Wednesday, August 30, 2017

Probing the Voids of This Retail Microcosm

People like to talk about "macroeconomics" a lot. Those are the "big picture" people. My mission here is "microeconomics". The reasoning being: You can't understand what's happening on the "macro" scale if you don't have a firm grasp on "micro" scale dynamics.

Apparel Shortage

With Stein Mart in the midst of its store-closing sale, Kendall Park/Franklin Park will be losing its one major clothing store. Alankar Boutique, which designs and sells women's clothing for the Indian demographic, remains. Still, there's a large segment of the local population who aren't Indian. Could it be most people now buy their clothing online? There must be plenty of people who want to see, feel and try on clothing before they buy (me, for one). I have a hard time believing that most people in the area buy their clothing at the two local Targets. It could be Costco and BJ's Warehouse, both close by, have eaten away at the discount clothing consumer that's also Stein Mart's target customer. More likely, it's a combination of factors.  Nevertheless, there seems to be a void. And in the business-world, where there is a void, there is opportunity. Perhaps a second-hand clothing store would work if you could get cheap enough rent. To succeed, any apparel store would require a creative angle. A Children's Place Outlet survived for many years just south of Route 518. Another apparel outlet might work well in the space where Stein Mart is now.

Coffee Hangout

Another void, the local coffee shop. Franklin Park Diner can probably serve that purpose for some. However, I'm surprised that there's no full-sized Starbucks or Panera in this area. For a Starbucks, you either have to go to North Brunswick, about 6 miles away; Somerset, 9 miles away; or Princeton, about 10 miles, to buy a grande cappuccino and plop into an overstuffed chair to read, write your blog, or listen to podcasts through your earbuds. 

If you absolutely crave or are addicted to Starbucks coffee, there's the counter at Stop & Shop, but they'll look at you funny if you bring in a chair to relax and read. There was a Rock'n' Joe coffee shop at Towne Place shopping center (near Kendall Park roller rink) a few years ago, but that didn't last very long.

Better yet, maybe the Franklin Township Library Franklin Park branch can start serving coffee and croissants. Oh, but they don't allow any food in there.  Drat!

Let me know what's going on in your business on Route 27 between Finnegan's Lane and Route 518. Email me at

Liz Kiesche
Twitter: @FollowFinance1

No comments:

Post a Comment