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Ross Adickman of Amicon: The Future Of Retail In The Post Pandemic World

An Interview With Jilea Hemmings

In terms of in-store shopping we’ve seen several retailers develop contactless shopping options. With contactless shopping, customers don’t have to physically touch the items they’re purchasing and the entire inventory of items is not on display. Instead, one of each item is typically displayed to show customers what the store carries and customers can notify staff of which items they’d like to purchase. Retailers have been brainstorming ways to make the entire transaction totally contactless with payment options on portable mobile tablets instead of stationary registers.

When planning for a post-pandemic world, all retailers are rethinking the design of their brick and mortar spaces. Attracting customers to physical locations is more challenging than ever, forcing retailers to pay attention to how the physical space plays a role in the overall retail experience. Factors like colors, temperature, sound, music and lighting are now important elements in any physical retail space. Retailers and hospitality groups are focusing on designing spaces to create a relaxing environment in order to attract customers.

Aspart of our series about the future of retail, I had the pleasure of interviewing Ross Adickman, Co-Founder of Amicon.

With almost four decades of professional experience in the South Florida construction and real estate industry –including the construction and development of some of the region’s most prestigious residential and commercial properties — Ross brings a wealth of innovative solutions and informed leadership to every project.

A state-licensed General Contractor, Ross co-founded Brookman-Fels in 1980. Brookman-Fels quickly became one of South Florida’s leading luxury custom home builders before it was acquired by a public company in 1996. That same year, Ross founded Amicon with Adam Mopsick. Today, Ross manages all aspects of Amicon’s Communities and Developments division, including local property management and North Carolina properties.

Ross is considered Amicon’s “Yoda,”and he is often approached by the entire staff regarding projects that contain complicated technical and financial details. When not working, Ross enjoys traveling and exploring the art, music and architecture of various cultures. He and his wife, Ilene, live in Boca Raton.

Thank you so much for joining us in this interview series! Before we dive in, our readers would love to learn a bit more about you. Can you share the most interesting story that happened to you since you started your career?

Asurprising and interesting experience I had during my career was discovering that three buildings I was working on were owned by Pablo Escobar. I worked on these buildings in 1980 and had no idea he was involved until during the construction process I discovered through my team that he was, in fact, the owner of the buildings.

Which tips would you recommend to your colleagues in your industry to help them to thrive and not “burn out”?

My biggest piece of advice to colleagues is to be prepared and be on time. Whether it’s a presentation, negotiation or a meeting, showing up prepared and ready each day is the best way to earn the respect, confidence and trust of your clients, business partners and colleagues. Earning that respect and developing a reputation for punctuality and dependability is something that will follow you as you build your personal brand. Knowing you’re prepared and ready for the day will also support a healthy work-life balance. When it comes time to “shut the store for the day,” knowing you did your best can help with separating work and personal life by giving you the peace of mind you need for a full night’s sleep. You’re going to need it for tomorrow!

None of us are able to achieve success without some help along the way. Is there a particular person to whom you are grateful, who helped get you to where you are? Can you share a story?

Absolutely. There are several people I am incredibly thankful for. When I look back on my career, I’m grateful to the vendors and subcontractors I used when I began my first general contracting company. I had a relationship with those vendors and subcontractors from previously working with them. Their support and outreach made my shoestring startup approach possible and had a lasting impact on the success of my business. A few of them also referred me to other jobs where they knew an owner’s representative was needed. I have never forgotten their kindness and I consciously make an effort to help younger subcontractors and vendors in the same way I was helped at the beginning of my career.

How have you used your success to bring goodness to the world?

To me, success is not measured by dollars or decimal points but by the impact you can make in someone’s life. Whenever someone walks into my office I always make an effort to be present, even if our conversation develops into something that’s not at all about business. I try to bring goodness to the world by giving my time and attention to anyone I encounter and helping them with something they may be going through, whether it’s related to my profession or not. Giving is very important to me and I hope that by listening and offering my help, that person will pay it forward and show the same kindness to someone else.

Now let’s jump to the main questions of our interview. The Pandemic has changed many aspects of all of our lives. One of them is the fact that so many of us have gotten used to shopping almost exclusively online. Can you share five examples of different ideas that large retail outlets are implementing to adapt to the new realities created by the Pandemic?

Large retailers have started to shift the focus toward customer experience in the post-covid environment and implement more outdoor spaces. Instead of only offering traditional retail, the post-covid mall will have more experiential offerings including exercise, entertainment and dining spaces rather than a focus on brick and mortar retail.

Brick and mortar retail locations are retrofitting their spaces to accommodate for “click and collect” shopping. The surge in online shopping during the pandemic has led to many physical retail locations developing curbside and in-store pick-up stations as an integration between online and in-store shopping.

In terms of in-store shopping we’ve seen several retailers develop contactless shopping options. With contactless shopping, customers don’t have to physically touch the items they’re purchasing and the entire inventory of items is not on display. Instead, one of each item is typically displayed to show customers what the store carries and customers can notify staff of which items they’d like to purchase. Retailers have been brainstorming ways to make the entire transaction totally contactless with payment options on portable mobile tablets instead of stationary registers.

Fashion retailers and retailers that offer products that can be “tried on” are also developing virtual ways to try on their product. This is something we’ve seen with eyeglasses, for example, where consumers can “try on” the glasses by taking a photo of themselves, in an attempt to mimic the experience of trying these products on in person.

When planning for a post-pandemic world, all retailers are rethinking the design of their brick and mortar spaces. Attracting customers to physical locations is more challenging than ever, forcing retailers to pay attention to how the physical space plays a role in the overall retail experience. Factors like colors, temperature, sound, music and lighting are now important elements in any physical retail space. Retailers and hospitality groups are focusing on designing spaces to create a relaxing environment in order to attract customers.

In your opinion, will retail stores or malls continue to exist? How would you articulate the role of physical retail spaces at a time when online commerce platforms like Amazon Prime or Instacart can deliver the same day or the next day?

I believe retail stores can continue to successfully exist after the pandemic. While brick and mortar retail has been declining for years, stores still attract customers because they provide a physical experience that cannot be replicated online. The experience of seeing products firsthand and being able to interact and browse around a store is irreplaceable and many still prefer physical locations to online retail platforms. That being said, online commerce platforms like Amazon and Instacart have a huge convenience advantage and are now undoubtedly safer options during the pandemic. The desire to shop in person and have that retail experience is still there for many but in order to continue to exist, physical retail spaces will need to rethink their design and layout. Physical spaces still have a role in the retail world but will need to incorporate outdoor spaces, more square footage and sanitization measures to create a safe experience for customers.

Thank you for all of that. We are nearly done. Here is our final ‘meaty’ question. You are a person of great influence. If you could start a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be?

We live in an incredibly fast paced, digital world and the pandemic has only increased our reliance on technology to communicate. If I could start a movement, I would encourage everyone to approach each interaction with sincerity and respect and take a moment to engage with the person you’re communicating with on the other side of the screen. Cultivating deep personal and professional relationships is more important than ever and acknowledging the value of these relationships has led me to significant achievements and I encourage everyone to regard professional and personal relationships in their own life with the same level of value.