Flip Flop Shops Steps Up Its Game

North America's Leading Flip Flop and Sandal Retailer Hires Leading Commercial Real Estate Firms to Take Franchise to New Heights

July 12, 2011 // Franchising.com // ATLANTA – Riding on the heels of the lifestyle retailer's 100th signed franchise agreement and 30-shop master expansion deal for Canada, Flip Flop Shops proves that it's serious about worldwide "Free Your Toes" domination.

North America's first retail chain exclusive to the hottest brands and latest styles of flip flops and sandals, Flip Flop Shops today announced the hiring of nationally renowned commercial real estate firms, Podell Real Estate Advisors, LLC and Friedman Retail Consulting, to take the company to new heights.

"This partnership is proof that we're serious about growing the Flip Flop Shops brand," said Darin Kraetsch, the CEO (Size 10) of Flip Flop Shops, adding that having better representation through Podell and Friedman has significantly elevated the company's site selection/real estate strategy. "Not only will Josh and David bring Flip Flop Shops to even more prominent retail locations, but they will also help bring the brand to new areas of the United States through their established relationships with national and independent landlords."

With more than 65 shops already in the development pipeline, Podell Real Estate Advisors' Josh Podell, the President (Size 11), and Friedman Retail Consulting's David Friedman, the Principal (Size 11), will work together to bring the growing brand into 500-900 square foot, high-profile retail locations throughout the nation, including open air lifestyle centers; large, regional malls; airports and theme parks, among others.

Together, these commercial real estate veterans have more than 50 years of experience representing retailers nationwide.

Prior to launching Podell Real Estate Advisors in 2010, Podell was the vice president of real estate at Jones Apparel Group's JAG footwear, accessories and retail division, where he helped manage and grow the company's 1,000-store portfolio which includes Nine West, Anne Klein, Jones New York, Easy Spirit, Kasper and other brands. Podell has completed several thousand transactions in every type of retail real estate. In addition to Flip Flop Shops, he currently represents Nine West, Anne Klein, Osh Kosh B'Gosh, Carter's, beya, Traffic Shoes, Juliska and Shoe Woo, among others.

Having managed more than 750 real estate transactions, Friedman has full knowledge of shopping centers, malls and outlets throughout the United States and Canada. With numerous long-standing, positive relationships with national and independent landlords and retailers, Friedman has played a key role in growing many national retail brands, including Williams-Sonoma, Pottery Barn, Pottery Barn Kids, Gymboree, K-B Toys, and more.

"These guys are very well known for the key role they played in growing some of the retail industry's top and fastest-growing brands out there," said Brian Curin, the President (Size 10) of Flip Flop Shops, adding that their strong relationships with landlords will help the brand grow even faster by first identifying the perfect site in a market and then allowing Flip Flop Shops to find the right franchisee. "Without a doubt, I know Josh and David will bring Flip Flop Shops into the best retail spaces with the best deals for our franchisees. We're super stoked to have them representing the brand and look forward to seeing where they take us."

Bursting onto the retail scene in 2004, Flip Flop Shops quickly became North America's first retail chain exclusive to the hottest brands and latest styles of flip flops and sandals from such leading brands as REEF, Sanuk, Flojos, havaianas, OluKai, Cobian and O'NEILL, among others. Its mission: to provide the opportunity for anyone, in any climate, to "Live…Work…Play With Their Toes Exposed®" while wearing the freedom of flip flops on their feet.

"David and I have known each other for 15 years, so it's great to finally work together on growing a hot retail concept that has undoubtedly become a leader in the action sports retail industry and shows no signs of slowing down," said Podell, adding that both him and Friedman were impressed with the growth of the brand when they first learned about it in trades and at the 2010 International Council of Shopping Centers' conference, where Flip Flop Shops was awarded with the prestigious "Hot Retailer Award."

Flip Flop Shops has grown its franchise system at a record pace. Since 2008, the growing brand has received more than 8,000 franchise applications, generated nearly $3 million in franchise fees, launched an online retail shop, signed a 30-shop franchise deal for Canada, and opened more than 40 shops throughout the United States, Canada, Guam and the Caribbean. The brand's well-managed global expansion strategy calls for 236 locations to open in select markets by 2013.

"Flip Flop Shops currently has a handful of high-profile locations on its roster, including Mandalay Bay Hotel & Casino, Universal Studios theme park and Universal CityWalk to name a few," said Friedman. "The company has the potential to expand into more high-profile, iconic locations throughout the nation and Josh and I have the relationships and expertise to help accomplish this. We look forward to helping franchisees bring the brand to these sites and taking Flip Flop Shops to the next level."

About Flip Flop Shops

Founded in 2004, Flip Flop Shops is North America's first retail chain exclusive to the hottest brands and latest styles of flip flops and sandals from big names such as REEF, Sanuk, Flojos, havaianas, OluKai, Cobian, and O'NEILL. The recipient of the International Council of Shopping Centers' prestigious "Hot Retailer Award," Flip Flop Shops began franchising in January 2008. Flip Flop Shops is an Environmentally Responsible Retailer™ and encourages the nation to Free Their Toes®. The executive team boasts more than 50 years of franchise experience building and growing some of the world's fastest-growing franchise concepts, category leaders and some of the world's most well-known brands, including Cold Stone Creamery, Moe's Southwest Grill and Nike. With more than 40 shops currently operating and 65-plus in development, the company plans to open 236 shops by 2013. For more franchise opportunity information, visit http://franchise.flipflopshops.com/.

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