 at 10:32 am - Reply

    Bruce, you nailed it again. Same thing happened up here in Heathrow Town Center last week with auto show. Don’t get it. All the best.

    Jim

  3. Caroline De Posada February 14, 2018 at 10:52 am - Reply

    Its quite shocking how often businesses miss opportunities. I often wonder am I missing something? Is there something I don’t see? Is this really not an opportunity? But until someone proves me wrong, I will continue to believe these business owners are letting profit slip through their fingers. Great post.

  4. Jim Fried February 14, 2018 at 10:54 am - Reply

    Always need to be “open for business” – you never know when it will present itself or what the opportunity might be

  5. Lori Anne Wardi February 14, 2018 at 10:59 am - Reply

    Spot on Bruce! It’s the same thing in Miami’s beautiful, new Design District! Half the stores are closed on the weekends, which is actually the only time many people with cash have the time to stroll around and shop — making the place seem like a ghost-town! What are they thinking!?

    • Bruce Turkel February 15, 2018 at 10:49 am - Reply

      Exactly, Lori, “What are they thinking?” Or, to paraphrase David Hawes, “What are they NOT thinking?”

  6. Bob Del Pozo February 14, 2018 at 11:26 am - Reply

    Perfect!!!

  7. David J. Hawes MAS+ February 14, 2018 at 2:45 pm - Reply

    Bruce,

    Gavidae Commons, a multi-level shopping mall located three blocks from US Bank Stadium the sight of Super Bowl 2018, was closed on Super Bowl Sunday.

    Kind of makes you wonder… who’s not running the store?

    • Bruce Turkel February 15, 2018 at 10:48 am - Reply

      I love that, David: “Who’s NOT running the store?”

  8. Henry Martinez February 14, 2018 at 7:23 pm - Reply

    Very insightful Bruce, it was an incredible opportunity for the merchants to display their merchandise. The Porsche display was amazing, look forward to next years event and hopefully some better welcoming from the merchants. P.S. at least the Irish bar put an ice cold beer cooler on the sidewalk to sell the frosties, smart!

    • Bruce Turkel February 15, 2018 at 10:47 am - Reply

      Interesting observation, Henry. “The Porsche display was amazing, look forward to next year’s event…”
      As you’ve seen, the event grows year after year and the quality and expense of the cars on display continues to grow. What that means is that there are more and more people with money wandering the streets of South Miami. What’s more the spouses of the car aficionados who may not be as interested in the cars and may want to be looking at, and shopping for, other things are there too.
      Sorry I didn’t notice the Irish bar’s promo — I would have loved a cold beer!

  9. Ray Raposo February 15, 2018 at 10:57 am - Reply

    Wow! Great observation like always.

  10. Douglas Stevens February 15, 2018 at 11:58 am - Reply

    This is astonishing!!! Sadly, it doesn’t surprise me. Dittos on the other comments. I think you are looking at some self serving attitudes that don’t recognize these opportunities.

    But as an extension, would the Porsche group feel unwanted and feel that Miami does not support them?

  11. Doreen February 23, 2018 at 1:31 pm - Reply

    It is crazy, I know – I have been a judge for the South Miami Art Festival over the years and witnessed the same “closed door” policy – merchants obviously do not want to participate. I live in the Grove and this past weekend, visitors to the Art Festival saw every type of opportunist there is trying to entice customers. Lingerie models in store windows, boas on well-oiled, bikini clad men and women (snakes, not feathers), live music, face painters, booths in front of their businesses, etc. Anything goes! But as a former restaurateur who had to endure Carnival on the Mile, Halloween on the Mile, Jr. Orange Bowl Parade and other events with street closures – during these events, it was hit or miss whether or not we would end up with paying customers, usually they wanted to use the bathroom – we had to be very clever to turn a dollar – such as personally visiting every booth and passing out special menus offering free delivery to their booths; I had to set-up my own booth in front of my restaurant with buckets of ice cold drinks and offer complimentary items. On Halloween, staff dressed in costumes, passed out free candy and discount coupons and we held drawings and contests. We also were sponsors of many Gables activities, such as Chamber events and the Miracle Theatre to market our business and steer customers our way. It was a constant battle – but we did everything we could to earn a buck! I really don’t understand why South Miami merchants are so resistant to “going with the flow” and joining the party! What they should have done is hold an impromptu “October Fest in February”, featuring German beer and simple German food like bratwurst on bun! Viel Vergnügen!

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