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Business Last Updated: Feb 27, 2013 - 10:14:41 AM

Are You Getting Your Piece of the Pie?
By Clyde Hiers, CPA Outgoing President,DIBA
Feb 27, 2013 - 10:13:29 AM

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Once again some business owners on the island are citing steep occupancy rates as the reason for the demise of certain retail establishments. Although there may be some validity in the fact that the business could not pay their rent, it clearly is not the primary reason that businesses fail on Daniel Island. Rental rates have never been more favorable and the opportunity for businesses to thrive increases exponentially every day. The “pie” is getting bigger and bigger. You need to determine a way to get your slice! Blaming excessive rents is an excuse, not a reason.
Pete Harper with Lee and Associates will assume the Presidency of the Daniel Island Business Association (DIBA) on April 1, 2013. Pete will do a great job. As Membership Chairman during the past year, he has significantly raised the awareness of DIBA and also increased the sheer number of members. I know that I am passing the torch to a qualified leader who will continue to increase the awareness of Daniel Island as a “target rich” environment for both island and non-island retailers.
DIBA is not in existence to subsidize rents for members. Speaking quite frankly, the most recent business to fail on the island was NOT a member of DIBA. When the owners of that establishment were invited to join DIBA and to network with their fellow island merchants, we were told they did not have any interest in our organization. Had they come to DIBA prior to opening their business, we would have shared any and all information with them. The over whelming mantra of DIBA is that any business failure on Daniel Island hurts all businesses. We are here to help, but the existing business owners and/or prospective owners must ask for assistance.
Recently we discussed the demographics of Daniel Island in terms of household income and accumulated wealth. Regardless of whether you place more confidence in the United States Census data or the POA survey data, the numbers are impressive. More impressive is the fact that Daniel Island still has another 50% of remaining growth. Do you know there are almost 100 homes either under construction or permitted to begin construction? That is anywhere from 75 million to 100 million of “value” to be added to the island. How many more shirts will need to be laundered? How many more prescriptions will need to be filled?  How many more cups of coffee will need to be served? How many more students will want to study karate?
Those “captive audience” marketing opportunities are impressive, but have you considered the special event marketing opportunities? Do you know how many chances every merchant is given to sell their goods to Daniel Island visitors? The data is staggering.
Did you know that Bob Moran and the Family Circle Tennis Center bring 145,000 people to the Island every year? Between Family Circle tennis and the six concerts Bob produced last year he gave you an opportunity to “sell something” to 145,000 visitors! Did you get a piece of the action? Why not?
Did you know the Charleston Battery has 20 home games, has a 3 night Carolina Cup Challenge and does several concerts each year? The Battery is bringing almost 140,000 visitors to Daniel Island every year. Did you sell anything to these visitors? You should have.
Now let’s look at other special events sponsored by the POA, The Daniel Island Rotary Club, the Komen Foundation, Friends of The Library, The Charleston Symphony Orchestra, etc. There are events taking place almost every month that bring another 35,000 visitors to Daniel Island. This does not even include all the soccer teams I see at Governors Park every weekend. Are you selling something to all these visitors?
The collective count is approximately 320,000! If you sold just $1 of goods and services to those visitors you would have an additional net income of at least $150,000. You can pay a lot of rent with another $320,000 of gross revenue. Realistically we know every merchant will not sell something to every visitor. However, we also know that if you can get at least one visitor to shop with you, they are going to spend much more than $1.
The pie is there; it is there for the taking. Someone is going to get a piece of the Daniel Island economic pie. The smart merchant is going to get their piece and probably yours! You had better determine a way to get yours. Otherwise, stop complaining.

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