The ICSC Blog

July 11, 2014

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Congratulations to 5 more scholarship winners!


All though schools are out for the Summer, the ICSC Foundation has been hard at work helping the next generation of industry leaders.  The ICSC Foundation is in the middle of a Capital Campaign to expand our scholarship program. Click the below links to learn more about our winners and more about each scholarship.

Winners of the Kieran P. Quinn Villanova University Undergraduate Award, Rudolph Celli  and Alex Greenberg

Rudolph is from Berwn, PA and is in Villanova’s School of Business, majoring in finance and real estate.

“This will serve not as a culmination of my journey, but a stepping stone and a huge motivator to continue moving towards being the best student, then professional, that I can be.”

 Alex is from Longmeadow, Mass. and is in Villanova’s School of Business, majoring in finance, real estate and accounting. “Receiving this award is an enormous boost to my overall motivation. It will truly allow me to more easily explore my academic interests while lifting the weight of academic costs from my shoulders.”

Winner of the Rufrano Family Undergraduate Real Estate Award, Danilo Rupena

Danilo is from Aventura, FL, majoring in Business Administration with a concentration in finance and real estate at Florida International University.  “Mr. Rufrano is someone that has had a very successful career, and is someone who I truly look up to for his continuous hard work and contributions to the community.”

Winner of the Charles H. Jenkins Undergraduate Real Estate Award at FSC, Ashley Woodham

Ashley is from Tallahassee, FL., majoring in business administration with a Spanish minor. “Receiving such a prestigious scholarship showed me that hard work pays off.  This scholarship is aiding me in finishing my academic career at Florida Southern College, and for that I will be forever grateful.”

Winner of the ICSC Gap Inc. Fellowship Recipient, Janis A. Stewart

Janis is a recent graduate from University of Southern California with a Masters in Urban Planning. “I believe in the importance of nurturing the professional careers of future generations to help shape better communities,” said Stewart. “I am happy to know that the ICSC Foundation also places great value on communities and how their futures are shaped.”

Thanks to the generosity of our members, we have 14 new scholarship debuting this year.  Find out more about our campaign and how you can help.

July 10, 2014

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Q&A with MOCIAL Speaker Mallorie Rosenbluth

Mallorie_Rosenbluth LikeableMediaTell us about yourself…
I classify myself as the following: a marketer, a reader, a shopper and most importantly – a New Yorker. I’ve worked in the social media space since the beginning and initially gravitated towards the industry because I loved using Facebook as a college student. When I started my professional life, I thought my career in marketing could be taken to a whole new level with social media. Turns out, I was right.

What is your favorite apps to use?
Hard to choose! I’m a new fan of Broadway, and absolutely love Today Tix (it’s TKTS without the long lines or tourists!). I’m crazy about Instagram. And couldn’t live without Seamless (they were my favorite long before they were a client!). They’re all in my frequently-used app list.

With society’s increasing dependence on technology, what changes in marketing strategies has it made in last few years?
Since people are literally connected 24/7, there’s an opportunity to reach people at so many more moments during their day. With that “always on” shift though, there have becomes so many messages to sift through. As a brand, the tactics change but the importance of reaching the right people at the right time with the right message has never been more important.

What have been the benefits of incorporating digital marketing and mobile apps into your corporation?
Well without these things, Likeable Media couldn’t exist as an agency! For the brands we work with, they’ve gotten so much more educated about their consumer and are able to offer more customized and relevant experiences and interactions.

In what ways has the digital age revitalized your industry?
I work for a social media agency. So without digital, we wouldn’t be here. But for agencies, the digital age is creating many challenges – and opportunities. The days of Mad Men style organizations are gone. We need to move quickly and nimbly, impact our clients and create meaningful connections with their consumers. It’s a lot more than an ad in a magazine or a thirty second TV spot.

How important is consumer engagement? How do you bring attention to your brand through you social media channels/mobile apps?
Consumer engagement is everything these days. If you post content or push a campaign and people don’t interact with it, it’s like it never happened. Social media is a critical part of everything a brand does whether they like it or not. People are talking about things they see – and they’re talking about it online.

What do you hope participants will gain by attending your MOCIAL session?
I hope people walk away from my session and see how social media can really impact their consumers experience offline. I hope people change the mind about social and are inspired to take their approach to the next level.

Is the increasing number of online shoppers a concern to you?
No way! But maybe I’m a little biased on that :)

July 9, 2014

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ICSC Retailer of the Week: AYR Guideshop

These days, shopping for clothes typically means one of two things: going to a brick and mortar store, or buying online. But new retailer AYR, pronounced “air,” has created a new concept by combining the positive aspects of each method in its guideshop.

Located on the fourth floor of the AYR design studios, the guideshop allows customers to try on the clothes, but they cannot walk out of the store with anything they wish to purchase. Rather, they must order the clothes to be shipped to them later, as the guideshop only carries one article in every size instead of full inventory. This follows parent company Bonobos’s business model, which started online before expanding to guideshops and clothing lines in Nordstrom stores.

Ayr is a town in Design Director Jac Cameron’s native Scotland, and cleverly also stands for All Year Round. This reflects the brand’s dedication to versatility, with essential denim, shirts, and blazer pieces acting as the staples of the current collection. The brand launched online early this year and opened the guideshop shortly after. Although the guideshop is tucked away in the design studio, Brand Director Maggie Winter says they are expecting ground-level AYR guideshops on the horizon. Check out AYR’s official website for more information.

July 3, 2014

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Critical Preparations You Need (but hope you never have to use)


By: Daniel

After waking up bright and early, my morning routine consists of a little breakfast, coffee and catching some news on the television before I head out to the office. Pretty standard. Sometimes, however, I am hesitant to turn on the news. Sometimes, I just want to leave the TV off. With recent headlines like Fort Hood and the Washington Mudslide, sometimes I just want to tune out the world. But things happen. Accidents happen. Extreme weather happens. And, unfortunately, public violence and acts of terror happen too.
Since the ostrich approach of burying our heads isn’t practical, our best defense against dangerous situations is to be prepared. Now, it’s easy to say, “Sure, I’m prepared” but are you really?
If you are, great, you are ahead of the game, but since the foundation of being prepared is to always check and verify, lets discuss some critical preparations incase disaster strikes. Being proactive about emergency preparedness can save you time, money and, even more importantly, it can ensure the safety and well-being of your tenants, staff and customers during a crisis.
Let’s start at the beginning. The first and most basic preparation is to develop an Emergency Action Plan and crisis communication strategy. A great resource for emergency planning is
Your Emergency Action Plan should include a contingency strategy for a variety of situations. Start by making a list. Two columns: Emergencies and Actions. Each emergency may require specific responses. Think extreme weather, power outages, acts of terror, a fire, riot or shooting—these are not pleasant things to think about but it is a necessity for Shopping Centers who hold the public’s trust to keep them safe.
The next steps are to identify key personnel and a logical chain of command for emergency communications. A Shopping Center’s tenants and staff will inevitably work extended hours and have several shifts. Make sure you have identified at least a primary and secondary person for important roles to cover any absences or shift changes. Make sure your tenants and staff know who has the authority to make decisions and give orders and who is responsible for sending emergency notifications and other crisis communications.
Once you have established a well-developed emergency and communication plan and identified key personnel, your next steps are training and testing—both of which are vital to the success of your Emergency Action Plan. Your next steps are training and testing—both of which are vital to the success of your Emergency Action Plan. No, that sentence isn’t repeated by accident. I wanted to make sure I had your attention. Training and testing your plans is where most people fail. It is imperative to make sure your plans are understood by your workforce. Your Shopping Center should hold emergency preparedness training for new tenants and regularly schedule refresher training. If possible, set aside a time to hold emergency preparedness drills for reinforcement. As a result, you will be able to see if your plan has any gaps that need to be addressed before a real emergency occurs.
Testing your communication systems goes hand and hand with training. A Mass Notification System is a great complement to a Shopping Center’s Emergency Action Plan and, if used, should be tested for several reasons. First, routine testing helps determine if your contact database is up-to-date. If test messages are undeliverable or have low readership, it may be time to request updated contact information from your tenants and staff. Testing also helps reinforce training and creates awareness about how tenants would receive information during an actual crisis situation.
If your Shopping Center plans to use a Mass Notification System as part of their emergency communication strategy make sure you also hold proper training on the system itself. Identify administrators and designate specific people who will use the system during an emergency. When creating a strategy for a variety of emergency situations, take the time to write pre-loaded messages that correspond with each critical situation. Being able to access pre-written notifications will save you time during an actual disaster. Lastly, plan for post crisis communications as well. Keeping your tenants and staff—and other stakeholders—informed after the emergency will help minimize rumors and keep information flowing.
It will take more than a little time and effort on your part to put together a robust Emergency Action Plan and make critical preparations to ensure you’re ready. The time and effort spent will be worth it—especially if you click on the television one morning to discover a crisis unfolding at your Shopping Center. Life is unpredictable and public places cannot afford to be unprepared. The good news is you can start today. Take a look at or Jonathan Bernstein’s The 10 Steps of Crisis Communications, which outlines critical pre-crisis and post-crisis steps you can apply to your Shopping Center, make the critical preparations I described and you will be on your way.

July 2, 2014

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Retailers That Make Summer Pop

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Early summer days in New York are bustling as ever. The season is new and everyone is abuzz, enjoying the warm weather outside. For those in the retail industry, this time of the year is perfect for exploring new marketing techniques and launching campaigns that take advantage of the cheerful attitude associated with the summer months. For this reason, it is not surprising that many retailers have realized the value in setting up temporary store locations know as pop-ups.

The Kellogg’s Recharge Bar pop-up shop opened on June 24, 2014, drawing passersby in for the rest of the week with free customizable bowls of cereal. What kept people in the bar after they finished their breakfast were all the interactive, high-tech activities like photo booth karaoke and an app that makes customers look like the star of the cereal boxes. Customers who took to Twitter and Facebook telling their followers about the Recharge Bar won t-shirts if they used the hashtag #CerealAndMilk. Performers like The Roots and dancer Derek Hough were also there to add to the excitement and keep people enthusiastic about the Kellogg’s pop-up.

The pop-up shop concept seems to be successful for food retailers, often opening for short amounts of time and finding plenty of success. UrbanSpace coordinated Madison Square Eats during the month of May and Broadway Bites, which will be open until August 1st. These pop-up markets feature over 25 different retailers with foods from all over the world and tastes for every palate. Stand-alone pop-up shops are successful as well; Cracker Jack had a one-day pop-up location in Herald Square on June 26, and Talenti opened a pop-up shop for its gelato in Bryant Park on June 18. Other pop-up restaurants in the city this summer include Mission Chinese, Eureka, Van Leeuwen ice cream, and more.

Clothing/shoe retailers Everlane, Transience, BucketFeet, Le Moynat have also been popping up around the city and will remain in business for various durations through this summer. The only downside to these fun shops is that you might miss them if you aren’t paying attention! One of the best ways to find pop-up shops in New York is to keep your eyes peeled while walking around the city. Be sure to look for pop ups in your neighborhood this summer.

June 27, 2014

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The ICSC Foundation Diversity Reception at RECon

David LaRue, Gina Love, Charmaine Brown, & Mary Anne Gilmartin

David LaRue, Gina Love, Charmaine Brown, & Mary Anne Gilmartin

This year’s Diversity Reception was a great success at RECon! There were over 300 people who enjoyed the reception with drinks and hors d’oeuvre while mingling with new and old contacts that could share their experiences and views regarding diversity in the real estate and retail communities.  You can find pictures of the event here:

All sponsorships and donations went to the new diversity scholarships that the ICSC Foundation created.  The Love Scholarship for Diversity and the Retail Real Estate Diversity Scholarship. Both are being established to provide tuition assistance to deserving students.  Check back later this fall for more details.

June 25, 2014

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Check Out Retailer Doughnuttery

It is no question that doughnuts are a classic American dessert. While you can find full sized doughnuts almost anywhere, mini doughnuts are becoming an increasingly popular new trend. Miniature, handmade, artisan-crafted doughnuts are exactly what you will find at Doughnuttery, located in the Chelsea Market.

Though the doughnuts are miniscule in size, they are not doughnut holes, but rather a shrunken down micro version of the classic doughnuts Americans have known and loved for years. Doughnuttery specializes in this craft, making all its doughnuts fresh and decorating them on site with over 26 sugars and 5 dipping sauces. Classic flavors like vanilla glazed, powdered sugar and cinnamon sugar are sure to please, while those looking to try something less traditional will be satisfied with quirky flavors like PB&J, Mistletoe (gingerbread, cranberry, sage), and Cheesy Poof (cheddar cheese, corn, jalapeno).

Doughnuttery recently popped up in Madison Square Eats, and is planning to expand soon. While owner Evan Feldman appreciates that Doughnuttery thrives in a nontraditional retail market environment, he is open to exploring all kinds of locations for Doughnuttery’s next locations. The good news is that doughnut machines are efficient and portable, perhaps occupying less space than the pastel-colored sugar jars lining the shelves and counters. This simplifies Doughnuttery’s space criteria, leaving plenty of options open for expansion in the future.

Doughnuttery can be found in the Chelsea Market, or online at its official website.

June 24, 2014

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Using Effective Communication to Help Retain Tenants


By: Daniel Wagstaff,

Last week we sat down with Daniel Wagstaff, a communications industry executive, for a short Q&A session about the importance of effective communication in the landlord-tenant relationship that Shopping Center operators and property managers know so well. His answers provide some insight into what operators and managers are currently doing to strengthen their tenant communication strategy.

ICSC:   To get this discussion started, lets talk for a minute about technology. How have communications changed with today’s technological advances?

Daniel: Immensely. As recently as twenty years ago before the explosion of the internet, communications were much slower. We had to seek out information and if we were using some sort of “technological” communications device we had to be within reach of an electrical outlet. Now being connected 100% of the time is standard and we all expect information to come to us. How we communicate has changed, but no matter the medium, the components to communicating effectively have stayed the same.

ICSC:   How so?

Daniel: There are four parts to effective communication that are timeless. First, you need something of value to say (not just anything, but something valuable). Second, the information needs to be timely (finding out on Tuesday that the mall closed early on Monday is useless information). Third, you need to make sure you have a reliable way of sending information (this is the “how” that had drastically changed in modern times). Lastly, you need to listen. Effective communication has to be two-way.

ICSC:   Okay, that seems pretty straight forward. Are Shopping Centers out there today doing a good job at communicating effectively to their tenants?

Daniel: That’s a great question. Working directly with many owners and operators I get to see a wide range of situations.  The good news is that everyone is talking about this hot topic and that is leading to huge improvements. Today’s communication technology can be, and is being leveraged to help improve or strengthen communication plans, emergency action plans and also help Shopping Centers improve tangible and intangible business goals.  As more centers are jumping on board with these initiatives it will only be good for the industry as a whole.

ICSC:   What kind of technology are you talking about and what are the business goals that can be improved?

Daniel: The market currently provides a variety of Mass Notification Systems that are wonderful communication tools, many of which provide multi-channel messaging. They are web based and very user-friendly. These systems can help Shopping Centers increase operational efficiency, drive revenue and mitigate risk and they can increase tenant satisfaction and peace of mind. And a happy customer is a paying customer.

ICSC:   I think a mall tenant would definitely agree to that last statement! So, what are some ways that effective communications can help Shopping Centers to retain tenants?

Daniel: Being transparent is the best way to attract and retain tenants while increasing satisfaction. Let them know what they can expect from you. Tenants already assume that you will keep them informed in a timely manner and you need to live up to that expectation. Effective communication is not a one-way street. Tenants will also be more satisfied if you show them you want to listen. Collecting feedback—say, for example by distributing a satisfaction survey—shows your tenants you are interested in what they have to say and is a great way to increase lease renewals through satisfaction. Mass Notification Systems can help you accomplish both.

ICSC:   It sounds like Mass Notification Systems can add a lot of value. What are some best practices if a Shopping Center does decided to use a Mass Notification System?

Daniel: I am glad you asked that because there are countless ways to use a Mass Notification System to your advantage. First, a Mass Notification System’s reporting feature will become your friend. You can evaluate delivery rates and if messages are not getting through you can take the appropriate action like updating your contact list—which is another fundamental best practice. Next, offering a way for tenants to self-register is an easy way to enable them to update their contact information and preferences while reducing your administrative load. Also, be sure you identify and train multiple administrators on your chosen system in case of an absence or change in shifts. And lastly, plan ahead by creating message templates to save time during any critical situation. In an emergency, stay calm, evaluate the situation and use mass communication to your advantage—you don’t want to alarm tenants or create a panic, so pre-planned messages will be key.

ICSC:   Those are some great tips for Mass Notification System users. Before we end our chat today, do you have any final thoughts for our readers?

Daniel: It’s about using communication technology to your advantage. Don’t use something simply because it’s trendy or new—use it to create synergy, use it to be more effective, use it to improve. A Mass Notification System, for example, should save you time not be a burden. Once you have decided to implement a system all it takes is a little prior planning to make sure you’re using it in the most effective way. Ultimately, whether a Shopping Center uses a Mass Notification System or another method, achieving effective communication is always going to be a great way to build a strong tenant-landlord relationship. My last thought is this: small changes in the way you communicate today can help you yield large increases in satisfaction, peace of mind and comfort for your current and future tenants.

ICSC:   Daniel, thank you for sitting down with us today to discuss tenant communications in the retail industry. We hope you’ll come back again to chat with us!

Daniel: It’s my pleasure and I certainly would love to come back another time for another discussion! Thank you!

June 23, 2014

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Professionalism & Success: Executive Women at ICSC share Wisdom with Summer Interns


By: Sara Marron

This week at ICSC, eight fresh faces mixed with some of the top female executives for a casual luncheon to discuss professionalism in the corporate world and tips for building a successful career. All of the interns for the summer 2014 were invited, and we agreed it was informative, and inspiring. I work in the Publishing Department with Patricia Montagni, Director of Publications, on professional books dealing with the industry’s major disciplines such as leasing, marketing, management, retailing, development, and design, and I’ve been learning from the moment I stepped off the elevator onto the forty-first floor.

Corporate settings are shifting from the male dominated, suit-and-tie wearing environments that exclude women from powerful positions. Instead, the board room was filled with confident women; college students sitting next to senior managers. We discussed LinkedIn and the “new resume” over pizza and cookies.  After a round of introductions, the executive women took a hold of the room, conducting and educating us with vivacity and zeal.

Janet Cortazzi, Staff Vice President of Human Resources and Office Services, emphatically urged the interns to mind their etiquette during the interview process. Post-interview thank you notes were debated around the table: do you send digitally, or via snail-mail? Some women agreed that the sentiment of the handwritten note is unique and sets a candidate apart, while others firmly stated that the immediacy of the email must be the prime concern. Cortazzi’s years in Human Resources have provided her laughable stories about the one-liner thank you notes and job inquiries that are simply dismissed.

Sarah Ritchie, Manager of Leadership Development, organized the luncheon in order to introduce the next generation of female businesswomen to the accomplished, poised, and powerful mentors that hold executive positions at ICSC. Ashley Smith, Strategic Initiatives Manager, has an impressive resume and a smooth, calm demeanor that extends to those around her. She admitted that after college and in her first entry level job, she still didn’t have a clear idea about what she wanted to do. Encouraging us to make connections, network, follow-up, and stay in touch with the professionals we meet was her advice for moving forward in the business world.

Leslie M. Fox added a similar sentiment to Smith’s advice about pursing a career path. Fox is the Director of Legislative Outreach and is responsible for developing awareness for policy relating to retail real estate through grassroots campaigns. In response to a question raised by Veronica Polanco, a Communications and Business major at Cornell University, about the disparate gap between male and female salary in the workplace, Fox said that, when she was young, she had the energy and the drive to put in “a 100 hour work week, no big deal.” After working a few entry level jobs, she said that the key to success and happiness in the workplace is not making a ton of money, but finding a job that you feel is the right fit for you socially, financially, and with your career goals. Balance is key, otherwise the money and the hours will quickly upset the quality of your work and attitude.

Sarah Malcom, Director of New Media, made another important contribution to the discussion. She pointed out from her experience at Macy’s that the workplace is all about perception: you are what people see. Stand up and take the big projects that no one wants. Offer to do the work when the company is in trouble, even when there seems to be no benefit to you; management will notice, and if they don’t, keep a list! Your projects list will come in handy at your yearly review. Montagni added that those who ask for more work and complete things efficiently are the ones most-likely to move up within the company.

Going into any interview, it’s important to keep yourself organized. There are three points to consider that can help you market the ‘you’ that will win over the HR department and convince them that you are passionate about the job, and perfect for it.

  1. Career Objective
  2. Your skill set (3 points)
  3. Personal Appeal

Have a clear, yet flexible or open-minded career-objective. Your skill set should be naturally woven into the conversation with the interviewer. But if you have a bad interviewer, Cortazzi pointed out, you may have to get them back on track by leading the conversation. Keep yourself organized and clear headed with your objective in mind. The personal appeal simply means: Let your personality come through. Rhonda Payne, Staff Vice President, Education Certification, said likability is crucial because no one wants to work with someone they dislike. The reverse is true as well. If you have a terrible interview experience, the company may not be a good fit for you.

The ICSC Ladies Luncheon was a huge success for all involved. A miniature NextGen event in itself, the time allowed for a positive exchange of ideas and experience.

New to the city, our interns this year are coming from homes and schools in a variety of states such as: New Jersey, Connecticut, Michigan, and Arizona. The Summer 2014 Female Interns are: Gabby Groh, University of Michigan; Alexandra Bolhack; Vanderbilt University; Nicole Costa, Elon University; Elizabeth Hunziker, University of Gettysburg; Jessica Nossek, University of Massachusetts Amherst; Sara Marron, St. John’s University;  Veronica Polonca, Cornell University; Sara Sherwood, University of Philadelphia.

June 18, 2014

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Learn More About Expanding Retailer Toasted


This week’s featured retailer of the week is Toasted: Crafted Grilled Cheese & Burgers. Located in Winter Park, Florida, Toasted is a fast casual restaurant that has set itself apart from the crowd thanks to its “clever, not cheesy” concept. Specializing in grilled cheese sandwiches and burgers, Toasted has amassed a loyal following since its opening in February 2013 and has become the cornerstone for crafted sandwiches in Central Florida.

Owner Jeffery Yarmuth attributes Toasted’s success to its specialized approach to a classic American sandwich. “Everyone can relate to grilled cheese. It is a nostalgic food embedded in the hearts of Americans across generations,” he says.

Southern ComfortFor a specialized restaurant like Toasted, simplicity is key to creating an impressive menu. With only two entrée categories, chefs can focus on preparing sandwiches and burgers with a wide variety of ingredients and flavors that satisfy all different preferences. Grilled cheese “purists” can find classics like “The 101,” (grilled cheese and tomato), while those with a more adventurous palate might prefer the “Fig & Goat” sandwich or the “Southern Comfort” burger.

While many customers are drawn to the familiarity and comfort of the grilled cheese themed restaurant, what keeps them coming back is Toasted’s dedication to consciousness that goes beyond its exclusive use of local ingredients. Toasted’s Vegan and Gluten-Free menu options enable customers with dietary restrictions to enjoy previously off-limit foods like cheese and bread. Furthermore, all ingredients are made on-site, including Toasted’s vegan cheese. This level of attention to quality reflects the emphasis on the customer’s experience that lies at the heart of the restaurant.

SONY DSCIn addition to its unique decorations like the “Periodic Table of Cheese,” 3-D “Cheese Wall,” and cheese-grater light fixtures, Toasted has utilized social media and technology to create a convenient, user-friendly experience for its customers. Patrons can connect through Toasted’s official website, as well as its Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram accounts. The restaurant’s presence on social media has made it easy to engage frequently with its customers. “We enjoy communicating with them about their interests, not just about grilled cheeses,” Yarmuth says. The next step for Toasted in its efforts to retain a technological edge? Creating a custom app that will feature both “ordering and loyalty program capabilities,” which will further enhance the aspect of convenience for its loyal followers.

Yarmuth says they are eager to expand elsewhere in the Central Florida area and beyond, and would be open to the possibility of a new store in a mall location, provided it would be able to accommodate the store’s space criteria (1700 – 2200 square feet). Furthermore, Yarmuth explains that he likes that the store is aligned with adjacencies like Whole Foods, who not only appreciates the same care for quality food, but also attracts food-minded customers to the area throughout the day. To learn more about Toasted, check out their website.