Tuesday, January 13, 2009
Burrito Bubble Popping
So I went to the Moe's on Immokalee Rd in Naples, FL today for dinner. There aren't too many places I can take my 20-minutes-tops kids. There are food courts, Chinese restaurants that don't really cook the food (10 minute!), and fast food joints like McDonalds.
At 5:57 pm the place was completely empty. I asked the clerk what was going on:
Clerk - Ever since they opened the other store on Naples Boulevard we've been dead....It's owned by the same guy.
Hah! He cannibalized his own sales. Ain't nothing like twice the overhead for the same revenue!
Now, obviously there could be *other factors*. I punched up the distance on Google Maps....it is a full 6.4 miles between stores. Granted, 6 miles ain't much in a town like Naples, but still the stores could arguably be tapping different semi-circles of customer traffic.
Furthermore, the plaza that the Moe's I dined at is in was a near ghost town. Two of the three adjacent stores were *empty/for lease*; an anchor tenant at the other end was gone (Linens N Things) and a couple of in-between stores must be taking on water as well: Haverty Furniture, Pier One (down to 50 cents per share. OUCH!), and Home Depot's Expo Design Center.
So the rest of the plaza is empty, the economy is imploding, AND the owner might possibly have poached his own customers....
But heck, what do I know?
Maybe the owner is actually quite savvy? Perhaps he used the downturn to get a *really cheap lease* on Naples Boulevard AND is planning to *jingle mail* (foreclose) on the Immokalee Road Moes?
There's a whole lot of *walking away* going on down here in Naples. Almost everyone I meet down here owns a distressed property or two. In fact, I just found out today that the owner of this condo I am renting is (unsuccessfully) *trying to do a short sale* on it.
We'll see how much of my $500 deposit this failed investor/flipper actually returns - as he owns "several" condos on each coast of Florida, all purchased this decade.
Maybe on my way out I should abscond with the big screen color TV as a hedge?
There's plenty of room in my 1997 Chevy Suburban.