STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 36

n

BUSINESS OPERATIONS

FORWARD THINKERS
Brands that thrived through financial crisis and retail disruption
by FIONA SOLTES

T

he year was 2007. The mood?
That depends what month.

At the start, the nation's economic expansion
had slowed somewhat. Inflation was decreasing,
and things felt somehow stronger. Businesses were
upbeat; consumer confidence was strong.
In a game-changing moment, the iPhone was
released in late June. With a "giant" 3.5-inch
widescreen display, the revolutionary device was
available with 4GB or 8GB of storage. It didn't
take long for touchscreens, apps and virtual
qwerty keyboards to open new worlds
of possibility.
Everything was going great - until suddenly
it wasn't.
As hedge funds collapsed and the housing
market crashed, the "Great Recession" that was
to last into 2009 took hold. Despite all this, a
number of fledgling retail startups managed to
take root amidst the rubble. As it turns out, it was
no ordinary crop.
Consider the names Indochino, Smashburger
and Journelle. Each launched in 2007, and
despite significant changes in the economy,
in technology and in customer expectations
- or perhaps because of those factors - the
companies have thrived.
From the beginning, each has been about
satisfying consumer needs and desires in
innovative ways - and staying true to the course,
no matter the environment.
"We're all true specialists," says Lyn Lewis,
CEO of Journelle, which focuses on luxury
lingerie. Indochino makes made-to-measure
suits. Smashburger is known for fast-casual
quality burgers.
Perhaps things would have been different if
the companies were founded in another era,
even today. Regardless, lessons learned about
focus, strategic use of technology, evolving with
the times and continuing to connect with the
customer apply year after year.

36

STORES August 2017

RIGHT PRICE, RIGHT QUALITY,
RIGHT TIME
If ever there was a Goldilocks at the table of the
$100 billion-plus burger industry, Smashburger
would be it. When the recession hit, the
Denver-based chain was already strategically
placed. Inspired by fast-food leader Chipotle
Mexican Grill, the company originally aimed to
take advantage of a growing consumer demand for
better quality food at lower prices.
By the time disposable income began
disappearing for many Americans, Smashburger
had 10 stores on the ground. Burgers were priced
a few dollars above fast food - still significantly
below sit-down restaurants - and it was a perfect
fit for an increasingly difficult market.
"As a lot of people's businesses contracted, we
found ourselves in a position where the talent and
the real estate were there," says co-founder and CEO
Tom Ryan. "We grew like crazy during the recession."
STORES.ORG


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Table of Contents for the Digital Edition of STORES Magazine -August 2017

Editor’s Page
President’s Page
Retail Politics
NRF News
Trends
Retail People
Hot 100 Retailers
Forward Thinkers
Personalized Pricing
C2W
Q&A
Store Operations
Omnichannel
Marketing
Online
Finance
Business Operations
Startup Spotlight
Security
Fraud
STORES at 100
NRF Communities Update
End Cap
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - intro
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - cover1
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - cover2
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 3
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 4
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 5
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - Editor’s Page
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 7
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - President’s Page
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 9
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - Retail Politics
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - NRF News
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - Trends
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 13
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 14
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 15
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - Retail People
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 17
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 18
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - Hot 100 Retailers
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 20
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 21
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 22
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 23
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 24
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 25
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 26
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 27
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 28
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 29
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 30
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 31
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 32
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 33
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 34
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 35
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - Forward Thinkers
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 37
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 38
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 39
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - Personalized Pricing
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 41
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 42
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - C2W
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - Q&A
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 45
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - Store Operations
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 47
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - Omnichannel
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 49
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - Marketing
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 51
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - Online
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 53
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - Finance
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 55
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - Business Operations
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - Startup Spotlight
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 58
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - Security
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 60
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - Fraud
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 62
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - 63
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - STORES at 100
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - NRF Communities Update
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - End Cap
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - cover3
STORES Magazine -August 2017 - cover4
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