Each year, thousands of real estate professionals from around the world gather in Las Vegas during the third weekend in May for the International Council of Shopping Center’s Global Retail Real Estate Convention, more commonly known as RECon.
This year, more than 37,000 industry professionals attended RECon. Among them was Sport Clips Haircuts' entire team of real estate directors and area developers, as was the franchise’s founder and CEO, Gordon Logan.
To say that RECon is an important event for Sport Clips’ corporate team would be an understatement. “It’s our Super Bowl,” said Jessica Rossy, director of Real Estate for Sport Clips.
“We take months to prepare,” she said. “This is the hub for everything and everyone that matters in our field. Landlords, developers, retailers, even municipalities are here, and for three days, all the attendees schedule meetings in half-hour increments.”
If that sounds exhausting, Rossy is clear: “It is.” But it’s also exhilarating," she says.
“It’s hard work, but it’s so worth it because we walk away with real, concrete opportunities,” she said. “Plus there’s that great feeling of building strong relationships. I’ve been in this business for 13 years, and I’ve made honest-to-goodness best friends at RECon.”
Rossy says her team spends most of their time at RECon securing meetings with landlords and developers, looking for Sport Clips next 150+ store locations for 2019.
“We take every meeting we can get,” Rossy said. “We get in front of landlords and developers to learn about every opportunity out there and build key relationships, so Sport Clips is top-of-mind when new opportunities become available.”
While Rossy and her team scour the convention for opportunities with developers and landlords, Gordon Logan has meetings with high-level executives from some of the world’s biggest development firms.
“Sport Clips has been so well-received by these major firms,” Rossy said. “Having Gordon available to meet with their executives has been such a benefit. They enjoy hearing about the company values of: Do What’s Right, Do Your Best, and Treat Others the Way They Want to be treated. Knowing that’s how we conduct business gives comfort in relationships and business.”
Though Sport Clips approaches each RECon with a deliberately open mind toward any and all opportunities, Rossy says the team arrives with a plan to optimize the franchise’s development strategy.
“Each of us who manages a territory will look carefully for opportunities in their markets,” she said. “We’ll look at where our existing stores are, note any potential gaps and then attend each meeting with an optimization map so we can show potential partners exactly where we want to grow.”
Even when there are no immediate opportunities available, Rossy says the optimization maps are powerful tools to make the most of Sport Clips’ meetings with developers and landlords.
“Sometimes a developer will have a development area that overlaps directly with one of our target markets, and that’s great. But often they’ll take a look at our map and not another area where they have an opportunity we may not have been looking at, and that’s a chance for us to take a step back and take a second look at our immediate strategy, and that can open our eyes to new opportunities.”
Rossy says RECon is consistently one of the most exciting and productive weekends of her year, but this year’s convention was particularly valuable.
“We take this show very seriously. It’s a powerful way for us to stay top-of-mind in the industry, which is a big part of our strategy to remain the leading men and boys’ haircare provider, she said. “This year was a solid success in that respect. I personally left the show with a number of new opportunities, including some in key markets that we’ve been targeting for development. That was the cherry on top of the experience this year.”