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Nexus Retail’s in the middle


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We hear it all the time: Franchisees cannot get financing, with the exception of those in big brands, where lenders are fighting for the best deals. 

David Fisher and his group at Nexus Retail want to change that, and more—and they’ve already revealed a platform to do so. 

The Nexus name comes from the notion that they are in the middle of the deal. They bring financing, real estate and construction expertise to bear for portfolios of franchisees. For franchisors, they “gain financing and real estate certainty that allows them to confidently accelerate growth,” said Fisher, CEO and president, and also a founder of the company.

It works like this: Nexus sets up a financing program with one of their investors or lenders—whether for new builds, reimaging, business transfers or refinancing. If the franchisee fits that criteria during the application process, it is approved and funding happens quickly, said Samantha Sandt, vice president, national transactions for Nexus. For new builds and reimaging, once financing has been approved, Nexus “flips the switch and we get to work on the real estate and construction process that week,” she added.

The process for franchisors, franchisees, financiers, brokers and other real estate contacts is all streamlined through a web portal where they can quickly manage the project from the finance application to the store’s opening day. Brokers can even come to the site to find franchisees that might need sites they have available.

The principals of Nexus have extensive experience with financing and real estate for corporate chains. Corporate chains don’t finance and build their sites as one-offs, said Fisher. And franchisors shouldn’t have to do that, either. “The problem we observed was that it just gets too complex,” he said. 

“If you’re the franchisor across the country from your franchisee, who do you call? Who bids the job? You don’t have a full construction staff like big chains,” added Fisher. And a lot of that work gets pushed off to the franchisees, and they don’t have experience with most of the process. “The consequence is that deals don’t get done, or things cost too much,” he added.

The company was set to launch on May 20 the real estate component of its platform at the International Council of Shopping Centers annual convention in Las Vegas. The ICSC brings together retailer and restaurant company executives with landlords and other real estate professionals. 

“If you are a chain of a few hundred stores,” he said, “you don’t rate with landlords. No one cares at ICSC, and that’s a big problem. When we go there, we are aggregating all of our franchises, and we might be looking for 500 sites. That’s a different negotiating power.” 

 

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