Succession and reinvention

A family business is a wonderful thing. Bust most family businesses have a few inherent challenges. One of them is succession. When I started Marketing Plus NV in the late 80s, I never thought about succession. And most people at the onset of their business enterprise never think about it. The issue comes up later, sometimes too late, when seniors wish to retire and no one is breaking down their door, dying to become their successor.

The second inherent challenge is the difficulty of a family business to reinvent itself. Some retail stores such as record stores, camera stores, book stores, are heading for extinction, the decks are stacked against them, and unless they reinvent themselves, and offer an experience beyond ordinary retail, they are kaput.

For those two reasons what is happening at Antraco is remarkable. The fire a few years ago, says Robert Croes, forced us to rethink a few things. Bottom line, they shuffled businesses around, then closed some, kept others, and are now busy developing the family-owned real estate into a business plaza. Domino’s Pizza, Coffee Table, the Wine Room, EQ3, Love & Paradise, are just a few of the new and exciting businesses recently established in the Antraco plaza and Robert reports all locations, except one, are rented at L. G. Smith 126.

My father, says Robert, was always pro change, he never dug his heels in, so we were able, as a family to do things differently as times were changing.

They always had a strong office furniture and office machine wholesale business to rely on, but now their real estate division is driving things. Retail will eventually phase out, and the popular copy center relocated, as a community service.

I saw some of the architectural drawings for the complex, it will look very nice when it all comes together, and beside two excellent anchor stores, EQ3 and Love & Paradise, we should expect a hair stylist, a shoe store, a healthy juice bar, and a gym. The back part of the property will be redesigned with a wooden deck, so that the Wine Room may face into the courtyard with a large outdoor area.

Food will represent 35% of the plaza, Robert says, and we expect our tenants to offer shopping and dining experiences, beyond the ordinary.

Personally, I think Coffee Table did just that. Convenient parking, good food, great coffee. It has a wow effect on people as they walk in and it delivers personal service in a cozy atmosphere. The new Domino now dominates the downtown area for pizza deliveries and stylish legal eagle diva Lalo, now helps to chicly dress us!