Recession ahead? CEO’s Divided on Whether They See Signs of One

Healthcare continues to grow as a major part of the economy. We have not been seeing any signs of a recession, which is why we continue to take steps to build our clinical programs. There is a great need to provide accessible specialty healthcare services for our community and the region.

Dr. Edward Abraham, executive vice president for Health Affairs of the University of Miami and CEO of UHealth – the UM Health System

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I see the warning signs in the real estate sector already — certain retailers going dark; slowdown in purchasing will cause more employee layoffs in the future. The cost of living plus inflation has increased but [am] wondering if it will sustain or roll back. Fed interest rate increases are not helping.

Jim AngletonCEO for Aegis FinServ Corp.

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Historically, recessions have a delayed impact on healthcare providers because of access to healthcare benefits post-layoff through COBRA. We are not seeing any early signs of a recession. Cleveland Clinic Florida maintains the highest acute-care occupancy rates in the region.

Wael BarsoumM.D., CEO and president

of Cleveland Clinic Florida

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We do not see any signs of a recession in our business or industry. To the contrary, we are fortunate that we will have our seventh consecutive record in 2018 and are poised for an even better 2019. The recent volatility in the stock market and global events does raise concerns about our future economy. We have plans in place and are prepared to not only survive but thrive when a recession eventually comes.

Brett Beveridge, CEO and founder of The Revenue Optimization Companies (T-ROC)

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We are in the nonprofit space. Our businesses feel slowdown first as it shows up in reduced giving. We have not seen any signs of it yet.

Bill Diggspresident, The Mourning Family Foundation

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I definitely see some retreating of prices in the commercial real estate market, as many investors chasing yield overpaid for assets that are not supported by rental income. However, since the term “recession” has a specific definition — two consecutive quarters of negative economic growth — I am not prepared or qualified to say that those are signs of an impending recession.

Jessica Goldman SrebnickCEO of Goldman Properties and Goldman Global Arts

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Luckily, South Florida has experienced steady economic growth for nearly a decade, and the metrics continue to be positive. Undoubtedly this streak will come to an end, but when the next economic downturn comes, it should not be as bad as the last one, because the fundamentals have changed – larger and more diverse investment base, greater liquidity and more equity, particularly in the real estate market.

Jorge Gonzalezpresident and CEO, City National Bank

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We are concerned about retention and wage inflation, rising housing costs in some regions, and competition for hiring. In other regions, we are seeing a softening of the housing markets, continued high wage inflation that is likely unsustainable, and increased volatility in buying patterns in certain technology areas created by market disruption from accelerated digitation.

Louis Hernandez Jr., CEO of Black Dragon Capital

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At Ocean Bank we see a slowdown in loans and new business due to increased interest rates. The difference from earlier cycles is that banks are observing stricter guidelines on collateral, pre-purchase or pre-leasing and greater borrower equity in development projects.

Agostinho Alfonso Macedopresident and CEO of Ocean Bank

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I don’t see a major recession on the horizon (barring any unforeseen material external factors), but what I do see is an economic plateau with ebbs and flows. One key point to keep in mind is that our economy has experienced a major paradigm shift which has radically altered the economic markers historically used to predict the economic future. Economies are now global in scale, meaning many of the economic equations must be rewritten whereby new variables and constants are identified and defined before any definitive forecasts can be made. Hence, when things don’t make sense, I go back to the basics: Barriers to entry, Supply Side Economics and available cash on the sidelines ready to invest. Based upon these basics, I do not see a bad recession in the immediate future.

James “Jimmy” Tateco-owner and president of TKA-Evolution Apparel and of Tate Capital, and co-founder of Tate Development Corp.

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One of the many signs of forecasting a recession is the rise in the unemployment rate. In the past year, we have seen unprecedented unemployment rates hit all-time lows and highs. Earlier in 2018, the unemployment rate rose to 4%, after dropping to an 18-year low of 3.8% in May. The number of people who were unemployed also grew by half a million. The fluctuation in unemployment is a sign consistent with an economy that is entering the late stages of the business cycle where businesses cease to expand, the GDP diminishes for two consecutive quarters, the rate of unemployment rises and housing prices decline.

Rashad D. Thomasvice president of business connect and community outreach for the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee

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I see a lot of confidence in the economy at this time and especially in foreign investors entering the south Florida market. So I do not see a recession anytime in the near future.

Manny Angelo Varaspresident and CEO of MV Construction Group

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Today we see everyday people working hard, but still struggling to live the American dream of home ownership. More college graduates than ever are moving back home because they can’t afford to pay for apartment living and at the same time repay student loans with today’s living wages. If the push continues for a desperately needed $15 minimum wage, it will surely negatively affect smaller companies that will not be prepared and able to meet those standards.

Dorcas L. WilcoxCEO of Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services

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No, we are not yet seeing signs of a recession. We’ve had a positive year in fundraising and membership growth; and anticipate an increase in the Girl Scout cookie program this year! However, in anticipation of a possible recession, we are taking measures to be prepared by focusing on growing our membership and increasing our financial reserves.

Chelsea WilkersonCEO of Girl Scouts Tropical Florida

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CEO’s Thoughts on Amazon’s HQ2 in Miami

 

CEOs were asked: Amazon chose to go elsewhere than South Florida/Miami for its HQ2, but the deals in N.Y. and Virginia are being heavily criticized. In hindsight, is this too bad or a relief/good riddance for us?

Our South Florida business environment is vibrant and growing at a rapid pace. The inclusion of Amazon in the mix would have been a wonderful addition and would have accelerated our growth. Nonetheless, South Florida is recognized as a great place to live and do business, and will continue to grow its reputation as a prime locale for technology and consumer oriented enterprise.

Dr. Edward Abraham, executive vice president for Health Affairs of the University of Miami and CEO of UHealth – the UM Health System

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Miami is perfect for the Amazon Prime Distribution Center but not a key contender for Prime HQ. Was nice to be considered but, Miami suffers from lack of talent, housing, and it has commuting issues, therefore the moves to those cities made perfect sense to us. In this case, too bad, but we’re not ready.

Jim AngletonCEO for Aegis FinServ Corp.

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Amazon’s decision is neither good nor bad for South Florida. Our region has a lot to offer – culture, diversity, economic vitality and global positioning. The opportunity will be embraced by another.

Wael BarsoumM.D., CEO and president of Cleveland Clinic Florida

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There are pros and cons for “winning” this competition. I am a massive believer in South Florida as a premier location for any business big or small. We are ideally located geographically from a global perspective. We have a unique and diverse culture. We benefit from fantastic weather, all professional sports teams, world-class museums and performing arts venues, world-renowned events like the Super Bowl, Orange Bowl, and Art Basel Miami Beach, and no state income tax. One of our concerns is our overloaded infrastructure. We all feel the congestion of our airports, the challenges with our ports and everyday old traffic jams, any time of day. As a community, we need not only to continue to attract entrepreneurs and small businesses but also grow big businesses in South Florida for us to be competitive and thrive long term. When Amazon decided to go elsewhere, we kicked the can down the road on dealing with our infrastructure issues, but we haven’t solved them. I am disappointed that we were not able to win this bid but have confidence that it is only a matter of time before other Fortune 500 companies take notice and locate their headquarters here in South Florida.

Brett Beveridge, CEO and founder of The Revenue Optimization Companies (T-ROC)

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It is always unfortunate when we lose business to other cities and regions. Over the years, we have lost many business opportunities that can really transform this city into a real business hub. It is part and parcel of a bigger issue. Those issues/solutions are a more robust public transportation system, affordable workforce housing and a more educated and diverse local workforce.

Bill Diggspresident, The Mourning Family Foundation

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I think regions benefit when more technology based jobs become part of their economic base. While many are concerned about giving economic benefits to large and profitable companies, these industries bring high paying positions and provide a positive economic impact in the form of consumer spending, home sales, restaurants, entertainment, car sales, and other services. And they attract or spawn other high-tech businesses, further accelerating economic benefits. Altogether, they can dramatically enhance the economic buying power and standard of living in a region.

Louis Hernandez Jr., CEO of Black Dragon Capital

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Amazon HQ2 would have been beneficial for Miami — the jobs, the bump in housing demand, the direct effect on retail sales and sales tax, and the overall economic impact. I am a supporter of the Beacon Council and its mission to recruit businesses to relocate and expand in Miami-Dade County. I’m sorry to see Amazon go elsewhere.

Agostinho Alfonso Macedopresident and CEO of Ocean Bank

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I assume the South Florida committee responsible for making a presentation to Amazon for their new HQ2 performed a well-vetted cost-benefit analysis prior to making any formal bids. On the surface, the NY & Va. bid looks outlandish but it’s hard to say for sure without truly understanding the economics of the proposals that were ultimately accepted. All we’re hearing at this point is white noise.

I believe rolling out the proverbial red carpet is worth the trouble when there’s a possibility to attract a corporation with the scale and impact of an Amazon.

James “Jimmy” Tateco-owner and president of TKA-Evolution Apparel and of Tate Capital, and co-founder of Tate Development Corp.

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After being named amongst the top 20 finalists as the city to be chosen, it is a win-win situation for South Florida not to be selected as the second headquarters for Amazon. Amazon chose to split the second headquarters between New York City and the Washington, D.C., suburb of Arlington, Virginia. Together they will divide up the 50,000 high-paying jobs the online retail giant is expected to bring. Miami and South Florida is now a city for other businesses to consider when looking to expand into new locations. There are many benefits to being viewed as the underdog.

Rashad D. Thomasvice president of business connect and community outreach for the Miami Super Bowl Host Committee

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I strongly believe Amazon made a mistake in not selecting Miami for HQ2. The site amazon passed in Miami neighbored Paramount Miami World Center which is the most remarkable development in the United states and Miami is the gateway to the americas and I am surprised they did not select Miami and I believe that is a regrettable decision.

Manny Angelo Varaspresident and CEO of MV Construction Group

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I believe it’s too bad for us. For the past two decades, Miami has become a mecca for new ideas, populations and a booming economy. Building and expansion has taken South Florida to new heights. Since many businesses have striven to pay the living wage of $13.44 in Miami-Dade County, the offer of Amazon to pay a minimum of $15 per hour would have been a positive step in the right direction. Even if South Florida closed the deal and it wasn’t totally successful, we should never be afraid to go after business deals that could potentially boost our economy and create job expansion

Dorcas L. WilcoxCEO of Miami Bridge Youth & Family Services

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Congratulations to NY and Virginia on their successful bid for HQ2; time will tell the merit of the investment. For South Florida, this is a good opportunity to reflect on the workforce and infrastructure development required so we will be viable candidates for future investments of this scale. We must continue to develop a 21st century workforce – one that ensures equal access and pay equity for women in all industries.

Chelsea WilkersonCEO of Girl Scouts Tropical Florida

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Merchandising Spotlight: Interactive Retail Displays

 

Merchandising Spotlight: Interactive Retail Displays

Walk into most any major department store, and you can’t miss it. Customers gathered around an interactive display or kiosk. What’s the attraction? For starters, they’re fun, captivating and entertaining. Interactive displays give customers to opportunity to see what your product looks like in action, customize a product, or even buy it on the spot. Customers are drawn to them because of the need to touch, feel and experience products before they buy them. Interactive displays have the opportunity to engage customers in a way that static displays can’t.

Here are a few tips to getting the most out of your interactive display.

Keep your message on brand and up-to-date.

Keep your messaging clear and consistent. You want customers to remember not just the cool bells and whistles of the interactive experience but your product and the brand. And make sure that you have a retail associate tasked with updating the display to reflect price changes, special promotions and keeping it fully operational.

Have a clear call to action.

What do you want customers to do? Print out what the specifications of the product they just tried, with clear directions as to where to find it in the store? Place an order? Find an associate to assist with their purchase? Once you’ve captured their attention, ensure that it’s clear what you want customers to do next.

Make sure you have the right staffing

There’s no question that retailers are facing a labor shortage. With a healthy economy and low employment, it’s a challenge to find qualified retail merchandisers with the technical expertise to set-up, maintain and monitor interactive displays, which are becoming increasingly complex. Working with a company like T-ROC, which has a national network of retail merchandisers, ensures that you have a team of retail experts at the ready.

T-ROC offers fully integrated, cost-effective merchandising solutions, including new-store set-up, display builds, Planogram maintenance, compliance audits, new product introduction, retail analysis, product fulfillment and much more. T-ROC’s merchandising solutions are part of a comprehensive suite of services that provide a full end-to-end sales solution that enables manufacturers and retailers to fulfill all their sales performance needs.