Header graphic for print

Retail Law Advisor

Let Freedom Ring!

Posted in Holiday, Retail

RainbowAmericanFlagGoulston & Storrs has a long and proud tradition of supporting diversity. It’s not just a theoretical goal; we believe diversity helps us recognize and appreciate alternate viewpoints which ultimately improves our firm and our ability to serve our clients.

Two years ago we spoke in support of the Supreme Court’s decision declaring Section Three of the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) unconstitutional. As longtime supporters and pro bono counsel for MassEquality we were gratified by this result. A few days ago, the Supreme Court legalized same-sex marriage nationwide, marking the end of a long chapter of activism. And just last week, Marc Solomon visited our offices to share insights from his book, Winning Marriage.

We celebrate our clients and colleagues who have labored tirelessly for many years in the fight for marriage equality, and share in their pride with the Supreme Court’s historic decision.

As we look to Independence Day, we are reminded what those brave patriots in 1776 achieved for us: limitless possibilities for individuals, families, governments, academic institutions and businesses. Since our founding, we have strengthened the links across a broad continent and an increasingly diverse population.  We have built a cross-country railroad linking our coasts; united fifty states; accomplished air travel, put humans on the moon and countless other achievements. All of those initiatives were possible because of the people behind them– including waves of immigrants from all continents– and the businesses they created to support the endeavor. In fact, many retail establishments are likely in business today due to the advent of rail travel and they will continue to adapt as mobile commerce evolves.

Two centuries later, we still enjoy limitless possibility: from the local small business owner looking to expand his business to the big box retailers who grew their brands from humble beginnings, we are all reminded that Friday’s Supreme Court decision is just one more milestone on the long path to progress. The wedding-planning business, and retailers in general will likely see a boost as a result of Friday’s decision, as we have already seen with companies like Target and insurance provider Esurance beginning to market specifically to gay couples.

Happy Fourth of July and let freedom ring!

Does Your Website or Mobile App Discriminate?

Posted in Compliance, Retail, Technology

Keyboard - access key Contact usAre you confident that your business complies with federal anti-discrimination laws?  If you offer goods or services to the public through the Internet, the answer may not be as simple as you think.  Increasingly, lawsuits are targeting retailers and other service providers that have an online presence, claiming that if their websites and/or mobile apps cannot be used equally by consumers who are blind, deaf, physically impaired or otherwise disabled, they violate the Americans with Disabilities Act of 1990 (the “ADA”). This area of law is still evolving, but taking some measures now may reduce the risk that your business will be the target of a discrimination lawsuit.

Title III of the ADA prohibits discrimination against disabled persons in places of “public accommodation.” This generally requires most businesses that provide goods or services to the public to be as accessible for persons with disabilities as they are for those without.  Traditionally, Title III has been applied to require businesses to provide equal access to stores, restaurants, and other physical spaces.  As our society has increasingly moved beyond the physical world and into the virtual, however, there has been a growing debate about whether the ADA also applies to our virtual stores, supermarkets, libraries, movie theaters, and other businesses.

The law on the ADA as it applies to the Internet remains unsettled.  Enacted in 1990, the ADA was not drafted with the Internet in mind, and Congress has not amended the ADA to modernize it in that respect. Courts across the country have disagreed on whether the ADA applies to Internet-only businesses, or only to those that also have a physical space.  For example, a federal court in Massachusetts ruled the ADA does apply to Netflix’ streaming service, while federal courts in California disagreed and ruled it does not.  Unfortunately, the United States Department of Justice (the “DOJ”), which is tasked with enforcing the ADA, continues to delay the release of its long-anticipated rulemaking on the topic – most recently pushing back the expected release from June 2015 to April 2016.

The lack of settled law and clear regulations has not stopped the DOJ and other complaining parties from aggressively pursuing claims against businesses that host websites or apps thought to be violating the ADA.  Even if not won outright, these claims can force large settlements, generate hefty legal expenses, and cause significant damage to a business’s reputation.  Until the law is clarified, how are businesses to protect themselves?

Though we do not yet know what the DOJ’s rules will look like, the DOJ has given some clues along the way that should help businesses to avoid being targeted in these suits.  In settlements with businesses alleged to have violated the ADA on the Internet, the DOJ consistently has required that the business comply with the World Wide Web Consortium’s Web Content Accessibility Guidelines 2.0 (“WCAG”).  These guidelines focus on making the Internet more accessible for persons with disabilities, suggesting accommodations such as having text alternatives for non-text content to help hearing-impaired users, being fully navigable by keyboard for physically impaired users who may be unable to use a mouse, and being compatible with ‘screen readers’ for vision-impaired users.  The WCAG sets three levels of conformity – from the lowest at level A to the highest at AAA – and the DOJ has generally required compliance with levels A and AA.

The WCAG are only guidelines, and are not mandatory for private businesses.  Still, they signal what the DOJ views as appropriate and what the DOJ’s rules may ultimately look like. In addition to aiming for WCAG Level AA conformity, the DOJ has also suggested through settlements that it would be reasonable to require businesses to have an executive or employee charged with ensuring WCAG compliance, and to hire independent auditors to conduct periodic evaluations of such WCAG compliance.  Finally, it may also be advisable to train your customer service staff to escalate complaints about website or mobile app inaccessibility so that problems can be remedied quickly.  Whether the ultimate rules look like the WCAG or are different, it is clear that rules are coming.  Taking the above steps may help to protect your business by keeping you ahead of the curve.

From the Suburbs to the City: How Grocery Retailers are Filling the Urban Grocery Gap

Posted in Retail

Shopping carts in a rowAs residential high-rises pop up all over the city of Boston, big-name grocery retailers are sprouting nearby to meet the increased demand.  The most recent example is the opening of a Roche Bros. supermarket in Downtown Crossing in late April of this year.  Occupying part of the old Filene’s Basement, Roche Bros. stands to benefit from the hundreds of new residents that Millennium Place has attracted, and the Millennium Tower will soon attract, to Downtown Boston.  Earlier this year, Whole Foods Market opened yet another location at the former Boston Herald site in the South End.  More supermarkets seem to be on the way, including a Star Market near North Station and a Wegmans Food Markets in Fenway.

With more people choosing to live in the city, it is no surprise that grocery retailers have spotted the market opportunity.  Worth noting, however, are the ways in which these retailers have adapted their traditional suburban supermarkets to fit city living.  Grocery retailers face a variety of challenges, and opportunities, when operating in the city.  These include higher development and operating costs, constraints on physical space that affect parking and store layouts, and a consumer base that is more on-the-go, desirous of fresher foods, and dependent on public transportation.

Below are some of the ways grocery retailers have responded to these unique challenges and opportunities:

  • Prepared / grab-and-go foods.  Capitalizing on not just the residents, but also the thousands of office workers in the Financial District, Roche Bros.’s street level floor in Downtown Boston is devoted primarily to ready-to-eat food prepared on-site covering breakfast, lunch and dinner, such as breakfast pastries, sandwiches, soups, salads and sushi.
  • Smaller portions.  City grocery retailers are less likely to see minivans in parking lots being loaded up with a week or two’s worth of groceries for the whole family.  Recognizing that urban consumers are often walking, biking or taking public transportation to the store and purchasing for a household of only one or two people, city grocery retailers are offering smaller portion sizes for a variety of food items with the expectation that these consumers will shop more frequently.
  • Delivery services.  Many of the large grocery retailers offer delivery services with a minimum order amount, which helps those needing to buy a heavier load and/or trying to fit a home-cooked meal into their busy schedules.
  • Limited assortment stores.  Trader Joe’s has achieved tremendous success in this category.  Its limited and carefully picked offering of products enables it to have a smaller physical footprint in the city, keep its prices low and still provide consumers what they want.  Its small but very popular location on Boylston Street in the Back Bay occupies only 7,118 square feet.

As Boston continues to experience growth in jobs and population, the development of new grocery stores will likely follow suit, providing fresher, healthier and more affordable food options to those living and working in the city and its neighborhoods.

Summer Retail: Sales Tax Holidays, Pit Stops, and Where the Deals Are

Posted in Retail

flip-flops-1-537x402Memorial Day has passed and while offices still hum with productivity, we can feel summer around the corner. With that in mind, we’ve explored what might be in store for the retail industry this summer.

Although the usual break of seasons has extended somewhat — we see back-to-school shopping starting in July and holiday shopping starting in October — there are still some recognized times of the year for good deals. According to consumer trend-spotters, in early summer, shoppers will be looking for fitness-oriented items and tools, perhaps for expected out-of-office time or in preparation for home improvement with warm weather ahead. During the dog days of summer, although one’s mind turns to vacation, for some consumers it will be time to feather the nest. Analysts predict sales of home goods and furniture to be strong in July until consumers turn their attention to school shopping and smaller goods in August.

For many states, this summer will bring a sales tax holiday. Retailers selling big-ticket items such as furniture, appliances, electronics, in addition to major purchases like cars, will need to be prepared with sufficient inventory and also understand what the rules governing sales tax  holidays. Check here for a full list of expected 2015 tax holidays if you think your business might need to gear up for the event.

Retailers will need to staff appropriately for the summer, which can be unpredictable with weather and vacations. A perennial favorite of college students, retail jobs this summer are predicted to be scarce but still available for motivated individuals who don’t mind being persistent and pounding the pavement a bit. Non-mall retailers such as those located in strip malls, shopping plazas, airport stores, hotel retail shops and locally-owned businesses may have their pick of talented applicants once mall retailers fill open positions.

Consumers will hit the road this summer, whether for the once-in-a-lifetime cross country drive or the every-weekend trek to the local beach. Regardless of distance, increased traffic on the roads means increased traffic at gas stations and convenience stores. Earlier in the year, analysts were predicting a few trends in the grocery industry, including an increased focus on technology and health and wellness. These customer-driven enhancements extend to convenience stores such as 7-11, Kroger and Wawa. Families on road trips are demanding many things from their rest stops: clean facilities, healthy snacks and meals, and easy access to fuel and places to relax. Additional menu items, greater attention to healthy options and more green space and dining space around the property will continue to drive the construction, development and upgrades of convenience stores and gas stations.

We are just about ready for summer 2015. As the old Exxon marketing campaign proclaimed: “Happy motoring!”

Coalition Loyalty Programs Spread to Retail Shopping In the U.S.

Posted in Retail, Retail Sales

loyalty shoppingSeven major brands, including Macy’s, Rite Aid and ExxonMobil, recently joined forces to launch “Plenti,” a loyalty program that encompasses an entire team of retailers. American Express, which operates the program, previously established successful coalition loyalty programs in Poland, Germany, India, Mexico and Italy, and similar programs have been in place in Canada, the European Union and Australia for many years, but Plenti is the first of its kind in the United States.  To ensure that the member retailers remain competitive in their respective markets, each Plenti participant will be the sole company of its kind within the program, but there are already plans to add a national restaurant chain, a grocer and a do-it-yourself retailer to the group. Creating a coalition of brands allows a customer to use points accumulated during their weekly trip to the grocery store to splurge on discretionary purchases, such as buying that expensive pair of jeans they wanted from the department store.  However, Plenti is entering a market in which loyalty programs currently lag far behind the expectations of customers.

U.S. consumers hold 3.3 billion memberships in customer loyalty programs. Each household is a member of an average of 29 loyalty programs spread among the retail, financial services, travel and various other economic sectors, but the average household is active in just 12 of those 29 programs. Since the introduction of paper punch cards that enticed first-time customers with an instant reward of several pre-loaded punches, the focus of retailers’ loyalty programs always has been capturing those customers who are less likely to engage in repeat business. Retailers are learning that in order to keep customers actively involved in their loyalty programs, they will need to expand beyond the standard model of accumulating points for monetary rewards.  For example, customers who are members of Walgreens’ “Live Well” program can receive points for exercising, for stepping on their scale, or even for making lifestyle changes such as quitting smoking. Capriotti’s, a sandwich chain, is testing a loyalty program that would sporadically surprise customers with a free dessert or drink or other rewards during future visits. In addition, certain programs now provide incentives that appeal to a customer’s social or emotional goals, with rewards such as activities on social media and charitable donations. Retailers hope that by establishing a social or emotional connection with customers, they will create a sense of community and loyalty to the brand.

Despite these changes, customers remain dissatisfied with most retailers’ loyalty programs.  One research firm determined that over 90% of discussions on social media regarding loyalty programs were negative. Over 50% of complaints were that loyalty programs were not “relevant, flexible or valuable enough” to customers.  Retailers have ready access to a customer’s purchase history, but very few loyalty programs choose to make personalized offers to customers. Customers also have expressed dissatisfaction with “points purgatory,” in which loyalty program points either expire or go unused.  Although retailers have acknowledged the need to individualize loyalty programs to retain customers, most programs have not yet achieved the requisite level of personalization, with one recent study finding that 78% of customers believe that the average brand does not recognize their individual needs.

In addition to personalization, the demands of millenials for advanced technology have forced retailers to acknowledge that loyalty cards likely will be replaced with mobile device apps that perform multiple functions in addition to rewards redemption, from mobile coupons to product information scans. However, retailers for the most part have not embraced the full range of mobile app functionality.  Although 79% of loyalty programs target shoppers through mobile device apps, less than 25% allow them to redeem rewards through the same technology. The technology necessary to tether social media activities to retailers’ accounts clearly exists because Walgreens’ customers must connect their fitness bands or smart scales to their Walgreens account to obtain points for exercising or weight loss.  Regardless, this technology remains vastly underused by most retailers.  One recent study determined that only 11% of loyalty programs personalize offers based on a customer’s location, information which could easily be determined through social media activity.

Retailers that have created mobile apps to meet millenials’ initial demands for technology may gain an even greater advantage by tying their apps to a mobile wallet provider.  Kohl’s loyalty program features a wallet built into its mobile app that allows members to open rewards certificates for scanning and redemption in the store, and Kohl’s considers the program to be a significant competitive advantage based on the number of returning customers. For most retailers this type of technology remains largely inaccessible since third party mobile wallet providers thus far have not had much success assimilating store loyalty programs. However, technology companies are interested in mobile rewards programs because of the potential for an incremental revenue stream, so it seems likely that the technology will continue to advance.  Customers have indicated a strong preference for having access to loyalty programs within a mobile wallet. Thus, retailers would be wise to incorporate both loyalty programs and mobile wallet technology into their mobile apps.  In addition, with industry leaders like Starbucks expressing interest in partnering with other retailers to integrate mobile payments and loyalty programs, the current rudimentary mobile wallet technology seems primed for adaptation and incorporation into coalition loyalty programs.

Given the success of coalition loyalty programs in similar markets, U.S. retailers would be well-advised to research coalitions that will be most beneficial to them.  Consumers will no doubt seek programs with retailers with whom they do repeat business and those with whom they can get the most bang for their buck in redemptions.

RECon 2015: a Decidedly Global Outlook

Posted in Real Estate, Retail

d36faa060a1fe99d9fc4ec28b1eb7d31We are back from the ICSC’s RECon Global Retail conference, and needed the full long weekend to recover!  More than 34,000 real estate professionals attended the event (substantially exceeding last year’s attendance), and the mood among was decidedly upbeat.

While the conference has always been the single most important event on the calendar of U.S. developers, property owners and retailers, this year the international appeal of retail and retail development was clearly on display.  Non-U.S. development companies, such as the Wanda Group, SCPG and McArthurGlen, were visibly present.  Similarly, many European were meeting with various property owners to discuss possible locations for entry into and/or expansion in the U.S.

Construction of urban, mixed use projects in gateway cities remains front and center for many developers whether domestic or foreign.  Also, repositioning of second tier malls through de-malling (or partial de-malling), and/or conversion to a discount/outlet format is a trend that shows no signs of abating. Fashion wings, which are build-outs in existing malls designed to host premium brands such as Sur la Table, Lucky Brand and Nordstrom are also continuing to flourish.

While the specter of Lehman Brothers still lingers in the air, interest rates and cap rates remain low, and there seems to be no shortage of opportunities for new projects and new deals.  Which of course leads us to Peyton Manning (himself the owner of several Papa John’s restaurants), who, in his opening speech to convention-goers, likened the real estate business to football, in “success is dependent on spotting opportunities that are not apparent to other players”.  For those of you that attended RECon this year, we hope that you spotted such an opportunity.

Claims about Biodegradable Plastics Breakdown Under FTC Scrutiny: Marketers Beware!

Posted in Compliance, Environmental, Green, Litigation, Retail

http://www.dreamstime.com/stock-photo-green-plastic-bag-recycle-symbol-image18698520In the recent administrative proceeding before the Federal Trade Commission (FTC) against ECM Biofilms, Inc. (ECM), the FTC’s presiding chief administrative law judge (ALJ) ruled that the plastics additive manufacturer ECM violated the FTC Act by deceptively claiming, and providing others with the means to claim, that plastics treated with ECM’s additives would completely biodegrade in a landfill within 9 months to 5 years and by claiming that tests proved this “green” or environmental marketing claim.

The order accompanying the FTC’s decision barred ECM from representing that any product or package will completely biodegrade within any time period, or that tests prove such a representation, unless: 1) the representation is true and not misleading, and 2) at the time it is made, ECM possesses and relies upon competent and reliable scientific evidence that substantiates the representation. This order also bars ECM from providing others with the means to make such deceptive marketing claims.

Despite siding with the FTC on the specific claims noted above as being false, unsubstantiated, and, therefore, violating the FTC Act, the ALJ rejected several other assertions by the FTC against ECM.  Specifically, the AJC found that the FTC failed to prove that ECM’s biodegradability claims conveyed the implied claim that ECM Plastics would “completely break down into elements found in nature in a landfill within one year” – as required under the FTC’s Green Guides.  Revised in 2012, the FTC’s Green Guides are designed to help marketers ensure that their claims about the environmental attributes of their products are truthful, non-deceptive and comply with the FTC Act.

The FTC’s lawsuit against ECM is part of the FTC’s ongoing crackdown on false and misleading environmental claims, and part of its program to ensure compliance with its Green Guides.  Other lawsuits filed by the FTC charge companies that represented plastics treated with additives are biodegradable, despite the lack of reliable scientific tests to back up those claims.  Specifically, the FTC filed a lawsuit against American Plastic Manufacturing (American Plastic), which advertised its plastic shopping bags as being biodegradable, based on additives sold by ECM, and sold them to distributors nationwide. The FTC’s lawsuit against American Plastic was settled in 2014.  The FTC’s final order prohibits American Plastic from making biodegradability claims, unless such claims are true and supported by competent and reliable scientific evidence.  Further, this final order requires that American Plastic have evidence that the entire plastic product will completely decompose into elements found in nature within one year after customary disposal (defined as disposal in a landfill, incinerator, or recycling facility) before making any unqualified biodegradable claim, as set forth in the FTC’s Green Guides.

While the ALJ’s recent 2105 decision in EMC calls into question the applicability of the FTC’s Green Guides standard for one year biodegradability after customary disposal, other legal commenters caution against crossing-off any implied one-year claim standards included in the current version of the FTC’s Green Guides or changing any substantiation practices regarding biodegradable claims.  Notably, given the importance that the FTC gives to its Green Guides regarding a reasonable time frame for biodegradability, the FTC may well review the ALJ’s 2015 decision on ECM in the Commission’s capacity as an appellate body.  And, if the Commission reaches a different result, the matter may be appealed up to the DC Circuit.  So stayed tuned and make sure to keep your green marketing practices in line with the FTC’s current version of its Green Guides.

The Future Starts Now… Gearing Up For the ICSC RECon Global Retail Conference

Posted in Real Estate, Retail

d36faa060a1fe99d9fc4ec28b1eb7d31The annual ICSC RECon Global Retail conference is just around the corner. This year’s conference takes place from May 17-20th at Las Vegas Convention Center. With over 34,000 attendees, RECon provides networking, deal making and educational opportunities for retail real estate professionals from around the world. With the mood among retail professionals being decidedly upbeat, we expect a lot of positive activity.

This year’s theme is “The Future Starts Now”. We expect to hear conversations that forward the globalization of retail. The conference will present programs on a wide range of retail topics, including specialty and traditional leasing, marketing, operations, asset management, retailing, public sector issues, real estate development and more.

We will have our ear to the ground at the conference– listening and participating in a variety of conversations. Stay tuned for the post-conference follow-up here in early June. We’ll let you know about all that was new and exciting in Vegas this year!

See you at RECon!

INTA 2015 Annual Meeting Recap

Posted in Intellectual Property, Retail

imagesLast week, members of Goulston & Storrs joined over 9,900 attendees from around the world who converged on San Diego for the 2015 Annual Meeting of the International Trademark Association (INTA).  This 137th meeting of INTA was its largest ever and assembled a remarkably diverse group of brand owners, legal advisors, consultants, exhibitors, and sponsors. As the Annual Meeting returned to San Diego for the first time in 10 years, participants raved about the comfortable weather, the ease of getting around, and the vibrant night life. All of these factors enhanced the trademark industry’s premier educational and networking event.

Although approximately 3,500 registrants hailed from the United States, INTA is a truly international affair. For example, registrants included over 1,500 from East Asia and the Pacific, 208 from the Middle East and North Africa, 295 from South Asia, and 184 from Sub-Saharan Africa. The top 10 countries represented were the U.S., the U.K., China, Germany, Canada, India, France, Japan, Mexico, and Brazil.  As a result, we were able to connect with clients and fellow lawyers from the U.S. and many other nations.

For us, a highlight was attending the annual meeting of the Intellectual Property Practice Group of Meritas, a worldwide network of law firms in which our firm serves as the Boston member. This meeting enabled us to see old friends, make new connections, and hear presentations on new developments in trademark law. But there was so much more to do at INTA.

In addition to attending numerous receptions and other networking events, we and others were able to take in a wide range of exhibits, presentations, committee meetings, and legal education sessions. Hot topics of discussion in both formal sessions and informal conversation included counterfeiting and piracy, trademark fair use, the expansion of generic Top-Level Domains, best practices in trademark licensing, and ways in which in-house and outside counsel can work together in a cost-effective and harmonious manner. One of the most interesting and useful aspects of our many conversations was to compare the legal systems of the U.S. and other jurisdictions where our clients do business.

We look forward to seeing our friends again next year in Orlando for the 138th Annual meeting of INTA. Mark your calendars for May 21-25, 2016.

Blowdryers and Flatirons: The Real Estate Market Heats Up with Salon Suites

Posted in Landlords, Leasing, Real Estate, Retail, Tenant

health and beautyFor years the price of entry for solo entrepreneurs in the health and beauty category was high. With similar fixed startup costs as any professional practice would have, such as real estate, insurance, supplies, but with much slimmer profit margins, stylists and aestheticians were often relegated to renting chairs from established salons or working for well-established day spas. In both these business models, practitioners are completely tied to the hours and the mode of operation of the employer, often left with little room for creativity or the ability to really drive brand loyalty with customers.

However, these existing business models are changing: a new option in commercial real estate is popping up across the U.S. and in Canada, capitalizing on the increasing health and beauty concerns of consumers in cohorts ranging from Millennial men to aging baby boomers. They’re called “salon suites” and these new spaces offer practitioners from hair stylists to massage therapists to aestheticians the opportunity to pursue their dreams of entrepreneurship. For landlords, salon suites capitalize on the spending and leisure habits of a population on-the-go, working more (or less) hours and seeking to de-stress with greater frequency.

According to industry trend watchers, health and wellness is becoming intertwined with the conversation about beauty and appearance. Fewer consumers are buying high-end makeup products from department store counters in favor of seeking out the personal experience and the ability to unplug and recharge a bit. Many are seeking the undeniable boost that comes from a good facial, a rigorous massage, a challenging yoga class or a pampering hair treatment. And as consumers make these activities increasingly a regular part of their routine, it’s only natural that these services become integrated into weekly activities and need to be more accessible. Rather than a special “trip to a luxury spa”, consumers need to know they can get in to see their favorite practitioner without hassle and then resume the rest of their day.  Responding to this growing demand enters the salon suite – a place where budding entrepreneurs can service their clientele without the tangle of bureaucracy or the layers of corporate involvement.

Most of the facilities called salon suites are move-in ready, and depending on what the landlord has projected for the mix of occupancy (hair stylists to yoga instructors to aestheticians) there are usually different options from which the lessees can choose. Each business has its own concerns for lighting, ventilation, soundproofing, and equipment so within a complex, there may be multiple options priced at different points. For a hair stylist out on his or her own for the first time, it can be as easy as turning the key and flipping a light switch to find a fully-appointed salon. While it may be plain vanilla décor, it will be complete with proper lighting, mirrors, a washing station, stylist chair and basic amenities – in addition to a concierge to greet and direct clients on their way to the appointment. Veteran practitioners seeking a more sophisticated way to express a personal brand can take what the landlord has offered and customize it in a variety of ways from paint to minor renovations, such as knocking down walls to create larger stations and other cosmetic changes.

While the salon suite is a new and growing trend and some of the work is already done for tenants, potential lessees and landlords still need to treat the conversation with the same due diligence they would if it were starting from scratch. Read our team’s point-of-view on how to prepare to negotiate a first commercial lease from a recent article in BusinessNews Daily.

Salon suites are taking hold quickly. The health and beauty obsession does not seem to favor one geography either; from the largest urban centers in the southeastern U.S. to midsized cities and major markets, developers are working hard to satisfy consumers’ growing interest in self-improvement. Industry sources say salon and spa businesses are well-positioned for revenue growth in 2015, so it appears this trend isn’t vanishing as quickly as the fine lines will after a great facial!