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Written by: Samantha Starkoff

Samantha Starkoff started as an intern at Colliers in the Fall of 2020, specializing in commercial retail leasing, including both landlord and tenant representation in the Central Ohio area. Samantha then joined Colliers | Columbus as a full-time associate in June 2021. Samantha’s market knowledge and real estate experience allow her to come up with creative and effective real estate solutions for her clients. Keep reading to get Samantha’s take on how the retail market has been impacted overall by Covid-19.

How has Covid-19 impacted the Columbus retail leasing market?

Covid-19 has impacted the retail leasing market greatly. However, not all of these impacts have been negative. Unfortunately, many businesses were forced to close due to financial struggles and decreasing business following the pandemic. But, these closures have made the way for an influx of new and fresh retail concepts. Consumers are hungry for innovative and creative business models. Specifically, we have noticed a rise in the popularity of interactive and experiential concepts. One example is Columbus Retail Teams client Exhibition Hub, an interactive international art exhibit businesses that we are helping to expand across Ohio.

What kinds of tenants have been hit hardest?

The tenants that have been hit the hardest are mom and pop shops. With everyone staying home, many of us chose to make purchases on Amazon instead of going to our local businesses. Also, many sit-down restaurants have been forced to close due to the many months of closure for quarantine.

What tenants have been doing well, despite the pandemic?

There are many tenants who have been able to succeed despite the pandemic. Fast-casual restaurants are booming with business. Many of the existing chains have been doing great business, and other new chains are entering the market and thriving as well. We have also noticed grocery stores and liquor stores are very well due to the decrease in folks who are choosing to go out to eat or drink.

Do you anticipate activity ramping up in 2022? Why or why not?

I absolutely believe that the retail market will continue to trend upward as we move into the new year. As we begin to get back to the “new normal” more and more people are getting out of the house and going out which translates to improved sales for businesses. With all the business closures that are happening from the pandemic, come landlords who need help leasing their retail vacancies. In addition, more and more individuals are beginning or expanding their businesses which also requires brokers to help find them retail space. This influx of need for retail leasing brokers has been great for the Columbus Retail Team and retail leasing teams across Columbus.

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