Wow, wow, wow, people! That’s all I can say right now.
The things that have been unfolding here at Media 1/Wrap This these past few months are far beyond anything we have ever encountered before! And to quote a popular insurance commercial, after 35 years in business, “We know a thing or two, because we’ve seen a thing or two.” We’re no spring chickens in this industry, but 2019 has been a real ride so far!
So, what’s going on here that’s causing all the excitement?
Well, if you’ve been following our adventures in this column, you already know that we are bursting the seams of our 19,000-sq.-ft. manufacturing facility and have actively been on the lookout for expanded pastures for some time now. However, finding the perfect 30,000-sq.-ft. facility in the robust Orlando real estate environment has proven to be a monumental task. For two solid years now, a plethora of commercial brokers has turned our front entry into a revolving door of disappointment.
They’ve shown us 50,000-sq.-ft. buildings way out of our price range and 50,000-sq.-ft. structures that we were certain required a trip to CentraCare afterwards for a quick tetanus booster. (I mean, literally, the exterior walls had been riddled with gunfire, and a flight of pigeons had taken up residence via massive holes in the roof.)
We looked at perfect-location buildings with roofs too low for a fabrication shop. We looked at places too far off the beaten path. Too small places, too big places, too expensive, too ugly – cue the Dr. Seuss illustrations… Point is, there has been nothing that will work for us.
Meanwhile, back at camp, the shop we have been renting for the past 14 years sits at the front of a big complex: Seminole County’s largest, boasting 25 buildings with 71 tenants, and over 800,000-sq.-ft. of rentable space. It’s been a great 14 years, and we’ve more than tripled the size of our company in this facility… it holds a lot of memories. But alas, in January, two guys out of Chicago wrote my old landlord a $59 million check, and he (obviously) cashed that bad boy and skedaddled into a blissful retirement. Great for him, but not so much for Media 1 (nor the other tenants).
So this new guy – now demanding long-term leases, coupled with something he calls “market rates” (LOL, how dare he) – is poised to wreak havoc on our Aug. 1-expiring lease. Our conversation went something like this:
Dale, we know you guys are trying to buy a building and understand your reluctance to sign a new five-year lease, so we will work with you. Just tell us how long you need to stay… three months, six months, nine months… until you find a new place, no worries! M1 partners say, Wow, that’s really nice of you, shake his hand and tell him we’ll get him our timeline. As our hands meet, he finishes, By the way, your rent’s going up $4,800 per month and we’re taking half your parking spots.
Ouch! A 61% increase in rent hurts; I don’t care who you are! And how the hell do you jam 31 employees, numerous service vehicles, customers, and over 60 wrap vehicles per month, into a total of 27 parking spots?
Simultaneously, the tenant who shares the other half of our 40,000-sq.-ft. building makes a deal with the new landlord to take over half of our space once we move out. Only issue is, their business explodes during the holidays, and needing a buildout, they want us out. Now.
And when I say now, I mean before you will read this article. And the half they want houses our entire Wrap This division, the side that turns out over 60 wraps per month! The side that accounts for 35% of our income and the most client traffic! What the __ do we do now?
As all this drama quickly unfolds, a lifelong realtor friend of mine says, “Why don’t you look into this property over here?” And almost miraculously, a property I have driven by every day of my life for the past 20 years springs into view. And it’s for sale!
Is it “perfect” for us? Does it all work out? Do we manage to wrangle our way into a new property before our walls come tumbling down? We don’t know, ’cause it’s happening as you read this. But I promise you, we are about to find out. Stay tuned!