Recipe for survival for brick and mortar stores

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GREENSBORO, N.C. -- How many of your favorites have disappeared?

“Toys R Us, The Limited and Payless and Radio Shack -- those types of big brands actually filed bankruptcy,” notes UNCGreensboro professor, Jiyoung Hwang. “And, last year, 8,600 stores closed. And, this year so far, 3,000 stores are closing.”

You don’t have to convince David Farris.

“Just in the last three to five years, it has changed, drastically,” says Farris, who was part owner of the store Party Chick and Paper in the Irving Park neighborhood of Greensboro. “One thing that drove our business, when it comes to gifts and stationary and party goods, people are very last minute. You don't think about a hostess gift a month ahead of time or a week ahead of time.”

Farris and his partner had stores like this in Dallas that worked. Here, “We were still profitable when we closed up, the difference was that we weren't profitable enough to compensate for the investment and the trend was such that that didn't make sense.”

And it wasn’t the old mantra of, “Location, location, location.”

“We're in one of the best trade zones in Greensboro,” he said. “So, unless you were in the smack dab middle of Friendly Center, you really can’t beat this location.”

But the tide is against the brick and mortar stores and malls in general, according to Hwang, who specializes in marketing and entrepreneurship at UNCG’s Bryan School of Business.

“From 2010 to 2013, mall visits have decreased 50 percent” she said. “The biggest reason would be online shopping, right? People get used to the convenience -- they want the convenience.”

There are success stories and a recipe for survival. Find out what it is in this edition of the Buckley Report.

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