Meet Jeff DeHart, a partner at SJ Collins Enterprises, a retail development company focused in the Southeast and Mid-Atlantic.  Jeff acts as the primary asset manager and managing member of the company’s various projects. Jeff’s previous experience includes time at his own firms, six years at Collins/Goodman Development and eight years with the Portman Companies. Many of you may also know him as RetailJeff on Twitter. Hartman Simons’ attorneys have enjoyed working with Jeff on several projects during the last three years and we are pleased to feature him in this week’s Four on Friday! 

Go Dawgs HS:  What are some retail trends you see in the Southeast?

JD:  Right now we are seeing a number of opportunities in adaptive reuse and infill development.  I believe this is a macro trend as retailers seek out proven markets.   Many older shopping centers have a lot of functional obsolescence and simply need to be replaced. We are seeing more retailer demand in the Mid-Atlantic than here at home.

HS:  Any retail predictions?

JD:  There will definitely be some fallout of yogurt stores. We have watched them pop up around Atlanta and the Southeast. I have three teenage sons and two of them work at a yogurt shop! The stores located in areas with no immediate competition and high barriers to entry will be most likely to survive.   Another trend to watch is the effect of internet shopping on Big Box retail.  If you can go into a big box store and price compare from your smartphone, margins will continue to be pressed.  This could bode well for specialty merchants who offer something other than price.

HS: Why are you so active on Twitter?

JD: I’m a Learner by nature. Twitter helps me keep up with the latest news and trends. This is critical to our business because trends and demographics drive everything.

HS: Football Team?

JD: Go Dawgs! I’m a proud, yet sometimes troubled, UGA alum.