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).
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.
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?