Prime retail space demand seen after closing of Blockbuster

By Rizza Sta. Ana

Nov 17, 2013 10:12 AM EST

The announcement of Blockbuster closing shop had driven demand for prime retail space up sharply last week. Dish Network Corp had shut the video rental business down after acquiring Blockbuster for in 2010. Dish acquired Blockbuster for USD233 million and absorbed the latter's USD87 million in liabilities and other payables. About 300 Blockbuster stores remaining will be closed by Blockbuster. No one was more happy with the news than small business franchises, which were looking to expand physical stores in prime spots in the US.

According to Workout Anytime Vice President Randy Trotter, his company is looking to open 10 more stores for its 24-hour gym business. Workout Anytime's 20 locations were former Blockbuster stores, Trotter revealed.

Trotter explained that Blockbuster's locations were ideal to the company's growth plans, which are in shopping centers that have high visibility to customers, access to busy metro areas and have great parking spaces. Moreover, Trotter said converting the old Blockbuster stores was easy. All they need to do for the store to be open for business was to buy the right equipment and add locker rooms and offices.

Chicago Workout Anytime franchise owner Jeff Cercy seconded Trotter, who said, "The locations are usually in high-traffic centers with great drive-by traffic. (If people aren't sure where it is, I just tell them) where the old Blockbuster used to be."

A spa franchise called Hand & Stone Massage and Facial Spa also bought two old Blockbuster stores last year. According to Chief Executive and President Todd Leff, "Blockbuster was very good in finding prime real estate and capturing strong demographics. The locations are in very visible neighborhoods that match the demographics we're looking for."

However, Leff said there are certain downsides in acquiring the old stores. While his spa chain requires 3,000 square feet, size of Blockbuster stores average 5,000 to 6,000 square feet. Leff said his franchise is negotiating with the landlord about splitting the space up for other potential tenants.

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