Dec 10

Welcome to ICSC: Attendees Tell Us They Are Thrilled to “Make in Person Deals Happen”

In advance of today’s big ICSC Here We Go 2021 conference, caught up with a few attendees on what they look forward to at this year’s live event.

LAS VEGAS — “I’m Thrilled to have the opportunity to see everyone in the industry once again. It means we are back to making deals in person, generating meaningful relationships face-to-face, and doing business like we did before the pandemic hit.” Those thoughts are according to Jason Baker, principal at Houston-based Baker Katz, and attendee at this year’s ICSC Here We Go 2021 event here in Las Vegas. caught up with Baker, along with other attendees, to discuss the retail market and what they are looking forward to at this year’s live event.

“These conferences are a great way to get ahead of trends and new retail concepts, particularly before the New Year,” he tells “I like to hear what other industry executives have to say about their experience during the pandemic, what changes are being embraced as a result of the challenges we’ve all experience the last two years on the retail side, and of course, what retailers are interested in the Houston market.”

Josh Poag, president and CEO of Memphis-based Poag Shopping Centers, tells that having ICSC’s conference in person “means everything.” He says that “Having almost two years off really makes you appreciate the connections, opportunities and insights the in-person shows bring to the table.”

In addition, Poag says, he is looking forward to being back with industry friends to pick their brains and see how everyone has fared during the pandemic. “That collaboration and connection is something I took for granted and now realize how much I miss it,” he says. “I’m also looking forward to sharing the Poag story with retailers. We have so much positive momentum throughout the portfolio and we are excited to capitalize on the efforts the team has made over the course of the last few years.” is also looking forward to meeting and connecting with its customers. We caught up with George Shaw, founder and CEO, who says that his firm is excited to showcase its spatial intelligence platform and share how real-time human behavior insights can unlock additional business value to retailers and firms from their physical spaces.

Yaromir Steiner, founder & CEO of Columbus-based Steiner + Associates, tells that ICSC shows have been a staple at Steiner + Associates for over 20 years. “To have the chance to reconnect and collaborate with old friends in the industry, as well as have the chance to make new connections, has always been a priceless experience for my team and me.”

Steiner explains that “Some things will be different, to be sure, but some things, like relationship building face-to-face collaboration and deal making, will never change. I am most looking forward to what other retail real estate experts have to say about the year ahead as it relates to the lates trends and topics in the industry.”

When asked what Baker thinks will be the hottest topics at the show, he said that he expects to hear about the transition back to driving foot traffic in the store, pandemic-driven real estate solutions that are here to stay. He also expects to hear how food & beverage concepts continue to thrive, and the challenges surrounding the labor market and how we can work together to drive solutions.

For Poag, he expects hot topics will really just be reconnecting with people and learning and understanding how everyone survived and thrived during the pandemic, as well as figuring out where the future lies. “Conferences and conversations always stoke ideas and allow us to see trends,” Poad says. “We can have the conversations by phone or online, but nothing can replace face-to-face meetings and conversations.”

Poag also says he expects to hear discussions around the surge in retail since the pandemic, especially in lifestyle centers, and how brick-and-mortar fit in with ecommerce in a symbiotic relationship. “I think a lot of retailers and developers have recovered and are trying to figure out what is next. A big piece of that conversation should revolve around changing consumer preferences post-pandemic.”

Steiner believes that we will see a more confident brick and mortar real estate industry “seeing itself as an indispensable component of the retailer environment.” He also adds that “We will also see a clearer assessment of the potential of existing regional malls based on objectively defined traffic data.”

His hope is to hear more about the changing landscape for enclosed malls and the emergence of mixed-use environments anchored by retail. “I would also love to hear more about how the retail real estate industry is progressing in its sustainability efforts. That topic, continues to be a challenge for the industry at large, and it’s something we at Easton Town Center are thinking critically about every single day.”

By Natalie Dolce – Writer –
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