Any real estate agent will tell you location is everything. So how has Kaufman's, a high-end women's clothing store in Corvallis, continued to thrive while its retail environment crumbled around it? By developing a strategy that is independent of the surrounding stores, according to Roger Neustadter, Kaufman's president.
"I look for a good retail environment when I open a new location," says Neustadter. And that's what he found when he opened a store in Avery Square. Initially flush with retailers, Kaufman's is now the mall's one and only -- every other retailer has either moved or closed shop. Training and software centers now dominate the building. "Ideally, we'd be surrounded by other retailers, building cross traffic and cooperative advertising campaigns," says Neustadter.
But that wasn't going to happen anytime soon at Avery Square. Despite the misfortune of the surrounding retailers, Neustadter wasn't ready to give up. "Anchor stores are great," says Neustadter, who recently opened an Albany store, "but you need your own strategy to control your own destiny."
That strategy includes distinguishing itself by having high-quality staffing levels and the only cosmetics counter -- Estee Lauder, Clinique, Lancome -- in the Mid-Valley. It offers unique services such as fur cleaning, appraisal and storage. It carries product lines such as St. John that Oregonians won't see outside of Portland.
"Walk-in traffic is great," says Neustadter, "But it's nice to know that when people come into Kaufman's, they have made an effort to do so."