‘The Hottest Pandemic Club’
Before it became the land of $21 superfood smoothies, Erewhon had dwindled to a single store, cluttered and wholly unremarkable.
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Here are today’s highlights:
Industrial space is now worth more than office space.
Wall Street is turning to ‘finfluencers’ who can make more than bankers.
A tale of two cities: London, which is bracing for omicron, and Dubai, which is a pandemic boomtown.
How a Erewon, a luxury grocery market in L.A., became a cultural phenomenon: “Fitness trainer Gregg Miele — @greggyhustle to his nearly 20,000 Instagram followers — is a creature of habit: Every day, he hits the gym and he goes to Erewhon. At the upscale organic grocer, he might buy a cup of overnight oats (‘the best’), replenish his stash of vitamins (‘their supplement game’s incredible’) or grab a $12.49 bottle of his favorite Ophora water (‘they implement an oxygen component to it — when you open it, you start seeing the bubbles’), which he was cradling like a football at the chain’s new Studio City location on a recent morning.”
“Vogue called the chain a ‘health-food holy site,’ the New York Times said it’s ‘the unofficial hangout for the young, beautiful and bored’ and Vanity Fair declared: ‘The hottest pandemic club in Los Angeles is Erewhon.”
“It’s a cultural phenomenon (and occasional spectacle) that customers, critics and industry analysts joke could only exist in L.A.”
“Company executives, in the midst of an ambitious expansion plan to bring Erewhon stores outside Los Angeles County for the first time in decades, to as many as 20 locations in all, hope that’s not the case.”
“Before it became the land of $21 superfood smoothies, mushroom tinctures and organic-raw-vegan-sugar-free-gluten-free key lime pie, Erewhon had dwindled to a single store on Beverly Boulevard, cluttered and wholly unremarkable ...” READ MORE
Dan Golden, left, and Steve Krull
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American office buildings face a reckoning: “Allstate Corp.’s suburban campus outside Chicago, with its interconnected buildings, manicured grounds and acres of parking, represented a new vision for the U.S. office when it opened in 1967. That vision is now dead. The insurer reached a deal last month to sell most of the campus. The new owner plans to demolish the office buildings and convert the Northbrook, Ill., site into more than 3 million square feet of e-commerce warehouses and other logistics facilities. ‘I didn’t think I would ever live in a world where industrial land is worth more than office land,’ said Douglas Kiersey Jr., president of Dermody Properties, which is paying $232 million for the 232-acre parcel. ‘But here we are.’”
“Newly built skyscrapers in central business districts are still filling up and charging top rents, even during the pandemic.”
“But thousands of older buildings across the U.S. face an uncertain future. As more companies elect to make remote work or a hybrid model a permanent part of their corporate culture, they are looking to cut costs on real estate.”
“An outdated office makes the decision to end a lease or sell a building easier.” READ MORE
Wall Street is turning to “finfluencers,” who can make more than bankers: “At first no one could explain why business was picking up at Betterment, a robo adviser aimed at newbie investors. There were about 10,000 sign-ups in one day. Then came the answer: A 25-year-old TikToker from Tennessee was posting videos describing how to retire a millionaire by using the platform. His name is Austin Hankwitz, and he’s managed to land one of the hottest new gigs: full-time ‘finfluencer.’”
“‘We were, like, where is this increased activity coming from?’ Betterment’s director of communications, Arielle Sobel, said of the sudden increase in customer inquiries. ‘It was not sponsored by us, so we had no clue.’”
“Influencers like Hankwitz can translate concepts like passive investing or tax harvesting into digestible social media videos using playful twists, music and colorful captions, making investment products and the like feel accessible to millennials and Gen Z-ers.”
“For the finance industry, partnering with those influencers can be a no-brainer: There’s never been faster and more direct access to that demographic, particularly at a time when retail investing has skyrocketed.” READ MORE
Don’t get too excited about a rebound in business travel: “In its latest State of Travel and Hospitality report, the data analysis company [Morning Consult] reveals that four in 10 American business travelers (39 percent) say they will never go on another work trip. Instead, companies will continue to rely on video conferences and shorter, close-to-home trips. Morning Consult data shows that one in five business trips in the next year will be day trips.”
“Six in 10 business travelers (62 percent) said they will use their cars for work trips in the next year, compared to 46 percent who said they will fly.”
“A national survey of business travelers conducted on behalf of the Hotel & Lodging Association last August found 67 percent planning to take fewer trips, 52 percent likely to cancel existing travel plans without rescheduling, and 60 percent planning to postpone existing travel plans.” READ MORE
THE COVID ECONOMY
British businesses are bracing for omicron: “For months, businesses across Britain have been desperately trying to maneuver around supply chain disruptions, labor shortages and rising costs as they emerged from various stages of lockdown. Offices reopened, which filled up commuter buses and trains; restaurants and pubs advertised to host holiday parties; and lines grew longer at city center coffee shops. Now, the emergence of the fast-spreading Omicron variant has unexpectedly dealt those efforts a blow.”
“On Thursday morning, a group of 50 called to cancel their holiday party booked for that evening at Luc’s Brasserie, a French restaurant in the financial district of Britain’s capital.”
“That same morning, a group of 21 canceled their party too, also for Thursday night.”
“‘I don’t know where this is going to go next week,’ [Darrin Jacobs, the owner of Luc’s] said. ‘I think this is a tip of the iceberg-type scenario and it may get a lot worse next week and, if that’s the case, we’ll really have to scale it back.’” READ MORE
Meanwhile, high vaccination rates and zero taxes have made Dubai a pandemic boomtown: “This year, thousands of millionaires have relocated to the city and the wider United Arab Emirates, drawn by zero income tax and relatively relaxed pandemic restrictions. The city’s bars, restaurants and hotels are packed, real-estate prices have surged, workers are returning to offices, and the Expo 2020 world fair is reeling in foreign tourists. Even as the Omicron variant rattled markets and forced border restrictions across the world, Dubai has doubled down on an open economy that welcomes an increasingly mobile international workforce.”
“Daily Covid-19 cases have been below 100 for weeks in the U.A.E. after reaching peaks of nearly 4,000 during January, the worst stretch of the pandemic here.”
“Health officials credit a vaccination rate of 90 percent, one of the highest in the world, and compliance with mandates to wear masks indoors and in some crowded outdoor settings.”
“‘Restaurants are off the charts. I’ve never found it harder to get restaurant booking,’ said Kunal Savjani, a venture capitalist and financier who moved to Dubai from London in 2014.” READ MORE
Inflation hits a 39-year high: “The Labor Department said Friday the consumer-price index—which measures what consumers pay for goods and services—rose 6.8 percent in November from the same month a year ago. That was the fastest pace since 1982 and the sixth straight month in which inflation topped 5 percent.”
“On a monthly basis, the CPI increased a seasonally adjusted 0.8 percent in November from the prior month, about the same as October’s 0.9 percent increase.” READ MORE
THE 21 HATS PODCAST
Are You Playing Offense or Defense? This week, Paul Downs, Dana White, and Laura Zander talk about the lessons they’ll take from 2021 and what they’re hoping to accomplish in 2022. Paul thinks he’s found an alternative sales channel that will lessen his dependency on Google. Laura, who built Jimmy Beans Wool on ecommerce, is planning a renewed emphasis on brick-and-mortar retail. And Dana White is working on building the team that will help her pursue her remarkable opportunities with franchising and the military. Plus, how comfortable would the owners be showing up at work in a brand new car?
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