Independence Golf Club in Midlothian, Va. moved items from its pro shop to a shed on the course and turned over the former space to the Southern Marsh retail chain, free of rent. The two sides struck a revenue-sharing deal, rather than a traditional lease.
After years of struggling to figure how best to run the pro shop at his public golf course, Giff Breed decided to turn to the pros, Richmond BizSense reported. The pro shop at Breed’s Independence Golf Club in Midlothian, Va. is a pro shop no longer, as he last week turned over the keys to preppy retail chain Southern Marsh, which also has a location in a nearby shopping center.
“I don’t know in what manual it’s been written that golf courses need to have a pro shop,” Breed said. “If Nordstrom can’t figure out retail, how in the world can a golf shop figure it out? So why not sit back and watch [Southern Marsh] do their magic?”
Southern Marsh, which was founded in Baton Rouge, La. in 2008, opened in the shopping center last August, BizSense reported. It had been considering leaving the mall in part due to the prolonged closure from coronavirus and already had been in discussions with Independence.
But Jessica Moneymaker, the brand’s area manager, told BizSense it worked out that the company decided to move into Independence while also keeping the nearby store.
“Initially we thought we were pulling out of the mall altogether. Luckily things have changed,” Moneymaker said. “We are truly treating Independence as another new location and we think it will be part of the future of experience retail.”
Moneymaker had been in contact with Breed since doing some Southern Marsh pop-up stores at Independence last year, BizSense reported. Then Breed made Southern Marsh an offer no retailer could refuse, especially in the time of coronavirus—free rent.
The two sides struck a revenue-sharing deal, rather than a traditional lease. It’s a structure Breed has employed as he’s worked to attract nontraditional golf activities to Independence since he took it over in 2014, BizSense reported. Last year, for example, he struck a similar deal with Canopy Adventure Park, a ropes course that operates on the outskirts of the golf course.
“I want to have skin in the game and figure out how to drive people here,” Breed said.
With Southern Marsh now open for business onsite, Independence has moved what’s left of the golf shop—those items that golfers typically would need to buy from a pro shop—to a shed out at the course, BizSense reported. The transition was made easier, in a sense, by coronavirus and related social distancing. Pro shops are traditionally where golfers check in for their tee times, but that process has shifted to mobile check-in in recent months, a change that will be permanent post-Covid-19, Breed said.