I had never really thought this through, that 2 listings could have such drastic cultural differences just because of their geographical location. I have had listings in about every area of town and for the first time the difference is extremely apparent. There is a huge cultural difference between a listing at W 38th st and SR 32 in Westfield. Similar pricing, similar size, similar users and similar traffic counts. But the daily conversations and phone calls couldn’t be any more different and its really had me thinking over the past couple of weeks. So here are my simple thoughts.
First of all the spaces. I have an old and very rough restaurant space on W 38th st that used to be a Long John Silvers and then most recently a Bbq restaurant that closed several years back. We have an “available” sign on the window and the phone never stops ringing. I also have a nearly new space in Westfield on SR 32 that is in pristine shape and surrounded by the best national brands in the country and daily traffic from Grand Park. And that sign generates nearly zero phone calls. They both require work to become a restaurant as neither currently has a hood or equipment or walk in refrigeration but they both offer a huge upside to users once open and offering a great product.
So whats the difference?
38th St – Every day I receive no less then 5 calls from a Latino (yes I am assuming this but it seems that) person wondering how they can take possession. They call knowing that if they had the building they could turn it into a good restaurant and probably make enough money to support several families. They are not shy’d away by the lack of restaurant equipment or the collapsing roof but instead are driven by the opportunity of putting in the work to have a really sweet business. They do not have a business plan or a really cool written about chef on their team but instead a relative or family that is willing to jump in and do what it takes to make it work. They are willing to give it their all and succeed but I really do not think they feel like its a huge risk. Its fascinating to take these calls versus the calls from my Westfield location.
The Westfield location- Being an equal and probably better opportunity based on demographics and Grand Park the call typically begins with questions like pricing, triple nets and does it have a hood. Ok thats fair and I get this eventually from the 38th st calls. But then it becomes a conversation of literally convincing the person that I am speaking to about the great park visitors, the Monon Trail, SR 32 frontage and on and on and its a conversation with someone that is basically trying to talk themselves out of risking anything they might have. Its the polar opposite of the “endless opportunity” call on the other property and its just weird. They talk about business plans and LOI’s and parking spaces as if any of that really matters if you are doing a good job. They feel like they have everything to lose as apposed to everything to gain and I highly doubt there is a family or support system in the majority of these attempts. I talk to comfortable people and listen to them fighting to not make the wrong mistake or risk what they may not be able to get again.
While neither of them are wrong and I do not blame either of them for their ignorance, its amazing to me the difference between cultures as they look at commercial real estate or business opportunities. One group honestly sees endless reasons to push hard and keep getting better and one group is looking for ways to make only perfect decisions and protect what they have. Both to me are fair and worthy but to me one seems scared and the other seems bold and awesome. I hope that as I keep working on my skills and determinations that I retain the “anything is possible” mindset when I am doing my best and never let fear or comfort keep me from taking another step.
Curt has been in the Indianapolis Real Estate business for over 10 years and spent his first years learning all aspects of commercial management and brokerage. He has had great success in managing existing commercial projects and new retail and office developments. Curt specializes in building owner representation and purchases in the Westfield Indiana market as well throughout the Indianapolis Metro area. Curt is passionate about growing the local Westfield community and in his free time volunteers with Westfield Youth Assistance and raising 2 children with his wife Jennifer.