The Biggest Name You’ve Never Heard Of

I’ll bet you’ve never heard of Jack Valtrade.

Jack is one of the most successful commercial real estate operators in the eastern US.  He owns 25 shopping centers, a 200 store retail chain, a leasing company, a property management company, and a consulting business.  His net worth is estimated at $500 million, all self-made.

Chain Store Advisors interviewed Jack last month to gain some insights into his success.  “I have an unusual background,” he said.  “My dad is a PhD Economist with the Census Bureau and my mom teaches Geographic Information Systems at Princeton.  My first job was working for a commercial real estate broker when I was 16.  I put myself through M.I.T.  doing feasibility studies for a shopping center owner, and then got my Master’s degree in Statistics with a concentration in Consumer Research.” Continue reading

The Mysterious Origin of New Stores

In 2002 I was on a panel at the Retail Systems Show in Chicago which was a technology showcase for the retail industry.  The panel was focused on analytics and my topic was the use of predictive analytics in real estate planning and site selection.  I had already been at the show for a couple of days and after speaking with many CIOs, CTOs, and merchandising executives it became apparent that there was little interaction between the real estate department and the other areas of the business.

I started my presentation by telling the audience that I had come to the conclusion that “everyone outside of the real estate department thinks that stores just magically appear.” Continue reading