Title: Director of brokerage services for Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq
Deb Carlson, 60, has 30 years of experience in the retail real estate industry. She was the first female real estate director and then regional real estate vice president for Eden Prairie-based grocery store chain Supervalu. There, she was instrumental in bringing 20 new Cub Foods stores to the Twin Cities market.
The Cloquet, Minn., native also worked for grocery store chain Nash Finch (now SpartanNash) as a corporate officer and vice president of store development overseeing a 16 million-square-foot portfolio of properties. Carlson shifted to retail brokerage in 2003 and is director of brokerage services for Bloomington-based Cushman & Wakefield/NorthMarq. She has handled transactions on behalf of Toys ‘R’ Us, Ace Hardware, the North Face, Room & Board, Lakewinds Natural Foods and Kowalski’s Markets. Now Carlson has been named president of the Minnesota Shopping Center Association (MSCA), a trade group representing retail developers, brokers, shopping center owners, retailers and vendors.
Q: You’ve worked with grocery retailers for years. How competitive is the grocery business today?
A: Everybody seems to want to take a bite out of the grocery pie … every time you put in a new store you’re kind of reslicing the pie in a different way. Now of course, everybody wants in on it – Target and Wal-Mart, Aldi and even Menards has food. There’s no question that it’s harder and harder for the traditional grocery stores to grow and survive.
Q: What are some recent deals that you’ve completed?
A: One of my clients is Lakewinds Natural Foods. They’re a co-op grocer in Minnetonka and Chanhassen. Just this summer we bought a piece of land in Richfield — the old Lyndale Garden Center. Their third store is under construction there and we’re actively looking for more sites. I do a lot of Ace Hardware deals and have a couple of leases about ready to be signed, and I’m working on quite a few other locations. And we just got the North Face store done in the Galleria [in Edina] and that opened very well.